31. Long, tiring days

This is another of my infrequent posts which is what Natural Adventures was originally set up for. For those of you unfamiliar with my Falkland Islands journal I will offer a quick recap. In 1988 I landed a job as a fisheries scientist working with the Falkland Islands Government on a contract just shy of a year. This blog is a faithful digitisation of the journal I wrote on that trip. For me, this is a catharsis, for you it may be an insight into the mind of a 24 year old on an exciting and challenging adventure.

The scene is set in the first post ‘An Ill Wind‘, which you might like to read for context.

 

Suday 26 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Aah, at last a day off. I slept so terribly, the rough sea rolled me about something rotten. It is a little better now, but would have been terrible if we had tried a set (setting the longline) this morning.

I think my stomach bugs are caused by the sashimi! my body just isn’t used to it. I must confess that the raw tuna is excellent.

Wrote letters to Mum and Ad and to Deb.

I have been considering a reply to Karen’s rather frustrated letter in which she seems to ask ‘what are we doing here?’ or something similar.

I’ve thought of many answers, but some may seem a little brutal, and sinceshe thinks I am a brute anyway I don’t want to upset her again.

Began to write my schedule for other scientists (I refuse to call them observers) who will work on the KM30 while I am on leave, namnely Crag and Phil.

I am still furious about my tax position with PDA – this company seems to be nothing but trouble.

 

Monday 27 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

A beautiful sunrise – I wonder if I will see such lovely sights again when I return to the UK – for starters I don’t think I will ever be up in time!

I hear Africa calling

Africa calling

Possibly cos I’m listening to African Sanctus at this moment.

Some more pretty corals today – I should be able to build up quite a good collection.

Several albatross were caught up in the lines today – I think they go for the squid bait  when the line is deployed and get caught up, dragged down and drown – it is very sad indeed. I also thought it was unlucky to kill an albatross, but maybe that is only if it is intentional.

Black browed albatross and giant peterels alongside the Koei Maru 30, 1988
Black browed albatross and giant peterels alongside the Koei Maru 30, 1988

Not long now ’til home.

 

Tuesday 28 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I’m getting sick and tired of saying long, tiring day, but today really was – I hope I get some decent sleep.

Had a good radio chat with Elizabeth today – she’s also due for a break in August. She gets two holidays in the time I’ve only had one! RAW DEAL!

The fishing was ace today – I hope it puts egg on the Fishing Master’s face – the crew were working fairly close to capacity I reckon.

5 tons/day, yeah pull the other one shortie!

Zone IV has been the best covered so far – all this is quite a laugh really.

Wrote a letter to Beth – very sweet of her, Charlie and Carl to write, but thwen I suppose I did write first. Letters are my life-blood.

Watching ‘With love from Oregon ’87’ for the third time – what a terrible drama, but a gorgeous half Indian (red) (OMG – we don’t say that these days – native north American) half Japanese girl of about 16 in the starring role.

I now feel at ease with all but two of the crew – ‘Rolf Harris’ and Iagi – they don’t seem to want to be friendly. I’ve made good friends with the grumpy old man – he’s really quite a good bloke.

Abe and Abe, crew members of the Koei Maru 30
Abe and Abe, crew members of the Koei Maru 30

Aah – shower and bed – nice.

 

Wednesday 29 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

A short day – it became too rough to set more than 60 lines (baskets). It was all over by 7.30am. So I decided to sleep, to make up for lost sleep last night – unfortunately this means that I won’t be tired and won’t be able to sleep tonight – vicious circle.

It’s funny but however hard I try I just can’t conjure up any original thoughts – I have none, so my diary becomes a dull, dreary account of my days and not an abstract random selection of my thoughts. I hope the reader (if any) will bear with me. It must be obvious that I’m not very happy at the moment, perhaps this can explain sume of this mundainity (is there such a word?).

