Monday, September 05, 2011

St Kitts

I am writing this on the patio of the lovely Ocean Terrace Hotel on the island of St Kitts. (Look it up... I have no idea where I am geographically) The hotel looks over the island and I will be able see my ship from my patio when it docks tomorrow. This will be a post-posting since I can not get on the Internet even after my offer to pay the $13.00 a day. That would be over 35.00 in local coin. Probably operator error, but it is an expensive learning curve. Nonetheless I will publish this missive when I get the opportunity.
Between the last sentence and this one I have moved my operational base. This is off season for St Kitts and the hotel is empty. I wouldn't even be here if hurricane Irene had not pillaged some of my ships ports of call this week.
As far as I can tell I am the only guest. When I checked in the clerk told me that when the electricity went out on Tuesday the hotel back up generator broke. He said if there is suddenly no electricity in the hotel, it was because this section of the Island was blacked out and there was nothing the hotel could do about it. Just what you want to hear after an all night flight. The hotel bar and restaurant is closed and I have been directed to Fisherman's Warf eating establishment right on the water. In fact it sits right in the water on a pier into the surf. I was struck by the sign out front... it says "Fisherman's Wharf Sea Side dining"... then in smaller letters under the sign it says, "No fishing". Perhaps they should just call it the Wharf.
No one is here either but they are open. There is a couple in the restaurant part and a table of locals in the bar. I feel like I am living some strange Caribbean version of "The Shining". "Good evening Mr. Torrence."
"Hello Lloyd... wonderful weather we are having here at the Overlook...."
It was a long wait to get through Immigration this afternoon. Not that many people but the line was moving at a pace even slower than the usual Island pace. The officer controlling my line seemed to be taking a very long time with each person. I could see them signing things and shuffling paper back and forth, and taking much longer than I am used to. I have done his drill on almost all of the Islands and this was excessive. I expected a long line of questions when I got to the window, about what I was doing here and a discussion on the reality of making a living as a ventriloquist. But when I finally got there the guy was great. He asked me if I had ever been to St Kitts before, I said, "I can't remember." He said something to the effect that I must have had a great time before if I couldn't remember it. We laughed and established my island experience was eschew because I worked ships. I was stamped and admitted in less than a minute. It seems the others before me had not filled in the landing form correctly and he had to have them correct it. If a plane load of Americans can not fill out a simple form correctly... no wonder Rick Perry is ahead in the polls right now.
There was almost a fist fight over which skycap would help me with my luggage. Evidently two guys had seen me at the same time, each claiming territorial rights over hauling my stuff to the taxi. The little guy won. But back to now.
The sound track to this reality ride is quite busy. Between the surf pounding the shore, the tree frogs squeaking like a broken baby carriage, bad reggae musak, and the television at the bar blaring with reruns of Seinfeld, one would think you were at a carnival. One only has to look around to see the truth.
It would be easy to see my adventure here through the eyes of Ernest Hemmingway. With a little tweak I could play up the romance of such an adventure. It is tempting, and would be a good read perhaps. But it is the loneliness that takes center attention. There is no one here to share it with, no one to laugh with over the "no fishing" sign. At every point I am reminded that I occupy a table for one no matter where that table is located. And ultimately Ernest offed himself. Was his an exciting life well led, or a cautionary tale. All we really have is his writings and his legend. I question that either was a truthful representation of the events of his life.
But before I go looking for a shot gun.... I have a TSA complaint. Yes, me and the TSA are still not friends. At LAX today I was instructed to go through the scanner and not just the metal detector. Now two days ago I had several skin spots burned off my left arm. By this morning it looked like I had been burned several times by a lit cigarette while being tortured to reveal the secret of ventriloquism. Rather than go through a plane ride looking like an abused elder, I wrapped an ace bandage around my forearm to cover the spots. So, back to the f****** TSA. I got to the scanner and the TSAsshole looked at my wrapped forearm and said, "Woa, what have we got going on here." I said the bandage was covering a couple of open burn wounds on my arm. He actually made me take the bandage off and show him my arm, then step into the scanner holding the bandage above my head. Really? I thought that was the whole point of the cancer causing scanner... it can see through cloth. It is supposed to show anything that a person is hiding under his clothes. If I was stupid enough to hide explosives under the ace bandage on my left arm, wouldn't that have shown up on the scanner? If I give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it was an extra security screening for the protection of the flying public it might sell to some. However, I am not one to explain the incident with brilliance when I can dismiss it as stupidity.
Ernest might have offed himself earlier if he had been required to go through TSA security to seek his adventurous life.
As you were,


Russ Lewis Russo said...

Thanks Jay;

The "it is the loneliness that takes center attention." that sentence itself, in your post, "indeed...does...take the center of my attention. While the rest of your excellent writing supports the insight so well, it is my understanding of such anguish under such conditions, on the road, cruises, strange eateries, alone and such, that causes me to respond in kind and thank you for sharing. That said; Be well Jay...keep that good heart of yours in your voice. Russ

Jay said...

Yeah, the "loneliness" part got me, too. Do any members of your family ever go on the road with you? Or have they? Or do you just prefer to focus on business when at work and don't want/need any distractions?

I *think* if I were in your shoes I'd change them because I have big feet. Then I'd grab a (older) kid or wife and take with me. At least sometimes.