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2010
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September 30th; Gorgeous, lemon-sweet autumnal sunshine glitters off the buildings. Brief raspberry soda with Ilan. I casually compliment our waitress on her elaborately decorated fingernails, and it must have come across as snide, because she is silently furious. Come to think of it, she has a point, since I inserted "Like the nails" into the middle of ordering our drinks. Not sure what I was thinking to be so carelessly rude. Ilan mentions growing numbers of Americans he claims are living in tents on outskirts of towns in the US. In the evening, go to Venezia restaurant for a pizza, where I am viewed indulgently as the intriguing Englishman who dines alone and brings his laptop for the WiFi. A live singer entertains the restaurant with two hours of Italian pop favourites, new and old, on his electric keyboard, including whatever Procol Harum's 'Whiter Shade of Pale' becomes when translated into the language of lovers.
September 29th; Journey to a large rather sad flat-pack-furniture warehouse called Moebelix through a quite chilly corner of the 10th district, full of people gloomily resenting the approaching winter. One unwashed and irate man holds forth on the number 3 tram in his best ready-to-fight-the-world voice while other proletarian passengers glare silently out of the windows, wishing they were somewhere Mediterranean. I buy wheelie coat rack in box. Flat lighting, no music, old staff members, sad feeling of a cluttered imitation IKEA for poor people. I take the thing home and it is quite easy to assemble, though feels a tad fragile when in motion on its four castors.

September 28th; Fascinating elevenses and later Indian curry with Rob, who tells me that by rights the newly redone cafe in the big Andrassy bookshop where we are drinking together belongs to him, since it was in his father's family, but his father couldn't be bothered to do the necessary paperwork during the narrow window of opportunity in the early 1990s to get it back out of Communist government stolen ownership after fifty years. We discuss whether there is a formula for producing pop hits, Rob describes the film 'Inception' with enthusiasm for its second half, and mentions an interesting article comparing the end of slave-trading by Europeans, the end of duelling by European aristocrats, and the end of footbinding among the Chinese. We talk also about endorphins and metabolic rates. Drinks out late with Mystery Friend 2, who explains his theory with hand gestures that if Johnny Towelhead continues to pop up in different places he needs to be firmly but not too savagely bopped back down again each time. His mimed action looks like a cross between playing the glockenspiel and gently smacking the tops of boiled eggs with a spoon. As he does this 1-2-3-4 two-handed motion he opines that Johnny Towelhead, like weebles that wobble but don't fall down, keeps on popping up, but can keep on being bopped back down with a suitably restrained holding action, for decades or centuries if need be. Other quotes: about one colleague "She's a bit of a harridan, but in a good way." He says an eccentric Swedish girl graphic artist he met in London a couple of nights ago, describing her illustrated book about squirrels in Hyde Park, told him that "One of the squirrels is called Keith. He's named after the Great Cliffs of Dover." Of the GCHQ cryptographer recently found dead inside a padlocked bag, "I find it a bit rum. We all zip ourselves into a hold-all sometimes for a spot of sexual experimentation, but we don't usually padlock it from the outside."
September 27th; Another aerobics session, this time Franc comes along. We eat Turkish food afterwards. All my lower back muscles hurt afterwards, but I seem not to have pulled anything. We consider going to see Steven Z. for a bit of country sketching, and even doing a weekend outing together next month to Gyongyos.

September 26th; Rain & cloudiness. Exhibition opening. Meet lots of people including Tom, owner of a yoga studio.
September 25th; Pasta with Marguerite. We meet Peter, who tells us about abandoning his apprenticeship with a harpsichord-builder in Switzerland and the joy of hay-making in southern Transylvania. He is reading a biography of an unusual early-20th-century woman.

