Month: August 2014

August 30 / My Sailing Logbook

*From Mexico to New Zealand aboard a sailboat. These are the dairies of one year cruising in the Pacific.

01/March/2013

I walk across the hotel’s luxurious corridor coming back from the toilets to the dock. It’s like 7am, my hair is a mess as usual, and I am wearing my pijama shorts still when I pass the main entrance of the Mayan Palace.   I show my ID and with the electronic key open the door, enter to the port. I walk fast and light signing for myself  “The Cat Empire” … we believe … we support … living life cuz life is short… la la la … I see Suzan and Keith an American couple retired  to the sea life at their 65yo.  I pass trough blue and white boats, monohulls and multihulls, large yachts and motor boats, nodding once in a while till the end of the pier B 40 where En Pointe, the little yellow trimaran, is tight. I lightly jump on deck, took an apple, put some music on, sit cross legged on the shadow and  watch the two big shiny yachts we have for neighbors and how they have been working on them every morning since the day they arrived.  Ha, that reminds me! These days I’m in charge, being the only person on board while Tom is in the States.

So begins a typical day on the dock. In the morning the people from the boats filtered / intrudes the hotel to use the restroom before the tourists wake up. Then we turned on the radio, tune the channel for the net at 8am. Today I check in: “En Pointe, change.” I drink coffee while listening the gossips from the sailing world, the weather, who comes and goes, who is selling some-thing for how-many coconuts.

When normality was inverted and “different” is now “normal”??
I did not realize when talking with neighbors about nautical miles,  port names, boat parts and supplies lists was becoming “normal” until the day I woke up in the morning knowing myself floating. Immersed in this world.

It would be fun to start calling home the Mayan Palace and its port. Although not far from a reality. In these weeks I’ve been crossing worlds without border formalities and passports stamped, worlds that have no territorial lines, which are collapsed into a single moment and geographical point...

Like Mrs. L, a lady who works at the hotel. I surprised listen to her talking about travels in the various countries she was working to send money to their children. She had a different view about the “boat people”. She talked about the type of sailors who rarely are seen ashore, traveling in comfortable and luxurious ships that require very little help from locals, those who are dressed in the whole outfit of nautical brands: sailing shirts, shorts, shoes, clock and even sailing socks.

They live in different countries, in different seas, but always carry their own world inside their boat, where they eat and speak as always. No go and find out what are the places they pass through and say they have known Mexico after spending a few weeks in sun bathing. The only thing that changes is the view they see from the window.

It is not about geography. In the same place are the worlds of the luxurious Mayan Hotel and the little sailing boats in the backyard, where we use a bucket as a toilet.

It is not about geography. Here in Puerto Vallarta is where I use to spent family holidays in my childhood, even my house is a few hours from here … and yet I feel so far away, as if I had now reached new distant lands being in the same Mexico.

It is not about geography.  As Mrs. L said “some sailors are on different countries bringing their world within themselves, changing only the view from their windows”

It is not about geography. Neither the difference is to live at sea or land, or to be “traveling” or “local”…

In the same geographic point there are so many worlds where normality are interchangeable, on the same corner so many worlds, in the same port there are so many worlds.
The different worlds are here in this moment, in oneself.

En Pointe en el muelle B40. Paradise Village Marina
En Pointe en el muelle B40. Paradise Village Marina

bach

August 21 / Diary

I see a loose thread, and I take it. It’s my way to start weaving with words. So there is an opening. Did I tell you that sometimes I find myself suspended in an eternal continued moment? When rain drops fall on the roof and I must stay still, suspended, almost holding my breath while listening the knocking against the roof and watching the drops slowly wringing through the window. Yes, is in these small details where I live when a lot is the time in solitude and infinite the freedom.

Great mysteries have occupied my mind these days. I’ve tried to figure out where is the spot where the sun reaches the most to set my island, lie, read or work without moving as time elapses;  I’ve been listening quietly the noise of contraction and expansion of this wooden living house  in order to learn it language.  Unimportant things also happen here. Like forgetting in the morning who I am and by surprise discover in the mirror someone’s face.

Could it be that the word and the writing is a muscle that relaxes and contracts like this house? That one must exercise them? Or may simply be that creativity and ideas are flying around one…? I like to think that the great stories and the most vivid poems hover invisible in the world, waiting for a hand holding a pen in the air, cold fingers on the keyboard, a silent mind, and a heart on  palms, open or cracked, or broken if you want…

I always write about the same things, always ants moving from side to side, beads sliding through the window, how the sun rises and sets, the particular walking of this strange woman, or how people here smiles in a certain way. These things  always absorb my attention and I don’t know where is the space for the big happenings. I could say little about politics and I ignored almost all the news happening in the world. I don’t do it on purpose it’s just that the rain is still falling, then it has occupied a primary focus these days… then I do not know much about planes falling or wars exploding in the East. Therefore might I have to apologize for this, for not watching the news to find out exactly the number of deaths that occurred today. I realize all the rules I am breaking, but it’s just that the rain continues to announce its presence on the ceiling, the warmth of the blanket covering me, the smell of my shirt so mine, and this hand writing.

