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Mike's Random Thoughts From The Road #1
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welcome to a new feature of my writings from the road: the random thoughts email. in this email i will include all the stuff i forgot to include in my updates. this will be a random collection of observations, experiences and bullshit. enjoy this first version.
oh, one more thing. if you don't want to receive these updates or you know someone who does, please let me know.
1.as you venture into the medina (old town) of a moroccan city you are constantly offered assistance by little kids in finding your way around the tangled mess of streets. i for one like getting lost in these fascinating mazes so i snake my own way through feeding the would-be guides excuse after excuse as to why i do not need their services (or their hashish). you learn how to do it with humor. "no thanks, i've been here for a week, i've seen everything." then a week isn't quite long enough to convince them you've seen it all so you bump it up to 2 weeks. then 3. next thing you know you were born there, you live there, you are actually the king. persistance is the only way. don't ever fake a language thinking they won't understand you; they know every single language there is. my buddy jamie said in german "sorry. i am german. i don't understand." the 10 year old guide started speaking german to him.
2. you make a lot of friends on the road especially in 3rd world countries like morocco where you cling to anyone as shocked as you. sometimes the friends you make are inanimate, like a toilet. i got violently ill from some bad tanjin chicken in fes and became close with the toilet of the pension talaa where i was staying. we got to know each other so well that i felt compelled to stay in contact and asked for his email address. we are now regular email buddies and i gotta say he is pretty damn funny. you can write to him yourself at toliet-in-fes@yahoo.com. yes, i am completely serious.
3. i have encountered at least 2 perfect "planes, trains and automobiles" moments during my journey, both occuring in gibraltar, u.k. which is at the southern tip of spain. you've seen the rock of gibraltar in the prudential commercials. the first moment was when i crossed the border from spain and actually had to walk across a runway to get to the center of town ("...and across a fucking runway to get back here to have you smile at my fucking face. i want a fucking car, right fucking now"). second moment was when i tried to buy a ferry ticket from gibraltar to morocco and was informed that the ferry doesn't go from gibraltar and i'd have to go back to spain ("train don't run outta wichita, less'n you're a hog or a cattle. people train run outta s-s-stubbville").
4. my ancestery breaks down like this: 1/2 finnish, 1/4 swedish, and 1/4 chicken. i figured out the last 1/4 when i noticed i am constantly surrounded by roosters. it's not the idea that i am a quarter chicken that bothers me as much as the caliber of rooster i attract: moron. macho morons. it must be because i am not pure chicken but rather a mutt-chicken. according to these clods who invaribaly live right outside the window of my hotel room the sun rises at 1:45am and they are quite certain of it. they announce it continually, often fighting with the rooster parked outside the other window of my hotel trying to get the last crow in. they battle each other until the run actually rises then call their cousins in the next town i am visiting to inform them of my hotel arrangements.
5. i paid an average of $5 per night for my hotels in morocco.
6. i get stared at constantly by locals.
7. i have a ticket to see "starsky & hutch" tonight here in tavira, portugal. i have been dying to see this flick and it's showing tonight only. i hope it is in english because i understand portuguese about as well as giraffe.
8. when i was sitting outside the berber (indigenous people of north africa) tent which would be my sleeping quarters for the evening in the sahara desert playing drums i asked our guide what kinds of animals lurked the desert at night. snakes? scorpions? "no, no," he said. "just mice, foxes and beetles." right at that moment a scorpion went whizzing by me and i shouted "that was a scorpion right there!!!" his response? "no it wasn't." later that night when i felt something crawling on my face i slapped it off me like it was a bomb.
9. i am a champion soccer goalie. in fes, morocco i was wandering through the medina when i came across a soccer game. i immediately took my position in goal and swatted away all the feeble attempts at scoring the 8 and 9 year olds could muster. i am a brick wall. an alcazaba. bring it.
10. from about 9am to 1pm today, tavira, portugal hosted about a dozen 3k running races. the route started in the main square, praca de republica, made two circles of the river over the 2 bridges in town (one of them built by the romans 2000 years ago) and ended again in praca de republica. a police car escorted the runners along the route with lights flashing. all the locals were out packing the streets and sidewalk cafes to catch the action which they fervently cheered. so was i. good competition on any level, involving any gender, in any country can be thrilling man. i found my heart pounding when the 20+ years women's race came down to a tall skinny woman in a red running suit and a shorter, darker-skinned woman in brown shorts and a white t-shirt. i cheered like a proud father as they thundered past me over the roman bridge toward the finish line for what would be a photo-finish.
11. you actually care who won, don't you?
12. skin and bones by a camel hair.
13. i gotta go; starsky awaits.
keep on keepin' on,
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