Gal From Down Under OtherStuff

Sad travel songs and navel gazing ... I'm no Joni Mitchell, but I've found my $70 Costa Rican plywood guitar a source of company and comfort on the long and potholed road. Unfortunately, my demo CD was stolen by a maid in Costa Rica in 2002 - it is believed to be languishing under a pile of dirty laundry somewhere in Nicaragua. If you're in the area and see the locals getting down to any of these ditties playing in the local cervezaria, you heard it here first. All songs performed with the same 5 chords and same two basic 'strums'. I know, I know, time I took lessons.

A song about falling in love when you travel.
Excess Baggage

Download this song! (1 Mb)

Love is a bulky item
It keeps popping out of my suitcase
Like a great big woolly sweater
Like a hole in the tube of my toothpaste

And I wish I'd left it with the cat
Where it couldn't cause me pain
Cos I'm travellin' light, I'm travellin' bright
I'm jumping from train to train

And I see you lying beside me
And you tell me I'm not for you
You say I'm just a passing train
And you're a station I'm passing through

And we share a joke about the way we met
Surfing for love on the internet
And how we found each other at a border post
And together we walked from coast to coast

And I think I'd stop, dead in my tracks
Throw my ticket away
If you held me close and looked me in the eye
And suggested I extend my stay
Love is a bulky item
I'm paying time and time again
I'm paying for excess baggage
And it's giving me a shoulder pain

And you tell me again in case I didn't hear
That for you I'm not the one
And I go to lift that great big bag
And shit, it weighs a ton

Cos everything inside is wet wet wet
Wet with a thousand tears
And I try I try to get my love to dry so I can
Face those travelling fears

Of returning alone with no one home
Cos nobody met my train
And a great big bag with a warning tag that says
I've been it
I've seen it

But what have I gained?

Words and Music Copyright 2003 Lynette Chiang
Ever felt this way?
The One

View Ocopa Orphanage clip
I used this song in my 16,000 Feet on a Friday DVD, for the Peru orphanage we visited in 2004.

I'm not the one with the golden hair
I'm not the one with skin so smooth
I'm not the one with the eyes of blue
I'm not the one who'll always seem like somebody new

I am the one you can curl up inside
I am the one who sees the part of you that's died
I am the one who flinches when you're in pain
I am the one who will walk with you talk with you in
the rain

I'm not the one who can read your mind
I'm not the one you've searched everywhere to find
I'm not the one who'll impress your folks
I'm not the one who'll always laugh at your jokes

I am the one who holds you when others let go
I am the one who knows your sorrow
I am the one who shivers when you are cold
I am the one who'll be there beside you when we're old

I'm not the one who makes the young boys weep
I'm not the one who'll always light your fire
I'm not the one dropped from heaven above
I'm not the one who'll stop you searching for someone
to love

I'm not the one who'll be your other half
I am the one who'll be your other whole

Words and Music Copyright 2003 Lynette Chiang All Rights Reserved

The very first song I ever wrote ...
Song for Jungle Boy

Download Studio version (2.8 Mb, recorded in 2000 in Costa Rica, with people who can actually play guitars)

Download Unplugged version (3.5 Mb, recorded June 2006, impromptu version for a special friend; this is me sitting on a couch in an empty Wisconsin house with a borrowed guitar, a mike and Apple Garageband) =

Lying here beside myself
I feel your breath but it's just the just the breeze
And the TV's talking but I'm not listening
I'm waking up beside you high in the trees
You don't love me
You don't love me
You don't love me and that's OK
I tell myself
I tell the walls
I tell my guitar every day

Yeah I'm alright yeah I'm OK
You got your life go your way
And I do the things that I gotta do
But in between it all
I think of you

The longing comes and the longing goes
But it never ever really disappears
And I can take the highs and I can take the lows
But every now and then I gotta fight my tears
I see you when my eyes are closed
I see you when they're open wide
Like a vision I can't get you out of my head
And the hunger I feel for you deep inside

Yeah I'm alright yeah I'm OK
You got your life go your way
And I do the things that I gotta do
But in between it all
I think of you

I never want to be a pain
I never want to tie you down
I never want to clip your wings
Or like a shadow follow you round

I watch you fly, free as a bird
I watch you disappear a dot in the sky
I watch you til you've gone from view
And I dream of when I
Lay close to you

Words and Music Copyright 1999 Lynette Chiang
Recorded in the studio of Consumer Excepcional Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi Thanks to Oscar Quesada (guitar) and Marcelo (Guitar) and Johnnie (Production). Here we are in the studio

Strange things that happen with email and distance ...
We Left Our Love in Cyberspace

Download this song! (1.3 Mb)

Three years ago we met by chance
Our love was short and sweet
A week to laugh and sing and dance
Not long enough to get cold feet

And then you were gone hitching down the road
And I was dreaming of the next new place
But we stayed close together
Through all kinds of weather
In the arms of cyberspace

