Some Days
of My Life

Part of the Quipo Life

Some stories from some unusual days of my life, with lessons learned ... click a story name to get there ...

Bombay Belly (1988?)

There was a long period in my life when I did a lot (seriously, a lot) of SCUBA diving. One year Jade and I went on holiday so that I could go diving in the Maldive Islands south of India. Before we went down to the Maldives we travelled in India, including Bombay (which changed its name to Mumbai in 1995) and Jaipur. Jaipur is a really amazing place - how often do you get to pull up at a traffic light in a taxi and there’s an elephant next to you? When we got back to Bombay we went out to the Ajanta Caves, which are hewn into granite rock on an island off Bombay. We went out on a small boat with only local people. Absolutely amazing art, carved deep into the side of a mountain. Back in Bombay we went to the Raj Hotel for pizza (not the national dish of India :-) and a drink. While we were eating a young Indian boy came up and asked if I would sign his autograph book. I happily signed, but I didn't have any idea why he would want my signature. Several more children came by, and I did the same thing several times. At some point I needed to take a leak, so I went down the corridor to the toilet. While I was at the urinal another boy came up and asked me to sign his autograph book. I had to slow him down a bit (because my hands were busy), but when I finished I signed his book. When I walked back up the corridor towards the dining area where Jade was waiting, I saw a poster on the wall that explained things … there was an Australian rock band in town and at that stage with my long hair I looked somewhat like the drummer - the kids wanted a rockstar’s autograph! There are several (now) adults in India who now have the autograph of a tourist (me) who was not a member of a rock band. Anyway, that's a diversion, the main tale is about going to the Maldives for SCUBA diving, and the complications that followed. 

When we arrived in the Maldives capital Malé we saw a big sign before customs that said that alcohol was forbidden and that all alcohol had to be declared. We had no bottles with us, and went on in. We spent the night in a hotel in the city before we were going to fly out the next day on a seaplane to an island owned by Germans who were running the SCUBA operation. When we were in the hotel we realized that Jade had several dinkies of vodka in her bag which, according to the sign in the airport, would have resulted in seven years of jail. We very quickly bought some Coca-Cola and destroyed the evidence. 

The German island was amazing. We stayed in a small cottage overlooking the beach, the food was wonderful, the diving was fantastic, and I had a really great time diving every morning before we relaxed every afternoon. As it was an island the water supply was limited, and there was a sign saying to not drink the water in the afternoon because they did purification of the water only in the morning. In the afternoon they provided bottled water, or typically we would go to the bar and have a drink. I guess somewhere towards the end of the trip I ignored the sign about not drinking the water in the afternoon. Nothing went wrong until we got back to Trivandrum in the south of India, from where we were going to fly up to Bombay and back to Australia. Even in Trivandrum I wasn't feeling too well, but we flew up to Bombay no worry. When we were in the Bombay airport waiting for the connection with Qantas to go back to Australia my stomach started to erupt. I spent a large amount of time in the toilet, with whatever I put in coming out the back end. I really wasn't in good condition, and I eventually collapsed in the toilet. A Singapore Airlines employee (I can’t remember his name now, but I did write a letter of recommendation for him later) came in and found me on the toilet floor. He picked me up and took me to the Singapore Airlines office where I lay on the couch while he went to find Jade. At that point an ambulance was called and I was taken off to the “best hospital in Bombay” hospital for treatment. Jade rode along in the front of the ambulance, and recalled it as "the most rickity ambulance whose wheels were about to go sideways". I was taken into a double room. The doctor came by and accused me of having Bombay belly, i.e, diarrhea from eating too much hot curry. I had to give a poo sample, and in the squat toilet I really couldn't balance - I poo’ed all over my hand as well as into the sample cup I had been given. It turned out that I had a bacterial infection in my stomach, from drinking the bad water in the Maldives. The doctors were very good. They gave Jade a prescription that she had to take down to the pharmacy to buy the drugs - nothing was provided on tic! I had an IV drip put in and was left to rest. The other bed of the double room was occupied by an Indian man who'd been working in the oil fields in the Andaman Islands, and he had malaria. I didn't know it, but I soon learned, that malaria really affects the brain - he was quite mad. His wife was also there but could not keep him from climbing out of bed and coming over to my bed where I was hooked up to the IV, and couldn't move. He had a little book of Post Its. He would keep telling me what was wrong with me, write “prescriptions” on  Post Its, and stick them on my bed until the nurses came around and chased him back to his own bed. Eventually they took him away - he was too much to handle. They wouldn't give Jade a blanket or anything - she had to sleep on the wooden bench in the hospital room, getting bitten by mosquitos, while I slept peacefully on the bed under a mosquito net. Apparently the mad malaria man told Jade it looked like she needed a doctor! She was really stoic and did very well helping me. 