As I write I often wonder if any of my children or grandchildren (if I have any) will pick up my diaries and read them. Perhaps they will understand me better for it and see into who I am a little more clearly.

 

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30. Overslept

Just a quick recap – This blog ‘Natural Adventures’ was set up so that I could digitise a journal I wrote while working in the Falkland Islands in 1988. The Haiku and street art took over completely, but every now and then I like to get back to my roots. For any readers who have not seen any of this Falkland stuff before, it is worth getting some context from my first post ‘An Ill Wind’.

 

Wednesday 22 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I think I have a slight stomach bug – I am not sure of the cause – it causes only a little pain, but it’s there. Today will be a long day again, 450 lines deployed. Wrote letter No 49 to Deb. That isn’t bad, 49 letters and cards in 106 days since I’ve been here. Admittedly, they aren’t as long as they were, but they still keep coming (going).

The Desire (one of the patrol vessels) came – yahoo – and delivered loads of letters and papers – I am glowing. It has been a very good day.

A school of dolphins passed by and I took some snaps, some new fish came up, I got some lovely corals and a hairy winkle (pardon?!).

The fish, the best one, unfortunately ended up as sashimi.

IMG_0852

I now smell really fishy!

All my doubts and fears about Deb have cleared away – I’m a happy bunny – Mum and Karen and granny’s letters are all ace. I still want to get home though.

 

Thursday 23 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

My stomach bug continues, but it is mild. My shit is like liquid ‘caramac’, but not quite so tasty I’m sure.

It has bee an idyllic day – calm and sunny – loads of photos (none very good)

The catch has been good – I would guess at about 2.5 to 3 tonnes of Kingu (Kingclip). I hate this work and I want to go home – all my letters (which I received yesterday) are now haunting me. I don’t think I’m content here – I could not live this way for the rest of my life.

My last duty of the day (changing my camera film and sticking the slide reference number in my journal) before showering and turning in. These days are so long, I don’t have much time for reading or letters – a shame really, but it is good that I am occupied.

Saw some ace penguins hop out of the sea Vertically onto a patch of floating kelp. It was very funny. I thought I was in for a superb sunset, but I was wrong.

IMG_0853

 

Friday 24 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

My bug seems to be over, which is a relief. So many birds today.

What I’m thinking right now is why do I get spots?

Now I know ‘Queen Mab’ properly. Now to set about the whole part of Mercutio. Will I ever achieve it?

Amongst my letters was one from Granny G. She had sent me a tape, but I never received it, which is a terrible shame – it would have had all the family news in it. I still don’t know if Simon and Sue are married yet. Nobody has mentioned it to me. (Reading this paragraph now in 2017 rather breaks my heart. I would love to hear my grandmother’s voice on a tape trapped in that year of 1988.)

29 days and I’ll be home! yahoo. Until then I wait.

Articles about the Falkland Islands
Articles about the Falkland Islands

My cabin is a tip – I love it like this – my papers and magazines all over the floor, a full bin, folders strewn everywhere. A mixture of work and leisure.

 

Saturday 25 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I may as well use up this space (alongside an article I stuck in my journal) it seems such a waste otherwise. A beautiful sun rise but not a beautiful day. It is choppy, the waves are cutting across our path and the ship is rolling like billyo.

Times article about the Falkland Islands, 25 May 1988
Times article about the Falkland Islands, 25 May 1988

So many people have said how vivid my letters are – I can;’t believe them. Frankly I think they are dull, uninteresting and badly written, but there we are.

Yuk! I’ve just disposed of a tin of custard down my gob – in times of hardship one loses all self-pride – It’s so true.

I forgot to mention that I am now an expert in chopstick (hachi) management. Pretty bloody cool.

29. Long-lining

Back to my roots for a moment. This whole blogging experience began in February 2015, when I was taken ill with ‘flu and had to spend several days in bed. For a long time I had wanted to digitise a journal I wrote in 1988 but simply hadn’t had the time. Being Ill afforded me the chance to get started.

