The day after the “Not The New Years Eve Show”, Patrick had organised a sunset boat tour – Phnom Penh is built at the intersection of 3 rivers (and these are real rivers, not the like the misnamed creek that runs through the centre of Adelaide!). We had pizzas and chicken wings, and eskies of drinks supplied; all very relaxing.
That night, about 8:30pm we all made our way back to the Sharky Bar to open the Jam night. The intent was to play 3 or 4 songs and then get off stage and go home. This intention was greeted with some derision. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Shouldn’t be long, we’re just going to play 3 songs and then go. Karen: OK, so a group of 7 musicians are going to a jam night where there’s free beer and Jack Daniels to play 3 songs, and you’re just going to walk of stage and come back? I don’t think so!
Me: Oh, we may hang around for a drink, but I don’t think it will be late. We’re all pretty tired.
K: You wanna bet? I’ll put $10 on you not being back before midnight!
Me: Awww, have some faith!
(This conversation helped me climb the 62 stairs back to our room in almost complete silence when I returned to the room at 2:30am)
So we kicked off the night with a couple of originals and a favouite of Sharky’s, Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4. It took a lot longer to get people up to replace us than initially thought, but we eventually escaped 1 by 1. After the show, Big Mike and Dave (One of the other Sharky partners) came backstage and thanked us, and then talked about the fund raising efforts they were involved in. Because of the kind of place Sharky Bar is (and its typical clientele), Dave explained that it was inappropriate for them to sponsor orphanages or homeless shelters, and so they’ve swung their efforts behind the wildlife rescue organization. As luck would have it, one of the managers of that organization was at the bar and he came and had a chat to us as well. Mike was keen to get us over here for a benefit concert; I said (on behalf of the band – I guess I should have checked first!) that we’d be happy to help out if we could.
The following day we were all completely buggered after the 3 late nights, so we took it easy during the day, having a relaxed meal here, a coffee there, and so on. That night we all met up at a restaurant called the Tamarind, serving French-Indochine dishes. The food was nice but the service was terrible. The meals came out staggered over a half hour period with Walter’s meal and two of our side orders forgotten entirely. We only managed one serve of drinks in the whole time we were there. We asked for the bill, and it took so long that we left what we thought was about the right amount with the others and walked out, so we could get Kayla back to bed. Early the following morning (4th January), we all piled on a bus back to HCMC; when we talked to Sim (Dave’s wife) about the previous night, she said that the bill only arrived when they all started making there way downstairs, and the missing dishes were charged on the bill as well. The bus back to HCMC and Vietnam border crossing was quite uneventful, I managed to catch up with some reading and blogs etc., and once we settled in we had a band meeting to plan our approach to recording over the coming fortnight.
Hawkers swarm the buses lining up to board the ferry
Walter and I were also volunteered to go and check out the Buddha bar where we were playing in about a fortnight, so we took the opportunity to go and have dinner there with Karen, Kayla and Sabine (Walter’s wife). It’s a very nice bar, but we weren’t prepared for how far away it was. We were used to travelling about 10 minutes to get to gigs; this taxi ride just seemed to go on and on as we travelled to a completely different district in HCMC. It was especially worrying when we turned off the main roads into some back alleys with some very doubtful-looking people checking us out. Eventually we arrived at the Buddha Bar and Grill and settled in for some nom-noms. The playing area is tiny and we needed to arrange what equipment we’d need – I think we’re going to be quite loud there.
So after a great night out with Walter and Sabine, it was time to head back to the Duc Vuong, ready for recording to start tomorrow.