Three Days Of Departure

Journal Entries Of An Attempted Spiritual Journey

        Because I was out there to do some thinking, because there was nothing else to do, and because I figured that I would share my experiences of this little exersion, I kept a very detailed log. In fact, I used as many pages in my journal in three days as I usually do in two months. The following is taken directly from there with only a few changes, mostly additions in [brackets] for clarity. The style of writing has been maintained.

Sunday, Nov. 21st, 1999

        Up about 10:30am, showered, shaved, and cut my nails. Went to school to drop off some library books, to Spinneys supermarket for a last few supplies, packed, got gas and added the oil, wrote everyone a farewell email, and then I was ready. Loaded all the stuff into the Jeep and mom drove me to Shahama harbor. Blew up the dinghy, loaded it, and started the motor with a cloud of smoke on the first pull at 3:40pm (or maybe it was 3:45pm)...


DAY 1 (actually recorded dawn of 2nd day

"There passed a weary time." -- S.T. Coleridge, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Ready to head out
Packed up and ready to head out.

        I gave mom a kiss goodbye and I must say I was feeling a little nervous. The sun was low, it was windy, and it was a little colder than expected. I pulled off my shirt to keep it dry; perhaps should have done the same with my shorts. Headed out into the channel; the bow rode high with only me in the boat. Mom drove to the end of the harbor wall and watched me out. I waved back a couple of times, and when I hit the bend she was in the Jeep pulling away. On my own.

        Was going against wind, tide and sun. Passed a couple guys on shore and gave a friendly wave; they gestured that I should turn back. Perhaps they were worried about the fishing nets down at the mouth of the channel; perhaps they knew something I didn't. I slowed and watched the water for anything I might hit but pressed on. I have to press on till Friday now.

        Passed a tug on the way into open water, then crossed the sandbar. Ground a little sand with the propeller, which surprised me because the tide was rather high and the boat light. Popped the engine up into shallow water mode--makes a lot more noise and goes slower that way. Crossed the bar and the channel and headed straight for the mangrove island. I had really started too late: the setting sun turned the water a dull, ugly, no-color grey that I couldn't see through. But I figured better what little of the world I could see now to the darkness fast approaching. Stirred up sand but didn't hit again. Periodically checked the depth with my stick and beat my way through the waves, actually tacking some for a smoother ride. Still ended up with a pool of water 2" to 3" deep in the back of the boat. Didn't see any wildlife until I got to the island, then when I turned to go with the sun to the island, a flock of birds flew overhead and schools of fish started jumping ahead of me.

My mangrove inlet
The inlet I anchored in, taken at high tide on the second day. I stayed in the branch on the right.

        Had trouble staying in the natural channels once I found them, but eventually got to the cove I had in mind. Messed around with the anchor for a while: considered tying to shore as well, but I couldn't easily get through the muck and stems to the trees, so finally just anchored. Marked it with my stick in hopes of not setting down on the prongs when the tide went out. Bailed the boat, removed the seat, and dried off and reorganized the stuff as well as possible. The sun went down and I washed my face and took out my contacts in the dark with my flashlight. After all the salt spray and then the coming dew, everything felt wet. But not too cold. Washed some of the salt off my body, stripped down to just a shirt and a towel, and lay down on the folded exercise mat. Only wide enough for my hips, not really enough for my shoulders. Covered my feet with the rug (formerly our doormat) and the rest of me with my headgear, which actually worked quite well. The moon was already up, and that was how my night started.

        It seemed to last forever.

        It is so silent here, accentuated by all the noises. I'm conscious of every move I make. Fish splash in the water, water laps at the trees, air bubbles up from the muck. Birds soar by and I can hear the rustle of their wings, and once a whole flock crossed the moon. Everything was black and dark, but glowed a-pearl. The tide went out. The birds -- garrulous herons and some other kind of rambunctious wader -- came out to plunder the mud. They (the herons I think) make a sound like gargling mud with clenched teeth or like a sandy car ignition. The tide continued to go out and the boat set down in the mud in a couple inches of water.

