Friday, February 29, 2008

"I Am A Self-Made Man!"

Madrid at 9am is Manhattan at 6am. The Spanish capital is rubbing its sleepy eyes, cafés are rolling up their corrugated metal doors. Octogenarian couples walk arm-in-arm, in that boxy shuffle that only old couples do well. This morning I sat in a local café and ordered the traditional Spanish café con leche, a kind of thin cappuccino, and a bocadillo, a baguette filled with butter and stringy, chewy ham. I pondered my evening and my seeming inate ability while traveling to meet comically deplorable characters. Rarely do I meet someone so repulsive as to request of them that I may take notes so that I miss nothing when I write about them later...

Sitting in the very posh bar of my very posh hotel in my very un-posh backpacker clothing, I sipped a coffee and read a book about Belgian King Leopold´s 19th-century genocidal misadventure in the Congo. I´d hoped to finish the book while traveling in Africa, but the dense and often emotional nature of the book required more attention than I was able to give while bungy-jumping, driving, and photographing lions killing fresh prey (see blog post from 9 Feb entitled "Grace Under Pressure, Sort Of...").

A man with stained yellow teeth and no visible eyelashes approached. "May I join you," he asked without waiting for a reply. "I am Belgian and you are reading about the birth of my country." He pulled up a bar stool and called a waitress over. "Vodka. Coke. Four cubes of ice," he said in English to the Spanish waitress. "Four cubes," he emphasized in English. She returned moments later with his iced vodka-Coke. Into his glass full of more cubes than four, he tucked his puffy tobacco-stained fingers. "You heard me say four?" he asked with no hint of recognition that the waitress didn´t speak English. He extracted the offending surplus ice cubes and deposited them on her tray. Bewildered and somewhat embarrassed, the waitress left me alone with "Cerdo" (not his real name, but for those of you that speak Spanish, the perfect alias for this man).

"So what do you do?" asked Cerdo. Finding a literarily comic opportunity in this otherwise entirely interminable moment, I replied that I was researching Belgian atrocities in the Congo and writing a book about travel. "But," Cerdo warned with limitless condescencion, "you must in your reading and writing learn to separate fantasy from reality."

"Really?" Icountered. "But this book seems to have been well-documented?" In fact, the documentation of terror in Adam Hochshild´s King Leopold´s Ghost of the crimes committed is akin to the documentation by the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis of their victims´fates. Cerdo scoffed. I changed the subject.

"So what do you do?"

"Me?" He smiled a dirty yellow Chesire-cat smile. "I own companies in 22 countries. I travel constantly." I stared at him blankly.

"Maybe you think I´m arrogant?" I again stared at him blankly.

"You are a very interesting person," he offered. "May I invite you to dinner tonight?" I hesitated just long enough to let him know that I was about to lie.

"I am meeting some old friends tonight." My lie was a half-truth; I´d been planning to meet the family in Madrid with whom I´d lived years earlier, but I was not due to meet them until later in the week. My chronically guilty conscience gave me a rare pass on this little white lie. Fatefully, I added that the family had children and I´d best meet them very soon before the children were put to bed.

"Perfect!" he said. "They have children. They will return home early. You can meet me at midnight." He winked at me. I uncomfortably demurred, assuring him that my old friends were party animals. He offered me his mobile phone. "Call them from my phone. You can make your plans from my phone because the call is free. I own the phone company. Ten years now I´ve owned it."

"Wow," I said without any facial expression, "you are very fortunate."

"The internet, too. I saw that trend coming." I again stared blankly at him and got up to leave, thanking him for paying for my coffee. "I am a self-made man." Funny, I thought as I put my books back into my handbag, me too! I am a self-made woman!

As quickly as is not noticeably rude, I rushed out of the hotel bar and into another bar, where I soothed my frayed nerves with a glass of sweet sangria and crispy olives. I tucked my nose deep, deep into my book, with the intention of avoiding any further human contact for the remainder of the evening.

