“We’re going to set up karaoke and everything. I’ve got two wireless mics, a speaker, and a karaoke app on my iPhone. It’s going to be awesome.”
“On the boat?”
Like most of my friend John Neel’s ideas, this one was close to pure epic-ness. His plan was to take his and his friends sailboat to Joe Pool Lake with a few other people and have a boat/karaoke party. I arranged to have the day off from work and waited with anticipation for the weekend.
In all the years I lived in Dallas I had never been to Joe Pool Lake. This new discovery in itself was wonderful. On the drive there, Stephanie and I reached the top of a hill that overlooked the lake. The trees were green, the lake was blue and it was stunning. A beautiful place in Dallas? Yes. An amazing swimmable retreat from this horrible heat? Yes.
Stephanie and I parked the car and unloaded our homemade sangria that we prepared in the cooler. John said they would pick us up from the dock once they got the boat in the water. After 15 minutes or so and no sailboat in sight, I called him back and discovered we were at the wrong park. Everyone was getting ready on the other side of the lake, about a 15 minute drive away.
Instantly, Stephanie asked a man if he would mind taking us to the other side of the lake in his motor boat. Both of us had been so accustomed to the way of living on Koh Tao (the island in Thailand where we lived for 2 months) where it is normal to ask a stranger for a favor. In this instance, we had absolutely no qualms about asking someone for a ride across the lake.
While I was living on Koh Tao I was playing keyboard with my friend Mark who plays guitar. One night, Stephanie and I were driving the motorbike home from a gig and we ran out of gas. We had also run out of cell phone credit and therefore could not call The Lost Boys to help us out. So we started walking with my keyboard in tow.
A little ways down the road we saw a man sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette next to what appeared to be a banana stand (quickly deciphered due to the painting of bananas on the front.) I went up to him and explained that we had run out of gas. His english was almost non-existent but somehow I was able to communicate what had happened. I’m sure the word “petrol” made it obvious.
After a few nods, he ran around the the corner and came back with a cell phone. Some words were spoken and after he hung up the phone he motioned for us to sit down. Again he ran around the corner and disappeared. Stephanie, who was holding the keyboard, looked at me and we laughed. We agreed that we were uncertain about what was going to happen but that we would stay long enough to find out. The man returned and offered us some bananas he had procured. We gratefully took the bananas and said “kob kun kaa.”
“Musican?” he asked looking at the keyboard.
“Her,” Stephanie replied pointing at me.
Then a motorbike wheeled around the corner and parked in front of us. As the driver got off the bike he said something to our new friend, who replied with a nod and then got on the bike himself. We realized that he had called his friend to borrow a motorbike.
“Petrol,” he said and motioned me to get on the bike.
I got on the back of the bike and we drove down the road to the gas station. Once we arrived, my friend asked for the gas and a man began filling up a plastic water bottle. I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten all my money in the guitar case that was back with Stephanie at the banana stand. Again, this was quickly communicated and understood by my new friend and he proceeded to pay for the gas. He then drove me to my bike where he helped me fill the tank. I started the engine and we both returned to the banana stand to pick up Stephanie.
When we arrived, I got the money I owed him and attempted to give him a little extra for his time and effort. This was completely unacceptable and he refused to take any extra money. With numerous “thank you’s” Stephanie and I got situated on our bike with the keyboard. Then right before we drove away, our new friend handed us a bundle of bananas. After this, every time we passed by him on the road we would honk, wave, and shout hello to our new friend, the Banana Man.
Stephanie and I rode across Joe Pool Lake in the speed boat and were grateful for the breeze. They dropped us off at the Marina which was still far from where our party was. I called John and confirmed his whereabouts while Stephanie asked around for other ride possibilities. We found a really nice couple, with a really fancy boat.
Once we were joined with our sailboat crew, our new friends from our ride towed us out of the cove and into the lake. As there wasn’t much wind, we didn’t get very far after that. But it didn’t matter.
There were drinks, there was food, there were amazing people, and there was karaoke.