Ink & Paper

Friday, October 08, 2004

Interesting day today.

If you are a news junkie, you ought to be finding out soon that there was a bomb and subsequent explosion(s) at the Hilton in Eygpt today, a resort that is populated by Israelis. People died, the number is estimated (at the time of writing) at 30 or so. I have no doubt this attack was directed towards Israel and it's people.

So me, after checking the BBC news this morning, proceed to go off to the Hilton here in Kuwait. I didn't really put two and two together until I got there. On regular days, if you are driving into the Hilton, you have to go through a security check, which basically entails telling them that you are going to the gym/beach/spa etc, and then having them walk around your car with a mirror, checking under the car for bombs. They check your trunk, but being white, they tend to let us through fairly quickly. There are barricades set up to prevent a direct path through the security. This is on a normal day, and it has been this way for awhile, and to date no incidents or near incidents have occurred. I know this sounds extreme, but I think it is more for show than anything else. If there really was an ongoing concern, they wouldn't hire Sri Lankan or Indian immigrants, at 30 cents an hour, to act as security.

But today, I took the bus, which is another blog in itself. I hopped off and crossed the street. Waving to the security I was surprised to find them motioning me over. "Check your bag sir?"

"Uh, okay," thanking Allah that I left my "Lil Bastid Bomb Making Kit" at home for the dog to play with. I get the all clear and they wave me through. I walk towards the Hilton, noticing a lot more security around, including another set of temporary barricades. There is also a red van with the words "Hilton Security Team" printed on the side. I see some Kuwaiti men in their dishdashas (long white robes) talking into walkie talkies. This appears to be a busy day here.

I ask one of the low-on-the-totem-pole security guards what is going on. He says "All good," and I wonder about his English competency. Either that, or he has been told to reassure the worried looking westerner. Anyway, nothing happened, except that I dozed off on the beach, then read my book. Oh and I also considered entering the Strongman competition they had going on today, but changed my mind after seeing the size of some of the competitors. I didn't want to show them up, you know.

Anyway, so it was a interesting little experience. Here is another that happened a few weeks ago and illustrates why Americans are percieved as arrogant the world over.

We were shopping in Salmyia, one of the trendy places here, and had finished at about 930pm. We all piled back onto the hated bus and were waiting for someone (which is why I no longer ride the bus, but I digress). As we are sitting there, Mrs. America says in her ignorant southern drawl, how offended she was by one of the cashiers in the grocery store. When asked why, she replied as such:

"Well, they wouldn't take American money. I mean, really."

This is the same lady who told me I was ignorant of why Bush was the greatest president of all time, so we have a little history. I said, "Thats cause we are in Kuwait." She looked at me and said, I kid you not, "I know, that is why I was so surprised."

Sigh. I only hope she is too dumb to get her overseas vote thing figured out before the election.

Back to work tomorrow. Cheers to your weekend.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 5:56 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, October 04, 2004

An informative article that will probably go over like a lead ballon in Alberta and Washington. Get smarter and stay informed.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:31 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


A slew of new blogs, make sure to read on and on and on and on....

This a little fictional piece I wrote a while back and I can't remember if I ever put it on the blog. if so, please read again. Cheers.

A Life on the Road
I had shot the man once, in the back. Just dirt, moonlight and a growing pool of blood from underneath his body. I was rather tired of the killing I had done in the last 20 years. But, as the road opened up ahead of me, the mountains fading off the horizon, I thought to myself that indeed, I was quite successful at it.

I had spent the last 12 years on the road, after having fled Mexico in the early 1960s. It was a hot and windy day in Mexico when I had lost a rather large amount of money in a backroom poker game. Trouble reared when I couldn't pay my debts. I had to kill a man with a splintered chair leg through his neck. That was the first time I had killed. It wasn't something I had considered doing, but in the moment, well, things happen. I had escaped through a backdoor during the confusion, holing up in a dumpster as my ex-poker buddies searched for me. That night, under the glare of a harsh moon, I stole out of Mexico City on the back of a pickup truck, headed south.

I spent a few years getting as far south as I could, convinced that the shadows contained the friends of my first killed. It was a tangible life, as I felt dirt between my toes and sun burning my skin. I traveled quietly, from town to town, staying nights in numerous shantytowns from Venezuela to Chile. I fathered a child in Columbia. The woman was a politician's daughter who had drank too much on one particular night. I considered staying, settling down to raise a child in the squalid slums on the outskirts of Bogota, but I soon grew tired of the woman, whose father had disowned her entirely. I hopped a southbound train with no idea of what awaited me.

