Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Triumphant (I Hope) Return


A little over a month ago my chief logistics officer shipped me a package.  I paid a lot of extra money for the two to three day option.  For a month I waited in Naples.  Some of that time I was actively involved in trying to recover it.  I sent forms into offices and a lot of phone calls were made.  Most of that time I was waiting, assured that my package would arrive in the next day or two.  After a month, and 25 euro in taxes, it did.

I opened the package.  There was an old pair of five finger shoes in it.  I put them on.  The broken glass and bloody syringes in Naples scare me more than I like being barefoot.  My paddle was in there.  I’ve had it for years and it’s pretty beat up.  I was very happy to be reaquainted with my old friend.  And sorry I had left it behind for a newer shinier model from Braca which was a bad size and broken.  When one of my old shafts broke, epic was very helpful.  When my Bracca shaft broke, Bracca told me it must have been my fault.

I took my old Neoprene jacket, not as warm as the winter paddling clothing I had taken with me, but more comfortable.  The clothing I had with me was too warm.  That’s what you get for packing while your mother is watching.  Thanks for sending me the shoes mom!

And an Akuilisaq.  An Akuilisaq is a traditional style spray skirt, that will hopefully chafe less than the one Nelo gave me.

I hope this marks the end of the troubles that have plagued me since Day One.  I hope this is a fresh start.  After a month of sitting on my but, it’ll certainly feel like it in the bad ways.  

I didn’t do any running in Naples because I was scared of the glass.  I pulled it out of my feet twice.

Before I left Naples I dowsed it in gasoline and burnt it down on my way out.

Yesterday morning I was up at four to catch the 6:00 bus.  I didn’t pack my rain jacket and pants because I left them in the locked LNI building.  The building opened at 8:30 and I was at the station in time to catch the 10:00 train with a ticket in hand.

The 10:00 train was canceled.  A bus would take us to Salerno instead.  The bus was an hour late so I missed the layover.  I caught another bus from Salerno to Somewhere, and from there a two car diesel train to Metaponto.

A woman in a uniform was patiently trying to explain something to me.  Every time I thought I understood, she said something else that I didn’t.  While she was working at it a couple of railway cops came up behind her and stood imposingly.  I was worried my ticket wasn’t good enough because of all the changes from the original plan.

Eventually one of them translated the part of what the woman was saying that I did understand.   Apparently that was all there was to it.  He asked to see my passport.  I showed it to him and he wished me a good journey.  

There’s something insulting about being asked for ID when none of the cleancut people wearing shoes are.  I wonder if there’s any correlation between not having shoes and committing crimes.  If there is I’ll bet it’s only a reaction to oppression.People treating you like your less than them all the time makes a person spiteful.

Right now, if I could, I would probably hold up the guy who charged me 25 euro for my own gear which I’ll be taking out of the country with me as soon as I can.  I’d take my money back as part of the struggle against oppression.  You can’t keep us down!

But the last bus driver did.  He sent me to the back of the bus because I didn’t have shoes and tried to laugh at me with the fellow who boarded next.

A few days ago an Italian Israeli woman tried to set up kayaking lessons for her grandson in Tel Aviv.  She found my website and realized I was in the neighborhood.  I spent last night on an organic farm with friends of hers near my kayak, and I’ll spend the Sabbath with her in Taranto. The farmers have retired to this way of life from medical academia.  Their family has lived on this farm for over a thousand years.

In an hour or so, the farmers will give me a ride to the boat garage in the port of Policoro.  I really hope my kayak is there.

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