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Thailand Plane

“‘I like this place’ he said to me with a grin ‘I like to sit up here and look down at the beach and think of all the good things I could do with a Luger’…

Then I heard another sound, the muted rhythm of a steel band. It was getting dark now, and I couldn’t tell what direction the music was coming from. It was a soft, compelling sound, and I sat there and drank and listened to it, feeling at peace with myself and the world, as the hills behind me turned a red-gold color in the last slanting rays of the sun.

It was the kind of town that made you feel like Humphrey Bogart: you came in on a bumpy little plane, and, for some mysterious reason, got a private room with a balcony overlooking the town and the harbor; then you sat there and drank until something happened. I felt a tremendous distance between me and everything real.

It was almost May. I knew that New York was getting warm now, that London was wet, that Rome was hot – and I was on Vieques, where it was always hot and where New York and London and Rome were just names on a map…

Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right. I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles–a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other–that kept me going.”

__________

Selections from Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary: A Novel.

The photo: taken this summer over some islands near Ko Phi Phi in Thailand.