Whatever the doctors did worked. In a day or two I had recovered, and was well enough to go back to Australia. At that point we had to pay the hospital bill. I was pretty scared because after all the travel we didn't have a lot of cash with us, and they would not take credit card payment. It turned out when the bill was delivered that it was about only AU$40 (Australian dollars)! Luckily I had a AU$50 tucked in the zip pocket of the motorcycle boots that I wore all the time those days. There was a nurse there from England who exchanged it into rupees, and we paid the bill. We then went back to the airport and got a flight back to Perth.

Wow, that was a bit of excitement … going into a top class Indian hospital (it might be considered kind of second or third world here), and being treated by excellent doctors. I learned a few things from that adventure: 1. Read the signs in hotels, and believe them, particularly if written by Germans. 2. Make sure that you always wear motorcycle boots with a $50 dollar bill tucked in the side pocket - you never know when you're going to need it. 3. Have a spouse or colleague or friend who's always going to be there to help you when you mess up.

Women in Thailand (1994?)

This is the story of a time that Jade and I traveled up from Singapore to Thailand, when we were living in Townsville, Australia. We flew to Singapore, which was not particularly exciting, and then went into Malaysia where I did some SCUBA diving on the island of Langkawi. Langkawi was very simple, with a life based on the ocean. 

From Langkawi we took a local ferry to the Satun province, where we arrived in Tammalang. When we presented our non-Thai passports the passport control officials were very excited. Clearly this was not a common event. Nobody really spoke English, but after a while we established that there was no hotel in Tammalang, and that we would need to go on to Hat Yai in order to find somewhere to stay. We found a guy who said he would take us in his taxi. We were rather worried because Hat Yai was over an hour away, but he said he could make it cheaper if he could take one of his friends halfway, to which we readily agreed. It turned out to be only AU$20 anyway, if I remember correctly. I do remember sitting in the back of his old Mercedes and being scared shitless as we drove at breakneck speeds on tiny winding roads. At one point I just closed my eyes and realized that I would either make it to Hat Yai or die on the way. We did make it, and were dropped at a hotel.

The next day we flew to Bangkok where we found a hotel in a reasonable area. Jade and I had a great time in Bangkok, looking at the different things and eating crazy foods like grasshoppers and other bugs. Jade has a great appetite for such things. One night we decided to go off to the famous Pat Pong road district, which is known for sex shows, etc. It was great that Jade was into that kind of excitement, and I don't mind watching girls shooting things out of their viginas. Drinking all the time of course, but after while it wears a bit thin, so we decided we would head back to the hotel. On the way back down the street we heard loud fun music coming out of a side street, and saw a club with lots of lights and colors and music. We decided to go down and have a drink, which sounded like a fun idea. In the club we found a table, and there was a large platform in the middle of the place where girls were dancing with numbers on their waists. Clearly you could buy one. When I came back from the bar getting the drinks I found that Jade had made away up onto the platform with all the other dancing girls. I told her to come down, but the bouncer standing there was insistent that she could not come down unless I paid in the usual way. So fuck it, I ended up paying to get my wife back off the dancing stage. That was funny enough, and it wasn't that expensive. Come to think of it I could have got a exchange model, but I didn't.  Later one of the girls came down and started chatting with us - we became quite friendly. Somehow, with drinks involved, it ended up with her coming back to our hotel room. I wasn't quite sure what was going to happen, but things didn't seem too bad at the time. Back in the hotel room Jade got into bed. I'm not quite sure if she had taken her clothes off! I was pouring drinks, and at some point I was definitely naked chasing the Thai dancing girl around the room. I recall Jade saying "Don't you dare". I guess we eventually paid her and chased her out the room. That was a threesome I never had. 

