Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Plan for Crap Car

The vehicle finally socked it to me – bunked off its job on the way out of town.

Waaaaay out of town.

A psychopath heap of metal with autistic tendencies is what it is, and I've fled.

It managed itself down the hill, all loaded, in the pouring rain, the road hardly visible, with lots of 4 wheel drive. Splendid.

Later that morning...

Swishing along the tar road - what fun. Past the rain shadow of Meru. Groves of banana trees lushly grow and streams sparkle clearly between the coffee plantations, their bushes standing neatly under mature planted forest.

Out past the last town and onto the open road.

Here orderly fields of maize nestle neatly under the loom of Mount Kilimanjaro. Close but shrouded.

Distant mountains, straight empty road stretching far ahead. Swinging along this open road with the Dust Angels belting out their thing in my ears.

Clucking engine noise. Surely not. This is not part of the swelling violin solo.

Is it?


Turn round to face the way we came.



Much later ...

Sitting in a back street in Moshi in the metal beast watching lizards on a wall in the dying sun.

But all is not lost. I have a fine idea. I have a plan most cunning.

I see a fruitful future career for this heap of shit car of mine.

Disembowel the bastard and convert it into a lovely display stand.

Selling croc shoes just like this one is.

Perfect hey?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Somehow whenever disaster looms you will find me thus.

OK, so I reluctantly admit that I copied the following into a notebook the other day (a Capricorn trait I believe – in a room of people they are apparently the ones scribbling).

“Life will give you whatever you experience is the most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” (E. Tolle)

Yeah? Great. It bloody well it better be, because I am four days drive away from home on a long empty road and my current life experience is a crap motor vehicle in intensive care for yet more major surgery. Lets hope it works for the trip home and that all the bits hold together in place.

I read once in a mind/body hippy book that external manifestations such as vehicle problems reflect similar dysfunctions in your life or bodily health: Battery – look at your energy levels etc. Failed brakes? – ooh dunno. Life barreling out of control? Or something?

Well mine has blown its multiply-repaired top in a big-time prissy, hysterical blue-faced fit of funk. Clunk. Thrown its toys out the cot. Again. Shew. Should I be thinking my whole body system is going on the serial blink? It seems OK to me.

Down in the depths in the whole abdominal area of this mechanical (maniacal) sulk-pot, under the head gasket delves the lovely Simon - into the blood soaked pistons (again) more rings (again), injectors, clamps, sutures, burst blood vessels – timing belts (again) and the surgeon is again trusted again and more time is spent waiting it out. And money?? Do I even want to think about it? Am I pacing? Do I give a toss?

Well hell no. Why should I when apparently my consciousness is evolving. Super duper.

This is where I am

Although there is yet another $2500 in mechanic bills, missing deadlines with publisher (only a raptor guide, sorry), getting late with appointments with self in studio, a safari to take in early May ... who cares? My head is deep into terra firma and I have a close up view of sparkly, granity microscopic sand particles.

And rather loving it.

Because ... here I am with some of my best ever loving mates that I hardly get a chance to see, riding horses through the open savannah under the startlingly beautiful Mount Meru, walking home at night enveloped by twinkling stars after exchanging whiskey-sipped warm confidences, watching the mist wrap around the Maasi Steppes every evening and listening to Miranda singing sweet melodious Zambian songs which always stop the baby from crying.

Mind you, I know what I would do if I had comprehensive insurance and a box of matches.

pics from internet

Friday, April 9, 2010

Am I Dead?

Once I had a rather strange experience on the operating table. It was actually so much fun that it has affected me to this day.

I had kept getting what I thought was malaria but turned out to be kidney infections and had to go in for a routine procedure of a urethra dilation.

It all happened during one of those dark dips that life chucks at you from time to time – a pre-divorce breakup, work not selling, dead broke .... oh you know the sort of thing ... nights peppered with glowering beings bearing sharp spikes to prod you painfully awake, the dull ache in the solar plexus … all that stuff. Days seemed out of sync and fuzzy, normal actions a little blurred around the edges.

So I went to reasonably priced Greek urologist in Lusaka who told me to take antibiotics and wait for the op.

I had to hole up feverish and ill in a friends apartment in Lusaka for about ten days while the infection cleared. Awaiting the event.

I stayed there alone as my friend was away but her neighbor kept telling me rather horrific tales about a bunch of fake Taiwanese anaethetists that Zambian Ministry of Health had imported into the country on the cheap (thanks a lot mate – I'm about to have contact with said unknown anaethetists, great), all of whom had Mickey Mouse licenses. With as much value as if they had come out of a cornflakes packet. Thanks again.

Very recently even before these nasty stories, I had heard two first hand frightful ones – one from a women who woke up during an abdominal op in Zim and was unable to move … trying to signal the anaethetist with her eyeballs … no one saw … nice.