No that  I ignore the suffering of the world, or I deny it.  Not that I don’t realize it.  Sometimes I also want to cry, sometimes I feel so small,  sometimes I have toothache, and there are nights when I have nightmares about men entering through open wide doors and I have to go out, look up , find a bit of starry sky to know that I am awake, that the only certainty I have is this-moment, is this breath, this beat and I that have cold feet. I feel that everything is inside out, the world is inverted wanting to go outside in … filling things, filling with information, making things, eating things, changing things … It’s like I need to reverse everything, invert it completely. Like flip an orange from the inside out… and that everything internal it feels outside… and the external it feels  inside. “We want to fight darkness when all we need is light.

It’s all quiet here, it seems the only constant. Sometimes the wind moves branches and the sound of the evening cold contracting the wood jumps in the silence. The birds call each other ignoring my presence. If a storm comes from the north, then I let the water run through my face and hair. It’s warm.

August 13 / My Sailing Logbook

24/Feb/ 2013 – Nuevo Vallarta, México.

This would be the Final Test. There it was on deck, made of plastic and with wide rims (looked quite comfortable in fact), nor as large as those big home depot containers  but not too small. Just the right size for…

The very moment to decide if I’m going to cross the Pacific aboard En Pointe is this one.

Tom wanted to have a “serious talk” before I come live aboard. I was a little nervous at first, I thought I would talk about passports, insurance, expenses, or perhaps permission signed by my mom, or something like that. Who could know what a “serious issue” could be in these terms? Not every day one talk about sailing across an ocean and I really have no idea.

I arrived at the Paradise Village Marina, a port in the middle of a very fancy complex of hotels. I walked between some large and luxurious sailboats. Around a corner at the end of one of the wooden docks, between that shiny catamaran and that other brand new motor boat,  with the best view to the mountains: it was the yellow sailing boat attached with a pair of ropes in front and behind.

Tom was sitting in the cockpickt (or area where sailboats usually have the wheel) with crossed feet on air, cap, and sunglasses. He invited me to come aboard and I took off my sandals. Now I would discover the heart of that entire important subject we should talk.

¡En Pointe has no toilet! Well, it has a little one but for “special occasions” when the weather is really bad.  Tom Said, if you have no problems using a bucket then there is no more to say. However I understand if you do not like it because not many girls like to use a bucket as a toilet … and not even talk about the shower on deck. Here he gave a little nervous laugh and waited in suspense my answer…

¿¡To use a bucket!? What a relief! It was this. Of course I do not mind using a bucket!

 

Tips on how to do it on a bucket (board a sailboat):

1) Make sure you have a rope tied to the handle.

2) Using the rope, toss the bucket and fill on third with sea salt water.

3) Put it in a safe and private place.

4) As you sit be careful not to get stuck

5) When you’re done, bring it to deck with EXTREME caution and WATCH FOR:

-NEIGHBORS swimming around or looking at you. (there are several anecdotes regarding this point)
-Someone aboard using the salt water tap to wash dishes.

6) Look for where the wind comes before pouring the content!

7) ) Once you’re downwind. Set it free to the sea. The fish will be happy.

 

The great advantages of using the Bucket:

1) Not having to fix the toilet (relief for captains) or cleaning (relief for crew).

2) You do not have to pump, wait, and look in suspense how is going around and around hoping is not going to return before the captain or the next person on board use the bathroom.

3) You can place it anywhere. If it’s hot you put it in a cool place, if it rains you move it into the roof, if you feel like putting it on deck is fine.

 

Considerations when choosing the most appropriate bucket:

1) You must choose one of perfect size that fit well your butt without you getting stock. If you can test it by sitting on it before buying it, much better.

2) Must be of a durable material that does not bend with the weight.

3) The strong colors are better than light colors. Just aesthetic issues for the sight.

4) Take care that the edges are wide, so they do not injured in the legs when sitting.

5) Try to give it a clean occasionally because if not start to grow moss!

 

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la cubeta

August 8 / Creative Challange

{Day 15 of 30}

I disappeared from Internet. I am back for a while to the archaic times. The rhythm of the days was given by the strike of a laptop along with any intention or concern to procure work, write, or even post on Facebook.

Two weeks in the city of Auckland, a small apartment built on the base of a volcano. Out from the back door I can see the sloping hill covered with trees and grass that once would have been a fiery path of volcanic rocks. Those that are still under my feet.

N wrote me “I have an important question for you: How do you escape from the boredom of everyday life?”
Hmm… I do not get bored, I say, because I drink a lot of tea. In a cup I put a tea bag. Then I put hot water.  In the hot tea I put honey.  In the sweet tea I put milk.  Then I drink sip by sip by sip, and -just- for that instant – nothing else exists.