Since then I have been increasingly distracted by haiku and street art and feel bad that I have for so long neglected the original purpose of ‘Natural Adventures’.

The full journal can be accesses by clicking on the homepage of Natural Adventures under the heading on the left ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’. For context it is worth reading the first entry ‘An Ill Wind’. Enjoy.

Falkland Islands diary homepage

 

Saturday 18 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I woke at 06:05 with a start and a half – I couldn’t believe that I had overslept by four hours. Panic! Perhaps it was the double mattress.

Sleeping on a double mattress
Sleeping on a double mattress

But there was no standby bell. There was no fishing today. I don’t understand why because the weather has been good, despite a gentle swell of about 15 feet or so. Possibly just to give the crew a rest

The reason I was given was “the parameter” ?? eh? I thought, then I realised they were saying “barometer”.

I watched Mosquito Coast – a good film, but inclined to depress me.

Now King Kong Lives has just begun. I never knew such a film existed – looks like it could be good.

King Kong
King Kong

I quite enjoyed King Kong, the remake, but this film looks slightly laughable.

Today I have spoken no more than fifteen words. This makes me sad.

 

Sunday 19 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Another long hard day. This is more like it! I think that this is ten times better than squid fishing. I’m sure my enthusiasm will fade before long, but the fact that there are only twenty or so bottom long-liners in Japan and this is the only Jigger-long-liner makes me feel quite lucky. This is my baby and I am going to do a good job!

Today some grenadiers, and at last some Patagonian Toothfish. I think the Fishing Master was pleased, hence the saki at supper – it is potent stuff – yummie.

Crew on the Koie Maru 30 processing long-line caught fish, Falkland Islands 1988
Crew on the Koie Maru 30 processing long-line caught fish, Falkland Islands 1988

Last night I had a very vivid dream about Mr Baker (my housemaster at school) as he was when I first met him twelve years ago. I think he is ill or dying or dead, I don’t know why, but I just get that feeling. He was so friendly (in the dream) and knew who I was – he came over to me and started chatting – I felt close to him, like I did in my final year at school. Odd.

Tomorrow I talk to Fishops via KSJ (the fishing agent) – why is it always like this? Fishops radio, like everything else is so bloody inefficient!

 

Monday 20 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Today is colder and the catch is very poor – no doubt the Fishing Master will be in a rather bad mood today.

I am sure that before long, there will be an accident in the factory deck. Already the Ice Master has gaffed his own leg. Next it will be a finger in the circular saw or a hook in the face. It is bound to happen sooner or later.

‘Don’t give up ’cause you have friends
Don’t give up you’re not the only one
Don’t give up no reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up you still have us
Don’t give up now we’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up you know its never been easy
Don’t give up ’cause I believe there’s a place there’s a place where we belong’

This could keep me going for a while.

Everyone has gone to bed sharpish (it is now 7pm). After some 17 hours work I don’t yet know if we work tomorrow. I fear so, because we are steaming now to a new fishing ground.

There is a…what? I’ve forgotten – oh yes, a patrol ship the Falkland Desire on its way to deliver some letters for me. So I am writing a whole bunch of pre-paid airmail letters.

 

Tuesday 21 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Oops – I overslept this morning, thinking that after such a tough day yesterday they would have a day off – no such luck.

Luckily the Fishing Master writes down times, temperatures etc. for the set and deployment, so it isn’t so bad missing the start.

Saw some penguins in a school, leaping like dolphins out of the water – and a seal, playing with a dead Salilota (red cod).

Peterels and Black browed albatross feed on discarded fish waste, Falkland Islands 1988.
Peterels and Black browed albatross feed on discarded fish waste, Falkland Islands 1988.

I’ve taken some otoliths for myself to try to help explain the work I do.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take some photographs of such things (for my lectures!)

Some funny dreams last night about getting caught sleeping with Emma W by my dad – very odd – try to interpret that. All in all very confusing.