September 24th; More sleep. Finish the 2nd of the two books I borrowed off Ilan's shelf to his slight puzzlement, 'Origins of Virtue' by science writer Matt Ridley. Now this is a worthwhile read. Ridley starts with an arresting contrast: Charles Darwin's belief that nature evolves by self-interest, and the belief of his near-contemporary, Russian anarchist Prince Kropotkin, that nature evolves - at least in part - by co-operation between animals. Discussing the postwar gene-centred insights in evolutionary theory of Williams, Trivers, and Hamilton, made famous to a bigger audience by Dawkins, leads into more theoretical areas of how it's possible to rigorously model organisms competing for space, mates, or other resources. Ridley brings readers up to date with the latest state of play in the game-theory tournaments held by computer scientist Robert Axelrod to determine which different strategies for co-operation naturally gain ground in contests between programs for repeatedly playing Prisoners' Dilemma. Rapaport's Tit-for-Tat still looks strong, but things have moved on. Ridley's narrative moves between the mathematicians studying nice and nasty strategies that self-interested creatures {or other units, like genes} profitably follow, economists starting to lose faith in the self-centred rational agent of neoclassical theory, anthropologists starting to discover that self interest does underlie many basic social forms after all, and other ecological and zoological tales about animals exploiting each other and co-operating with each other. Hobbes turns out to have got it largely wrong, and Rousseau to have got it totally wrong, in their attempts to explain how human societies are arranged and can be arranged. Ridley shows how Rousseau's mythical noble savage, and the totalitarian politics Rousseau's ideas made possible, is a misunderstanding of both the competition and co-operation underlying real cultures, tribes, species, and ecosystems. The most seamless explanation I've seen yet bringing together recent results in economics, politics, anthropology, and ecology to reveal how and why we carry out altruistic acts, and do all we can to keep others around us acting altruistically too.
September 23rd; Sleep 10 hours. I think the endorphin deficiency idea might have something, since this evening's session led by Annamari was difficult, but somehow not as draining as Monday's. In the meantime tried 3 days of DLPA. Crowded class of 15 students, with one leaving after 20 minutes shaking her head.

September 22ndWhy We Buy', by the enjoyably-named Paco Underhill. Mr Underhill sounds like an affable, good-natured man with a penchant for careful observation. I suspect sweet-natured but something of a bore. Starting out his career in sociology and street design, making videos of how people use squares and streets, he gravitated in the early 1990s to filming shoppers inside supermarkets and department stores, gathering lots of data. With this he advises large retail clients on how to on the one hand make things easier for their customers, and on the other hand how to make them buy more produce. Some of this is common sense {old people buy more pet food, so don't put it on the bottom shelf and force the elderly to clamber down on their knees to get at it} and some of it is more unexpected {Americans veer to the right inside large shops}. Underhill at times is positively evangelical in posing as an advocate of the shopper: give them chairs to sit on, make changing cubicles pleasanter, make signs clear. Yet at other times we glimpse him seeing shoppers the way his retail clients see them, as sales fodder to be sold more than they can afford: he calls parents avoiding child-nag zones an "alarming" "semi-revolt". He ponders how to subvert this unfortunate resistance from the walking wallets. He probably feels there was no moral shift from youthful leftie graduate-student work on better public spaces to his far more lucrative career helping retailers milk shoppers and turn their children into brand-worshipping status creeps. He's spent his career assisting and supporting manipulators, and hasn't noticed. It all seems to him {judging from this book} part of one long wonderful adventure creating a "new science". He has followed the American way of professional fulfilment through mind-numbing but well-remunerated trivia. Retail is detail, after all.
September 21st; Sleep 10 hours. After yesterday's session feel as if I got beaten up, with particularly intense kicking of my stomach. Finish 1st document for Lorant.

September 20th; Sleep 9 hours. Lunchtime coffee with Kata, and then fruit tea with carbon offsetters Levente & Rodrigo. Evening aerobics with the alarmingly supple Kinga, first session in ten days. Otherwise quite good day, though cold still hanging on. A decade-old piece by Julian Barbour explains why he thinks time doesn't exist.
September 19th; Sleep 11 hours. When does this illness finish please? Christine O'Donnell looks to be a fresh contender for the hotly-contested office of America's First Loony. Luckily, she's keeping an eye on those Mouse People.

