How NOT to hitch-hike a boat
It's been three weeks or so I hang out on the same damn marina in the harbour of Dili.
First mistake: I arrived 3 days late. Yes. Three days before, the last yachts of the Darwin-Dili sailing rally had went off. The worst is I probably knew it. I usually spend a lot of time checking my usual websites for boats, namely:
- Desperate sailors
I know there are plenty of others, but those ones remained as the more efficient and the only ones I got answers from. Well - this is also a mistake. Findacrew requires a premium account to send direct messages to sailors (50 goddamn bucks) or you can just send "waves" and wait for the sailor to call you back. Strangely, nobody ever did (hey, hello,I have no money, could you take me on your yacht for free ? ^^ ) To be honest, my "wave-designed message" is a bit lenghtier and I never (even face to face) go straight to the "no money point"; if we get along with each other, I bring it on the table. Sometimes I don't have the choice, though: " Wanna beer ? - Right'o, buddy (yeah,that's the wee beginnings of my OZ slang. Soon this blog won't be readable by anybody else than an ol' croc huntie from QZ. No worries, mate) if you pay for it. Otherwise I'll have tap water, thanks." And then, the relation turns bipolar: love story or open warfare. Interesting.
About that, I realized recently the two parts of the Metallica song "wherever I may roam" I can't exactly identify to are: "free to speak my mind anywhere" and "I redefine everywhere". For the latter, I fear I'm helpless. I met a few travellers without roots, yes. I can't uproot myself. Lose myself-though that's my goal since Turkey. I don't know if I want it, or if I'm even able to do it. I'm also stuck to this idea of a monolithic personnality that forms "me". I know it makes no sense and it will only give me pain throughout this life. There's no recipe for doing this. Working abroad in lots of different places, having sex with different people while trying to unveil your dorming bisexuality (of course it does dwell within, dig a wee-bit). Travelling, travelling, travelling. Read. Open yourself to religion. A few others, for sure - but none of them will put you on the path of self-losing. This process comes from the sheer will to do it. And I don't have it. It frightens me. And that's weird. Because lots of psychologists say the fear of losing your "personnality" , as a shell between you and the world - is intimately linked to the fear of coming undone, totally - of death; thus the real art of dying is about coming undone as a free decision, in this very life:
"Art of dying
Is the way to let all go
Take no possessions
I'd rather travel light"
- Gojira, The Art of Dying
And I am not afraid of death. At all - except for a brutal death, and so on; I'm not that stoic.
So why am I afraid of letting go ? I'm afraid of losing some rational stability. Arf. Whatever.
For the first phrase of the song, I've been practicing this - NOT enough. As soon as I'll reach Australia, I'll make it straight for the Outback, leaving a giant "Fuck off" behind my trail. I'll do the couchsurfing thing again in Australia ('cuz I doubt very much I can totally go without it in western countries- and because that's very cool as well ^^) but well - sometime after my arrival.
SO. This boat-hitch-hiking. I missed the rally. Then I socialized. A LOT. With the police, the youngsters, the yachties, the locals. After one week, I had three regular places to sleep in: the house of my friend Martin. The police station (^^). The Art and music center, very similar to the school I learnt guitar in, with this difference that I question the possibility of a total stranger to sleep in there with the instruments. I had my tamarin-tree to eat, and plenty of fishing + shellfish/crayfishes picking I barely used, fed that I was in the police mess, or amongst the family of Martin. I got in touch with whoever I wanted while I systematically helped them out - captains, sailors - and had access to all the police data concerning the boats to come in the bay. I could enter the container port without permit (0o)- a bitter reminder of Chennai container port. Most of all with the help of a printed interview from MI (Hail Patna !)in Bahasa Indonesia, widely spoken in Timor Leste, along with Tetun and Portuguese, the latter being the official language.
There's a lot to say about Timor Leste. Later I'll speak of it, maybe. That's a frigging interesting country. But I'd hesitate to say "promising". Mmm...
The first real opportunity came with a catamaran. After some networking, I got in touched with the captain. He was indeed going back soon to OZ, but asked 300 dollars. Mmm. Interesting - for notice, the plane to Darwin is twice cheaper. And don't bullshit me with the price of food. Even sharing the costs of diesel (what you usually don't think of when you hitch-hike !) wouldn't totalize such a ridiculous amount of money, but if you indeed pay all of it : around 400 dollars of diesel are necessary to hit Darwin from here if you plan to counter front wind, or to leave the harbour without the early afternoon back gull. Anyway people always go sail and engine for this crossing. All in all,it's a pleasant 100 bucks per day - a container boat (those mighty fellows) can make the 500 kms in one and a half days (0o !!!) - which most of the time is met by a a three or four days trip for the average skipper. I had no idea container boats were so bloody fast.