It is now about 5.30pm and I am ready for a good night’s sleep. I’ll continue to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and then I’ll dream of Deb and home.

28. Cottoperca gobio

Any readers who have not encountered this story on my blog before, I recommend you take a quick look at the first entry ‘an Ill Wind‘ to provide some kind of context. As you can see, this is the 28th excerpt from my 1988 journal, and it will appear meaningless without some context setting. The full catalog of chapters so far is in the ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’ category on the left of this page.

 

Monday 13 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Spoke to Drin on the radio. JB is at this moment on the Right (one of the Falkland Islands fisheries patrol vessels), trawling. It looks very much like I’m on my own. I spent two hours talking to the Fishing Master. He and I now are in good form – he is a good man and cares for his crew. The contract should have included a certain amount of input from him. It was worked out by imbeciles who knew little about the fishing operation. I understand that now.

I have just been watching Crocodile Dundee, but at the critical moment have been cut off – a subtle lunch hint I think.

Spent the evening with Sato (gold tooth) and Naganuma and we watched a couple of porn videos. They became boring very quickly – the only interest I have is trying to understand why the hell people perform in such videos…are they desperate for money? or exhibitionists? very strange.

Tuesday 14 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

40 days to go!

I can’t believe that this is all I had to write on this day! wrote to Louise and Deb.

Prepared for fishing. Did some ace drawings I reckon.

Wednesday 15 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Stand by at 0200 hours – what a nightmare. I hardly slept at all before and I had difficulty afterwards. False alarm, the sea was too heavy, so we moved to the southeast (Zone II).

Spoke with Drin and some idiot on the Falkland Right. People really piss me off sometimes.

Oops I think it was Dave ‘intense’, the one who I didn’t know.

I have arranged for Mr Ikido to deal with the problem of trawlers and traffic – delegation, that is the key to power.

Smoking still – I wish I would stop, but the day drags on so.No smoking before 1200 hours but maybe 4-8 after that. I am looking forward to going home, not least because I’ll be able to stop. (Something that took a further twelve years to conquer!)

No more pictures today. I think that stand by tomorrow is at 0300 hours. Bed early tonight.

I am watching a Japanese TV drama (It’ll last for hours) about blackmail – they really go in for these ‘video dramas’.

My spots under my stubble are still flourishing. I feel fairly ugly at the moment, but my spirits are high.

Thursday 16 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

What a bloody day. Quite exciting really, but very tiring and bloody annoying when the bastard Fishing Master holds you responsible for all the problems.

Caught this amazing monster fish, like a giant goby or blenny and called Cottoperca gobio – yellow, green and gold with a beautiful dorsal fin. See photos.

The whole long-lining process is a bit of a miracle. A production line for the set – really primitive, but thoroughly effective.

Saw a whole bunch of gentoo penguins, loads of albatross too – a real wildlife day. It would be great if I didn’t have to bloody do something! 30 more days of this – I may go bananas!

fullsizerender-18

I’m so bloody tired I feel like a zombie – I may if I’m lucky, grab 6 or 7 hours sleep tonight. I pray for bad weather!

BONKERS.

Friday 17 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

Another long hard day. Some very interesting things coming up, so I was happy. I got some corals, with any luck I could get them home to Deb, or add them to my collection.

I am still motivated by marine life – there were loads of echinoderms and possibly crinoids today, as well as some ace fish, but none of it what the Fishing Master wants. He and the crew are restless.

Unknown spp, caught by the long-liner Koei Maru 30 in Falkland Islands waters June 1988
Unknown spp, caught by the long-liner Koei Maru 30 in Falkland Islands waters June 1988

A penguin was gaffed up.

The sea was rough today and waves were pouring into the factory deck.

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I am once again very tired and want to go to sleep, but I’m sure that, like last night, I won’t find it easy.

Roll on July!