I was sleeping on the train one night, after hopping aboard under the cover of night, somewhere between Bolivia and Peru, when a fellow rider jumped me. His stench of onions and sweat was strong as we struggled mightily on the floor of the train. I felt a burning sensation in my back as he plunged his knife into my back again and again. As we rolled around, the knife lodged in my back, I grasped a horseshoe that was lying on the ground. I struck him once in the temple, stunning him. I struck him again, causing him to fall unconscious. I lay there panting and bleeding, more so after I reached behind me and pulled the knife out. I sat again the wall for a time, waiting for I don't know what. He lay there, breathing faintly. I stood up and opened the door of the train car. It was impossible to see what was passing us by, as the night was pitch black. With the wind in my hair, tears in my eyes, and blood on my pants, I grasped the man by his greasy hair, raising him to his feet. I walked him over to the open door and pushed him out into the blackness of the night. I kept his knife.

I now had two deaths and one child to my name. I felt remorse for none of my actions, save for the child, if it even lived. I pushed these thoughts away with liquor and spent two years working cattle high in the Andes. It was tough, grueling work, and I often spent my meager paycheck on liquor. Bar fights came and went, so much so that the details became blurred. I left the cattle when the owner of the ranch was found with a gunshot wound to his chest. It seemed there was little to keep me there and I figured with people dying around those parts, I had best be on my way. I walked down from the highlands, catching sporadic rides from peasants in old trucks.

I hitchhiked to Rio de Janeiro over the next few months, stealing food from the local markets as I passed through tiny towns. I stole and lied, worked odd jobs and basically lived on the streets. I bathed in the ocean and climbed into the mountains, lost in the forest for weeks on end. I was bitten by a spider whose venom caused me to lose feeling in my legs for a week. I lay on the floor of the forest for this time, looking up at the canopy of trees, watching bugs crawl over me as I lay immobile. I crawled out of the forest, delirious from dehydration and was taken in by an old woman who had nothing to offer me, not even conversation. She did have water and I drank greedily when I woke from fitful, disjointed sleeps. I awoke one night to find her standing in the doorway, her eyes fixed solidly on me as the moonlight wafted throughout the smoky room. I cried out in fear, blinked and she was gone. I do not know if this was a dream, an apparition, or truth.

I marched with Allende in Chile, as Castro came to visit in the early 1970s. I cried as the government fell to the military. I stole a gun and a car and drove to Argentina, for fear of being executed by Pinochet’s new military government. I almost made it.

I was arrested and imprisoned on some charge of which I was never told. I spent a few months in a Chilean prison, fighting and recovering. I became aligned with a fascist group, more as means of survival than any political ideology. When I was taken to court and as I stood in front of a judge, whose military medals dangled from his left breast. I proclaimed my innocence. Of course I was guilty, but not of crimes in this country. I was sentenced to five years labour. I escaped after two, during a riot where I was forced to kill a guard. I ran into the surrounding hills, moving east towards Argentina. I made it there in a month, living off of rainwater and small animals.

I slipped across into Argentina and walked into Buenos Aires during a torrential rainstorm. I found work in a bar, serving drinks and keeping quiet, lest someone notice my fading accent. I was there, working, for about six months. I slept in the alley, saving my money and tips in a rusting coffee can. I woke one morning with a kick to my ribs, surrounded by a group of three young men. I was kicked again and again, in the face and the torso. I staggered to my feet after they had left with my money. I waited for a few days, my eyes black with bruise. I asked around and found out who they were.
I waited for one of them, the leader I suppose, one night outside a bar he was at. I had stolen the gun from the bar I had been working at. He came out at about three in the morning, stumbling towards his motorcycle. I walked up behind him and shot him once, the noise echoing off of the surrounding buildings. I looked into his wide eyes as I reached into his pocket, taking his keys and money. He gurgled something, blood coming out of his mouth. I started the bike and rode away, looking north. I had killed 4 men and fathered an illegitimate child. I felt the sun rise and warm my back as I drove through the high mountain passes, my gun held snugly in the small of my sore back.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:53 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Evening all. It is 6:20pm local time, about 9:20am Alberta and I just cracked my first fake beer of this whole wacky adventure. Hold on, taste test. Oooo, I won't be buying another one of those.

A housekeeping note. Blogger has been dumb lately, so if things aren't up to snuff on this site, I claim no responsibility. Just check back later, the problems usually figure themselves out with time. Also always make sure to read down a bit, you don't want to miss a ever-enticing blog post.

Just chatted with my mom via the old interweb. Apparently I have quite a developing readership down on the farm, and some more converts from the Calgary area too. So I just wanted to thank all those people who make a point to stop into my little corner of cyberspace, I do appreciate it. Hope all is well in Alliance and area, as well as in Bragg Creek and Barrhead. If I missed anyone from mom's side of the family, sorry, you can certainly rip me via the comments section. I'm also sorry you had to see Jeff this weekend. That must have been hard.

