Friday, November 4, 2011

You Got a Fast Car, I Want a Ticket to Anywhere

I'm taking part in BootsnAll's 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, in which they are inviting bloggers from around the world to join them in a daily blogging effort reflecting on our past travel experiences. I don't think I'll be writing a post every day, just whenever a topic strikes my fancy.
Today's prompt was MUSIC: "Music and travel memories often go hand in hand. A song can inspire our explorations, or it can take us back to a specific place and time. Tell us about your travel playlist and what it means to you."

       There are many songs that I like to listen to while travelling, or that inspire me to get back on the road. But it's those songs that remind of a certain time and place in my life that will always be special to me. Most of these aren't songs that people would typically associate with travelling. Here are a few of those songs: 

Fast Car - Tracy Chapman

Ahh the Llama Fuckers: Kiel, Kurt, Guy, Hamsah, Dean, Kerry, Justin, and myself. Fast Car will forever remind me of travelling through South America with this awesome group of people. Our group was made up of Aussies, Kiwis, Canadians and an American. Some of us met in Argentina and we picked up the others in Chile, where we embarked on an epic trip through the Uyuni Salt flats and then through Bolivia up to La Paz. I'm not even sure which country we first started singing Fast Car in, but trying to remember the lyrics became an everyday occurrence. And we were terrible at it. One person would sing one line and forget the next one so someone else would have to chime in. After a few weeks we still hadn't made it past the first verse. 
Wondering where we got a name like Llama Fuckers? Courtesy of a tour guide at the silver mines in Potosi, Bolivia. His name is Efra, look him up if you want to blow shit up in a mine and get a bad ass name like ours. 

I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry

It's not that I even like the song, because I am not a big Katy Perry fan. But it will always remind me of my best friend Chantelle and a camping trip we took in the summer of 2008. We were camping out in the backwoods of British Columbia, at a place we like to call Moon Rock. To get there you have to drive up into the mountains on a logging road, way out in the middle of nowhere. After a couple of days spent there camping with friends Chantelle and I decided to go on a beer run, a trip that would probably take about an hour by car. We were driving too fast along this winding gravel road, listening to I Kissed a Girl and singing along at the top of our lungs, when we took a corner too fast and started spinning. The car ended up on its side in a ditch and there was no way we were getting it out. Because our cell phones had no service out there we had no way to call for help, so we started walking back to camp. At first Chantelle was crying about the car, but soon I had her laughing at the situation and we sang I Kissed a Girl as we walked back.
Chantelle passed away last year after moving to another province the year before. Now every time I hear this song I think of our last awesome summer spent doing everything together, and how it didn't matter that we were stuck out there in the wilderness far from everyone. Because we were both stuck out there with our best friend. 

Ice Cream Truck - Cazwell
(This one may not be appropriate for young viewers)

Earlier this year I went to Negril, Jamaica with a group of friends. We had three little cabins on the beach, all in a row. There were five of us girls and two guys. Ice Cream Truck was our wake up song. Well it was the girls' wake up song anyway, I'm not sure if the guys really appreciated it. Whoever woke up first in the morning put this song on at full volume so all three cabins could hear, often with the video. Who doesn't love waking up to hot guys with popsicles? At night we had dance parties to it. You can be sure the neighbours loved us. 

Put Your Hands Up For Detroit - Fedde le Grand
When I was on the island of Phuket, in Thailand, my friends and I stayed in Patong beach with some people that we'd met while being scammed into paying for the same bus ride twice. We were threatened by thugs wielding broken table legs, it was quite the adventure. We went out to Patong's main party area, Bangla Road, with these fellow scammees (?). We spent the night bar hopping and I swear this song was playing all night, everywhere. It wasn't really, but it seemed like it through my Sang Som induced haze. I spent the next year or so wondering what the hell this song was. I had the beat in my head all the time, but I couldn't remember any of the words so of course I couldn't look it up. Then one day I was perusing YouTube for new music and I clicked on this video. I don't think I've ever been that excited about a music video where women are dancing in their underwear. Gotta love it when that happens. 

Low - Flo Rida
Thailand, 2008: this song was everywhere. It was an assault on my ears and I couldn't escape it. It was playing on the radio, in clubs, at the full moon parties. We heard it blaring from almost every car that drove past (I'm not exaggerating). I'd be laying in bed and hear it drifting in through the window. Me and the girls I was with still laugh every time we hear it. Apple bottom jeeaans, boots with the fuurrr. 

Roxanne - The Police

In reality, this song reminds me of any hostel bar, anywhere. But I'll go with Loki Hostel in Lima, Peru in April of 2010. It was the the last week of my South American backpacking trip, I was running out of money and I'd decided to spend it (the last of my money and my trip) laying low in Lima. Laying low isn't exactly easy when you choose to stay in one of the best party hostels. I won't go into details, but I will say that Loki is crazy and those large bottles of Cuzquena go down pretty quickly when you're playing the Roxanne drinking game over and over in the hostel bar. 

I'm including these last few songs because they will always remind me of my time spent living in East Africa this year. Plus I think more people need to know and appreciate African music. You don't have to understand what they're saying to enjoy it. 

Mzungu Kichaa

Mzungu Kichaa means "crazy white man" in Swahili. He's a Dane that was raised in Tanzania and sings in Swahili, the official language throughout East Africa. His style of music is called Bongo Flava and it is unique to the coastal area of Tanzania. I met him at a Canada Day party at a Canadian High Commission residence in Dar es Salaam, where he was performing. My friends and I enjoyed his music so much that we bought his album on the spot and went to see him perform again a week later at the Beat Festival, where we were introduced to even more incredible East African artists, like Dela and Yvonne Mwale.  
I don't like this song any more than Mzungu Kichaa's other songs but this video was filmed in Dar es Salaam, the city I lived in, and it makes me feel a bit homesick. 

NWA Baby (Ashawo Remix) - Flavour
This song comes out of Nigeria, but it was HUGE in Kenya when I was there. It was one of those songs that played numerous times per night in every bar. We had it on repeat in our backpackers in Mombasa and I was so happy when I found it on someone's iPod at the floating bar in Lamu (where the customers get to be the DJs). When you're surrounded by the unfamiliar it's nice to find something that you can agree upon with everyone around you. 

Kigeugeu - Jaguar
This is another one of those songs that was playing everywhere while I was in Kenya. The song is basically about everyone from your friend to the pastor screwing you over, but we'll just ignore the meaning and enjoy it :)

I could include so many more songs on this list. In fact I'm thinking of more as I type this (Madonna anybody?), but I think this will do for now. To most people these are just songs, but to me they are Thailand, Bolivia, Kenya. They are my memories. 

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