9/21/10

introducing JACK LASALLE, PALMS WEEKEND FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

he's the white man who isn't, and would never, wear shorts.


MEET JACK LASALLE, THE REAL-LIFE 'MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD', WHO WOULDN'T USE DOS EQUIS TO SHINE HIS COWBOY BOOTS. LINGUISTICS PROFESSOR, LICENSED ENGLISHMAN, ACCREDITED GEM HUNTER, PEERLESS CONVERSATIONALIST AND MY FATHER. THE PALMS WEEKEND'S NEW FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (writing here under a pseudonym, lest Her Majesty's agents are PW readers) HAS SCOWLED AT SUB-PAR BARTENDERS FROM SAUDI ARABIA, LIBYA AND ALGERIA TO IRAN, INDONESIA AND AFGHANISTAN. HE WAS PULLED OUT OF A FLAMING CAR WRECK BY A PASSING STREET CLOWN IN BELIZE WITH HIS NOW-PARALYZED BUDDY CAPTAIN ANDY. HE ALMOST DIED AFTER STEPPING ON A STONEFISH IN THE RED SEA. HE ONCE DROVE A MONTE CARLO OFF A FREEWAY OVERPASS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND LANDED IN MEXICO. HE HATES ISLANDS. HE HAD A ROMANTIC ENCOUNTER WITH A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WRITER IN LAOS. JIMI HENDRIX COMPLIMENTED HIM ON HIS MUSICAL TASTE IN A RECORD STORE (he was buying a Creedence record, Jimi a Nina Simone LP). AND DON'T EVER ASK HIM WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BAR AT HEATHROW AIRPORT. HERE'S HIS FIRST DISPATCH, FROM HIS CURRENT LOCATION: SARAWAK, A STATE ON THE ISLAND OF BORNEO.


I planned to leave Sarawak for Brunei or Indonesia to get a new re-entry visa, but good local chaps (both male and female) showed me how to get a two-month visa extension for a paltry sum. I love corruption and hate Brunei and Pontianak so it all worked out excellently. How great is it learning how to live in a place?

I have been offered a fair amount of work in universities here but have to get back to Dunn House right now. And you know I am not keen on working again in the ivory tower.

Kuching is an intriguing place and I could certainly live and work here. But it is most definitely on an island.

Kuching means cat, and there are statues of cats all over the city. Kuching RFC (Rugby Football Club, my new club) team is called The Catz (unfortunate use of z there I feel). I have to say that nobody I have met at the club looks remotely fit enough to scramble after a wrong-shaped ball in this humidity (or at all, to be honest). The only rugby ball I’ve seen there was being kicked by urchins. In fact when I first turned up I was greeted with:

KRFC member: Welcome Jack. Do you play rugby?
JLS: Certainly not.
KRFC member: Excellent. Come and have a beer.


I knew I had found a club I could call home.

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