        I continued to toss in the dark.

        The mud smelt like sulfur. The tide started coming back in and now I pointed the other way. There was no wind. I ate a couple granola bars (no dinner) while I floated past the anchor and hung towards the mangroves. Woke up (or rather got up; I hardly slept) periodically to pee, change position, or wipe the dew off the tubes so it wouldn't drip on me. I'm actually quite close to the airport, and so planes rhythmically droned overhead in all directions. At high tide, only the tops of the trees showed and all the water made me feel farther out to sea than I was. Finally slept some and woke up hanging back towards sea while trails of foam hurried by as the tide went back out again.

        I must admit I felt very alone.

        Five days of this shit! That's what I was thinking. Ideas of going to Lulu [island off the coast of Abu Dhabi city] crossed my mind, but I had said five days, so I guess I'll stick it out. The funny thing is I miss the people (friends, family, the comforts of home), but what scares me the most about the nighttime sounds is that they too might be people. And I considered that perhaps a 9 to 5 job wouldn't be so bad if I could avoid this. I would have a dry bed, someone to come home to, decent meals...

Dawn of 2nd day
Dawn of the second day. My shorts are still wet after all the the dew.

        The moon set, and, though things lost their pearly glow, it wasn't much darker. Dawn finally came, cold but bright and a promise of better. After writing in here, it's almost hot already.

        I don't know what I'll do now -- that's my main problem: I'm out here with nowhere to go. Staying here is as good as anything. I thought about looking for somewhere else to stay, but this place is pretty decent as an anchorage -- protected from the wind, no people on shore (actually there is no shore), good holding muck, no insects. It's just alien to a young man with too much time and no way to spend it but wait.

        I guess I'll eat and clean up while the tide comes in and we'll see where the day takes me.

DAY 2 -- 10:57am

"Houston, we have a problem." -- Apollo 13

Hot and bothered
Zoning out in the heat of the second day. I have my headgear on for a little shade.

        I think my mind is shutting down, and that could be very serious. It's like "travel mode" [meaning that frame of mind I, and some other people I know, get into when they fly long distances]-- waiting, passive, neutral, almost serene. Perhaps it's because I am waiting -- waiting for the birds to shut up, waiting for the tide to go down, waiting for the tide to come up, waiting for the moon to go down, waiting for the sun to come up, waiting for noon to come, waiting for noon to go, waiting for revelation, waiting for the birds to start up again. If things don't change, if there isn't some groove I slip into, I can't do this for 5 days, not optionally [meaning, just because it sounded like fun]. This is like sense dep. [referring to the 60 hours I spent as subject in a sensory deprivation experiment]. There, I slept a lot. I let my mind wander. It was fun: "Where will my mind go next? Ooh, pretty colors. Are these vivid enough to be a hallucination or does this really happen any time I close my eyes? How long have I been in here?" Travel mode is like that in a way. We wait. We see what comes next. But now I'm doing that here. But I'm not moving on, catching the next flight anytime soon. It's a common effect of pot that one's mind jumps from one thing to another, only here it keeps jumping to neutral or to getting home or to whether I can do this for five days.

        Writing this is helping -- keeping my mind focused. (Helicopter -- lean and dark -- going by.) Without it, I zone out. Watch the fish. Everything is too much work. Took me five minutes to getting around to getting out this book.

The view after rowing
The view after rowing out of the mangroves: just a sandy spit of shore in the distance.

        Maybe it's the sun; maybe it's because I haven't eaten enough. After I cleaned up, I did force-feed myself a turkey sandwich and some cheese. It was the longest sandwich of my life. Then I reorganized the boat (everything takes a long time -- moving everything else out of the way as I go) and rowed out of the little mangrove inlet and into a bit of a breeze. Floated and looked around. Nothing to see. No where to go that's better than here. I don't want to use up my gas. I thought I was going with the current, but when I turned around to come back, I was barely moving along the shore. Got back to the inlet, but it was too hot among the trees (no wind nor shade), so I anchored at the mouth in the shallow water. I tried to rig up some shade, but it wasn't really happening. So I just draped the headgear over my head.