The next day we were going up to Chang Mai (or was it Chang Rai?) in Northern Thailand, and we had a few hours to spare before our flight. Serendipitously we bumped into Jim Bell on the side of the street in Bangkok - Jim was a lecturer at James Cook University where I worked in Townsville. He was going to take the bus to Chang Mai, so we agreed to meet in Chang Mai.  In a nondescript bar in Chang Mai we were chatting away when a young girl came over. Seeing that I was with Jade she decided to befriend Jim. Jim very kindly decided to frisk under her skirt for hidden weapons. I'm grateful for his diligence in protecting us, in case she had some kind of explosive in her panties. I'm not quite sure where that all ended up.

The next day Jade and I took a "tour" to see the ladies who put rings around their necks in order to extend their necks, apparently quite an attraction. The rings can't be taken off because the neck muscles deteriorate. The driver/guide who took us was quite a friendly chap. At some point he stopped on the side of the road and told us we now had to get out and climb up the hillside to get to the village where the women lived. That was a real steep climb ... he and I and Jade pulling and pushing each other up a slippery slope - there were no stairs, no real pathway, or anything. When we got to the village it was quite an eye opening sight. We spent a short while there and took some photographs. The ladies were definitely beautiful, and definitely looked very different from anything we'd ever seen before. At the end we slip-slided down the slope, and the guide took us back into Chang Mai. I think from there we flew directly back to Australia.

So, I'd bought back my wife, not slept with a prostitute, and seen ladies with long necks. There's a moral to this story ... you can go different places, you'll meet different woman, but you still end up happy going home with the first one.

Jamaican Alfie (2004)

I would like to tell you a story about a time I was in Jamaica. I had a job teaching at the Mona Institute of Applied Science (MIAS) in the University of the West Indies, run by Dr Howard Reid. My job was to teach Masters level computer science - I believe it was operating systems I taught that first year. I taught Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The students were either employed in the local IT industry or school teachers, all of whom were hoping to improve their employment situation by completing a master's degree. As it was my first visit, MIAS arranged my accommodation at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. On the first evening that I was there I asked the receptionist at the hotel where I could go to eat. She explained where there was a street about one block away where there were restaurants. I said "great" and set off to walk across through a back alley to get to the street. The woman was quite horrified, said that it was far too dangerous, and that she would call me a taxi to drive me around. Of course, being an overconfident South African I ignored her advice and set off to find something to eat. 

The receptionist turned out to be right … in the back alley I was accosted by a short Jamaican man who put a knife against my side and asked me to give him some money. Again, being overconfident, instead of giving him money I asked him "why?". He said, "because I'm hungry". So I suggested "let's go eat", and surprisingly he agreed! We walked down the street to a jerk chicken barrel, where I had leg-an'-t’igh and a beer, while he had some form of chicken and a small carton of chocolate milk. After eating I went back to the hotel. The next night I did the same thing, and the man met me again. In order to be safe I bought us chicken again. This became a regular occurrence, and we became kind of friendly. I found out his name was Alfie. Each night Alfie would meet me, I'd buy him chicken and chocolate milk, and I was never harassed by the other characters hanging about in the back alley. I was his mark, and it must have been “honour between thieves”, because none of the other guys in the alley ever gave me any trouble. 

The next year when I came back for another month I walked through the alley again … lo and behold there was Alfie. He shouted out "hi", and again we went off to the chicken barrel. I became really quite friendly with Alfie. One night we were sitting in the top of a car wash eating our chicken, and I asked him "why did you pull a knife on me?". He answered, "because I was hungry". I suggested, "next time you are hungry say ‘please can you buy me food’, rather than threatening to stab someone". He thought this was a great idea, and we laughed about it. After a couple more years of this I moved to staying a different hotel on Hope Road, and never saw Alfie again. 

That experience did show me one thing: if you're confident, polite, friendly, and smile, you can often get away with things, and even make friends in what might seem to be a fairly difficult situation. I've taken advantage of that experience in my travels to many places where I had met many people. It is a useful way to approach strangers … with confidence, with friendly politeness, and with a smile. I've made many friends and survived many crazy situations. All thanks to Jamaican Alfie.

Cycling in Cambodia (2006)

This, like many other tales, comes from attending an LPAR conference. This time we were in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, and I was somehow involved with an organizational position. 

