Travelling tittle-tattle, tall tales and shameless name-dropping by Jon ‘Don’t Call Me’ Norman

About Me

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Night Watchman

*****CRICKET UPDATE*****Good old Ryan Sidebottom. From out of nowhere he took seven wickets and England are now somehow favourites to win the game and the series*****

One of the pros and cons of back packing with Nathan and Mark is that it cuts out the chances of rooming with the kind of freaks I encountered in Perth and Adelaide last year. And while on the one hand it’s great that I don’t have to put up with unstable Dutchmen on the other it deprives me of some highly hilarious moments.

In Hamilton we were joined in our four man dorm by Mark’s mate Jane. In Wellington I stayed in a hotel with Fe. But in Napier I’ve struck gold. I suspect I might by rooming alongside a delightfully off the wall character. A South Korean chap called Chung who shouldn’t disappoint in the quest for the weird and wonderful in the world of budget travelling.

Chung is an extremely polite young man with a wispy black beard that looks like he’s stuck his armpit hair onto his chin. He has a penchant for staying up all night and sleeping during the day. Not that he’s a party animal. Not in the slightest. He never leaves the hostel. He seems to live here 24/7 and is always caught at curious times of the night eating soup or noodles while staring out the window.

He’s also been in Napier for over a month which is about a month too long in my opinion. But he likes it here he says. And who can blame him? It seems like a nice town. Not that he ever seems to see it. In the time I’ve been here he’s spent every day inside the hostel. His sleeping pattern so awry that he has woken me up every night at 5am as he creeps into the room and into his bed.

Not that I was asleep at 5am this morning. As I’ve mentioned before Mark is a snorer. Not in the bracket of my Uni mate Jez who snores so loudly that it made my bed vibrate. I should mention that I was in a room above him at the time. Another time Jez stayed at my parent’s house and the noises he was making in his sleep were so loud and raucous that my dad thought someone was having sex in the room he was sleeping in.

Mark doesn’t come close to that. Nor does he come close to a Barmy Army member that he and Nathan shared a room with in Wellington. Nathan is normally such a relaxed laid back guy. But after three nights without sleep he was close to breaking point. I’d never seen him come close to a frown but the guy they were dorming with snored so loudly that Nathan spent one sleepless evening recording the noise he made. Finally, the Sunday of the Test, and with the offender out for the night, the two of them took full advantage by sleeping from 7pm through to morning.

So maybe I shouldn’t complain too much. Mark isn’t anywhere near that league. And usually if you can get to sleep before he starts it’s not loud enough to wake you up. That was until last night when his nasal activities reached such a crescendo that I was forced to try and sleep with one finger in my ear. Which doesn’t work I can tell you.

The good thing with Mark though is that he’s such an accommodating and conscientious bloke that he’ll do anything for you whether awake or not. It was around half past four when his snoring reached such a decibel that I started to question my own sanity and it led me to telling his lifeless body to shut up. I did so more in hope than expectancy but somehow it worked. For a few blissful minutes his sub-conscious would kick into gear and he’d stop snoring. But never long enough to allow me to fall asleep again.

It led to an exchange during the night where I told Mark to shut up, he ceased snoring immediately, then started again and I said something along the lines of ‘I said shut up not snore louder!” At which point a distressed, confused and slightly hurt voice piped up ‘I’m awake!” In the dark of the night I contemplated whether he was actually snoring whilst roused. But didn’t stay awake long enough to find out nor reply.

I felt a little guilty in the morning and after I met up with the lads on the hill in the Barmy Army section I broached the subject. And found out that while it appears I am incapable of sleeping through low level snoring I can sleep quite happily while someone bangs on the door all night.

Mark had awoken for the first of his nightly trips to the toilet at around 2am and managed to lock himself out. As we’d been out for a few drinks Nathan and I slept happily through the desperate banging at the door. Our South Korean friend was of course absent and so couldn’t let him in. So Mark went to find him but after searching the entire hostel Chung was for once not to be found. So Mark was forced to walk round to the window and break in. The fact that we still didn’t wake up is slightly worrying especially when considering Mark isn’t exactly the most catlike of individuals.

He remembered to take his key a few hours later when his bladder once again awoke him from his slumber. And on the way back from the toilet he stumbled past Chung who was still awake, sitting on a chair near our room and staring silently out the window into the street and away into the distance over the Pacific Ocean. Mark tiptoed past him made his way into our room and was waking us up with his snoring before long.

I’m going to be extremely upset if Chung doesn’t continue to enliven our stay at the YHA. I’m also going to try and get a photo of him. But he’s so damn elusive. And I don’t want him waking to find my camera lens peering at him from within the gloom. Otherwise I could find myself characterised in his ‘blog.

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