Thursday, October 8, 2009

Drinking Mate' In Malta And White Coffee In London

Big birthday wishes to Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Jesse Jackson and my favorite of the bunch: the recently departed David Carradine.  You are all celebrated!  That's why you're called celebrities...

Each morning I wake up at 5:20 AM (except for the Lord's Day of course, when 5:20 AM is closer to bed time than it is to rise and shine time) and go out back of our apartment to stretch in the dark.  As I stretch, I ponder with great urgency the hugely important question of: "mate' or coffee?"  And these days mate' has been winning out big time.  So once through stretching I go and sit on our second story balcony where I can see the messenger clouds shouting to everyone with pink-tipped exclamations that that big lion's-maned sun is coming to bully us through another day again.  And while all of this celestial madness is unwinding over the Mediterranean Sea, I sit, just some guy who currently spends his days working at a Maltese shipyard, and I pour myself a mate'.  And it's marvelous.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that I spent the majority of this year in South America, and it can be equally hard to remember while living with nine people that I am a person who normally craves and seeks out lots of solitude, but out there on that balcony, while drinking a delicious mate', I am back in touch with these truths, and I am quite pleased.  I toted four kilos of yerba to Malta, and I'm already well into kilo number two.  Uh oh. 

And a funny little travel story: On my first morning in London, over a month ago now, after sleeping for nearly twelve hours straight, I woke up and ventured out into the unknown streets to seek out a much needed cup of coffee (coffee won the argument that morning).  I skulked around my hotel's neighborhood, nearly getting creamed by every car that whizzed past me coming from the unexpected side of the road, and feeling slightly vampireous in the oppressive, un-caffeinated daylight, until I finally discovered a coffee shop.  "Large coffee please."  "White or black, sir?"  Perplexed, I stared at this nice British lady and finally uttered: "You guys have white coffee here?"  To which she very annoyedly responded: "Room for cream?"  And I quite smoothly replied with: "Oh!  Yeah, just a little bit white for me, please..."

Whoopsies.  Well, how else does one learn the ways of the world without throwing themselves headlong into new parts of it and getting embarrassed tremendously en-route to figuring out how other people in other places do things?  Part of our birthright upon being spawned on a particular planet should most definitely be a feeling of home no matter where we are, but unfortunately this feeling of world citizenship seems to have been seized from us with the creation of political boundaries, cultures and greediness.  So to reclaim yourself a citizen of this humongously tiny Planet Earth means a monumental effort to see as much as possible, get into the heart and eyes of a place, fill your pockets with the parts you adore and take them with you (i.e. mate' from Argentina to the Mediterranean), be a regionalist (when in Rome...), order incorrectly, get laughed at, fumble through language barriers, and always remembering that you're just as stellar a hominid as the rest of 'em.  Because when on Planet Earth, do as the Earthlings do, and yes, that most certainly includes salamanders, lichens, narwhals, politicians and river otters...

Post-Script: We spent the past two days moving by hand 18.5 tons of steel ballast blocks back into the bilge of our ship.  There is no doubt tonight that I am the inhabitant of a body, and that this body of mine is a soar one.  We also painted the majority of the boat's interior, and tomorrow begin sand-blasting and painting the outside.  Oh yeah, things are happening around here, and it feels damn good.

1 comment:

  1. Oh sammy boy, my face hurts from smiling so much while reading your blogs. I'm going to sit and have a yerba and think of all the laughs we have had together (or maybe a white coffee). Love you my friend and happy adventures to you. Enjoy the journey, my dear friend!