Friday, 30 November 2007

The Gambler

I just had to post a quick blog before continuing to tell about our travels through Europe. I was downstairs with mom, and she was watching Oprah. Oprah was talking to Kenny Rogers, congratulating him on his career... yada yada yada... and she stated "there's not a person in America who doesn't know the lines to 'The Gambler'"... and I had to laugh. I found that hilarious, purely because of the stories that brings to mind! There are a number of songs that we found were popular pretty much around the world.

In the bus on the way to Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia, we started out with a bunch of strangers, and ended up "a family" (or so our guide Matt liked to believe). At minimum, most of us got along and with the help of a few characters (such as the Irish trio) we had some good laughs. Late one evening, overtired and hungry, someone puts "Wonderwall" at full blast on the speakers of the bus... and shortly the whole bus is echoing with the off-key crooning of most of the passengers. I pulled out my camera and made a short video of the singing (sorry, I'm not about to post it), and watching the video again, it sounds like the Irish boys were the dominating voices, though they were only a few seats away from me so its entirely possibly that they simply overwhelmed the small microphone on my camera. Because it all happened at sunset, all you can see is the orange/yellow/blue horizon through the windows and the shadow profiles of the people on the bus as I scan past them. Oh, and the glow from cellphones and cameras being held up to record the fun times.
(I had no pictures of the singing, but thought this one in front of the campfire with the same group of people was too good not to share... both Laurie and I are in this one)

Fast forward to Kakadu, also in Australia. Nine young adults camping in 4 tents set relatively close to the fire, and two SUV's (not really, but I can't recall what kind of vehicles they were, and that's the closest equivalent) parked perpendicular to each other, so between the headlights of both vehicles we have light to cook and set-up camp. Here also, we had a few sing-alongs thanks to ipods and mini speakers that we set up on the hood of one of the vehicles.
(Here's a pic of the campsite, the second vehicle would be further to the right, beyond the brightly colored cooking gear.

But most memorable of all was our obsession with "the Gambler" at Hahei beach. During the day of driving and Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove, all memorable experiences, someone brought up the song "the gambler" and attempted to sing it, but didn't know all the words. The song came up enough in the evening, that when someone mentioned they had it on their ipod, we had to find a way that we could all listen to it. Now, what you must know is we're in a campground mainly consisting of cabins, it's winter so there aren't many people there, but it's already past 10pm so it's really best to keep the noise level down outside. But we had no speakers. So someone suggested the bus. About 10 of us all piled back into the bus we had just been in for over half the day (you'd really think we'd find excuses NOT to get back on the bus!), and the driver set up the music, full blast. And we all sang along. Apparently few of us actually knew anything more than the chorus... sorry but I must admit to knowing the full song... but no one was shy about belting out the chorus. After a couple times through that song, we moved on to other just as... um... well call the songs what you will... I'll term them "singable" songs. This lasted, oh, I don't know, at least half an hour, maybe an hour. We kept saying we should stop, quiet down, or at minimum, get off the bus, but then another song would start playing, and we couldn't help ourselves. So we sang, or hummed along, and we ended off with a third and final rendition of the gambler, by which point most of us knew most of the song.

We didn't settle well after singing so long, so we all walked to the beach and hung out there for a bit. I took this picture then.

Nothing brings people together like music... especially when it's sung off-key at the top of your lungs. Did I ever mention the time in Makarora when Laurie sang Karaoke? It was a wild night of musical stools with a few minor injuries, followed by Karaoke. Laurie and Nads went up for one song, a Shania Twain song that they thought they knew. I don't know if either one of them ever got more than one word out at a time before doubling over in laughter until the next verse/chorus when they'd make another attempt. I almost tried the karaoke, but having come down with a cold, I was lucky if I could speak without my voice cracking, not mind you sing. So I just sat back and enjoyed.

Karaoke... with back-up girls (Laurie is middle "sho-bop" girl)

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