Guitar Hero

So, I come all the way to Burma and the highlight so far? It naturally involves guitar.

I had heard a rumour that there was a bar in Kalaw where the owner is prone to impromptu guitar playing, so it seemed like the natural place to grab a Myanmar Beer. After he’d played a couple of songs I asked if I could play – his face lit up and for an hour or two we took it in turns – one from England, one from Burma. It was fantastic fun.

The following night (last night) I went back and took my own guitar (it can be difficult playing someone else’s guitar as it just feels different. For instance, his strings were raised more from the fret board than mine, so I had to press down firmer as I was playing. Workman and his tools, and all that.

We played for the whole night – who needs food when you have music? There was a really nice group of French people in, too, who joined in with the singing and dancing and some Brits and an American woman I had met the previous night dropped by after dinner and I sang Fields of Gold for Sasha as a special request. I also had to dig deep to revive my French skills, but one of their group spoke Spanish so I got by with a mix of both. And a number of the local guys spoke reasonable English. It was one of those nights that I will remember forever.

Open mic, open water

So it’s day 2 of the quartergapyear, and what a great start. After what was actually a rather pleasant flight to Sydney (you get what you pay for), I almost missed my flight to Cairns on account of 2 factors – 1) deciding to make a change of clothes to transform myself into a genuine traveller type (linen trousers, etc), and making the mistake of flying Jetstar (makes Easyjet look classy and has queues to die for – literally). Anyway, tragedy averted, and I got to Cairns by lunchtime yesterday.

Cairns – from what I have seen of it – is no Rome. But it’s by the water, and that’s good enough for me. I spent a happy couple of hours on the Esplanade reading and people watching.

Last night I managed to locate an open mic night, so me and the guitar had a hot date in Giligans. I played 2 songs – Somewhere Only We Know by Keane and Abandon Ship by The Sorry Kisses. The crowd asked for a 3rd, but I decided less was more and remembered someone once telling me that you should leave people wanting more.

So, it seems, they did.The organisers asked me to come along to another tonight, and someone who owns the local blues bar asked if I would come along on Wednesday night to play a short set before the band comes on. I didn’t come away looking for a change of career, but…

Today I started the scuba diving course – hooked! (No aqua-related pun intended). We started in the classroom (not seen one of them in a long time) and the afternoon in the pool. It felt wierd to start with, but I soon got the hang of things. And not that I am competitive or anything, but I had the most oxygen left at the end…

And so another night, another open mic. This is my kind of quartergapyear. I’m just wondering why I didn’t do this sooner. And when I get to cash in the other 9 months that I am owed.

RIght, time for some guitar practice before I take to the stage.