Though we couldn't hold each other
We held each other dear
Clinging to a flickering screen
We shed dry tears through a long thin wire
With oceans and cities in between

Then one sunny day, we finally met
We stood naked and strange, face to face
And though the sun shone bright
we shivered in the light
We'd left our love in cyberspace

Cyberspace is where the people are fine
The night never comes
The temperature's divine
A perfect 24 in a flat and cloudy sky
A love that passes through its stratosphere
Returns to earth to die

Words and Music Copyright 2000 Lynette Chiang

And now for a cheery 12 bar blues number ...
One night stand dragged out to a year
I try to write this song
But I can't even begin
To make sense of how I'm feeling
How I'm burning up deep within

My head tells me it's over
My heart tells me the same
But you keep on renting that little old space
In my body my soul and my brain

I'm just a walking talking empty shell
The juice is all drained away
Sucked out by a one-nite love
That came and went and came and went and came and went away

I stepped out on that slippery ledge
And fell down six flights of stairs
I sprained both ankles and knocked me out cold
On just another of those empty affairs

Just a one nite stand dragged out to a year
A one nite stand, no love or hate or fear
A one nite stand it should have been clear
A one night stand dragged out to a year

Just a one nite stand not a life career
A one nite stand, not worth shedding tear
A one night stand no reason to cheer
Just a one nite stand dragged out to a year

Words and Music Copyright 2000 Lynette Chiang
A song about my experience as a foreigner living in Costa Rica from 1999-2000. Mae, pronounced mah-hee, means 'dude' or buddy' and the Ticos (Costa Ricans) use it every second or third word.
Mae (Español)

Encontré un hombre en San Jose
Su sonrisa era como el verano
Me dijo, mae, ven a mi casa
Para ver a mi esposa, y hermano
Lo esperé en Paseo Colon
Esperé hasta que el sol bajó
Esperé hasta que las pulperias cerraron
Y la ultima periferica pasó

Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae - pura vida

Encontré una chica en Escazu
Parecía tan libre como la brisa
Yo quería tocar su corazon
Para ver si había dolor trás su sonrisa
Le dije todo sobre mi soledad
De mi familia y amigos tan lejanos
Me dijo mae, pobracita, tomemos café
Pero antes de darme su dirección se fue

Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae
Me dijo mae ... no se preocupe

Hay un lugar mágico y no hay ejército
Donde la gente no tiene que rezar
Donde no importa lo que sienten por dentro
Siempre dicen "pura vida" o "como le va"
Y todo se queda para mañana
Y hoy es un dia para descansar
Y nunca serás Tico aunque lo intentes
Solo eres extranjero y no entiendes cuando ellos ...

Te dicen mae
Te dicen mae
Te dicen mae
Te dicen mae

I met a man in San Jose
His smile was like the sun
He said, mae, come to my house in the hills
Meet my wife and my kids and my mum
I waited for him in Paseo Colon
I waited til the sun went down
I waited til the pulperias shut their doors
And the periferica bus stopped going round

He said mae
He said mae
He said mae
He said mae ... pura vida

I met a woman in Escazu
She looked as happy as a bird in flight
I wanted to reach out and touch her heart
To know if there was pain behind a smile so bright
I told her all about my loneliness
About my family and friends so far away
She said, mae, poor thing, let's have a coffee
But before I got her address she had turned away

She said mae
She said mae
She said mae
She said mae ... don't worry

There is a magic place where there is no army
Where the people have no need to pray
Where no matter what they're feeling deep inside
It's always 'Pura Vida' which means 'Have a Nice Day'
And tomorrow is the soonest you can get things done
And today is a day to chill out
And you'll never be a Tico no matter how you try
You're just another foreigner who cannot understand why

They tell you mae
They tell you mae
They tell you mae
They tell you mae ...

Words and Music Copyright 2000 Lynette Chiang

A poem I wrote in England, in 1997, at age 34, when a little girl sat beside me in a car in a nondescript town called Slough. It was the first and last time I was every clucky.

I put my arm around a little girl to keep her warm
I rub her stockinged legs briskly with my palms
Her bony little shoulders poke through her acrylic shawl
She pipes up and tells me who cuts her hair
Detailed instructions, how to get there from her house
A tiny little voice not often heard
I suddenly think
I want to take you shopping in Slough
I want to walk along the pavement holding your tiny hand
I want to lie with you on your patchwork quilt
Being silly
Just hanging around while you grow a little
Just rubbing your stockinged legs to keep you warm
Be not afraid of moving too fast, but only of standing still. Thanks Mike (ee-oop dook!) Walker from Stoke, 1997.

I didn't write this, but it's one of the few forwarded pieces of crap that actually struck a chord with me, thanks to my friend Vince MacKenzie, Bike Friday distributer in England. Read it, look at each of your friends and work out if they are a reason, a season or a lifetime. Then you might not get so pissed off with them.
reasons and seasons

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When You figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a reason or a season - you're part of the rest of my life.

The Galfromdownunder