On the workshop day, at the International Workshop of the Implementation of Logics, Kostya Korovin gave one of his his first talks about the iProver Automated Theorem Proving system. iProver it was making waves because of its ability to solve effectively propositional problems. I think it was the night after the workshop I went into the town and found a bar where I drank way too much beer. When I woke up the next morning I sat up and whacked my head on something. I felt all sorts of wet goo on my forehead, and thought "oh damn it, I've hurt my head and I'm bleeding". It turned out it was oil, because I'd been sleeping under a truck in a construction site next to the conference hotel, and I'd whacked my head on the sump of the truck. There was no damage done, and the conference continued. One night later that week Kostya and Andrei (Voronkov) ended up at the same bar I'd been to on the first day. We eventually ran low on money, but I recall that Kostya saved the day.

One of the days there was a conference excursion to take us to see the touristic sites of Phnom Penh, which I'm sure were beautiful, but after the first museum I ducked to find more interesting things to do. One thing I discovered is that for 25 cents a motorcyclist would take you to anywhere in town. I spent a joyous day going from market to bar to cultural site and back to the market again, 25 cents each time. The motorcyclists were daredevils, and wove in and out of crazy traffic on the motorbikes. Towards the end of the day I got dropped off at the park on the side of the Mekong River, near the conference hotel. I found a family sitting there and sat down to join them just to see what would happen. They were definitely poor, homeless, living on the streets. I ponied up some money and sent somebody from the family off to buy food and beer for us all. They bought those eggs where the embryo is half hatched, which I couldn't stomach, but the bread and salad and fruits were great. The next thing I noticed that a parent had one of the younger kids down at the faucet in the middle of the park, and was washing the kid up, brushing his hair, etc. I didn't really take notice until they presented to the kid to me. It was about the saddest thing that ever happened ... they were trying to convince me to take their child away to the USA to give him a better life, more than they could give. They were ready to give their child away for that. I almost cried. Later that night I went back to the hotel and saw that family living on the side of the street. They waved enthusiastically.

The great memory of that conference, which is the title of this section, was the conference excursion was up the Mekong River on a boat. On the boat ride there were small barbecues on which you could barbecue the meat they provided. I saw that there was a skiff hanging off the back of the large boat, so I quickly grabbed Andrei and we climbed into the skiff with our own little barbecue and a bottle of something. The boat operators were concerned at first, but after a while gave up on us. Other LPAR participants thought we were nuts. When we got up the river and got off I found a kid who had a bicycle, and gave him $5 to rent his bicycle. I think he thought he had sold the bicycle to me, but I gave it back at the end of the story. I pedaled off into the jungle, not really taking notice of where I was going. People waved at me, the crazy blonde head guy cycling through the jungle. I eventually looked at my watch, and realized it was time to turn around, but I hadn't taken note of the turn offs for the way back. As I cycled back everybody knew where I was going, pointed the way, but were very insistent I should stop and enjoy their hospitality. I remember eating small barbecued meatballs, drinking beer, and talking to people in broken English. I had a wonderful time. I managed to make it back to the boat just in time, gave the kid his bike, and jumped on the boat. 

One day during the conference, Christoph, Stephan, and I decided to skivvy off the next day to go down to the coast for some SCUBA diving. We left late in the afternoon in a taxi, to a town on the coast. The plan was to sleep over and go diving in the morning. We found a cheap hotel, and I mean really cheap - a room with two beds with use of a shared bathroom was US$4 a night. As there were three of us we had to take two rooms. We decided to put Stephan in the room of his own because he snored a lot. There was an unusual notice on the wall that I've posted below (thanks Stephan), which included limitations on the use of prostitutes in the hotel! I was pretty tired by then from all the partying, so I decided to go straight to sleep. Stephan and Chris went out to eat while I just crashed out. The next day the diving was quite fine, we had a good time, and returned safely to Phnom Phen.