        And sat.

        Nothing else to do.


        Splash from fish.

        Another plane overhead.


        As a side note, my ass is starting to ache. I'll keep writing, for lack of anything else to do.

        The tide's coming in fast now -- the sunlight ripples on the sandy bottom have changed. If I'm going to go back to Abu Dhabi, I should leave on a high tide -- the stuff I came over on the way here is mudflats this morning. But I don't want to go against the current either, though I think I'll have the wind to deal with in any case. It's 11:20 right now -- a decent time to leave to get the most high tide and then the most favorable current I think. And tomorrow it should be 50 minutes earlier. I can't go today -- I haven't even been out 24 hours yet! I feel better after writing. I'm going to go back to sitting for a while.

DAY 2 -- 1:00pm

        What the fuck am I doing out here?!

        Hour for hour, I think I'd take this over calculus, but a couple hours of studying vs. a day out here like this? Shit, gimme da books! What I'm learning on this trip: Life is too short for this shit. It sounded like fun -- there's a lot in life you don't know till you try ("How do you know you don't like it? You haven't even tried it!" "Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.") I've tried it now. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am -- onto better things.

        Other important stuff: have a direction. I got this boredom problem because there isn't anything I'm doing out here. Like I learned in sense dep: without stimulation and interaction, the world becomes a subjective turmoil of images and thoughts that have no connection or causality with the world. So why have the world if that's what you're going to do? So have some purpose that keeps you moving..

Mangroves close up
What mangroves look like close up on a medium tide. Certainly nowhere to get out if something goes wrong!

        Another thing: keep it loose. Be ready to change your plans; have a way out. If things are too rigid, it detracts from the whole excursion. In sense dep, there was a goal with an open ticket out. Here, I'm basically stuck for 5 days! 1/73 of a year to learn this.

        So how to get out? I seem to have 3 main options:

  1. Stay for the five days. Looks good, matches plan, responsible, masochistic.
  2. Go back to Shahama and find a phone. Easy to roll up the dinghy there too. Maybe best idea now that I think about it.
  3. Head to Abu Dhabi. Looking at the gas can, I wonder. I don't know the way, my two maps conflict, and it'll be cutting it close, especially trying to get all the way around Lulu. Of course I could always walk it or row part of the way, but that sounds like a couple days worth of ride since it'll take all of one just motoring.

        So now what? I'm still not content with "wussing out" after 1 day, even 2 is bad, though I'm sure by tomorrow morning it'll feel like a week! So though there's time to do the Shahama thing (try it anyway), I guess I'm here for another night. Maybe I'll learn some more. Like how it feels to get a wet fish slapped across the face at 2am if these fish don't watch were they're jumping.

DAY 2 -- 4:38pm

Getting ready for bed
Tired and weathered, getting ready for bed.

        It'll be getting dark soon. It's windy tonight -- I don't remember if it was as windy last night or not. The tide is going out and I can finally see the difference on the trees. I saw a few crabs swim out and the biggest ray I've ever seen -- about 4 feet across and tail about 7 feel long. Glad I didn't step on him when I was messing with the anchor! I spent the afternoon agonizing over my departure method. I rowed to the edge of the island again and had a look -- it must be Umm an Nar [an industrial area south of Abu Dhabi] and Abu Dhabi I can see. Distance is funny out here though. I calculated fuel and distance estimates and tide times. I had hoped to catch the tide out, but I guess not. I still need it high enough to get over the shallows though, which will be the problem. I think wind, more than tide, will work against me, so I want to go in the morning. Low tide is just after dawn though. I probably shouldn't go in the dark either, even rowing. I haven't seen a boat yet, but I might get off course. I wish I could decide what to do. I would like to get picked up here the most, but can I find a phone to use on a weekday? If I go back, I can't make Abu Dhabi. But where to get picked up in Abu Dhabi? The breakwater would be best (I could call from the Sheraton on the way), but the farthest to go.