September 18th; Rob sends me a 1960s Hungarian pop song - it looks to be from the same film as Wednesday's. Zsuzsa Koncz looks adorably feminine & refined, singing 'I Am Tired'. "I met a girl, she was sad. This is what she said..." it starts in classic folk song manner.
September 17th; Sleep 9 hours, like yesterday. Headcold not quite gone, and I feel tired all the time. Talk to Regina about the .pdfs, which of course are accepted as fine by other printers.

September 16th; My printer really starts to annoy me. Four weeks after changing to them, they tell me there is some problem with the .pdfs, and I have to "re-submit". They're certainly unwilling to do any conversion for me. I could have had this information perhaps after ...one afternoon? To unwind, I go to the exhibition of drawings Nannette curated, and meet some charming people who are very patient as I drink random wine, eat snacks, and rant about said printer.
September 15th; Sleep 11 hours. Health slowly gets better. Pop song 'These days anything we do' from 1960s Hepcat Hungary. Note dignified audience in suits & cocktail dresses, ranks suddenly broken by one giggly air guitar right at the end.

September 14th; Sleep 9 hours. Totter off to some shops feeling frail, but less so than yesterday. Sinus pain still bad, but cough & headache improves. Diligently cook and eat my aerobics-instructor-mandated plain rice, white meat, green veg three times during day.
September 13th; Sleep 10 hours. Still ill. Fail to meet Robin.

September 12th; Sleep 14 hours. Feel very ill. I hate this beyond words.
September 11th; Worrying sore throat and persistent headache. Could this be from getting wet shoes yesterday? Oh bother. Take lots of vitamins and Marguerite & Theresa to 3-Girlfriend Tamas's party in the 2nd district. I get us lost on the way, but the party is only just gearing up when we arrive. Bump into surprising mix of comrades in the kitchen like Todd, Bullet, Nannette, as well as meeting Kata, who is looking into carbon-trading law.

September 10th; Late breakfast and lazy lunch in rainy parts of Buda with Rob and his umbrella. I recap my sailing holiday, he discusses what he suggests makes most women unhappy, and we catch up on Freud and political gossip in Greece & Britain. Back in the flat, without grinding my teeth, I phone up my new printers, and Sue {"Hi Mark, I'm very sorry to hear that you feel this way this is the first I have actually heard this our some of our large customers just to name a couple like Cambridge University and Oxford University don't appear to have found any issues however I will pass your comments onto the Web Committee."} kindly talks me through the permitted way I'm allowed to upload my .pdf files "through their system" {the .pdfs I sent them two weeks ago, and that the other printer had four weeks ago}. I keep my temper and stay pleasant. Five more working days for my files to be "processed", she says. Jolly good.
September 9th; 3rd morning back in Budapest, and the 1st morning where my apartment is not gently swaying when I wake up, so the effect of the boat must be wearing off now. Day of chores. Evening aerobics with Annamari of the steel thighs. I ask her about food after: she suggests rice, white meat, green veg, nothing else. In the sauna the stripper with the excellent breasts is back from two months work in Greece. She seems glad to tell me she's back on her grinding fitness routine and reassure me her small fluffy dog is on good form. Last year one day in the fitness cellar she told me that "all men are dogs." forcing me to retort "But you love your little Daisy!" She had to think for a minute about that one. Now she says I should get some rice & chicken from the Chinese takeaway opposite the gym, so I do.
Some Mike Flowers: Wonderwall, and Light My Fire. The real thing had better music and worse visuals. What possessed Dusty Springfield to wear this frock? The eyeshadow? The hair? Spooky Little Boy Like You. Look away from the screen.