Stay tuned for my adventure at the Arab bathhouse with a one-legged man and a girl who while changing into a bikini, showed off her strategically-placed "Hello Kitty" tattoo. I´ll leave you to draw the conclusions on the meaning of the latter; this is a family blog!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"I Love Tuning"

Remember those really unfashionable black-and-white checkered loafers from the early 1990´s? I ran into (or rather, away from) a pair of them while moonlighting in Madrid. I was due to return today from my African adventure, but decided to stay the better part of a week in a city in which I studied over ten years ago. Desperate to shed my worn and dirty backpacker clothing, I immediately upon arrival set out to shop for shoes. I counted my record-low-value dollars and exchanged them into four euros. After soliciting an ATM and imbibing copious amounts of traditional Spanish coffee, I went on my shoe safari.

So here is where I say goodbye to everyone. I´m moving to Spain. I have already applied for a job (oddly, I´m serious, explanation to come) and quickly scrawled some phone numbers about renting apartments near sangria bars, one of which I was patronizing in the warm sunshine. By the time I´d begun drinking my glass of cold and tart sangria, I´d already been successful in finding a pair of shoes for a mere nine euro. Spain is not exactly known for its bargains, case in point my hotel which charges the same nine euro for a package of potato chips. Another case point, that previously mentioned pair of black-and-white checkered loafers showing off the English logo "I love tuning". One of my favorite things about traveling is finding those things that just don´t make sense. No matter how many consonants and-or vowels I added to "I love tuning", I couldn´t come up with whatever the colloquialism was meant to signify. I sipped my sangria and smiled. I´d found a gorgeous pair of black patent leather flats (nine euro!), a red handbag (not nine euro), some jewelry, and fresh socks.

On my way back to my hotel, I stopped in a churrascaria, a sort of local bar that serves meats and beers. I´d noticed earlier that the bar was looking for a new worker. I´d also decided earlier, yes before I´d drunk the liquid courage that is coffee and sangria, that I´d apply for a job at the churrascaria. So, I did.

The bartendress seemed halfway amused, bordering on irritated. "So," she said in rapid-fire Spanish, "you are staying at a nearby hotel and want to work for this restaurant gratis while you are on vacaciones?¨ I agreed that those were my intentions and she asked me to return the following day to see if my verbal application would be accepted. She seemed much less excited than I for my offer of free employment for the remainder of the week.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see whether or not I get the job at the meat & beer bar. And thanks to all those who asked what the conclusion was to the Johannesburg robbery attempt. Update to come, possibly in longer format of a book.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jump Over The Robot!

Um, cough. I am really struggling with how to write the following post. I mean, you try creating a patchwork of a story from a dinner of smoked crocodile and honeyed vodka, a gyrating midget, and threatening taxi drivers, and if successful, you can take over this blog.

After an eight-hour drive across the South African border from Botswana, our international overland group of 16 people parted ways. Most of us said our pleasant goodbyes (a few grumps were not so charitable); three of us made plans to meet later for dinner.

Anna and Jean, American sisters, met me at my hotel. We were carefully instructed by the hotel concierge staff to make certain we dined in the nearest mall, and that we took a taxi to the mall, which was only a short walking distance from the hotel. Johannesburg is supposedly the murder capital of the world, and we'd been warned repeatedly to refrain from walking alone at night, walking at night, and just walking in general. Ditto talking.

After perusing the menus of several perfectly satisfactory establishments, we took a chance on "Lekgotla", an African bistro. Although we hadn't seen the menu of Lekgotla, we immediately were drawn to the restaurant's ambience: soft lighting, cozy, slightly moody. It looked like a quiet-conversation sort of place, a place where one could relive the moments of the last three weeks of driving from east Africa to southern Africa. However, this restaurant was not such a place.

We were seated at the back of the restaurant with a few local African families, a few couples, and a large table of what appeared to be local whites. No one looked surprised that a midget wearing ripped jeans and "Calvin Coin" boxer briefs was gyrating suggestively on stage. Nor did anyone seem anything but nonplussed that the midget timed the sway of his tiny hips and the bob of his head tightly wrapped in do-rag pantyhose with a lead singer that looked more like Ray Charles than Ray looks like Ray Charles. Both Ray and the midget sang and danced in unison to a selection of Bob Marley and Gypsy King songs.

"I feel like I'm on a bad malaria trip," Jean said of the surroundings. Malaria pills are notorious for causing wildly vivid dreams, and occasionally, insanity.

