Chronicles of a Ziginare……Gypsy……..Explorer…Bandit

…lets come straight on to the locale. S-S-Shave-Shampoo; all done, with Tuscany splashed across my back, I step into the melee of Manila.

One has to be careful here as I negotiate bends, curves and blind alleys..who knows when  fleeting shadows becomes a real band of street kids…they can descend upon you in packs of 20’s…pin you to the ground and like a buzz of piranhas unclothe you and hi-tail away with all your many splendid things….the only way to stay street smart  is to have a microchip under your skin..a new wave thing from American Express Black cards, or possibly a killer seductive smile to open doors to wine, food and ..Hum….yes the works of art, be they oil, acrylics or warm and tender succulent…Y.K.W.I.M

(You Know What I Mean!)

The two legged damsels here, most of them so sweet and tender and fragile, though are lurking behind and sometimes in their lizard’s skin bags a Chihuahua or two snapping at your heels. So it’s best to wear heavy denim…..Levi’s 550 and armadillo boots…the sting is but a pin prick.

Strains of Wolfmother’s heavy metal riffs flash past as a bad dude in shades passes by in his metallic purple Hummer….he’s gone…as stray chickens flutter and try escaping from the super wide tyres….leaving the smell of hard burning rubber. Its 2300 hrs and the night is dark above. Down here on Planet Earth I’m still trying to find my way to ‘ Infectious Grooves’….the hottest, meanest, damnest place on the outskirts where an all female band is going to rock the place down…..I try to walk, I try to run but finally hitch on to a Jeepnee….with avant-garde paintings…the driver stretches his dirty paw and I hand him a crumbled 50 pesos note….He knows my destination as he lurches forward and I am flung through the min-bus landing on the swollen thighs of Mama-san…a soft landing no doubt but nothing but snarls and hisses from her and her family of grunting pigs.    My mind flashes by to that lady writer getting on the wrong bus towards Cartagena….that was celluloid. This folks is reality.

We rattle along, as fast as the wind…horns blaring, a thousand moods, no one is spared in our path, and me trying to resemble the innocent.

Reached in one piece..I jump out from the window…the emergency escape, jostling my way past crowds….heaving they are. Ricardo Lopez mi amigo is waiting at the entrance as he plants a wet kiss on my cheek…saliva and pisco sour. I need to do the same. It’s a manly thing. After a quick interchange with the sumo bouncer….we walk into a cacophony of sounds..laughter, shrieks, strobes, sweat, cheap perfume and passionata. The ‘Infectious Grooves’ rocks hard. At 0200 hrs ‘ Mothers of Charity’ come on stage and the crowd hushes in silence and awe….. Voluptuous beauties with the ‘Kiss’ look….the vocalist is slick, the bassist cool, the lead guitarist a Townsend in disguise…the batteria….the gal on skins…Boy she kicks ass.They really are a bad ass band!  I stay safe and drink a San Miguel Lite straight from the botela… No second chances here dude. You need eyes at the back of your head as well.  They rock loud….to whisper is to scream….and Angelina, Ricardo’s squeeze seems to like me too. She seems to be the flavour of the month…..and I’m not barging into her. No way man….Ricardito es mi amigo. He and I go back, way back…a long way back when we crossed paths in Quito……I am alive coz of him. I am here to Rock my ass off; not be rocked by him. Intiendo.

No morals to this one guys….just plain straight…heavy but clean. We killed the night and later ate oysters along the Bay. Angelina looked divine; I tried to convince her she was my sister. She said she would think about it.

A farewell hug, a last parting shot. Ricardo we shall meet again, ain’t sure ‘bout Angelina though! I worked my way back; another day mañana…Yes another day, another dollar… I am off to Tokyo.
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy (1961-1970)

Footnotes: If you want to enjoy a seductive evening with your squeeze I would suggest you DO NOT venture towards the ‘Infectious Grooves’. That’s a place for sinners like me. For you the place to be is The Lounge after The Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila. There is a 3 piece quartet AND this absolutely gorgeous Filipina in a slinky red gown; high slits on either side. She wears the highest heels in town and a golden chain on her ankle with a brilliant diamond. That accentuates her legs and her lithe body.   They say she moves like Salome and sings like a nightingale until the crack o’dawn.  So if you are there, give me a call….I may not be too far away.