        I am filled with such angst and subliminal passions! My guts are tied in hollow knot, as when I fell in love for the fist time and moved across the world in the same week. Maybe it's just hunger -- I can't find the motivation to eat. Is it just the thought of another night here? I feel like something bad is coming my way.

        I rowed around the mangroves and found a nicer spot -- more protected and out-of-the-way -- but I wanted as much water as I could get since I might want to leave as soon as possible. I need to decide where that will be to. If I can't make the far end of the Corniche [main road along the front of Abu Dhabi], I'll be on some wack-ass part of the city trying to get picked up. Worse, if it's farther than I think, I'll be stuck on Sadiyat Island trying to row or out in some no-man's land. But if I go for the phone, there'll be no Abu Dhabi try. Only trying for a phone each day for two more, then waiting the whole five. I'll sleep on it for an answer.

DAY 3 (sort of) -- 2am

"Gotta get up from this slumber and get myself home." -- Counting Crows, "Children in Bloom"

        I'm writing by the light of the moon. Tonight is going much better than last. I put on my fuzzy pants this time and covered up with the towel. My shorts were dry, so I could use them as a pillow, which was a big help. I also organized things differently so that my "bed" is a luxurious couple inches wider. The birds didn't show up tonight either, which seems strange. I even slept most of the night till now -- only woke up about 4 times. However, things are very damp, especially my shirt, which as two days of sweat and salt air in it to attract moisture. I got the sleeves wet setting my anchor marker [my stick]. It kinda stinks too.

        So I was lying here watching the moon (and the 18 stars and the planes that go over every 5 to 10 minutes at night) and thinking about Thoreau's quote -- about why he went and I came, about routing all that is not life. I can't say exactly what all I've managed to rout, but one thing sure remains: choices. I spent more than three hours yesterday agonizing about how to get home. I lack the motivation to decide what to eat and I'm suffering for it. Always there is action required. It is like canoeing on a river: you can paddle up it -- against the current -- or down it, but always you must do something, take some action, make some choice. Otherwise, you will crash over rocks or be swept into still pools and be trapped. (A similar analogy is of course sailing -- you must trim the sails and man the helm to avoid reefs and doldrums.) Of course, you can go with the current/wind or against it. That, I think, is the trick of living the simple, wholesome life -- going with the wind such that it seems you are doing nothing, though of course you're always staying in the breeze and checking your course.

        This brings me to a second thing about life: time tables. There is a cycle, a rhythm, in everything. There is a time to do things. Even out here for five days, I have to always mind the tides, and the sun and the moon. And even in "perfect nature" [Thoreau and other Transcendentalist writers generally idealized nature], they don't exactly coincide. To run with the tide, I must leave before dawn, before I can see.

        So I think always there are things to do and rhythms to keep. And the free choice behind all of them. This is what life is, this active making of memories.

        Such revelations as this (I discovered something akin in sense dep) are so obvious as to already be mentally accepted. But when I do these simple exercises in deprivation, the tarnished and forgotten become clear again.

        So though I came out here in hopes of some revelation into what I should do, doing nothing can't help me in that direction. All I have done is exchange my daily choices for different ones -- where to go, where to anchor, what time to leave, what to try to eat. And of course, staying out here means forfeiting that time from my "real" life.

        So, as Thoreau said when he left Walden -- been there, done that, there's more to it that this: what's next? [a very rough paraphrase of course]. Same with me. Let's go home and get on with it.