The other was our friend Douggie the safari guide who went to our local mission hospital for a leg op and woke up in the middle of it. We all found that pretty scary

So yeah, OK maybe I was primed for disaster – totally brainwashed, and primed.

BUT when I arrived by taxi to the Garden Compound Clinic attached to Coptic church complex

picture from internet

and saw whitewashed mud buildings – quick views of black shrouded figures slipping past the alleys of the church part (who I am sure were simply going about their rightful ecclesiastic business), but...hnmm...somehow sinister, I thought ho hum.

picture from internet

The low roofed mudded interior of the clinic section looked a bit like a goat shed. When I was wheeled into the mud walled theatre there was a plank with a piece of medieval iron bar with a leather STRAP on it next to where you arm goes on the operating table, filthy light switches, a really dirty plastic bottle on the floor behind the operating table … I kinda thought … whooops.

Now while I dont like generalising especially about nationalities, I didnt want to see a Taiwanese person in the vicinity at this stage, but my prostrate view from the table was ... surely not … yup looks like it - definitely a small man slipping himself into the blue paper suit and pulling up a mask, (like Zorro?) with only his eyes showing – oriental eyes.

When the urologist came by words tumbled out fast...

“He didnt ask me any questions (language?) … he didnt weigh me or ask my weight ... or if I was on any medication ...”

“ARE you on any medication?”

Oh good idea. Thanks for asking. YES...PROZAC by the dozen, pal.

“OK fine”

My arm was hauled into position and stretched out over the plank. That mean looking iron shackle, the slanted eyes looking at me over the mask....one, two, three, four...g'night”

Next thing I knew I was AWAKE. My first thought was …. Oh no, not me too. Like Douggie I have also woken up on the operating table...yup there it was - there was the big bright operating light above. Yikes.

Oh no, but hang on, there was my dad peeking out from behind the light ...oops he died last year.... and who were those other people behind him? Great curiosity, who ARE they? I was sure I knew them. I craned my neck to see.

But couldnt quite make them out.

I so wanted to.

And the second thought was that I suddenly knew I had died and I distinctly remembered that, oh yes, of course, I'd forgotten, there is no loss of consciousness when we die - duh – we are the same, just carrying on thinking but not with the physical bits. I thought that very clearly.

My overriding feeling was “YAY! WOW! Yahooo. Yessss! YEEEHAH This is fantastic!”

God I felt good. No more mothers little helpers needed here pally.

And familiar. It was like, “Oh yes, of COURSE this is what its like in the normal world, not all that other damn stuff.”

I was so looking forward to going up there – to “the light” (yeah, yeah, probably I am primed in my subconscious and through my neurons by all the near-death experience stories, but there it was anyway), but just as I was so looking forward to going there my dad stepped out and put his hand out to stop me. “No, not yet” he said.



The disappointment was palpable.

I woke with the nurse Charity Phiri – I always meant to take her to lunch to ask some questions but never did - sitting very close to my head and talking me through a strange conversation in Chinyanja, about my dad and various other things. She was sticking close thats for sure.

Instead of the taxi my friends came to pick me up and take me to their home to recover. They were refused entry and kept waiting outside for ages.

When I got home to the valley I showed my friend Janelle the bruises on my sore chest. She asked the resident doctor what they were and he said,

“Thats from resuscitation. No doubt.”


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Television set rescues kids from certain death!

It  was a pretty good argument for not paying one's debts I must say. 

Hurricane Harry, the housekeeper for M & M's house in Zambia, so named by the tenents for his dazzling lack of speed, had borrowed money from M & M  for maize stocks during the last rains and was paying it back slowly month by month.  I was collecting it in an envelope because they live in Tanzania now and Hurricane continues to work for the tenents in the house 

I was about to leave for Arusha and take the money to its rightful owners.

Always a reliable man, serious and responsible, not given to trivialities, this time Hurricane shuffled up rather apologetically and announced that the last couple of installments would not be forthcoming because..... 

“I had to buy a television set.”

“Um. Oh......Kay...yee...”

“Yes, it was necessary. You see there is a neighbour down the road with a television set in his house and my children and others go to that house after school in the afternoon to watch television.”

Now as everyone knows, after 5.00 pm  there is always the danger of elephants that have crossed over the river from inside the Park, marching towards the villages to night raid millet crops, steal from mango trees etc.


With impeccable logic he continued;

“By the time they have finished watching television, it is almost dark and very dangerous to walk home on that road, the elephants are everywhere." 

Well yes OK true …. they also come past my studio frequently, obviously on their way to terrorize young television watchers....

So Hurricane used the money he owed to buy a television set for his own house to avoid his children being trampled to death by elephants on their return journey home from the neighbours.

Arriving in Arusha I explained that the last of the money wasnt returned but used on an essential item to avoid his children being killed...

Well quite.

Ya caint argue with that now, can you?