Adventures like those burn into your memory, they really do ... getting off the beaten path leads to new friends in strange places

Senegal Willage (2010)

In 2010 I was a guest speaker at the LPAR-16 conference, held in Dakar, Senegal. Andrei Voronkov organized the conference, and the local organizer was Wally Faye. Wally was a Senegalese who worked for the government; he had the biggest smile you can imagine. One of the features of the LPAR conferences is an excursion to somewhere interesting. Wally decided that the LPAR-16 excursion would be to his village, or, as he liked to say, his “willage”. The village was out in the countryside - very rural. A bus took us out to the village, certainly not on a sealed road. At one point we were stuck in the sand and everyone had to get off to push the bus. When we arrived at the village all the locals were sitting in a big circle, drum groups were playing, a cow was cooking on the spit over an open fire, and there was a large quantity of beer in a tub of ice. One thing for sure it was real - there was no electricity, a primitive toilet, no running water, and no modern facilities. It was a perfect LPAR excursion! The local people were great fun; they made us welcome, and we all started drinking and eating. The locals spoke their local language and French, which made communication quite difficult for me (but many of the LPAR people spoke French). Luckily the school teacher was there; he spoke some English and introduced me to people. I found out from the teacher that the children started school only at the age of 12 because there was no teacher to teach early level schooling. That got me inspired ... I drew a map of Africa on the sand, and with a little help from some mothers and the teacher I had a circle of small kids learning the countries starting up in Morocco coming down through Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, etc. I’m sure I got some of the countries wrong, but the children were enjoying learning something and with a little help from the teacher and the mothers they understood what they were learning. At some point Andrei and I were dancing like crazy to the drums; we were really having a great time. About 10:00 pm Wally said it was time for everyone to go back to Dakar on the bus. I was having too much of a good time, and told Wally I didn't want to leave. Wally smiled and said “that's fine, you are welcome to stay”. I grabbed my little backpack off the bus and went back into the village area while the bus drove off. I was left with no local knowledge, no way to leave or contact the “outside world”, and nobody who could speak English. That suited me just fine! (I later found out that Wally had arranged for his wife, who was a striking woman, to make sure I was okay.) It took no time for the local men to get out their guitars and drums, and the music got going as we drank all the beer we could find in the big tub. Around 3:00am I guess I started to look tired, and Wally's wife took me into one of the huts and pointed at a bed for me to sleep on. 

In the morning I got up and started wandering around, washed my face in the barrel of water that was being filled very slowly through a very thin pipe coming from a well some distance away, and headed out to visit the family compounds. Each compound typically had several goats, maybe a cow, some chickens, and a fence made from woven wood around everything. Everybody was very friendly, and I was repeatedly given food  and water, or sometimes cow's milk. It was really quite a fun morning. Later on I played with the little children who didn’t attend school, until I was called in to have lunch with the adult ladies (I think the men were working in the city or in the fields). Lunch was held in a large open rondavel with seats around the edge. We ate leftover meat from the cow of the night before, fresh mangos, drank water, and I think I even managed to scrounge a beer. When everyone had finished eating I went around trying to be helpful, collecting the plates that had leftover bones, mango pips, mango skins, and other inedible bits, on them. I made my way over towards the garbage and washing up barrel,  which produced much shouting from the ladies in the rondavel. One of them took the plates away from me and threw all the scraps onto the floor in the middle of the rondavel. One of the children was then dispatched to bring in goats. The goats quickly ate all the leftover scraps then licked all the plates clean. When the goats were done one of the ladies gave me the plates and gestured that I should now go to the water barrel to clean them off and leave them in the sun to dry. It was certainly a different way (well, for me) of getting the washing up done at the end of a meal. 

Later in the afternoon I was pulled over to sit opposite the chief, who I had met the night before. Of course we had no real way to communicate - he did not speak English and I did not speak his language or French. Another chair was pulled up in front of the chief, and a young lady was called over to sit in front of me. The chief then started gesturing enthusiastically at the lady, pointing out her shape, and also making a gesture of using both hands to masturbate his apparently very large penis. I was quite confused. In the middle of his sales pitch Wally came back from his job in the city. He asked me “do you know what's going on here?”. I replied, “yes, I think the chief wants me to marry this lady”. Wally laughed and confirmed that was the idea. I told Wally to please tell the chief that I already had a wife. Wally really laughed at that, and explained that would not change things, because more than one wife was considered quite acceptable. Wally walked away and left me to my own devices, talking to the chief with hand gestures and drawings in the sand. The young lady did her best I guess, but I was not showing any interest; she got frustrated and stomped off, leaving me and the chief alone. 