The menu offered a selection of game meats, which I'd been looking forward to trying. We chose carpaccio of springbok and crocodile, and ostrich spring rolls. Both the springbok and crocodile were extremely smoky and salty; the croc meat looked like shaved ginger, the springbok like raw tongue. Neither was particularly appealing. Our main courses of very western steak and fish were a source of relief.

"Would you like a Dawa?" asked the waiter. Not at all sure what it was, we agreed. A "colored" man appeared, which is, uncomfortably, what South Africans call non-white, non-black, people of mixed race. He was carrying an unwieldy large wooden box, balanced by a strap around his neck. He juggled ice, honey, limes, and vodka until we had our "dawas", which turned out to be the most delicious version of a mojito that I've ever had.

"But," I asked, confused, "why is this drink called a dawa?"

The traveling bartender smiled, and put thick wooden rods in our drinks. "Because," he explained, "this is a dowel rod." We used the "dawa" to scrape the chewy bits of cold viscous honey from the bottoms of our glasses and agreed we'd take this recipe home with us.

Sated and tired, we abandoned plans to hear more local live music at a jazz hall. We instead opted to buy gelato and find a taxi to take us home. We spent the next hour and a half looking for the elusive taxi. Oddly, finding a metered taxi in Joburg is more difficult than finding, say, the Shroud of Turin. Finally, the familiar site of a placard on a car that said "Johannesburg Metered Taxi". It seemed pretty clear that we'd found what we were looking for. Until the driver took off his magnetized metered sign and hid it in the front seat. "This is not a metered cab," he said, as we watched him remove the sign. "But," we began to protest, "your sign says 'metered'?"

"Not anymore," he said unsympathetically. "I can take you to your hotel for 200 rand," which was four times the price for the same distance we'd traveled just a few hours earlier.

Frustrated, we began to walk. Not sure where we were going and deeply cognizant of the Lonely Planet warning that "You'd have to be crazy to walk in Joburg at night," we asked directions from someone who looked official and less menacing than the men who'd approached us asking to party.

"Jump over the robot," said the woman from whom I'd asked directions. She pointed in the direction of my hotel, and repeated, perhaps to benefit my blank stare: "Jump over the robot."

"Umm," I inquired, "what is a robot and how do I jump it?" She looked at me like the men with dilated eyes looking to party had just looked at me. She repeated again, at which point I thanked her and made way for the "robot". As I began to cross the intersection, cars slowed down and passengers stared. Perhaps I am imagining this, but I took their slow-to-a-crawl-and-staring to mean that I was doing something unusual. Like walking at night, which I've mentioned I was told to never, never do.

To be continued...have a visitor here from New York!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not an hour into arriving in South Africa and some enterprising chaps smashed the window of our caravan truck, attempting to libertate my low-hanging fruit from its window seat (also known as a brand new camera). They didn't succeed. In lieu of a post, remember those photos I posted to the bungy blog? Click on them. Trust me on this. Thanks, Steph, for pointing that out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Grace Under Pressure...Sort Of"

I'm standing on a tiny metal platform, facing the majestic impossibly roaring loud Victoria Falls in front of me, and looking down at the falls pool below me. A video camera is recording my every move, every muttered prayer and curse. I am about to bungy jump 333 feet into the Victoria Falls Gorge. I have never been so scared in my entire life. My ankles are wrapped tightly together in thick towels and braces; I am harnessed to a series of iron clips and straps. I stand on the edge of the platform, trying to look at the Falls instead of the 333 feet below me. I am too scared to cry, but will later watch another bungy jumper's face crumple into tears as she says goodbye to her nervously sweating father watching her prepare for her own bungy jump.

As I stand on the edge of the platform, my toes inched over the edge of the bridge that connects Zimbabwe to Zambia, one of the African attendants of the Zambezi Adrenalin Company says to me, laughing, "Patricia, today is a good day to die! Do you have any last words for your family and friends?" He points the video camera at me, "Carpe Diem?" I say meekly, trying to hold down what might be my breakfast rising in my throat.

I am white-knuckle clutching the handlebars to save myself from the jump. The African bungy guides are used to this. They remove my clawed hands from the safety bars and shout in unison, "Five! Four! Three! Two! Bungyyyy!" And with that, they push me over the edge. I spend four seconds in freefall, falling at approximately 60 miles per hour for 333 feet into the 720-foot wide Victoria Falls gorge. I dive into and bounce in a rainbow, which is cutting across from the raging falls to the bridge from which I've jumped. I think this is the most exhilirating moment of my life. I'm wrong. That moment is about to come.

