Thursday, November 22, 2012

Syringes From Syria

This is continued travel adventures from Cyprus. We ran wild on the beach and dunes, dug holes to hide from the wind, found caves and made them liveable. Why on earth we didn't think about food and water is beyond me. Maybe we were going to fish. Steal rain water. Be feral. But there were these broken needles all along the tide line, apparently washed up from Syria, and when we ran (we hardly walked) we kept our heads down to avoid stepping on them.
We had 2 thin fleece blankets between the 3 of us, and no other way of keeping warm. Fire, perhaps, but it rained so everything was wet.

Chris went swimming on the rocks and tide pools, and one day we hitched a ride out to some fascinating cliffs and a lighthouse. We climbed all over the cliffs and got sprayed by the smashing waves, and got lost, and got separated, and I remember that the utter freedom we had was terrifying. It felt very Lord of the Flies. After a week we left. We left in the early morning, walking along these country roads with our backpacks, through fields, in the sun, and across stone bridges. We walked for a long time, and took a break under a big tree, and I want to say we recited poetry but I think we were mostly silent. Finally a white van approached behind us, and we stuck out our thumbs and he stopped for us. Chris and Dani loaded into the empty, dusty back of the van, and I sat in the front with the driver who spoke not a word of English but we managed to communicate that we wanted taking to the nearest town. So for an hour or so we drove through the afternoon, and the windows were down and I stuck my hand out the window and hoped that Dani and Chris could breathe and weren't too scared in the dark.

He dropped us off in front of the big stone building where we had sat and watched a movie be filmed some days before. We sat again on the pillared veranda, and drank tea, and smoked cigarettes, and I think we ate some beans or something, or maybe a bag of strange chips because we were always hungry and had no food.

After a few hours break, waiting to see if a bus would come, we set off again. We walked to the edge of town, and then found a highway that seemed to lead back in the general direction we wanted to go (South), and again we walked and walked for hours. Finally a tiny car stopped for us, with two teenage girls in the front and a sullen, shy teenage boy in the back. Somehow we managed to cram all three of us plus our bags into the already tight car, and again, no English was spoken but we didn't care where we ended up, as long as it was somewhere. The girls were always laughing, and teasing the boy, and I remember being jealous of their clean hair and painted nails, because I'm pretty sure we looked and smelled like garbage. But they took us all the way back to Famagusta, and that night I think was the night Chris and I walked all the way to the deserted beach resort and then hitched a ride back with a crazy vegetable seller, who took us on a tour of the university campus and hospital and such, when really I just wanted to get back to the hotel where we were staying the night with Dani.

When you hitch a ride you are at the other person's mercy. And you owe them your attention, and you owe them your stories, and you owe them your smile and laugh and you owe them the allowance to be in the spotlight. A ride is never free. A meal is never free. Anything that appears to be free I guarantee is not.


  1. Ameri-cuh! Hahaha.'t_free

  2. It started out very "Lord of the Flies." Then it sort of went into Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" with a hint of "Two for the Road" with Audrey Hepburn.