vrijdag 8 augustus 2014

2 winter trips

Winter Trip 1977

I go to La Gomera
A winter trip of indefinite duration

I almost wake up too late 
but I make it to the airplane;
After a lot of running and a mega tip for the taxi
I manage to check in, twenty minutes before takeoff 
Ticket control

Passport control
The customs officer wishes me a pleasant stay
in the Canary Islands, and I thank him

Boarding pass control
Moustaffa in the kennel
I give him my coat
so he has a familiar scent
for the duration of the voyage
The steward asks do you think that's wise?
I answer yes, because it is a very dark cage
and he has never flown before

I am sitting for four hours

In the middle seat
No window
A pathetic breakfast

I get up
to walk to the rear
to the toilet

I look
through a free window
to at the clouds

I arrive
Las Palmas Airport

The steward has Moustaffa on one hand
a ruined coat in his other

I warned you
I comply, fittingly distressed

Go down the stairs

Wait for the luggage
Pull off a sweater

Ask a german speaking traveler to change some money
who is only interested in my buttocks

Using my best spanish I find a closed bank
Next to the bank an international tour operator

The special service desk is open
They agree they can handle one small bill

I sit in the bus

Moustaffa under in the trunk
with the cases

I arrive
Las Palmas city

Friendly youths direct me in a taxi
direct the taxi
to the terminal of the ferry to Tenerife

Buy the boat tickets
Do not have enough pesetas
which yields many exclamations 

Pay mega big
Get enough of their paper back
to get me through the rest of the day

I'm on a boat
Moustaffa down in the hold
with the cars

Get seasick
in the toilet

Lie on a bench
Stiffen by the cold
Go down

To lay with Moustaffa in the hold
Sleep a little
The crossing takes five hours

I arrive
Santa Cruz

Step off the boat
Smoke a cigarette
Just stand some

Again I test my knowledge of the local language
Ask a uniform where the ferry to La Gomera departs
The uniformed arm points

To be sure I ask it once more
in different words
The uniformed arm points the other way

Ask if a bus is going there
Offer him a piece of paper
Get the address of the bussstation written on it

Step into a taxi, let the driver see it
He talks and talks and I translate today no more buses
I say well it's almost mañana, so I'll wait

The driver has advice, summons me to sit
We drive and drive, twenty minutes, when I see a signpost
I read Los Christianos 53 km

I understand by now that I have go to Los Christianos
I think don't think now
Except for the shimmering road there is nothing but dry rocky drought

I arrive
The ferry to La Gomera

Tell the taxi driver that it is ridiculous what he did
Say that I did not ask for this ride and that I will not pay
The driver says that he will call the police
I say that he should do that

After three quarters of an hour the police appears
and after they have taken my passport
they side with the driver 
I can choose between settling the account or being deported

I settle
The staff of the ferry company, however, understands my side
As compensation Moustaffa may have a free passage

I am on the boat
Moustaffa on deck
tied to a stake
in a way that we can maintain eye contact
and yet I lie somewhat sheltered

Also on this boat
the remains of my coat are not enough
to keep me warm
I make up my mind to find a hotel room as soon as the boat docks
and to hide there for at least a week 

The crossing takes two hours
I arrive
La Gomera
It is ten o'clock
evening, dark

At the end of the quay a small group of people is standing
I am called, whether I'm going to Valle Gran Rey
I say yes

They are looking for someone to share the cab fare
I say yes okay
We say hi and hello and tell our names

But today no more taxis is for real 
and the few hotels are completo
We get permission to spend the night on the boat, are happy

We play cards
I get a piece of bread, a few tomatoes
Eat the bread together with Moustaffa

It is six o'clock
morning, dark
The camerero awakens me personally
I say get lost, and he understands me perfectly 
He continues with what his work is

The others awaken
There will be a bus leaving at noon
I drink tea
the others coffee and / or cognac
We walk some

The beach sand is black
Mousa leaps runs digs, meets spanish dogs
We are waiting for the bus which according to the taxis
will not come, not in a hundred weeks
At noon, the bus shows up

I sit in the bus
Moustaffa at my feet

The distance to Valle Gran Rey is seventy kilometers
The road is narrow and mountainous
The landscape dry and barren 
Here and there a cabin

Because the bus is too big
to be able to take the bends of the last stretch
we have to switch to a smaller one
The whole trip takes three hours

I arrive
Valle Gran Rey

a salad and fries
Moustaffa is very thin now
He gets a great steak

We find a house, three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and roof terrace
The landlady protests with a loud voice
when she sees Moustaffa

She points with ever growing gestures to her flowerbed
By showing how well behaved he is
I convince her that it will not be disturbed or worse 
With a shrug she gives her consent

We carry the luggage into the house
The grand room goes to Bear and Ted
Dolores and Johnny take the quiet one
Moustaffa and I get the cool one

I sit on the roof terrace
In the sun
On my own and naked

The house is located in a slot between two mountains
In the slot are also large palm trees
and at the end of it is the sea

The water appears closer
than the twenty minutes that you have to walk
before you are at the beach

Moustaffa sleeps
In the shade
I hope

the others will soon be here
with the groceries
because I have a raging hunger

Flies bite
and fleas
like me as usual

I am lazy, play cards, read, eat, sleep

Morning and evening I walk down and up the mountain,
to and from the beach, fifty meters of sand and
hundred and fifty meters of boulders. The black sand is of
the same substance as North Sea beach sand

When I am at the foot of the mountain I can walk
three hundred meters to the right to the next beach
or I can walk two hundred meters to the left
to the end of the beach

The rest of the area is right protruding rocks
After a few days I have been on all the available paths

I sit in a beach bar
One of the two
Moustaffa walks on the beach

There are a dozen born and bred dogs
running around some
and there are around fifty imported people
running around some