The attendants slowly hoist me back up the bridge, crank by crank. I am cradled by two large black men, yanking me quickly from the harness to the underbelly of the bridge. "What's your name? Where are you from?" I am asked over and over again, presumably to check if I have a concussion or brain injury. One of the men attaches a dog leash to my waist and slowly guides me back to the platform where I'm about to do my second jump. On my right is a railing, which I'm tightly holding. On my left is an unsecured drop-off of 333 feet. After bungy-jumping, I can't believe how afraid I am, still, of the raging rapids below me. "Insult to injury," I mutter nervously to myself as I look down to my left.

Barefoot, I cross the train tracks that run between the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Women carrying huge sacks of grain on their heads pass me. They are carrying back food from tumultuous Zimbabwe to their homes and workplaces in Zambia. I feel frivolous spending the equivalent of several months' wages for four seconds of terror. But that won't stop me from jumping a second time. The women ignore me and go about their food-transporting business. The men high-five me, "Crazy girl, how was the jump?" they ask, smiling and congratulating me.
I walk back to the platform for what I think will be a piece of cake. I'd been told the night before by some bungy veterans that the so-called Gorge Swing is infinitely more terrifying than the bungy jump. "Doubt it," I thought. After all, what can be scarier than jumping the first time? Well, as I'm about to find out, what is scarier than the bungy is the swing. Rather than dive straight down, the swing is essentially a bungy jump, but you jump OUT rather than down, and are therefore airborne for an extended period of time. And, this is the worst part: you face your demise. The falls, the rapids, the cascading trees, and that glowing rainbow; they're all coming toward you at 60 miles per hours. And you feel as though you're attached to nothing at all. You freefall diagnonally across a 20,000 year-old crater.

I step to the edge of the platform for the second time and think I've braced myself. I haven't. I look over the edge and wimper, "Please, I don't want to go." And again, with that, two men push me over the edge. I can't remember if they counted down or not (I'll try to post the video on or here, as soon as I get a reliable internet connection). I fall, and fall, and fall. I kick and scream, and even try to swim in the air, so desperate am I to control my movements that my mind translates air for water. Finally, a jolt, and I am staring at the rapids below me. I hear cheers above me, locals and tourists alike, high-fives in the air. The exhiliration is heady, palpable, and entirely unforgettable.
My right arm is tattooed in bright blue ink with my jumper's ID number, so I am now identifiable as someone that's jumped. Noticing my arm, an older Australian man walks over to me, nervously sweating, "I don't want to lose two daughters in one day," he says emotionally. His girls are busy getting harnessed and strapped in. "Don't worry," I say, "they'll be just fine."

More later on my flight over Victoria Falls in a tw0-seater open-air lawnmower with wings!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Abseiling in Africa (Sans Instructions)

"Just lean backwards, and walk very slowly down the rock." Right, I thought, one foot behind the other. Only my legs wouldn't go backward, my knees wouldn't bend, and my feet wouldn't move from their landing strip. I was glued to my rock. My rock was a 100-foot boulder on top of a lion's den called "Escort Park". It was so named a couple of decades ago for the necessity to take along a local guide to avoid deadly mambo snake and lion predators. The last person to ignore this rule was a young man on a motorbike in the late 80's (or so I'm told) who drove his whirring noisy bike into Escort Park and was summarily escorted out by a lion's teeth. Only his whirring bike motor and his head were left as evidence of his demise.

"Patreesha," Yami and Patrick, my Malawian guides, said in unison, "just...walk...backwards." I steeled myself, gritted my teeth (again), and leaned back against what felt like a very loose cable attached to my waist. I'd never abseiled before, and now was the time for explicit instructions. Instead of instructions at all, I was told to simply lean back and walk against the grain of my best intentions. Inch by inch, I gained confidence. Patrick explained to me that the knots around my waist were a combination of crotch pinchers (I'm sure I heard this wrong) and figure eight's (pretty sure I heard this right). I would have struggled to care less; I just wanted to know that all the knots were tight and secure.

