Oblivious in Sosua: Part 7

Waterfall jumping was on the menu for the day. My crippling fear of water was covered a few days before; why not handle the heights as well. The water itself was not as deep; and the waterfalls not as dastardly high as I had expected. The elevation was alarming; but after reaching the summit – we descended as if sliding down a watery staircase.

On the hike through the jungle I got to know the shorter, hotter, more confident, and most socially powerful member of the group of women that were staying at my resort. All my age. All attractive; from the plump sisters to the toothpick socialite I was lagging behind the group with.

‘Never fuck on the road’ is a mantra I adopted while travelling across the United States.  Surely my foremost rule about entering strange women shouldn’t be ignored. I had nearly crossed that particular line earlier in the week.

We walked and talked on the swinging foot bridge; a hundred meters or so behind the group. She was less on-guard than when her friends were present. I tend to have that effect on people. Disarming their defenses and momentarily caressing their souls.

She cared too much about what they thought of her; she had to be dominant in every situation in which they were present.

Alone she was an insecure sweetheart; more than simply interesting to talk to; fully worthy of the attention she so carelessly grasped for in their presence.

 

 

Oblivious in Sosua: Part 6

Canadians!

Those four wonderful souls from Thunder Bay that distributed the presidential malt beverages on the bus from the airport. Thank you; kind travelers. A brother and a sister; with their best friends and spouses. The brother and I shared the same name. These are good people; people like us; people like me; peaceful wanderers.

That was days ago. Here we are; halfway through the voyage and your tribe has located a patch of grass on which to sit. Why not? I’d thought. An unexpected perch of turf on which to rest ones appendages should be welcomed; not ignored.

Ride the wave.

If you prefer to hear this sentiment proven by an expert; as opposed to this drunken rambling quixotic wander; listen to the immortal words of of the Great Doctor himself, “Buy the ticket; take the ride.”

Such lack of discretion for ones personal safety is the deepest act of faith in God. Perhaps it was the medallion of Saint Christopher I carried; perhaps it was my ancestors; perhaps it was the natural serendipitous way in which this beautiful reality of ours is constructed – but I rarely felt unsafe. The invisible hand of the Universe has a poetic way of guiding its passengers.

The drugs and alcohol help with the weaving of oneself into the fabric of time.

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PART 7

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Oblivious in America: Part 8

Portal, North Dakota

Sitting in the drivers seat of my car; three vehicles deep; waiting to speak to the border agent at the drive-through window. Stuffed beneath the center console were a few extra packs of cigarettes; in addition to the second full carton hidden in my suitcase that I had no plans to declare.

Passport, please.

Three and a half days of stubble on my face; tanned from the springtime sun; I hand the melanin-positive-female-passport-gestapo my passport… the one with all of the squiggly stamps on it. She asks if I have anything to declare. I declare the first carton of cigarettes; and 40 ounces of my 66 ounce bottle of brandy.

Pull into the garage, sir.

Was it the squiggly airport stamps or the visa from Afghanistan, I’d wondered.

I sit on one of my suitcases; my sand-colored flight bag to be precise. At present; it was the only bag to have been completely searched by both border agents plus the dog. My car doors are open; the hood is up; the trunk is cleared; and the spare tire is out.

The dog is running coordinated paths around, under, and inside of my car. He’s standing on the engine, sniffing under the hood. I just smile. This is fun. How much trouble can a bloke get into for a carton of Pall Malls?

You didn’t declare this, sir.

He found the second carton of cigarettes; my Pall Malls. I declared my Marlboro’s. Neither the male; the female; nor the pooch mentioned diddly-dick about the extra 26 ounces of brandy.

I smile.

You missed some smokes, eh.

The pretty lady guard smiles.

I pop the center console and produce 6 extra individual packages of Marlboro’s that I’d picked up along the way.

What now?

The guy tells me that I have two choices. My first choice is to go pay the tax on the additional carton of cigarettes and leave with a good story to tell at some un-determined time and place in the future. My second choice was that they confiscate my contraband and I get put on a special list of people that border guards have; but I wouldn’t have to pay the tax.

I choose the former; and here we are.

Onward to Estevan.

Oblivious in America: Part 7

On a hill in Northern Minnesota

I exit the roadside dive and hit the road. This state is home to my hero; Bob Dylan. I hit North Dakota and head North to Saskatchewan. The beautiful rolling buffalo grazing hills of North Dakota were one of the most pleasant landscapes I have encountered until crossing into Alberta from the Southern Interior of British Columbia several years later.

Roaring down the highway, between hills of green, I can’t help but think of bison hunts; men riding on horseback with musket in hand – laying waste to this land’s population of both man and beast.

“Discovered” and “uncovered” America did you? Hah!

The same shit-stain capitalists that simultaneously monopolized trade and labor at the turn of the 19th century by driving down their own costs by lowering wages and cutting jobs; are the same shit-stain capitalists that crashed the stock market in 2007 and received Taxpayer money to bail their corporations out of the shit-hole of Taxpayer debt that they created by being dishonest shit-stains.

My hope was that the rolling hills and pump-jacks would continue into Canada. The  most unique sight I found traversing North Dakota was the abundance of pump-jacks; oil pumping machines; in the backyards of farmers.

Capitalism screws up the landscape.

Alas, the Canadian border is approaching.