And so let's talk politics. The US election is under a month away now, and with the first debate having passed, things are looking up for the lesser of two evils John Kerry. He did well in the debate and a recent Newsweek poll showed him ahead of Bush by a few percentage points. Now if Ralph Nader would just get off his lame ass horse, maybe Kerry could get enough votes to avoid another debacle in Florida.

But what do polls tell us? We do seem to rely on them an awful lot, yet they were not exactly accurate in the last Canadian election, as they were calling for a much smaller Liberal minority, and in some cases a Alliance victory. Yet they were off, by quite a lot in some cases. And as my political colleague Mr. T from Calgary noted, it really depends, especially in the US race, who is asking the questions, and more importantly, who is paying them to ask the questions.

But we do want to know, as if we as humans have this weak ass desire to pretend we can see into the future. So we guess and, like predicting the weather, it's hit and miss. As an aside, I really think an easy job would be a weatherman in Kuwait.

"Well, uh , today is going to be...Well, holy Allah, it's gonna be sunny and plus 83 again. What the hell? I really thought it was gonna snow, I truly did."

Back on topic, focus Jay. So we will see come November how accurate all these polls have been. I want Kerry to win, he is the best man for putting a salve on the wound that is US foreign policy. And right now, with Iran (my neighbour) and North Korea making nuclear noise, I would really prefer not to have a "shoot first and ask a few questions later" Texan in the White House. Mind you, even if Kerry gets in, the Iraq (my other neighbour) mess o'potamia (Daily Show) is still gonna be a quagmire and Osama is still going to be running around. Can't work miracles ya know, but I think Kerry would be a great deal better than Bush. Rumours suggest that if Bush is re-elected, a military draft will emerge in the US. It's just rumour right now, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised to hear of it happening if Iraq keeps on the way it is.

Lastly, here in Kuwait the only radio station that I can understand is VOA, or Voice of America, which is so pro-America it make me go to the nearest US military base and yell: "I am eating FRENCH fries. Not Freedom fries! Damn your imperialistic hides!" But of course I don't; instead I write little rants from my little apartment, hoping to change world with words. They say the pen may be mightier than the sword, but I think "they" aren't being very relaistic.

So that is my political rant for the day, I'd assume they would only get more frequent in the run up to the big vote. Comments? Questions? Death Threats? Cheers for reading.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:53 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Sunday, October 03, 2004

"Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you're a man, you take it." ~~ Malcolm X

Well this is a new one, although it a subject that rattles in the breeze of rumour around our school. The first of the runners has run, ladies and gentlemen. I will explain. As always the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Mr. Black, that's a good alias. Mr. B ran last night. He hopped into a cab, luggage and all, and headed for the airport. And beyond, to where, no one knows. But come this morning, Mr. Black's class of students suddenly found they had no teacher. In fact, they were the first to find out.

Mr. Black was a carpooler, but when he didn't show up for his ride this morning, it was assumed that he had gotten a ride with someone else. But he was nowhere to be found, his phone shut off, and his apartment locked tight. The higher ups went to see if he was okay, professing that they were concerned about his health and safety. I suppose that may be true, but I also think they may have had an inkling of what was going on and just wanted to confirm it themselves.

And so, around 1030am, the rumour gets up and running and soon it is cruising along at a brisk pace. It churns out many a story, but at the end of the day, the truth comes out, revealed in a sort of "Dr. John" note left taped to his apartment door. And that is the first of what could be many running stories. Why many, you ask?

Mr. Black was one of the 20 or so unfortunate souls that was housed in the 'new' building. I am residing in the 'old' building, which I first was rather disappointed in. No more, for I have heard and seen the stories of the new building. Low water pressure, non-existant security, constant 24/7 construction, no amenities nearby, small apartments, and a rather huge garbage pile behind the building make my trivial problems of occasional bugs and bathroom floods just that, trivial. At least my problems can be fixed, their's are too many to deal with. And I am enjoybing teaching at the school, although not to the extent that I would be willing to sign on for another year.

So Mr. Black had enough, and I suspect that he won't be the last, if the rumour mill can be trusted at all, as some people are quite fed up. And no one is blaming them. So we shall see, I guess every year, throughout all the schools in the country, a runner or two appears. I suspect that it is rare that a returning teacher runs after only one month. But time, as always, will tell.

So there you go, another wacky story from the land of sand. Oh yeah, and Mr. N, my carpool buddy, was telling me how one time he was reading a book in India, along the bank of the famous Ganges River, with a guy 'napping' a few feet away. Turns out the guy was taking 'the big nap', a fact Mr. N discovered when two other guys rolled the sleeper up in plastic and, I am not making this up, floated the corpse down the river. I guess Apu wasn't lying. Ah, another day.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:17 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


© Ink & Paper 2005 - Template by Caz.