Bonaire Aruba and Curaçao are the ports of call on a poker cruise. Islands on the tip of South America, just enough to confuse me. I was here 20 years ago and Aruba’s gone high end. All the best boyfriends are here. Louis V. and Michael Kors. More buildings and hotels. Didn’t meet any locals to ask if everyone is still speaking Papiamentu? Is the desalination plant still working?. Bonaire is a territory of the Netherlands and the written sign at the laundromat confirms it but I also heard Spanish at the bodega. Salt beds is the natural resource of Bonaire and everything else is shipped in which explains the super high prices . 6 dollars to wash 6 bucks to dry. some say was tourist price. Ganda from Sumatra says same price in the Bahamas. The path less traveled is filled with little delights. Got caught trying to help a guy asking for a slim Jim . The convenience store clerk rendered goggle translate without luck. I said “beef stick” with a jerky pulling at teeth level gesture. Lame ethnocentrism at its best I think not but a longing homesick feel for Bubba.
In March I flew to Whitehorse to mush at Sky High Wilderness Ranch. The trip requires a timely Covid clearance coming into Whitehorse then onto the event. The owner took us to liquor store to pick up libations before heading to camp. A Propane running cabin and self starting sauna, I could hear the dogs howling and yelping from afar. After a short introduction a group was leaving and brief hello was “Goodbye’. Chewy, Zia, Dudley and Koala managed to pull me around river’s edge and windy mountains. Every day was a series of getting to know your fellow mates and guide. Having mushed before I was just as scared (the picture above is from the first time) given the experience of dogs in heat and fighting. “more like wolves” as Visa the guide explained. Harnesses lessons and a quick point to a board which listed who was skinny and who had frostbite on their you know what. Lead dog gets two bowls of meat soup that when it’s was served looks like a crime scene, as you placed it directly on the ice. What remains remarkable in my thoughts is the men and women who do the Iditarod. 938 miles and the record 8 days 3 hours 40 minutes and thirteen seconds. I saw through the window a women who came looking for her dogs. Big Denali truck with all her dogs in tow minus the ones she was looking for. Michelle Phillips is her name and she is an Iditarod participant who was introduced by a boyfriend to the sport. She is also a former figure skater. I took notice of her shape. Strong and compact she is probably one of the most bravest people I’ve never met. Our Guide Christina was similar to most people who make the Yukon their home. She did the most work, having to be our motley crew guide then at the end of the day cook for all of us. I gave her a good tip and a hug. There was a music professor, a computer geek and a newly wed couple who were teachers in B.C. And none of them drank or went to sauna after the end of each day. The last night was games and drinks and the owner had so much fun but I think he came to eat. Gary is good sport and I’d love to go back and talk to Michelle. It’s a beautiful sport and thank you Cynthia for all that you do for us.
I RETURN TO THE SPA I LOVE. THE NAKEDNESS OF IT ALL HEIGHTENS THE EXPERIENCE. YOU ARE VULNERABLE AS YOU WALK TOWARDS THE TABLE AND LIE FACE DOWN. I CLOSE MY EYES TO ENHANCE TACTILE AND AUDITORY CUES AS I MOVE TURN BEND AND STRETCH. I AM AN ENGLISH MUFFIN WITH NOOKS AND CRANNIES. MY BODY RECEIVES A VIGOROUS SCRUBBING AS I LISTEN WITH INTENT TO HEAR THE VESSEL FILL WITH WATER AND I SUDDENLY BRACE FOR THE SPLASH AND STING WHICH QUICKLY FOLLOWS. AS ANGIE GROOMS ME I DETACH FROM THE SHELL AND BEGIN TO FIND HUMOR IN THE NAMES THE BODY HAS GIVEN ME. THE OLECRANON PROCESS, THE SOLAR PLEXUS, AND MY VERMILLION BORDER. ALL MY BODY PARTS HAVE SERVED ME WELL AND I BECOME FLUSHED WITH APPRECIATION TO BOTH ANGIE AND ALL THE OTHER WOMEN DONNING BLACK PANTIES AND BRA. THE UNIFORM NECESSARY TO WORK FREELY. I STEP OFF TO SHOWER AND RETURN TO THE SECOND HALF OF THE EVENT. THE WHOOSH OF CUCUMBERS MEETING THE MANDOLIN. AN AROMA OF COCONUT LEADS TO OILED SUPPLE PERSUASION OF MUSCLES ONCE INJURED AND SORE. THE MASK IS APPLIED AND I LOSE TRACK OF TIME. THE FINAL HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BODY ANGIE AND I IS A SPLASH OF MILK WITH HONEY. MAY I NEVER RETURN TO ORDINARY LIFE.
