I returned to my shack in the frozen forest of Upstate New York for most of February in the hope of catching a little quiet and recharging my batteries. Literally as it turned out since there were electrical problems there. I also needed a new visa. The forest was beautiful under a foot or two of snow, the peace like a delicious drink for the soul, or something like that. Even if you don’t believe in souls you get stuck with this kind of metaphor.
So now I am back in Mexico. Rocinante has not been in the water since the first launching. She has a few problems that need sorting out, such as the difficulty with the steering and the need to raise the deckwells to prevent flooding. I’m also making a new sail of the ”Gibbons-Dierking” type, similar to the sail of a windsurfer, which should have improved upwind performance. The triangular crabclaw sail was pretty but I am not convinced of its virtues. All this work is proceeding at a snail’s pace, somehow I just cannot seem to make any serious leaps forward; I feel mired in annoying small problems, tired of spending such long periods of time making things that don’t work and have to be scrapped, anxious about many aspects of what I have built and what I am doing here. What, exactly am I doing here?
Worse, my batteries are not recharged. I am quite sick of this place, the lack of intellectual stimulation or entertainment, the heat, my monotonous diet, the endless itching from mosquitos, pinoleos, chiggers and an allergy I have developed to some mysterious invisible substance found in both internet cafes in Anton Lizardo ( I have to go to the next town, Boca del Rio, to go online now, but whatever this substance is it has found its way into my home in sufficient quantity to make my nights hellish). I’m sick of my grotty hovel and its discomfort, the horribly intrusive and disturbing bass that poisons the whole area, the constant fear of thieves taking my tools, being ripped off for almost everything (not specifically a Mexican phenomenon), the ubiquitous garbage, the sleepless nights, the problems with the bike and the continual worrying over the excessive weight of the boat and its general unsuitability for what may lie ahead.
Oh, I’ll get over it. At least it is mango time, the trees are just dripping with the things. Another pleasure here is the children, they are just the cutest, sweetest kids you ever met. A trip to the Dollar Store in the States buys a world of smiles. The adults are also very sweet, most of them. My neighbors regularly send a child over with food for me, and this morning I was flagged down and fed a delicious breakfast of picadas, tortillas with raised edges smothered in this case with avocado, salsa and onions. Ok, I guess my diet is not so bad.
I ate some fish yesterday. Anyone who knows me will know I must be very jaded indeed to arbitrarily eat something non-vegetable.