September 8th; Unintentionally funnier than usual diary rant by some angry New York woman: "DAY ONE 9 a.m.: Awake to dream about the last guy I was involved with, Mr. Guy. In the dream we were having sex. I want him back. He has been avoiding me the past two months and is unavailable. It doesn't help he lives a few blocks away. 9:15 a.m.: Throw out vibrator. Can't stand looking at the pink leopard-skin any more, and I'm out of batteries. I want a real man, not a battery-operated one. 11 a.m.: My love life is like a big missed connection. I have never been with a man long enough to call him a boyfriend. I attract unavailable men with whom I have sexual flings, or nice softies who I don't want to sleep with." etc.
September 7th; Budapest: Go to the djuice cafe to use their WiFi hotspot and to gently show the blonde curvacious Evi that my last two five-gigabyte amounts both mysteriously finished at around 4.5 Gb. She tries to sound puzzled & surprised. My guess is that I am being subtly punished for having dared to complain, but never mind. It's actually raining here today.

September 6th; Tangier: We breakfast in the bazaar. Passing street peddlars utter random strings of English words at us such as "fish and chips Rollo Marks & Spencers" in an effort to charm us into examining their overpriced ugly produce. One man offers me sunglasses {which I need} and quotes "20" for a pair I can just about accept, only saying when I hand him 20 dirhams lent by Wendy that he actually meant 20 euros, not 20 dirhams. Since you can get sunglasses in any chemists anywhere in Europe for five to ten euros, this is obviously about greed, not honest trade. I give him the sunglasses back, and he follows me whining pathetically, unable to believe I don't want to waste a quarter hour of my life haggling him down to twice what the crap shades are worth instead of four times what they're worth. Martin tells me that the Beats originally jokingly named themselves to mean they were the "deadbeats" or "losers", and they loved this town, coming here to meet Paul Bowles, William Burroughs, and so on. Get to the sleepy Tangier airport. A man takes 30 minutes to book in four people, but is sweet about my luggage being over the weight limit. We shift some items into my hand luggage to get the hold bags under 20 kilos. There's a 3/4 hour delay and a brief chat with an airport lady who sells me some sunglasses for a third what the street vendor wanted. In hot sun, I board my flight to Madrid, and find myself sitting with a cheerful pair of Arab-looking brothers who are likely lads brought up in London. One, with his likeable English girlfriend, is an Easyjet steward not on duty today, and tells us all how the plane is working, speaks the staff announcements along in chorus, and generally adds some liveliness, though he's a bit repetitive in style. A half-Italian air hostess with remarkable eye makeup comes up to compliment me on the eight words of French I spoke to her while getting on the plane, saying she thought I was French. I'm very slow off the mark sometimes. Only a smirk from her fellow steward and a flinch of embarrassment on her part tells me that she is hitting on me, as Marguerite would phrase it. We land at Madrid. Airport not as remarkable as I hoped, though the signage is in those pastel colours they like in Spain, pink, orange, that soft pale green, and so on. While queuing at Madrid luggage check-in, I finish Martin's copy of 'The History of Sexuality: an Introduction' by Michel Foucault, translated into English by Robert Hurley. Foucault's main argument is that the account that said that the rise of capitalism coincided with increasing social control over sexuality gets it wrong. For those of us who never bought that story the first time round, the news that Foucault is helping us see through it might seem a bit late in the day, but doubtless he is helping someone inch closer to clear thought, however circuitous the route. Foucault says rather that the last three centuries have been a time of growing discussion of sexuality while pulling it into the framework of science and medicine. He is much more in his element when saying what is not happening, though. "In point of fact, this power neither had the form of the law, nor the effects of the taboo.... It did not exclude sexuality, but included it in the body as a mode of specification of individuals... It did not set up a barrier, it provided places of maximum saturation." His style has this rhythm: he says what something is not, and then he caps it with a sphinxic phrase {'places of maximum saturation', 'mode of specification of individuals'}. Sometimes he leads with one of these deep-sounding teasers {"There are not one, but many silences..." he starts one sentence} and one feels a bit awkward interrupting to ask something as naive as what this actually means? As far as I can see, Foucault has stripped out all the boring bits of Freud and Marx dull enough to make actual claims, however incoherent, and left behind a kind of shimmering web of interlocking suspicions {not unlike Lacan's rubbery surfaces of metaphor}. Pure power, pure knowledge, pure paranoia, a deliciously eerie sense that everything is interconnected, seamless, interdefining, and a bit dodgy. MarxFreud, smoothed to creamy consistency in the food blender of Parisian dialectic. As, I suppose, an advanced form of the Hegelian idea-become-thing, his peculiar, rather charming, word pictures tossed into the text at places with fake carelessness are really the strange attractors {sorry, couldn't help myself} around which the reader's attention is supposed to orbit, mothlike. I'm sure these are the bits that some readers fall in love with so they decide to swallow the rest. "These attractions, these evasions, these circular enticements have traced around bodies and sexes, not boundaries to be crossed, but perpetual spirals of power and pleasure" (his italics). An intriguing & flirtatious image, and surely as much about Foucault's own style as about the topic of the book.
Flight to Budapest delayed. We are in the plane on the tarmac in Madrid, and they tell us that French air-traffic controllers are striking, and our take-off will be delayed by two and a half hours. I wish I had brought playing cards. A party atmosphere breaks out on the plane, and I doze a little across three seats, belt brackets digging into my back, while the row of Spanish girls in front chirp away excitedly. Later on, during the flight, the calmer drone of Hungarian dominates as the Latin chicas all sleep. Get out of Budapest airport around 2.45am. Find the Wizzair bus I paid for is nowhere to be seen, no signs, no staff, no-one answers the phone. Arrive back at flat {two herbs lived, one died} noticing the city is now actually chilly. Two weeks back it was too hot for just shoes. Now it's cold enough I need shoes & socks.