Celebrating My mom’s birthday in Spain. I take account of the nuances of everyday life and compare them to how I live at home. Today it is ice cubes. A fan of crushed ice, I find the giant tubular like cubes kinda interesting. Being Catholic, three cubes in any glass suits me well. “Everything in threes like the Blessed Trinity” as the birthday girl would says. As we venture place to place the cubes are consistent. 3 to a glass. I let my imagination wonder and yes the 3 is intentional. The ice surface area is optimal but crushed ice is quicker. I like the smoothness and visually, Spain’s ice in a glass looks masculine. Bold large rocks marinating in Bourbon. Looking in the freezer of our flat, same type of ice. Refinement in simple things brings me joy and feeling it quickly is bliss. If I was a mathematician the cube ice might tickle my notion that math does indeed rule the world. And a world without ice? I could only imagine.
On Renfe train one way from Madrid is 60 euros…it’s summer. Fast and clean describes the machine. Greeted by hot air with a breeze, Seville is not grid friendly so taxi is one’s best bet. I missed the bulls that run in April and May. The Bull is majestic. Ebony, shiny and angry. Not one to fall into tourist trap I get a 45 Euro carriage horse ride for 40. But guess what, he didn’t take me back to place of origin…lol. Clop clop clop is a favorite sound because it will never change…think about it. The Cathedral can be seen from great distances. Clear and astounding evidence of Spain’s powerful reign. Franco died in 1975 so I asked about now “Socialist”. The Plaza de Espana. Built in 1929 by Anibal Gonzalez Ossorio. Reverence to him and all who created such a magnificent structure. And would He be appalled to know that rollerbladers come here to zoom across it’s courtyard. The Plaza de Espana will stand the test of time and outlive all who cross it. Gracias Seville for your gifts and charm
Coming off another low budget wonder airlines (Norwegian air) and landing in Madrid. I felt the radiant heat and the song 🎵Hot child in the city running wild looking pretty🎵 ran quickly through my mind. So it’s like 104 degrees and I packed lots of pants. Jose the taxi guy, who answered to Miguel, had tribal tattoos on his right arm. Not unusual per se but enough to ask “Maori “. Jose wouldn’t elaborate so maybe he just plain ole likes it. First thing I notice any where I’ve been ” is it clean or dirty” and luckily Madrid is clean. The gaudi architecture is in Barcelona but here it’s mostly colonial type on the exteriors and facade. Got an apartment and pics on line have filters to give an impression of clean lines and contemporary furniture. Greeted by Jimena who gives us a quick tour and leaves. The Gaggenau stove is modern but that’s about it. It’s kitchy and mildly whimsical aka another low budget wonder. I like it and settle in quickly. Sizing up the neighborhood is pending, and I get groceries. Beer eggs toast butter bacon sweets and dates under 20 euros. I like TV especially here.. full frontal nudity both sexes….what? Yep and my mom gasps. My lovely cousins says “there is a place in Barcelona that custom makes espadrilles” I’m looking forward to getting a pair and that is pending too.
Dizzy after recording, having to drive to Oakland shotgun to pick up some look books and posters. “If they are really bad I’m using them as targets”. Walking the neighborhood and then packing to head home. Visiting family is always good and soul-searching within even better. The part I dig is getting to airport early. The posters never found, may have been tossed with the other rubbish oops I meant to say recyclables. Besides I’m lugging enough already. The bridge is open and strong and weathered plenty. Today I wish to be a bridge.
Visiting my sister I always leave having learned something new about her and something new about myself. When I lament about what it is like being single, my sister tolerance is exercised. I shout out loud “I’m all those things” as we listen to what men and women find attractive in each other. The Seattle radio station was not only playing songs but playing field psychology. Women like funny and self deprecating humor in men. In men’s eyes women don’t have to be so funny. Thats why my sister says there’s not “as many female comedians”. Just because I’m nice, thoughtful and easy to get along with does not mean I’m entitled to meet a handsome charismatic man out the gate. My sister on the other hand says it sounds more like “the stench of desperation” as I explain how indignant I’ve become when it comes to to dating at this stage. I’m standing tall like the Seattle Needle, I am not desperate NO! Indignantly frustrated as hell….yes.
LAST FRIDAY PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY CLOSED THIS TIME. 64 YEAR OLD PAUL SMITH DOING WHAT HE LOVED. I WILL BE MINDFUL AND LOOK OUT FOR YOU…. BICYCLISTS