Thursday, 5 July 2007

Lawyers, Guns and Money

One of my favourite songs is Lawyers, Guns and Money by Warren Zevon, and my favourite part in it is the part just after he's sung the line about "hiding in Honduras...a desperate man...I said lawyers, guns and money...the shit has hit the fan", whereupon he sings the title lyric again and then lets out this little whoop of what can only be described as glee. It's a great moment. He's singing about being in dire straits in foreign lands, but he clearly loves it.

The attitude in that song reminds me a little of Hunter S. Thompson, and the collection of his early letters I've just been reading called The Proud Highway. In it, Thompson bounces from country to country in Latin America, getting into scrapes, drinking too much, and writing articles for newspapers; he's permanently broke, often sick, always in trouble, but clearly loving it.

When I was younger that was just the kind of life I wanted to lead. Travelling the world, living off my wits and, ideally, having sex with an endless line of beautiful exotic women. I even drew up a plan towards this end, whereby I would go to Tokyo at the age of 21, then each year move to a new country and a new city until the age of 30. This morning I got a little depressed thinking about that plan and how I'd fallen at the first hurdle - getting to Tokyo and then stopping, like I'd hit a wall.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I have lived quite an exciting life, and done a whole load of things I can tell the grandkids about. I've seen hugely built Russian marines on leave in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan throwing vodka bottles at passing traffic and being told off by an old woman and shamed by her into stopping. I've bribed officials on two separate occasions, in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and felt absolute icy terror doing it. I've been in countries where civil wars are being fought. I've come within a hair of being arrested by Israeli soldiers for trespassing in an abandoned, bullet-hole ridden holiday camp on the Jordanian border with my sister. I've got lost in Hong Kong. I've been to the docks in Singapore. I've gone drinking with Mongolians in Yokohama. I've had a fight with Turks in Tokyo.

I might not be Hunter Thompson, but I reckon I've given a good account of myself. Thankfully, I think I've avoided becoming one of those "travellers" who spends their gap year on beaches in Thailand and Bali, visits Ankor Wat, gets a tattoo, and thinks they've "seen the world".

I didn't have sex with as many exotic and beautiful women as I'd have liked, though. That's more of a journey than a destination.


mattiecore said...

International escapades mean nothing without beautiful women with which to fornicate

noisms said...

You're absolutely right.