Later on Wally drove us (his wife, a friend, me) back to the city. We went to a fish market, and ended up eating at his house. I don't recall if I stayed at his house or if he took me back to the conference hotel much later that night. At some point I asked Wally what the chief was doing with the large double-handed masturbatory gestures on the imaginary large penis between his legs. Wally explained that the chief was trying to tell me that the young lady was very good at pounding maize, and would therefore make an excellent wife! 

There's a lesson to be learned from this little adventure .. always take the different road, don't follow the masses home, stay and talk to the locals, have fun, don’t be scared interacting using drawings and smiles, try to help people and improve their lives - maybe the kids did learn some geography from me! The other thing you might learn is a new way to do the washing up after a meal, and you might even end up with a very useful second wife.

Ni' Night Party (????)

This is another story fromwhen I was working for Dr Howard Reid at the Mona institute of Applied Sciences (MIAS) in the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. One of the things that Howard was trying to do was to reintroduce Ackee fruit as an export crop. One of the problems with Ackee is that if you pick it too early it is quite toxic. Jamaica had some problems because of this, and exports failed.  Howard thought he could develop a process in the MIAS lab to test for this toxicity, and hence assure that the fruit was safe for export.

One Saturday Howard suggested that my friend Josef (who was visiting from Prague) and I should join him on a trip to the north side of Jamaica to the area of Port Antonio to collect Ackee fruit for testing. Howard was very scientific about it, noting where we each fruit, what stage of development it was at, etc. It was crazy hot. After a few hours of picking at different sites Howard dropped Josef and I in the town, where we were going to spend the night and return to Kingston the following day by bus. We found a place to stay in a clean and cheap house, and which was obviously quite Christian. We dropped our bags and rolled off down to the waterfront. 

After some looking around the town we found a small bar - there were only three seats in the bar, everybody else was sitting outside on the stone walls. We saw that everybody was drinking something white. A local explained that it was white rum and milk, because milk is cheaper than coca-cola. So we joined them in rum and milk (really quite nice, btw), and started chatting with people. Jamaicans are real friendly, and it turned out that the guy we were checking to was a local detective in the police. After a while he asked us if we like to go to a "ni' night" party. We didn't know what it was, but he said there would be music and free beer. He said his sister would be there, and would make sure we were OK. It would cost $1 to pay for fuel to go in someone's car up the hillside. 

When we got up into the village in the hills there was definitely a party ... people in the streets playing drums and guitars, etc. It was very rural - no electricity and a very simple lifestyle. The sister was very friendly, and took us around. I remember playing dominoes with various people, drinking free beer (where ever it came from), and having a great time. We ended up back in the central area of the party where the band was going. Miraculously another sister appeared - the first one was small and skinny, the second one was a little bit more substantial and full of fun. I remember dancing around like crazy. After a while the girls decided that it was time for us to go down to the town to a nightclub. It became evident that they had worked out here were two white boys who could possibly improve their lives in some way or other. We went down to the town, but the nightclub situation wasn't that good. I think the girls really wanted just to get us into bed. I wasn't into this, and I don't know if Josef was, and certainly the Christian house where we were staying wouldn't have tolerated it. So at some point I had one girl on each side of me talking as we walked down the street. I told Josef quickly in English that it was time for him to duck and run, and I'd meet him back at the house. Josef did that quite smoothly. The two girls then realized there was now only one white boy, and the small sister started chasing the large sister down the waterfront. I took the opportunity to duck behind a petrol station, and made my way back to the house. We had escaped acquiring Jamaican wives, and had had an excellent party in the hills.

The next morning while we were waiting for the bus back to Kingston Josef made a deal with a local rasta "Noel", who said he would guide Josef up into the Blue mountains following day. Noel agreed to meet Josef in Kingston early the next morning, which was kind of weird because Kingston was the other side of the island. But good-as-gold Noel appeared and took Josef up into the mountains. Apparently they did some of time on motorbikes because Noel couldn't keep up with Josef walking fast up hills. Josef eventually went up to the top by himself, and came down much later that night having had a great time. 

The following day we went to MIAS where I would be teaching that evening, and I asked Howard what was the "ni' night" party all about. Howard explained that it was a "nine night" party - a traditional party before a person gets buried on the tenth day. Apparently we had been to a wake! There's a moral to the story: you can drink run and milk, you can meet girls, you can go to a wake, you can climb the Blue Mountains ... and underlying all that is the friendship of Jamaicans - it's a wonderful thing.