September 5th; Early on deck in bright sunshine I finish Martin's copy of 'Reflections on the Revolution in France' by Edmund Burke. The big problem for people reading Burke today is that most of us simply cannot believe there is an intellectual case for conservatism. Even conservatives themselves tend to prefer a cheerful anti-intellectualism to trying to justify their view as a set of defensible, consistent beliefs. Meanwhile, most liberals and left-wingers have so long taken for granted that liberalism is the very essence of thought, that to think is to be liberal, that they are often stunned, even indignant, on being told that there is such a thing as a conservative intellectual position. Deeper still, the engineering/physics metaphor has gone so deep that most people cannot even recognise something as a description of society unless it describes a "system". That is to say something dynamically operating on something like mechanical or electronic logic. This also means describing society - like an engine or physical law - in terms of desired outcomes and changes the system can be induced to bring about.
Whereas, in contrast to mechanistic models, Burke persistently describes society as a kind of growth, like a tree. It might need pruning or supporting, but always refers both forwards to as yet unborn members of that society and backwards to dead ancestors who were part of it in the past. The mismatch with free-market liberals like Smith, with social-contract-will-of-the-people revolutionaries like Rousseau, with mechanistic utilitarians like Bentham is almost total. Worse than a different theory, Burke is working with a complete different metaphor. While Rousseau, Smith, Bentham seem to occupy all points of the modern political spectrum, Burke seems to belong nowhere most people brought up today can even recognise as a legitimate political position. In the 'Reflections' he defends rotten boroughs, he defends the established church, he defends hereditary peers in the House of Lords, he defends the Catholic church in France when he isn't even a Catholic. I hadn't realised until I read this properly just what a total culture shock this book must be for someone now who comes to it unprepared. It just doesn't look like anything a modern could possibly label as political philosophy: something we would now call proper political philosophy should be something claiming to analyse society as if it was a natural-science phenomenon like a force-field or a geological trend, and would then use that analysis to suggest improvements. The shock of Burke is that he upends what is now the conventional view, that the more powerful and established classes somehow tricked or bullied their way into power. Burke actually says that the more powerful and established groups represent whatever it is that enabled that society to slowly improve to its current state of wealth, justice, and peace, and that that process of improvement is all about continuity, about taking the past with you into the future. Burke in other words rails against the revolutionary belief in wiping the slate clean, in trying to go back to square one to start again. He repeatedly says trying to "build" a new society from first principles or even radically change an old one is dangerous, is a route to tyranny, sets a society back rather than moves it forward, and events proved him right. This book predated by a few months the show trials and mass murders {hundreds of thousands of French civilians slaughtered: as shocking for people then as the Nazi death camps were for the 20th century} of the Paris Terrorists, which almost alone among observers at the time Burke predicted. The dreadful events of the 20th century are all seen coming here: Lenin, Nazism, Mao, Pol Pot. The society Burke lived in, Britain, by now one of the only European societies left that has avoided a violent revolution, constantly surprises observers with its resilence, while fragile France, Russia, Germany, Spain, repeatedly jumped into great leaps forward, producing periods of apparently admirable progress, only to lapse repeatedly into violence. Even the US, the current largest country most like Britain, socially looks increasingly brittle. America's sclerosis & hysteria compares poorly to Canada or Australia which seem weak at first glance, but far more integrated beneath that surface. France, in many ways still an admirable, rich country, has, since the revolution which so appalled Burke, been invaded four times, been partitioned once, fought to hang on to its overseas empire {with far more anguish and bloodshed than Britain when we more peacefully relinquished our larger overseas empire}, gone through seven constitutions, came close to a rebel military coup as recently as 1961 and {in my fairly long view} still has not recovered from seizing on Louis XVI's liberal concessions and using his offer of compromise to overthrow him. Burke very astutely warns "Kings will be tyrants from policy when subjects are rebels from principle." I can't think of a phrase which better explains the dedicated ruthlessness of leaders like Brother Number One of the Khmer Rouge who took as the chief cause of his party's failure to build a new Cambodia from scratch that they didn't kill enough Cambodians. Once you see habits like social rank or deference to inherited institutions as nostalgic or insulting to a free citizen, why should whoever is the ruler be so sentimental as to rely on anything but raw power to keep his position safe?
We go ashore for the breakfast which two people said will be served at the Royal Yacht Club de Tanger at 8am, though this changes to 11am, and then to never, since the cafe does not open all day. It is Ramadan, so we must apparently be tactful about eating and drinking in daylight, though some restaurants are open. Wendy & I explore the narrow streets of the Medina market bazaar/kazbah area. Wendy's Egyptian Arabic from her decade in Cairo sounds confident. I have a strange feeling I have seen the bazaar already in films and books. The pestering from market vendors is much less persuasive, charming, or fun than I imagined though. We find an Anglican church, built in the 1880s, with gravestones of folk like 'Lady Barnett'. The church has Moorish decoration inside, the Lord's Prayer in Arabic on tiles around the altar area, and faces Mecca. Later, alone in the market I acquire a hanger-on who tries me in English & Spanish before I reply in French, on which he starts a kind of be-my-friend monologue in French while trailing along beside me. I'm struck by how boring what he says is, and how utterly uninterested he is in listening to what I say to him except to latch onto it in an effort to get me to go somewhere with him, a bit like a low-grade chatbot. Suddenly I realise that he is a mobile version of the Pub Bore, albeit one who perhaps doesn't drink beer. The explanation I've always seen before is that this is driven by desperation, yet I've never met people so seemingly bad at selling, or more likely just unwilling to learn what the tourists they hope to attract want. Some clear price labels would quadruple the traffic of any of these shops, so I stop believing this is about what works, or what they have to do. They're unobservant and uninterested in what customers like for a reason. The reason is they're focused on making an easy mark-up on their own terms, one or two fat deals, not in learning how to sell properly. No wonder my Jewish friends are so contemptuous of Arabs if this fawning idleness is typical of how they do business. I'm also struck by how much tat there is in the bazaar, how few of the gorgeous, rich colours and fabrics I half-expected, but rather masses of tasteless rubbish in clashing hues and twiddly decoration. The stuff here is very similar to the sickly, sugary-coloured textiles for sale on the Indian-&-Pakistani-populated Curry Mile in Rusholme, Manchester.

