Part II Diving with Whale Sharks
So school's ended and I had me some three weeks to go where the wind blows. This took me to spending more 'n a few days with volunteers I'd not seen since October's training. We volunteers are a good crowd of kids who love to eat and watch tv shows n' movies. Lots are into drinking but I'm finding I have more interests in common with my fifth grade self then 20 somethings. Popcorn, soda and a movie or tv show promises great entertainment. I don't have a laptop at site so most of my entertainment at home is jogging, art, or reading.
So my friend invited me to go with her & her friend to dive with the whale sharks. These two ladies both go by the name Camila. One is Puerto Rican. She's curvy, smart; ambitious. The other's a Georgia peach, an artist: tall, classy, & very sweet.
We make it to Tofo, racing to make the boat taxi across the sound. Our first chapa breaks down twice. It's quite hot. We flag down an air conditioned ride with an Africaaner. Most of these guys I see are over 50 and shaped like barrels. It turns me racist-I get to thinking all white people are unattractive and Black Mozambicans (who are almost always slim and muscled) beautiful.
This guy was friendly enough (especially for picking us up). We had some interesting discussion. When you meet any whites from South Africa, you can assume their attitudes towards blacks bear traces of the racist apartheid government that lasted into the 90s. About Blacks he said: "I'm Boer. They have their space, I have mine." He's trying to build a hotel but has to wade through lots of bureaucracy to obtain permits. He is in for the long haul however. His stories of working with officials showed he had tolerance and some understanding. That kind of interaction for mutual gain promises the continued development of race relations. Or maybe I'm just intuiting too much. Camila talked to us both about Bovine tuberculosis. Like I said: she's smart.
We crossed using a boat that had a cage on top it, covered by a tarp to keep us dry. No escape hatch. If you are looking for transport safety, Africa is not the continent for it. The Embassy official who visited our training group told us: "Be smart. If you catch a ride hitchiking, find a place where you can jump and roll." This is one area where I am all about Strong Government imposing rules to the benefit of all.
In Tofo we hit the bar scene where lots of unkempt 20 something backpackers danced to the worst DJing. I wrote a poem for the party. I think a party is an excuse for joy. Joy must be felt sincerely. A good party is a sincere party.
Two of the best parties I ever attended were also the geekiest. One was the prom at the special education school I worked for (theme: Oscar Night). the second was in Romania with Hungarian teachers, the median age 55 partying out in a cafeteria. Both parties, a jubilant, sober dance floor. Fierce.
Here's my poem:
The poet's philosopher stone
turns the focused energy: a joy of parties bursting at the seams
stomped church floors with bursting voice of choir
and solitary spinsters alone in their kitchen with the radio loud
dandcing themselves over the broken linoleum
It takes out of the night
collected from the dust of cars racing through
cutting it like a knife
the man 'hind the wheel crazy for the music
that's stirred his soul something sincere
That stone turns that energy
to make some special gas
that powers nuclear generators
steam engines, lamborghinies,
the cameras at Emmy Award Ceremonies and all the bulbs' flash
Runs for years on years
leaving no residue or pollution.
Dilutes only in the feeling amongst the people
as some vauge sentiment
that the world's all right.
I went diving with the whale sharks. They have no teeth, eating only algae or krill. They're spotted. The guy was great at dropping us right in front them. You see only a huge mouth coming at you and have to hustle to get out the way.
The art market was incredible but I was short on funds. I will return.