27. Souvenirs

I have neglected my Falkland adventure in favour of street art and haiku poems, but this blog began with a digitisation of a diary I wrote in 1988 whilst working as a fisheries scientist in the South Atlantic. I feel it is time for me to add another section from the diary. The context to this diary is set out in the first post I wrote entitled ‘An ill wind‘. I recommend you read this first post to get a feel for what this is all about. All of the posts can be seen in the ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’ category to the left of the screen. Enjoy.

 

Wednesday 8 June 1988. Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

Today there is a general strike. Like yesterday it is cool and overcast, but I can overcome this in my new jacket. Yo ho.

Most of the day on the Koei Maru 30. Watched bits od several films and then all of ‘Lethal Weapon’…again, and also a film called ‘Gotcha’. it was ok.

Ate my first sizable meal of sushimi today, it was good.

The Fishing Master told me, if I understood correctly, that his wife didn’t want him back, so he is prepared to stay in the zone as long as you like. Poor chap. I don’t really understand. Anyway it seems that if another observer comes on board, they will work, but not talk to him. Nice!?!

El Fogon – hotel bar – bed.

Thursday 9 June 1988. Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

‘So begins another weary day’ Grey Day.

Souvenirs

Souvenirs, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Souvenirs, Koei Maru 30, June 1988

A very boring day on the Koei Maru 30. Oh I don’t know if I can bear it any more.

The crew seem to be in real ‘micky-taking’ mood, I think it has something to do with being in Montevideo.

It didn’t look like much refueling was going on today, so perhaps Brazil, here we come – who knows?

Friday 10 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

I checked out.

My visa receipt (N$ 103,172) amounts to roughly £172 for 11 days – a touch better than Emma’s

For the rest of the day I tried to kill time on the boat. I have forgotten how difficult it is. All the crew except Iyagi, who was on watch and in a horrific mood, and ‘Acne man’, had gone out on the town for the last time.

I needless to say, stayed in – no money no inclination. I bought a few special treats for myself, but stupidly some tobacco.

Saturday 11 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

We are at sea again – there was an eerie mist heralding a beautiful clear day – I took a few slides.

Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988

I have missed breakfast – quite a relief – it looks like eggs, eggs, eggs like before.

Saw loads of Magellanic penguins, but otherwise very little of interest happened.

Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Leaving Montevideo, Koei Maru 30, June 1988

Watched some films, including Indie Jones and the Temple of Doom – an irritating but quite enjoyable movie.

Sencho now tells me that when I go for my holiday, the Koei Maru will head for Japan – that’s not fair, it’s blackmail!

Sunday 12 June 1988. Koei Maru 30

The clocks on board are now set to Falkland time. I am overjoyed – I exaggerate. Radiod Mt ?? of KSJ to say that I’ll radio Fishops at KSJ tomorrow at 9.00 am. I have so much to say to John.

?? = Okaido or something of that sort.

It has become fairly rough and I have got my usual ‘second day at sea headache’.

I sorted things out with the Fishing Master and radio Radar – all seems ok-ish. They will also talk with John tomorrow.

Phoned Deb – highlight of the last fortnight – I am deliriously happy. I can’t help thinking though that she may have met someone – who can blame her? I would die if she had.

Abe said I could phone home tomorrow.

Radio Head, Koei Maru 30, June 1988
Radio Head, Koei Maru 30, June 1988

 

 

26. All alone

I haven’t written in this category of my blog for a long while, so for the benefit of the one or two visitors who are reading this blog for the first time I will attempt to provide a little context. It would be worthwhile having a quick read of the first entry ‘An Ill Wind‘. In short, this is a faithful digitisation of a journal I kept when working in the Falkland Islands and South Atlantic in 1988. I am doing this mostly for me, but really hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Sunday 5 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

A beautiful day indeed. I wish Jim wasn’t going or that I could go with him.I accompanied him to the departure stop and we chatted a while. Some older ladies turned up for the same tour (poor Jim). We said our goodbyes and I promised to get in touch the minute I get home.

