Saturday, 31 July 2010

Real life, is it interesting?

I'm back home now and I doubt anyone is reading this any more but I want to keep writing, only when I have something I want to remember though.

I've taken up two summer jobs to help chip in to the debts travelling left me with, one bingo calling on my old stomping ground, the other doing PR on the streets of Southampton for a club.

The club:
My first night was a busy Tuesday and it was easy enough, paid by the hour and just sticking stickers on people then my next shift was a Saturday.

On Saturdays the PR folk work solely on commission split between the group, last week each of them took home £1.50 as the place was empty. To get commission you walk people to the door and get a tally next to your name, I didn't mind, I'm okay chatting to strangers and it would help pass the time making it a competition. That was until our team briefing explaining their new brand of Saturday nights.

The boss of the club spoke: 'Even though I love dirty house, 700 people in Southampton don't so we're bringing in more commercial house tunes so that we can appeal to more people. We're going more Marbella than Ibiza, actually we're going for more Pacha than Amnesia'. It was just words, I had bugger all idea what that meant and I could feel my face reddening as I over enthusiastically nodded as if I wasn't confused. I looked around in the hope that someone else would be able to share a look of 'Que' with me but they all seemed to let the sentence pass as if people they knew actually spoke like that.

Unperturbed I took to the streets of Southampton with a girl who was a tall, blond and a model, with legs up to her armpits (I figured our team might be a bit one sided for who was going to get most people in the club). Despite looking like the elephant man next to this girl I managed to get the first group of people I spoke to to walk in to the club and have a drink. A great start that did not reflect the rest of the night, at a guess I took a total of 20 people in, although I'm sure hundreds more went in with my flyers.

The worst part of the job was that I was doing good chatting and felt like I was promoting well, wheras the man supervising us was less impressed. In teaching and bingo you get immediate feedback from lots of different sources and I've been lucky enough that most of it has been good. Here the supervisor was the only one to give feedback. At one point he phoned up to ask where we were as he was in my spot and when I told him in a very proud voice we'd taken a group down to the club - our second of the night - he said 'It only takes one of you, you should always have one here' then he watched me chat to a group of people and told me my technique was rubbish. I disagreed, the approach went like this:
'Hi guys coming to [insert club here] tonight?'
Their response: 'No it's shit'
'Fair enough have a good night'

Apparently what I should have said was 'Free entry to [club] you coming down'
I'm guessing they would still have held the opinion that the place was not their cup of tea but I did as I was told and spent the night chatting to strangers, doing my bit to get people in.

Bingo hall:
I like it, although it wasn't very nice starting the job finding out about which customers were still there and who had kicked the bucket but it's inevitable that some would have gone over the 5 years I've been away. Other than that very little has changed and I felt like I was back in the swing of things after my second shift.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Vang Vieng

An unpleasant morning dosing up on Imodium then fingers crossed for a 5 hour bus ride to Vang Vieng. It was a successful journey and I checked in to my own very nice and very cheap room.

Vang Vieng is famous among travellers as the home of tubing - floating down the river on a rubber ring being pulled in to bars by people tossing you a rope. If you like the bar you stay, if you've had enough float down to the next bar. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this is quite possibly one of the greatest ideas anyone has ever had ever. Most bars also have a USP, some examples are: zip wires into the water, trapezes in to the water, a slide in to the water, mud volleyball, mud pit tug of war and so on. Fairly obviously the combination of alcohol, water and opportunities to fall from height mean that there are deaths every year and the town resembles a doctor's waiting room, few people come out unscathed. Other than that slight downer it is a great place and the atmosphere is fantastic as with most places where there is an excuse to drink in the day time.

I met up with detectives Garlick and Digweed for the third time in my travels and had a great couple of days but I'm glad it was only two days. Many people had got stuck there because they were enjoying themselves so much, some wasting months of their trips... or maybe not wasting but certainly not making the most of them.

I left Vang Vieng with the detectives for the world heritage town of Luang Prabang, all of us having caught conjunctivitis. Through my gunky eyes I noticed just how spectacularly beautiful the terrain of Northern Laos is. Will (Garlick) summed it up rather well by saying:

"It's quite lumpy Laos isn't it".