September 4th; For over a week now, I've been sleeping up on deck each night, and it is rather wonderful. After late drinks on the boat last night with Mike, I wander around Gibraltar this morning and find an Apple shop that says my laptop's latest problem I'm experiencing here is called a "kernel panic". We set sail around lunch for Tangier to catch a tidal conveyor belt along the north African coast. This time I am wearing the strange little wrist straps that keep a plastic button pressed into each wrist pulse, also taking two different sea-sickness remedies, and also eating raw ginger. I feel fairly good on deck, and Wendy & Martin point out with their sharp eyes how a school of dolphins {or are they porpoises?} are swimming alongside the boat a few inches under the waves. It feels like they want to guide us, but is rather more likely that they are like cyclists slipstreaming in the wake of a lorry to gain speed. Just before dusk we reach Tangier. The Moroccan flag is a yellow pentacle on a red field. In the part of the port we moor in, fishing boats are tied up to each other, creating a kind of giant raft of boats roped together. Rather than being double or triple parked, we are perhaps 12 vessels deep into the harbour, dry dock hidden behind a thick crowd of other boats. No water or electricity is immediately available to connect the boat to, and as we move it into place the gear cable snaps inside Martin's boat's motor, ramming us into another boat. Luckily this only breaks a paddle on the inflateable dinghy which, hung on the back of our vessel, acts as a giant rubber cushion saving either boat from serious damage. I volunteer to stay on the boat while Martin & Wendy go ashore in said dinghy for after-dark drinks at the cafe of the 'Royal Yacht Club de Tanger' {sic} a couple of hundred yards away from our boat.
September 3rd; A lazy afternoon to Gibraltar, where we sail around the great rock, its top strangely misted in a big soft cloud sitting on it like a cushion. 45 minutes to go round it as sun sets among anchored cargo ships out at sea. We dock in the marina right by the runway where Tornado fighter jets take off and land with much bravura and loudness. As we watch the runway, Wendy tells me that the Papuan Pidgin phrase for 'helicopter' is 'mixmaster belong Jesus Christ'.

