Pants on fire

Mon ami Ashura666 is in town and we’ve been having a jolly good time exploring Auckland and beyond. People have been asking how it was that I came to meet Ashura666, or Ashura-san as we call him sometimes. In fact, it wasn’t until today when Emma from Sydney, who was part of a hen’s party, asked that I realised I had never told the story of how I and Ashura-san had met.

See, it was long ago, 1998, when I was on holiday in Rotterdam. I’d always wanted to visit the Netherlands and had been fortunate enough to get some work on a commercial liner heading from San Francisco to Rotterdam. After overcoming severe seasickness, I had become a valued member of the Statandam’s crew, or krew, as we fondly called ourselves.

The boat eventually docked in Rotterdam and after I said goodbye to my new friends, I found myself alone and friendless in a strange land. One lonely afternoon, I found myself wandering the city, in search of something, someone.

I stumbled across a cirus, Het Grote Vrolijke Circus van Nederland. It was almost showtime, so I bought a ticket, and tried to find a seat. The circus was a popular family pastime for the people of Rotterdam, so it was pretty full. After much searching, I finally found a seat next to a miserable looking fellow.

Over my time on the Satandam, I hadn’t spoken any English, instead speaking a pidgin hybrid of Dutch, Portuguese and Polish, which seemed to be the best means of communication for the multinational krew members. So imagine my surprise when my miserable seat companion spoke English.

It turned out that Ashura-san was an English cultural attache from England on diplomatic business in Rotterdam. He was attending het circus in order to get a good idea of the local culture of Rotterdam. We started talking and then realised that neither of us really wanted to be at the circus and actually wanted to go to the pub, so we left and got pissed.

Since then, we have remained steadfast amigos, and we have visited each other in whatever country the other had been resident at the time. 2000’s surprise weekend in the United Arab Emirates was great, as was 2004’s vacation in Washington State, but it’s great to finally be able to show Ashura-san around my sweet home of Auckland.

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