        The tide should turn in about an hour. I'll start getting ready to go then for about an hour more and leave about 4:30am or 5am if the moon's still up. I can row well enough in this light, especially at high tide. Hopefully I'll make the main khor/channel before it gets too shallow; low tide must be about 9:30am [it turned out I was wrong; more like 8am].

DAY 3 (still sort of) -- 6:05am

        "I want my mom!" -- every kid, anywhere when the shit hits the fan. [Also Babe the pig]

        "Think about everything before you do it." -- my mom's advice as I left

        I learned that time in the gorge [an episode in which I found small, leech-like creatures crawling on my feet as I walked in a small stream and so tried climbing up a rock face to get out and almost fell due to heat exhaustion; as it turned out, they weren't leeches, just some kind of harmless black writhing things] that, though it may not seem it, sometimes things are better where you are, that when you go to change them it can be for the worse. This may well be one of those times now. Leaving before dawn does not seem to have been such a good idea. The tide, for one, doesn't really go towards Abu Dhabi. In my inlet, it went N-S; here it goes E-W [and going E when I was going NW]. Secondly, it's dark. I should have listened to my own description -- the moon makes things glow, it doesn't light them. I'm out here between dark and dark with lights on the horizon in 180 degrees. I anchored to avoid fucking up this whole thing even more: when you get lost and scared, just sit tight! Some more motherly advice.

        On the bright side, I'm in 4" of water, stationary. The moon's going down and the sun should be up in less than an hour. I won't get run over because I haven't seen any other boats, it's too shallow for anything bigger than me right here, and I have a light. Hopefully at dawn I'll be able to find a natural channel through the shallows and figure out where I am. If not -- to Shahama for me! I'm taking this as a sign I don't exactly know what I'm doing going this way.

        If I have sounded rather whining and unsure in the writing of this journal, it's because I am. This whole trip has had a feeling of dread since I noticed the color of the water and guys on the shore waving me home on the first day. Well, except for some time at sunset last night and during the night when I was sound enough asleep to forget where I was. It's time for this to be over now.

        Guess I'll wait till dawn and see where exactly I am.

DAY 3 (for sure now) -- 8:11am

"Now we'll take a break from "The Waiting Game" for a quick round of "Name That Indecision!"

"The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago someone left with the cup...
He's going for distance; he's going for speed...
...all alone in a time of need." -- Cake, "The Distance"

Dawn of the third day
Dawn of the third day as I sat anchored on the mudflats.

        Now it's official: I'm stuck. The sun came up (dawn is always the coldest part of the night it seems) and I was on the edge of a natural channel, now about the only water I can see. As it went down, I saw a path across the bar, and though it's still wet while the rest is drying, I'm sitting only 30 yards from where I last wrote. I tried to get out and pull [the dinghy draws less water with me out of it], but the muck sucked me down past the ankles and then sucked off my Tevas. I tried a bit barefoot, pulling the dinghy, but I was too slow. Now I have to wait on the tide again. This is what I had hoped to avoid by leaving early.

        Of course, at every set back I have to pause and reconsider: "What the hell am I doing?" I keep looking at the islands and then the maps, but they're road maps and don't even agree with each other. I can see why: around this area everything is either one big mudflat island or water with a few trees poking out. The horizon's too hazy to tell anything either. Yesterday I thought I could see Abu Dhabi; now I can barely see the next big island. And so I wait the tide -- about three hours before I can move ahead again.

        I guess I'm doing the right thing. This way involved the most risks -- getting lost, running out of gas, etc. -- but seems the most likely to end today with me in my bed. Going back to Shahama would be safer and easier, but where to find a phone? I'll go two hours towards Abu Dhabi. If I can see I can make it, I'll keep going. Otherwise I can turn back and make Shahama by 3pm. If I can't find someone with a phone [in this part of the world, you're more likely to find someone with a mobile before you find a coin operated phone booth; it was my hope to run into one of the people who come down to the harbor to fish at sunset since the area is pretty out of the way and so unlikely to have a phone booth], I'll have to spend the night in the empty harbor or head back to the mangrove inlet in the dark, which I am loathe to do regardless of lighting conditions.