As I picked up a little bit of speed (from wheelchair to crutch speed), the gravel started to shower beneath my step. Scary and invigorating. I sampled a jump and catapulted no more than a few inches from the rock face. I was far too timid to have sailed outward from my safety, which was the rock itself. Finally, I landed on the floor of the Escort Park, not particularly caring what combination there was of lions and/or deadly mambo snakes. I was just glad to be perpendicular and alive.

Heady with the rush of adrenaline from doing stupid things without waiver forms, I asked Yami and Patrick to join me in purchasing mushrooms from the roadside markets. We drove off from our abseiling boulders, and headed for the mushroom markets. We didn't bother haggling with the local family for the bright technicolor orange mushrooms; they were just $1.

Back at our lodge, we sipped Malawian brews, and ate African (for the first time in weeks): roasted meat in a light curry sauce, chick pea stew, and braised cabbage with peanut butter. The chill in the air was surprisingly crisp, so we lit a fire and warmed our feet and wool socks around the flames. I retired early, only to find a mouse on my nightstand, munching on a hard-boiled egg. It barely fazed me. Little does, after the spiders.

More later...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


This post is dedicated to the memory of my teeth.

After a hearty dinner of grilled pork chops, boiled potatoes, and mushroom soup, six of us in our group headed for the bar of the Kande Beach lodge huts, situated on the western shore of Lake Malawi. We ordered Scotch, which we're using as an internal antiseptic, and played pool while listening to classic American rock. Just one Scotch and a slice of chocolate cake for me, and I was nodding off at the bar.

I returned to my beach hut, pulled the dirty blue mosquito netting over the damp and stained prison-issue sheets and thin pillow. Just as I was fumbling around in the dim light for my toothbrush, I noticed a pair of eyes watching me. Or several pairs, as it were. "Jesus," I breathed irreverently, "a tarantula." I'd known this moment would come, but in booking my trip to the Land Of All Things Big, I hadn't anticipated just how pronounced my arachnophobia would be. Eyes locked on eachother, I slowly reached onto the bed to retrieve my industrial strength bug spray. Feet frozen to the floor, I slowly bent forward and sprayed him. And the entire doorframe and wall.

He must have died instantly, because a dozen or so of his friends came to his funeral right away. They rallied around his corpse, lots and lots of them. Feet still glued to the floor, I felt my intestines tighten and I started to cry. I bent forward again and unlatched the lock on the door, shut my eyes, and sprinted out. I found George the guide in the bar, and asked him what I should do. Masking mockery with concern, he offered me a night alone in the unused tent. Unused because of the rain and flooding in the area. Meaning, it was either the spiders or I'd sleep in a puddle. I chose the latter.

I unzipped the door to the tent, climbed inside, and unwrapped my brand-new "800g-lightweight-woman" sleeping bag which is lightweight perhaps because it comes without the comfort of any interior cloth. I tucked myself into my plastic wrap bedding and shut my eyes. I slowly drifted off to sleep only to wake up an hour or so later to thunder and lightning. I gritted my teeth and shut my eyes, willing myself back to sleep. At dawn I woke up to puddles all around me in my tent, and a film of sweat inside my plastic wrap. I'd been dreaming of creatures, and grinding my teeth all night.

I packed my gear, and headed in the rain for the shower. A gecko eyed me nervously. "Where were YOU last night when I needed you?" I said out loud to the spider-eating lizard. He sauntered off. At breakfast, I recounted my story to the group, telling them in great detail how my hatred for spiders was on a clinical level. Moose, our African cook, admonished me, "You should never hate any creature. Never."

And that was that...

Apologies for the lack of editing...I have only 15 minutes to write today...more later

Friday, February 01, 2008

I Tell Myself Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Have you ever tried to imagine the color of a smell? If you've watched that movie about the life of Helen Keller (a better writer would be looking up the name of the movie, but I'm on an abacus of a computer), you'll remember that scene where Keller's teacher puts a burning hot pan on her hand very briefly and explains that that sensation is the color red. In Africa, it's not sensations that describes colors, but powerful smells.

As we drove from Tanzania over the Malawi border, we crossed lush tea plantations, leaves heavy with rain, mist rising from the craggy and moody hillsides. It smelled dark green. Young boys and women on rickety bikes pedaled up the hillside with long reeds of straw strapped across the back of their bikes. "Hello, muzungu!" shouted the children by the roadside, greeting the "ghosts" as we waved from the bus. They ran from their thatched mud houses and smoldering smoky fires that they were attending. The smell was all dark brown and shades of grey.

