(While I'm still ziplining through the rainforest with Canadian backpackers and avoiding hotels with monkey shit in the kitchens here in Costa Rica enjoy this backlogged entry from Cyprus about Crazy Old Guys. Costa Rica has plenty of Crazy Old Guys so this is a top I'll have more to say on.)
Another incident from Cyprus -- after I left the resort where I was staying with my Girlfriend, I went to stay at a cheaper place in the city in Aya Napa, that was above a cafe / bar thing.
(That's actually on the embankment in Larnaca, but whatever.)
So there was this Crazy Old Guy there. It was one of the first bars to open in the city, opening at 10.00am, so he'd stop in there first for his morning whiskey.
(Now, when I made a post about myself as a crazy old guy, I got a lot of negative response; but anybody who has spent some time abroad has probably seen or been accosted by one of these guys. On a bus, in the cafes and bars, in a park, whatever, a rosy faced, glassy-eyed guy over 50, probably drunk as hell.)
I'll not divulge his nationality; let's say he was Swiss. You know, European. On a pension. Poor health. He lived in a room there most of the year, banging Russian whores when he needed a woman (which I gather was not often -- banging whores is rarely even a cure for boredom, much less a cure for loneliness) and bothering people in cafes the rest of the time. He was 68, he said.
If he'd ever had a wife, kids, whatever, he had either outlived them or completely alienated them. If he had any friends, likewise. (I take that back - there was one equally-drunk, seemingly homeless Turkish guy who would come willingly talk to him, probably because he wanted drinks.)
He would approach me in the cafe as I checked my email and begin ranting and raving about whatever as he enjoyed his first drink of the day. He had a theory that Turkey was about to invade Syria and there would then soon be a war between NATO and Iran and Russia.
He would ramble about his adventures; he'd spent a lot of time in Central and South America during the 80s during heady times of drugs, revolution, assassination, and civil war. I don't think he managed a complete story, however, just streaming out random bits of information tied together by key words which would send him spinning in a new direction, until I made an excuse to leave.
I mean, a lot of people end up alone and crazy, of course. (And there are worse things than ending up alone.)
But those guys abroad -- it's a very particular kind of crazy. A crazy that comes from nobody ever telling you that you're crazy, either because you're a foreigner or because you're a good customer, and you lack any close relationships.
(I think of my office mate in Saudi, who did not see anything at all unusual in changing his pants right in the middle of the office prior to biking home, and once asked me to download him some animal porn right in the middle of an office full of shy religious Pakistanis.)
So pay a little more attention to the Crazy Old Guys you see. Consider the road he walked. Maybe the Crazy Old Guy in his 20s, 30s, 40s, was a good-looking, fun, charming guy who got laid a lot. Ya think?
In more than a few of the popular travel-and-sex bloggers I already see the roots of Crazy Old Guy -- barely-concealed bitterness, the mood swings, the alienation, the ranting, the constant insistence how right they are and how awesome their life is.
(Believe me, one thing I have learned in my 43 years, there is no bigger indicator that someone is unhappy than that they are constantly insisting how great their life is.)
Ah well. Anyway, dying in the bosom of your family or dying insane on a lonely shore somewhere, you're just as dead. But this is an issue I'm obviously concerned with, how one deals with middle- and old-age abroad. Anybody has any good non-crazy old guy abroad stories, let me know!