As Dolores and Johnny leave
I stay with Moustaffa and Bear and Ted behind
Moustaffa loves Bear and Ted

The house has no electricity
and when in the evening we sit together
the candles cast jagged shadows 

Winter Trip 1978

When he dies, we are in Turkey
a winter trip of a few months
with a camper

We are four
BB, I, the dog of BB
and Moustaffa

Laying the dogs down to sleep
has become a ritual

They go in the driver's cabin at night 
in the front
Usually a restless enterprise, it proves
and the night that it happens is no exception

So they are in the cabin
the night it happens
and the doors are closed

BB and I lie in the back
We talked some
I tell BB
I hope I won't get sick
I was suffering from a strange knot in my stomach
Almost the whole day

In the afternoon I had whined
just to whine
That we ate bad, for example
But actually it was
that I did not want to drive on
So I made up that I wanted to go back
to where we left off last night
a restaurant in an old port
where we had eaten squid
The night before it happens
And where this morning
we have been chatting some

A couple of times I said
let's go back
but the idea that the dogs could not walk there without a leash
my nagging indefinable mood
the enthusiasm of BB to continue
In short, we drove on

Until we, just as the sun goes down
come along a beach with trees
Here we stop

Because of my mood, for the dogs
it was not the best day of the trip
no extended walk
no playing with sticks
not swim

So Moustaffa goes alone for a walk around
not long, he never did when I was not with him

When he gets back I knock on his belly
I say I have the impression that this dog has eaten!

Still prepared something
And then to sleep

BB wants kisses and hugs
but because of my stomach, I am not really there

Then Billie begins to bark
that is the name of BB's dog

And after that a bunch of soldiers shine in the car with a flashlight 
So restless, as I mentioned

and finally you do not know whether you were awake all the time
or how long you have slept

Then, a kind of scream, a shriek
I hear it with a cold ear

I say BBB we have another visitor
Billie barks again

BB gets up and looks through the hatch
She shines with the flashlight
The sound is now a guzzling snore

It is Moustaffa says BB
Meaning just one of those oddities of Moustaffa
I say this isn't normal, let me have a look

I pick up the flashlight
I see Moustaffa lying with his neck craned back
over the elevation in the middle of the floor

I open the hatch and call Mouzi Bouzi
Billie jumps up and I stop her
I whistle Moustaffa's  whistle and he does not react

I say oh this is not good, this is not good
I go outside and open the door to the driver's cabin
Here I take the head of Moustaffa

There is no resistance and when I hold him the sound stops
I say he's dead BB, he's dead
BB says it can't be and I say it's true, he's dead

A small part of me wants to turn and run
but I lift him up and put him on the front bench

He lies there very beautifully
very beautifully and very calmly

I caress him and caress him
And one by one I sob all his names

I had to bury him
By the sea, he was a dog who really loved the waters

I have spread his blanket on the beach 
Put him on it

With spoons and a saucepan BB and I have tried to dig a pit
But it did not work

Then I sat next to him, drank tea and looked at him
Caressed him

I say we drive to a beautiful place where I will carry him into the sea
So that from now on he can be in the water

We have covered him with his blanket, have laid  him back on the bench 
Between us

And we have started to drive

More to the north we had left the the main road 
Jolting, twenty kilometers per hour, evading stones
We had passed pristine beaches 

At this place a touristical future is under construction
Not a place I am happy about

Again we left the main road
and after an hour we arrive at the water

I undress except for a shirt and underpants
BB hands me Moustaffa and I walk into the sea

I keep walking
until the blanket touches the water

Then I start to swim
and keep swimming
until the blanket is heavy
and disappears under the surface

In the emptiness of the sky
I call bye Mouzi Bouzi
and crying and I swim back

In the hours that follow
I cry more than I cried
in the rest of my life

We sat there
With my eyes closed
the contours disappeared 
of my torso and my limbs

My skull had no boundaries
My face deformed and
could not be covered by the hands of a giant

Later we talked about him
What a dog what a dog he was
The question passed whether he had been happy
So many images presented themselves

Then later we drove back to the main road
Just following the line that BB had mapped
Many miles of road. Making stops at the archaeological attractions
Making stops to sob

The next day further south
But I cannot digest more ruins;
I stay in the car
I cannot believe it

What also passes
were the strange doubts
that spin through your head 

The restaurant owner
with whom we had eaten squid
the night before it happens
how he continued to nag
that he wishes to buy our music player
And this player breaks down the next day
And how he also kept on nagging
that he wants to buy Moustaffa
Such doubts

Or that all day I'd had this reluctance
to drive on and in the evening had said that I was sick
The whole night really thought that I felt the diarrhea on its way
while it turns out that nothing physical is the matter with me
Such doubts

And what if we wouldn't have driven on 
Such doubts

That night everything is dark and calm
I see him I see him

In the morning BB had cried 
Because everything was empty and flat

And we ask each other whether we want to continue
because everything is different 

The third day we drive back
to where I have carried him into the sea
Here we stay for almost two weeks

We arrive at sunset
The car remains stuck in the loose sand
so we sleep in a tilted position

I felt relief
I saw that it was a beautiful place
A beautiful bay

The next day, looking at the sea
nothing but looking at that sea

Also trying to move the car
but the tires spin without grip

By noon an unlikely rain starts
while all morning there has been an immoderate wind blowing

And then also lightning and thunder
And I just have to look at that sea 

In the following days
I managed to maneuver the car

I have parked it
as we had been the first time

I did my laundry in the sea
splashed the water in my face
brushed my teeth with it

I slept
in the shirt and underpants
I was wearing when I swam him away

And I suspected that it was sentimental
the small part in which you lose yourself

But maybe you do what you do
because the larger part proves completely elusive

© mc 1977-2014

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