Our caravan stopped for lunch on the side of the road next to one of the tea plantations. A tiny dirt road led from the main road to a village school. A sign advertising the school urged anyone who could read to "Fight Ignorance!" Four little local boys watched us eat our lunch of olive-flavored bologna, stale bread, and salad and laughed as we offered them the salad. Apparently they, too, know what dangers fresh vegetables bring.

"I think I've caught your diarrhea bug," George the guide said to the group. I pondered the nature of the word "caught" which specifically indicated to me that George the guide was abdicating any responsibility for the source of the illness, namely the food, and was instead suggesting that there was a flu going around. Never mind no one had a fever, and the one person who hadn't eaten vegetables was fine (me!). One of the Australians in our group offered the little local boys a tiny stuffed koala. She taught them how to pronounce it, "Kohh-ahhh-lahhh," and they erupted in shrieks of laughter. We packed our lunch dishes just as it began to heavily rain, and made our way for the Malawi border crossing.

Although we were instructed to not take any photos at the border, a friendly hello from a blonde woman seemed to get me what I wanted, which was a picture of the "Welcome to Malawi" traffic sign. As I returned to our truck to meet the group, a young boy selling soda, about 12 or 13 years old, was sobbing. His boss or father was ridiculing him for crying. I felt so sad looking at him that I bought him an orange Fanta, and he stopped crying immediately. A woman (his mother? boss?) praised him, making me wonder if I'd been set up. But just to see him stop crying was relief enough. His father tried to sell us more bootlegged cold drinks, but was caught by a border guard who chased him off attempting to beat him with a large wooden stick. The guard missed his backside with the stick, but did manage to steal the case of orange Fanta. The guard helped himself to a cold soda and smirked at the father and son who now had nothing to sell. At least the little boy finally did have something to cry about.

Chitimba Camp in the Chitimba Village is owned by a Dutch couple who emigrated from Holland to Malawi in January. They are renowned for their not-warm beer and their generator which works every afternoon. As I unpacked in my wooden hut, I noticed an absolutely enormous blue and red centipede on my porch. My throat went dry, my intestines tightened. "It's just a sweet little caterpillar," said I to my intestines. Having overcome that mental hurdle, I made straight for the bar where I ordered a not-warm local beer called Kuche Kuche, which has a hint of maple flavor and is "likable enough", in the words of Barack Obama. I sipped it, contemplating how much bigger everything else could be if a centipede was the size of my hand. I'd soon find out.

"And the parasite swam up into his willy, attached its claws to the sides if his urethra, and ix-ploded!" I'd walked into a conversation I wished I hadn't. "The doctors had to slice his penis open and remove the leetle feller." I wanted to walk out of the conversation that I'd walked into. But I was hungry and dinner was being served. I poured myself a bowl of delicious beef stew and tried to concentrate on eating while the group discussed the various types of parasites one can catch while traveling.

I made my excuses and headed off to the bar for a shot of coconut rum before bed. I needed to actually sedate myself in preparation for sharing my room with countless local creatures. At the bar, a couple of local Malawians were discussing in English the ubiquitous presence of snakes. In fact, they marveled, they'd just caught a pair of deadly mambo snakes!

"What," I quavered as I asked, "does one do when one wakes up and is staring at a mambo snake in one of these huts?"

"Well," the local man said, "Ask him to pay the bill for your room."

I unraveled my mosquito net, sprayed the exterior with industrial strength DEET, and gingerly stepped inside. As I peered out of my cocoon with my flashlight, an enormous bulbous cockroach ambled by. "No no that's not a cockroach I told myself, it's just an exotic beetle." Somehow beetles were better than cockroaches, and caterpillars were more palatable than centipedes. I laid down, slept a fitful sweaty sleep, dreamed of tarantulas, and woke up at 4am. I gave up on getting any more rest, crawled out of my bed, turned on my flashlight, and promptly dropped and broke it. I was now alone in the pitch black with all the local creatures in the heart of darkness.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my adventures with the fishermen, with a couple of woodcarvers and a farmer named "Richard Nixon, Mr Sweet Tokka, and Vin D Zo". And I discover the color red in a very unexpected way...