After this arduous explanation, I went for a walk in the sun along the street that goes to the supermarket. Just for an instant – I get out of the way to step aside, let the people in hurry pass me by, those who want to arrive.  And I look at the sky. They must think I’m stupid. I stood there watching the birds migrating. But they do not realize that they, neither, are going anywhere.

I keep walking and got to the supermarket. All vegetables require my attention but I stopped just in front of one container.  I think anyone has so thoroughly chosen their tomatoes! I watched them, took them in my hands, turned them, as if they were giving me some kind of information and finally chose three of them. At home I sliced ​​them with extreme caution, as if – in this in instant- the entire world depends of how perfect is a tomato slice.

On the garden I spent hours devoted to the study of hens’ behavior. There are three: one white, one dark, and one spotted. And my results of this field observation are translated as follows:
Scratch – peck- scratch
Peck – scratch scratch scratch

Peck- peck – peck (that’s the instant where I am chased by one of them).

Also the time, or disappeared or stopped (which in this case is the same) while playing the guitar. My fingers pressing strings sometimes with rhythm and many others without. But -just- for this instant – I do not think “good” or “bad”, just let myself play in peace.

Later I dive into the foam of a cappuccino. Swim in warm milk and sweet bubbles. Sipping slowly, warming my hands clenched against the cup. That soft pleasure of cotton. That warmth of home, then – just – for this instant- I do not wonder “what’s next”  after having drunk the last drop.

Here hours also are occupied admiring the cat curled up on the couch. I watch her and time is not longer counted by minutes, but for her tummy rising and falling while sleeping. How quiet! With his eyes closed as lines, peaceful, nothing disturbs. Then – just – for this instant- it seems as if nothing in the world could be wrong.

At the end of the day I write with paper and pencil, a blanket on my legs while the raindrops are slowly sliding out the window. Then – only – for this instant – no one write or read. There are just words that could mean nothing too. And feeling happiness for free – just – for this instant, I don’t wonder if is tied to something.

Foto: desconocido
Foto: desconocido
August 4 / Creative Challange

{Day 14 of 30}

They were waiting for at the bus stop in Auckland. I left the village waving from the window with my right hand to a group of elders who came to say good-bye. It was a long trip, a rainy and unexpected warm day. It reminded me of my college days when coming back from Guanajuato to my home town at the end of the week and one of my parents used to picked me up at night from the stop.  Here, in the other side of the world, two big Maori guys wating for me. They took me (again!)  to  Cameron Street, the house where we would find their dad, uncle, aunty,  an extra trampoline in the garden, a new boat in the garage, a potato growing in the window, and two small baby cats jumping around in the mattress where I sleep.

And from that mattress in the living room I hear the waves licking the beach in the distance. This beloved sound is part of me and I could not be more present now… The people and everything there in the village, the sheep, the mountains, all have become blurred in my mind. Like sticking my hand in my pocket looking for something and I just find emptiness. Thinking – Did I forget to put them here? All the memories? I was sure to have saved them in my right pocket – there is nothing. An empty hand.

I think perhaps everything is about the “inner journey” and the “external journey” is another way of that same inner journey. Why people travel to see beautiful countries, exotic places, have experiences? It is simple: To feel ourselves there.  To experience ourselves – there.
Where do I feel that experience? Where do I feel the landscape I see? Perhaps I feel it inside, somewhere in the chest?
Where do I feel the streets of the foreign country for which  I walk? Is it perhaps on my own feet?
Where do I feel the exotic food? Would not it be in my own mouth?
And then we travel to experience these things but in reality is about ourselves, right? What we seek is to experience ourselves. What we seek we carry it already with us.

I crossed the block to go walking along the beach and did not recognize the ocean. Maybe because it is a winter sea. It is a cold sea and I wear a jacket, and tennis shoes, and I can’t feel the sand between my toes, no warmth sun in the skin, and neither the stickiness of sweat under the armpits. Of course! so far I had not seen the sea in winter. It feels weird to see something so familiar and at the same time feels new. 

The next few days passed between movies, walks on the beach and meeting with Thomas’s friends. So many young people! I exclaim which resulted very funny. With Leo we went for rides in the car at night. We drove up the mountain so he could smoke a cigarette. And with the night view of Auckland and wearing huge jackets:

I could call myself homeless if you want to see it like that… I say remembering the TV program we saw by chance was a guy interviewed some homeless in the city.
– Leo laughs.
– Or … I can say that I feel at home everywhere.
Haha, you are funny Tulia. That’s true, you are definitely Not homeless.
– Although, I can’t stop craving for tacos!

Those days between the letters I received and wrote, I tell S:

Exactly where I feel “at home” or “foreign”?
If that feeling of being at home actually comes from inside us… because it is “here” where I feel it, right?  Then …  Is that some country, house, or group, gives us that  sense of belonging or maybe is something that comes from inside of us?

Because the truth is that… often I feel close the family from far away, and sometimes I felt “distant” even being in the same city.

“The Heart does not know any distance or journeys.”

 

Auckland City from Mt. Eden
Auckland City from Mt. Eden