I have been smoking too much recently, it is the influence of Jim. I must stop. I feel the damage it does to my lungs. I will limit myself to 4 only each day and vow not to buy cigarettes or tobacco in England.

I promise (signed) Stephen

The boatswain said we will probably leave Monte on or about the 10 June, so I have to cope with 4 nights alone in Monte – I will join the Koei Maru 30 the day before she sails. The Fishing Master is very curt with me – he is venting his disapproval of the proposals (for extended fishing) on me, it isn’t fair. Today I will begin to tick off the days until I return home (see back).

Alone I ventured to the Fogon – very depressing I thought – it’s not the same without a friend to chat to.

After, it was a case of a whiskey solo in the hotel bar before retiring at 9.45pm (pitiful) to read a book and write some letters. I am reading another Theroux novel, ‘the Black House’, it isn’t as attention-grabbing as some of his others.

Monday 6 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

The start of another week during which work on the vessel should be completed. Breakfast alone – the waiter asked me where my friend had gone. “Iguazu” I said, and thought – sod him!

It’s a no no on the jacket – possibly they’ll have one tomorrow – I doubt it. If I pay by visa it’ll cost more !?!

Well Mr Chiba (the Fishing Master) can’t hack it, he’s leaving for japan, and another Fishing Master will join the Koei Maru 30. This is a revelation and perhaps explains his odd behaviour the last few days. We had a hearty chat and quite a lot of fun, so things between us are now well again.

Refit of the processing deck on the Koei Maru 30, Montevideo, June 1988
Refit of the processing deck on the Koei Maru 30, Montevideo, June 1988

Quite surprisingly I went to the Fogon again. Oddjob was there alone and behaved a bit like a caveman. Oddjob (not his real name) is one of the new crew members on the Koei Maru. I returned to the hotel bar and quaffed a couple of neat whiskeys and read the TLS (Times Literary Supplement), rather classy I thought. My partner in crime was a young woman (28ish) rather attractive who sat two tables away facing me. She sipped her gin and tonic and pretended to read and write some notes.

Then to bed. Alone! I could never make an advance – I’m too bloody shy.

In the Fogon there had been a power cut – ace fun – it only lasted about five minutes but for all that time the place was plunged into darkness.

Tuesday 7 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

The waiter volunteered the information this morning, that the solo girl is English. He made several other suggestions, I think I got the gist, but “benita chica” was one. I breakfasted alone. How is it possible to ask an attractive girl if she would mind if I sat with her, without making her feel I was trying to pick her up. I must convince myself first.

Dreamed that Louise had a helicopter crash – it was so vivid and nasty, but she lived. Somehow she caused 29 million pounds worth of damage to a new airport hangar.

I bought the jacket. I hope I like it. Hip and cool and $185 roughly £100. But best of all, made today, for me, in Uruguay.

 

Guess where I ate…

Spoke to the English woman at the bar and chatted for a long time. Alas she goes tomorrow, and I will once again be alone in Monte, but it was great to have a long English conversation with someone new. Refreshing.

My opening words (so embarrassing) were “excuse me, but are you English?” She was delightful. Frightfully delicate and well spoken – about 30-35 – very reminiscent of Dr Brown (my university tutor). Independent. She was a freelance writer, but involved with English linguistics and Heinemann educational. I told her I lived near Bedford Square. I didn’t even ask her name – it didn’t seem important and hardly worth it really. So bloody English.

Watched return of the Jedi – ace film.

And drank the water from the tap in my bathroom – if I should collapse and die, this is why.

 

25. Topless

There may be one or two visitors who are reading this blog for the first time. To provide a little context, it would be worthwhile having a quick read of the first entry ‘An Ill Wind‘. In short this is a faithful digitisation of a journal I kept when working in the Falkland Islands and South Atlantic in 1988. Enjoy.

