22 April 2008

Guitar Music

I had big plans for my six weeks off before returning to the US. That all fell apart when I got kicked out of my apartment. I really tried to settle into life in the hotel, but have never quite achieved that. Mostly, I spend my days watching TV and sorting and packing. I’ve made a few trips into town, but I don’t have the desire to do much of anything other than vegetate. I did have two or three especially enjoyable days watching season 2 and 3 of Prison Break on DVD. I kept telling myself I would take a break, but wasn’t able to kick the habit. And now that I’ve seen all the episodes, I am going through withdrawal. Fortunately, the other night I caught a show on the Reality Channel: “My lover is on Death Row”, so that I could continue on in the same vein. Or maybe that should be ‘unfortunately’. Watching it made me come to terms with the fact that the guys on Prison Break are actors who are reading a fantastic script and that their real life counterparts are not at all sexy, alluring, and desirable.

A big reason I stay holed-up in the hotel is that I have reached saturation point on the traffic situation here. There are no rules. Lanes are painted lines to be ignored, as is the direction and flow of traffic. When I first moved to my neighborhood, it was so quiet and peaceful and you didn’t really need to look both ways before crossing the street. That is no longer the case. Though nowhere near as dangerous as in town, I often fond myself waiting at a corner for several minutes before being able to cross the stree, and even then, some crazy person on a motorbike nearly plows me over, driving on the wrong side of the street and coming out of nowhere. The traffic in town seems to have tripled in the past year and it is simply too nerve-wracking to walk the streets.

The other night my friend and I were walking home after a dinner of pizza and salad. We’d managed to cross the thirteen-lane freeway without getting creamed. Even though there are traffic lights, there are no turn lights, resulting in no safety from those turning right or left when one is trying to get from one side to the other. In Vietnam, trucks, cars and motorbikes have the right of way, and in that order.

As we approached my hotel, we heard loud, blaring music coming from the left of the main street. All I could think was how they were destroying this once quiet suburb. I don’t believe there are any zoning laws here. I thought about how pissed off I’d be if I had spent a fortune building a house, only to have a hotel/café go up next door, and then be subjected to god-awful disco music at 400 decibels, cranking out all day and late into the night. Bad as it sounded, we decided to check out what we assumed was a grand opening of a new boutique hotel.

As me drew closer, the music started to sound better. They were playing Latin music and the singer was singing in Spanish and doing a Ricky Martin impersonation. He wasn’t bad. In fact the music wasn’t bad at all. There were two guitars, bongos, and a keyboard. The hotel had a garden next to it that was filled with tables and chairs. Mini spot-lights illuminated the band across the small pond. Guests sat at the tables or milled around the hotel entrance. We were just beginning to get into the music when we were approached by two women in their sixties. One spoke some English and asked where we were from. She then invited us to sit down and listen to the music. We followed her over, took a seat, and soon a waiter came by to offer us drinks. At this point, the singer took a seat and the guitar man did his thing.

He was unbelievably fantastic! Latin, flamenco, and classical music flowed from his fingertips to fill the warm night air. A soft breeze gently rustled the plants around us as a nearly full moon shone from above. It was complete magic and I marveled at how sometimes things can seem so damn dire, and then you are granted this little piece of heaven and realize how lucky you are.

We sat there until they finished and then met the owner and her family. The next day we went back for coffee. Even though it is only half a block from where my hotel is, there is no noise. The garden is beautiful, and there is a constant breeze. Not only that, the food is good and reasonably priced, and the music they play is quiet and relaxing. Too bad they weren’t there two years ago.

I still have a few more things to wrap up before leaving in one week. Today I got my hair colored. I’d already phoned my stylist to tell him how upset I was at the butcher job he had done two weeks ago. He assured me he’d make it up when I came in for color. When I got there, we went through what he was to do which was give me the same deep red streaks of color he had done several months back. I know that the red washes out in about a week, but if applied over the base color, it fades to a copper which looks good.

Somewhere during the processing period, my guy explained that what he was doing was bleaching out the streaks and would then apply the red. I know from experience that this does not work. The color is off and then washes out to a nasty bleached blond. I told him this. He said I was wrong.

I now have two, punk-florescent pink chunks, one of which is my bangs so there is no way to avoid seeing it. In two weeks it will be a really unappetizing rotten-blonde. Oh well, I thought, at least I won’t be paying a fortune this time. Again, I was mistaken. The bill was massive. I know there are people out there who would have argued that since he’d destroyed my hair two weeks ago, and then just done a highlight job that will wash out in two weeks, I should get a serious discount. But I’m just not good at such things.

So this evening I went back to the new hotel/café and ate under the clear skies, bright moon, and gentle breeze. At least at night I don’t look like a psychedelic peacock.