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Part 8

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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 17

It’s time.

We land in Canada; Montreal to be specific; and part ways.

No more war. What was I thinking? Fuck.

My friends pick me up at the airport on my final trip home; three heavy bags in tow. I give them pashminas from the bazaar. It’s two in the morning when we arrive at their house. We smoke. I sleep soundly on the couch.

I wake to an empty house; they’re both at work. After showering, I sit on the stoop smoking a cigarette.

The significance of the feeling of the grass between my toes was something unfathomable moments ago.

He notices each cold and individual blade of grass touching the soles of his feet.

Every car seemed to be speeding past the house. Conditioned to hover at a constant 15 kilometers per hour in his bongo or his right-hand-drive, navy blue, SUV; he’s caught off guard by the constant flow of traffic running perpendicular to the walkway leading to the house connected to the stoop on which he’s sitting.

Sheeeeeit.

I need a Tim Horton’s coffee and a shower.

My first shower back in the world was awkward. Since my last trip home; this is the first shower I can recall taking in a tub-sized shower stall. My body; mannerisms, actions, instincts; my sense of self and situational awareness; were completely bombarded with new sensory input that I found frightening. I found it frightening that I found it frightening. This shower belonged to 20-something female friends of mine. Every ledge, every corner was full of bottles. Every color of the spectrum was squeezed into the limited ledge-space available in their tub.

I kept knocking things over. Every turn was stressful. My elbows hit things I should have known were there. My mind was screaming, “Oh shit. Oops. Crap. Oops. OUCH. Damn it,” for the duration of the activity.

The level of anxiety I felt while completing the most basic of daily tasks foreshadowed the inevitable fall from grace that was to come.

Fall I did.

As we all must.

Until the birth of my child; the destruction of my ego was greatest gift I had ever received from the universe.

The most troubled among us are often not prepared to completely change our ways; sometimes we have to be pushed.

 

 

Oblivious in Sosua: Pre-Departure

6:44 AM – Halifax International Airport

After hugging my father goodbye, I’d headed for the bar; little did I know he’d waited and watched.

The bar is closed; the bar is fucking closed!

A grander travesty and injustice, at this very instant, I cannot fathom.

I turned around as he laughed, “You can’t be doing that shit while you’re flying.”

“How else would one fly?” I thought.

In reality – I’m escaping the monotony of familiar human interaction; the mundane, day-to-day grind of a former risk-taker and current technical support person for a small technology company. I want to be temporarily invisible; lacking schedules and responsibilities.  It’s really the first international non-work-related trip I’ve taken as an adult.

Well deserved, I dare say.

The truth of my destination; the reality of it; is one of debauchery and manufactured privilege.

Middle-class debutants travelling to all-inclusive Caribbean resorts in search of bottomless bar tabs; cheap women; or tans. Some for one; some for two; a few for all three.

What about me?

None of the above.

I’m seeking only anonymity.  The rare gift of walking as a ghost is priceless and timeless.  To be a peaceful shadow weaving oneself into the personal legend of another soul is the work of the Universe.

Many of the people that travel to these resorts appear to me as uneducated and uncultured; no comprehension or care for the cultural depth that lies beyond the walls of their all inclusive Arcadian fortresses.

To the sun with these swine; the whole lot of them.

Bastards.

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Oblivious in Sosua:  Part 1
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Oblivious in Dubai: Part 15

Salazar brings a serving tray to our room with twelve bottles of Budweiser atop it. A tip, a handshake, and he was gone. He did request, though, that we not let anyone see the beer.

My comrade had paid for the hotel and the beer; but I had to leave shortly to catch my plane.

We get into the beers then start talking about life and the state of the World’s affairs; talking about how we each just left an active war zone in which we were doing otherwise ‘normal’ jobs.

I don’t remember much after that.

“Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” – Assassin’s Creed maxim and primary guideline.

I recall the conversation being honest and eye opening; but I shall not reveal the nature of that discussion here.

The world is an interesting place. As long as you’re polite; most of the time you’ll be alright. Somehow I made it to the airport; though I don’t remember much of the trip.

Following along sequentially; the things I recall are still-images. Images flash of the stained-wood walls of the lobby; a snapshot of my Comrade carrying one of my bags to the taxi; a parting hug; and then of regaining coherence at the check-in line at the airport.

Familiar Canadian Comrades were also waiting to check in. Beverages were had once we traversed through this exceptionally large line. To Frankfurt and then to Montreal before we’d part ways.

Most of the rest of my journey is a blur until shortly before landing in Germany at six o’clock in the morning. The time of day is largely irrelevant while travelling over 30 hours in one shot; it just affects what’s found on the menus of the places you stop to eat. The blur, after analyzing my previous behavior and looking for patterns; was probably filled with tasting the beers of the world until I passed out and pissed myself on the plane.

At least I thought I’d pissed myself.  I’d not pissed myself before; so there was no reason to believe my bladder would cave for no reason.

Perhaps it was the cabin pressure?

I found a can of beer on the floor that had spilled all over my pants; alongside it a couple of empty Coors cans… and a full one. Sweet, I’ve got another beer.  I crack the beer and drink the Gravol; the plane should be landing soon.

When in Deutschland; eat what the Germans eat.

Sausage, beer, and a few tabs of Gravol.

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Part 16
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