        Back to waiting....

DAY 3 -- 11:36am

Across the mudflats
Waiting for high tide on the mudflats. I was trying to follow the dark, winding path of slightly deeper water towards the small island on the horizon.

        Well, I'm off the bar. Waited it out, then "walked" the dinghy a ways, sitting on the bow. Once I got out, I was golden. If I had made it that far [about 250 yards] last night/this morning in the dark, it would have been deep enough to motor and my plan would have worked! Powered up and went over a couple more big rays and up a swiftly-flowing channel. Feels great to be moving again! Came to a fork and so got out (ah, so long since dry land!) and climbed up a dredge-fill dune [this area is always having some new channel dredged through the shallow water; they usually end up adding the dredgings to the existing land]. Spent about half an hour with the binoculars [blue plastic opera glasses actually] and the maps. There's not that much water out here! The maps show water with islands where all I can see is land and a couple channels that don't go in the right direction. I can see Abu Dhabi, but I can't see how to get there. I'm going with the left fork I guess. Better hurry -- almost noon. A couple hours, then I'll be in the clear or forced to turn around. Got the fingers crossed! It's a nice day, still rising tide to help me over the shallows, though I am bucking something of a headwind.

DAY 3 -- 1:46pm

"It's a no good!... Gimme Plan B."
"What's Plan B?"
"Hehe. Watch!" -- two soldiers in Blackwolf's army, Wizards

Searching for a way thru
Searching for a channel towards Abu Dhabi through the mangroves.

        Well, scratch that idea. Went down a couple mangrove channels, ground the propeller in some sand again, followed a major channel for 20 minutes and came up empty: no way over to where I want to be. I know there's a channel by Abu Dhabi and I can see Abu Dhabi, but I can't get there. Spent 40 minutes fighting current back to the dune, but now the current coming in the manually narrowed channel (I think they might build a road or bridge across here someday, or were because no one's working on it now, though there are some abandoned-looking buildings nearby) was so fast it made rapids and a nice bubbling sound. Tried it anyway -- the water moves at the same speed as the dinghy, so I just hung still. Carefully moved back out (might have flipped the dinghy over I suppose) and pulled onto a small beach. I'll be damned if I'll wait for a high tide to quit after spending three hours of this morning waiting on a low one! Had a drink and stretched my legs and combed my hair in case I find someone with a mobile soon and decided to tour down this side of the spit [this spit of land begins at the channel from Shahama harbor and ends at the channel that was now filled with the rapid current]. So that's what I'll do now. I know there's 2 more channels I can take back to the other side; whether I can find them is probably another story. Here goes: back to Shahama harbor!

DAY 3 -- 2:49pm

"Dear God:
        Har-tee har har har. Why don't you just cut it out? Either kill me or let me go.


        Or not back to Shahama harbor...

        Apparently mangroves exert some sort of dimension-crossing black hole power. Went down the coast a ways, but could see only shallower water and mangroves ahead. Rather than get stuck again, I motored back to the Rapids Channel. Gave it another careful go, but still no good. A rush perhaps, but I'm still a prisoner an hour later. Guess I'll be waiting for the tide after all! It should switch in about half an hour to an hour. It takes 2 hours to get to the harbor -- yet it'll be dark then too. So it looks like the mangroves have thrown me another good one: go to the harbor and find someone with a phone in the dark? Or maybe stop halfway there in the old familiar mangrove inlet just in time to settle in for another night. It would make sense to stop and try for the harbor tomorrow... It all just cracks me up.

        Of course, another interesting thing to note is that I kinda had fun today, though it has also been frustrating. I got to see the sights, explore a little, all that wot wot.

        I guess I'll still try for the harbor if it looks like I can make it there before dark. Otherwise it will be a night spent waiting for morning and a morning spent waiting for the right tide. I won't be able to go till then -- a night in exchange for 3 or 4 more hours of daylight.