WHICH makes me think : who the hell is gonna draw that sum for such a short rip-off raid ? I stand bewildered in amazement (mouhaha here comes Duke Antoine). I remember asking the same question about Pizza Hut pizzas. To my knowledge, they are the only pizzas in the world you can buy from 15 to 30 (no shit) euros. Poor and middle-class wouldn't waste their money there, and the rich ain't going to Pizza Hut. So: WHO ? Well at the time I concluded they put heaps of nicotin in the dough (yet not too much or it can be lethal), making the first bite the insurance it won't be the last. Later on the captain precised: "but food is included". Woohoo. And what about heroin ?
After that, came a barely 15 feet- long schooner, populated by FOUR people. I did ask - without too much hope. I don't even see how they managed not to kill each other. And they had a rough sea. Then an old OZ moored in the port. We kept in touch and I kept an eye on him. Then came the first container boat that really looked like I could jump on it. The captain and all the crew was OK, and (which is pretty extraordinary, and probably related to the idea of having the name of the company quoted in (the first ?) world-tour without money - Ludovic Hubler used this a lot in his World-tour Hitch-hiking in 2005) the owning company seemed disposed to discuss the matter (even though it meant waiting 20 days more, at least, with no certainty but having to extend my visa here), while they SYSTEMATICALLY have said NO to all the other backpackers who came the same way so far. It refills my antarctican faith bottle a wee bit.
Then the old OZ made up his mind for leaving. Throughout a 10 seconds bargaining, we agreed on this deal: he'd take me to Darwin tomorrow - integrally for free. I was happy. Next day my stuff's on the boat, we're ready to leave and checking out at the customs. My passport have no entry stamp in Timor-Leste - I crossed this damn border like everybody, showed my papers to everyone and submitted my bag to searching. Why the fuck they didn't stamp my passport is a mystery. So the immigration guy refuses to stamp me out. My captain is eager to go. A friend in the marine police promises to help me out, that I'll get this exit stamp. I'm relieved - but in the meanwhile the officer has left for lunch. Lunch that will last roughly four hours, leaving my captain too pissed to wait for more - he left without me. The immigration officer arrived ten minutes after (that is to say pretty much one hour after the time he was supposed to come). After that , I had this discussion with Martin's Uncle:
Martin's uncle: Hey you know what ?
Me: What ?
MU: Well if you find another boat that is asking for less than 300 dollars, like 250 or 260 - I'll pay for it.
Me: Well - the plane is twice cheaper. What I heard says it ranges between 190 and 150 dollars.
MU: Really ?? Why didn't you say it before ? I'll manage the plane for you.
Discussion that was followed by a lot of "But, but, but" and "Nevermind, nevermind, nevermind", but well, truth is here: I should soon be on a plane to Darwin... As soon as I've got my passport properly stamped- back at the border ><.
I just saw Into The Wild, again. I accurately remember each time I saw it. First at theater with my parents. This day I remind my mother was afraid: "I hope it won't give you any ideas" ^^ She liked the movie, though. Second time with three friends, one of those were back from America with peanut sweets. And third time, now, sitting on a plastic chair in Dili, Timor-Leste. Heading for the red, distant Outback.
Whoua. What a mindfuck. What a powerful echo.
And. AND: Kristen Stewart IS actually good in this movie. Well I mean - not bad. And hot. Especially hot.
PS: I spotted this image hidden between two frames of the movie:
Is it in the original feature or ? Does anybody have any clue about that ?
This righteous dagger
Inside of us
Won't last forever
Don't fear to let it out
Gojira, L'Enfant Sauvage
What matters the most in life
Is to feel, at least for one moment (...)
To feel strong - not to be strong - to feel strong.
To go back to the primal state of human life
Into The Wild
Right: I might quote Gojira too much. But for those who don't know, apart from the fact their last album is named "L'Enfant Sauvage" (The Wild Child) , the singer/guitarist/lyricist Joe Duplantier actually lived for one full year in the forest, living only from hunting, fishing, berry-picking, sleeping in the trees, making campfires... Songs like: In the forest, or In the Wilderness and therefore L'Enfant Sauvage I listen to with deep respect.