Wednesday 1 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

Summer isn’t here at last. It is clearly Autumn, the plethora of leaves littered by the London plane trees tell the story well enough. Got my camera past the dock gates – took some Montevideo piccies, but not many. It is quite nerve racking using a camera, each picture may be your last.

Since this is a stick in page, I may as well put in some misfits.

Falkland Islands May Ball 1988, ticket
Falkland Islands May Ball 1988, ticket
Emma's Guest House bill, May 1988
Emma’s Guest House bill, May 1988

I was mightily pissed off by all on the KM30, they were not helpful at all. I think there is a conspiracy against me.

Iguazu is out for me, it seems that it must be for eight days or nothing. I can’t give up the time.

We went to the el Fogon a restaurant (still there, I just checked on google) for lunch and also for supper and then on to a topless nightclub.

What an experience! It was like watching an American film- the two uninterested dancers weaved and twisted out of time to the music on podia which allowed a maximum half-stride in any direction. After a while at the bar, Jim and I were approached by a call girl/prostitute who couldn’t understand why we were at the club if we didn’t want a girl. Were we gay? No.

Basically it was a knocking shop and although Jim and I want to return, I think it could be a mistake. Nonetheless it was an experience and life is made up of experiences.

Thursday 2 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel 

Fun, fun, fun – Jim and I bought leather jackets. His was much nicer than mine, but was also more than double the price. Mine was US$75.

I have decided to get another like Jim’s but at US$185 (£100) it is a little on the expy side.

Belfast Leather Factory, the place for leather jackets. Montevideo June 1988
Belfast Leather Factory, the place for leather jackets. Montevideo June 1988

Jim has decided on the jacket and Iguazu, lucky thing, meanwhile I am to be left, festering in Monte. I’m so glad he has been here up to now.

Nicer weather, clearer skies.

Friday 3 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

Shaved again – I’ve got those lumps and spots once more – it is definitely shaving that produces these infections. Will I ever be free of them?

My jacket, the more I look at it the more I feel is cheap. It will be ok for a ‘rough and tumble’ in the UK, but I am only proud of it because it is Uruguayan.

The sun is at this moment pouring into my hotel room, a seemingly impossible feat given the angle of the room, window and sun.

View from the roof of the London Palace Hotel, Montevideo. June 1988
View from the roof of the London Palace Hotel, Montevideo. June 1988

I am quite pissed off that Jim is going on Sunday, I have enjoyed his company – being alone will be quite boring, but perhaps I’ll meet someone or something – things usually work out alright in the end.

We went again to the topless bar (called Baires). What a seedy dump. Once again we were both approached – in my case by a girl called Giselle? Anyhow we kept a stiff upper lip, refused all approaches and thought ourselves very cool for being so good. I think Jim could quite easily be tempted if I wasn’t here, but if I wasn’t here then he wouldn’t be here at all, so all’s well.

Saturday 4 June 1988, Montevideo, London Palace Hotel

A sunny day to wake up to.

Today we went wandering and Wandering. La la la. Jim cocked up on the money front and I bailed him out with US$100. I have worked out that he owes me on the basis of $1.83 dollars to the pound: £54.65 + £8.21 for the other money I lent him, giving a total of £62.86.

Went to the boat and took a hook and line (snood). Watched a German league football match on the TV.

Bought a gourd for Deb and a leather notebook, perhaps for Emily.

Lovely day all day. Jim and I went out onto the hotel roof.

After a very pleasant meal at Otto’s – a more exclusive restaurant than el Fogon we pootled on to the show below:

Flyer from the nightclub, Montevideo June 1988
Flyer from the nightclub, Montevideo June 1988

It was really seedy – it included a ‘free’ drink in the £1.60 entrance fee. What a laugh. The film was a very cheap British Caligula Caesar film, terrible. The strip was more like modern dance performed entirely without interest. The girls and bloke can’t earn much more than about a tenner a day. It was a real gas. Jim and I then went off solemnly to our hotel rooms.