DAY 3 -- 5:32pm

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it..." -- Mission: Impossible to find a phone! Tried the Rapids Channel as soon as done writing here. The rapids had stopped, but the current was still whipping. Weaved back and forth and finally got out. Went through some confused seas and headed back into known territory. Saw a boat tied along a seawall by the abandoned-looking buildings, so motored over and gave a "Salaam Walekum!" Put my thumb in my ear and my little finger to my lips and asked the two fisherman-looking dudes in the boat if they had a telephone. They didn't speak English, but I found out quickly that they didn't. They tried to tell me where one was, but we couldn't understand each other. I gave a cheery "Shookran" anyway and pushed off.

Back to Shahama
Sunset at Shahama harbor, waiting for a ride home. It was done.

        Had a strong wind at my back, maybe a little current with me, and all the water I could hope for under the rubber. Didn't even slow down for the shallows -- hauled ass all the way down. Pulled into a tiny harbor near the Shahama channel where I had seen a tug debark from on Day 1. Found a little Indian dude with bad teeth and a phone card for the only phone around. After four tries (one was that they had changed my phone number), I got through and mom picked up on the first ring, and replied that she'd come. Thanked the dude profusely for making the call for me and pressed 10 dirhams into his hand. Hopped back into the dinghy and headed up the channel to the harbor . Four guys came zipping by close in speedboat, and though I gave them a friendly wave, I had to cut hard to cross their wake head on. Pulled into the harbor as the sun was beginning to set. Pulled up to the steps, unloaded the gear and the outboard, splashed the dinghy with a saltwater rinse, and muscled it up the steps on my back. Good thing I had such an easy time coming in: the gas can was empty -- barely enough left to make a sloshing sound when I shook it! Sat on the coolbox, sighed, and watch the sunset. My trip was done!

"It is done! It is done! The world is free!" -- Wee-hawk, Wizards

(the rest of) Tuesday, November 23rd, 1999

        Mom showed up after only a couple more minutes and I told her a bit about my trip while we washed the dinghy, folded it up, and loaded the gear. Rode home and, sitting in a padded, comfortable, slightly air-conditioned seat, I began to get very tired. Parked in the parking garage, hauled the stuff to the elevator, and from there to the apartment. Unloaded all the bags, wiping down or washing all the salty stuff, putting away all the uneaten food and all the full water bottles. Over the trip, I drank only five 1.5 liter bottles of water and a can of soda water and ate 3 granola bars, 2 Nutra-grain bars, 10 to 12 crackers, a Peperami ("spicy meat snack"), a turkey and cheese sandwich, 1 apple, and part of a bag of dry ramen noodles. Since I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch the day I left, that was only about 1600 calories for 3 full days! Most of the time was spent just lying or sitting in the heat, so that doesn't take much energy. But still, I probably lost a little weight. After unpacking, had a big can of chunky soup and a bagel and toasted myself with the single shot of "medicinal" Baccardi grog I had taken with me. Showered. I have a burnt forehead and tan knees. Was in bed, exhausted, by 9pm and slept 16 hours.

        So how was it? Did I have fun? Did I learn anything? You tell me. :) I am glad I did it. I think my trip got off to a bad mental start, but the last day was fun in that I got to do some exploring. The trip did refresh me: I felt I had been gone a long time -- when I got home, all the smells were new again, like when I come back after six months at college. For the memory, it was well worth it. Thanks for reading about it! Maybe you got something too.

"I gotta get out on my own,
I gotta get up from this waiting at home.
I gotta get out of this sunlight;
It's melting my bones.
I gotta get up from this slumber and get myself home."

-- Counting Crows, "Children in Bloom"

"I went... because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartanlike as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

-- Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"

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SD Emporium : Three Days of Departure
Last Edited: 22 Jul 2000
©1999 by Z. Tomaszewski.