September 2nd; In Estepone, do more bureaucracy for the new printers, signing and scanning a contract with them, and find a pharmacy with other interesting anti-motion-sickness remedies. Martin & I meet Wendy & Nick {who once sailed the Atlantic} in the evening. It's at Nick's nearby home she has been couch-surfing for several days. Nick seems concerned by my stories of sea-sickness until I reassure him I am not coming on the transatlantic trip in this boat Martin & Wendy are doing in a couple of months. By night the four of us go out for a meal involving lots of sausage, special ham, and red wine. Wendy is cheerful & confident, with stories from growing up in India, Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon. She & her brother hiding cigarettes in certain bushes on the tea plantation so their parents wouldn't know they smoked.... sawing a harpoon down to length so they could fit the man with it through his shoulder into the car to bush hospital.
September 1st; We set off in bright sunshine. Martin detects a lobster pot dragging under the boat, turns off the engine {no wind today either} and goes under with scuba gear and a fearsome-looking knife to cut the rudder free. I stagger from side to side of the stationary boat as it rocks around. I vomit over the side into exquisite green-blue water, feeling worse than I have all week. Martin emerges from under the boat, lobster pot successfully detached, and we set off again. At one vaguely sickly moment, I see a dolphin, barely twenty feet away, arcing out of choppy sea and back in again. We pull in five hours later at another port, the one where we are to meet Wendy. The corner bar facing a row of palm trees and the sea, right under the blue-painted stucco archway into the marina, buzzes with energy and good-looking Spanish girls. As the sky darkens I slowly recover from the day's nausea over lemonade beers and dates wrapped in bacon.


Mark Griffith, site administrator / markgriffith at yahoo.com

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