Thursday, November 5, 1992

3:10 am

Such great stories here... if they don't kill me first! So this was my last night in Spain. First I said good-bye to Javier at Annelies' house. He made it one of those horrible, dragged out, verge-of-tears good-byes. Annelies said he really liked me. Se nota. Then Frank, Fernando, De, Annelies and I went to Donde/Bolivia. Still never saw Joel again. Anyway, De and I went back to Donde to watch a great blues band perform. There was a black woman singer who was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. How special for my última noche. Then De came over and I gave her my radio and extra food rations. We exchanged addresses and bid good-bye. She walked down my steps and up hers to her door. I made sure she had the key in the door, then turned off the light and closed the door. But it wasn't over yet. I heard this rattling sound on the steps. Was she beating her carpet? No, she couldn't get her door open! So I climbed along the ledge to her place and tried the key. No luck. We thought we could try the small window from the terrace. So we went out to my terrace to climb over to hers.. I got a broomstick to reach better, but we couldn't get the door handle to turn. The neighbor on the other side came out with some pliers and advice. Her advice didn't work, but the pliers did. I was just able to reach the handle through the window with the pliers. What a great ending!

8:25 pm

Yes, there were tears in my eyes as I left Frank and Annelies at the airport. And also when I watched Málaga fall behind me from the airplane. I had avoided thinking about it much, but it caught up to me. Then I kept myself distracted by reading about the election. I'm in a Youth Hostel in Brussels, not feeling much like writing. I haven't gotten much sleep the past two nights, but I don't feel like sleeping, either. Too early. Too uncomfortable. I hope I sleep well because tomorrow will be a long day. I can't believe I've left Málaga -- possibly for good. I already miss Annelies. Once again, I'm scared and apprehensive about the future. Life is hard. Life is easy. Just depends on how you look at it. Always advantages and disadvantages to every choice. Right now missing Málaga is outweighing the excitement of being with my friends in Detroit. Different from June. Matt's getting married in a week. Don't know why that just popped in. You know, there were so many people I didn't say good-bye to. What a shame. So many people have touched my life in the past 9 months.

10:30 pm

I'm sitting here in the Youth Hostel bar having a Duval and reading my journal. And I'm wondering... Is this the same place I stayed at 8 years ago when I met that Australian from Perth and we went to an outdoor movie and got so drunk that we had to crawl upstairs to bed? Is it? Nah, I don't think so. But I did find the park I slept in the first night in Brussels. This bar is set up the same as the one 8 years ago, but the reception is different, I think. Oh, who knows? Who cares? By the way, Duval -- 8.5% alcohol -- $2.00.

Wednesday, November 4, 1992

1:15 am

Shit. I wish I could write! I want to convey the events of watching the Spanish coverage of the U.S. elections. It's pretty fun! But I can't write much, because I cut my hand in a stupid freak accident with the oven and had to get 5 stitches! Annelies and Fernando took me to the hospital at midnight. We weren't sure it needed stitches, but decided it would be better to go. What a stupid thing to happen right now. But they took care of me in 20 minutes and I didn't have to pay a thing! Socialized health care. What a great topic for this night. In fact I told the doctor that's one reason I liked Clinton. Nationalized health care. Anyway, it's looking good for Clinton -- yay!! But it's only 7:30 pm in the east. Things won't really be assured for several hours yet.

I had to add this about my medical experience. When I came in they asked me my name and age. After the doctor put in the stitches (puntos) he transferred my name to another sheet, asked what neighborhood I lived in and said good-bye. That was all the information they needed! A little different from the US health care system!

Tuesday, November 3, 1992

11:00 am

One of my final breakfasts on my terrace. Another beautiful day. It's election day! I'm "optimistically cautious." Or is that "cautiously optimistic"? Either way, it's looking pretty good. The Spanish TV stations have live coverage beginning at 1:00 am. An all-nighter watching the election returns! I'm so weird.

2:20 pm

So I saw María José. It's a shame we didn't keep in touch better. I'll miss her. Who knows? Maybe she'll end up in the U.S. some day. Then I went to the port and saw a couple of U.S. battleships docked there. There was a German sitting ship there, too, and the crew was hoisting the sails in formation and all. It was pretty cool. Nine months later, I'm still discovering new things.

Monday, November 2, 1992

5:50 pm

So now I feel I'm just waiting. For Godot? For the other shoe to drop? For someone to come rescue me? I've started packing. Oh, how I hate it! Nine months worth of my life into 2 bags. Impossible! And I hate saying good-bye. Said good-bye to Herbert and Antonio at TVP. I'll see María José tomorrow. Gitta tonight. Still haven't contacted Joel. Or Jeannet. I'm sitting on my terrace waiting... for the sunset. It should be beautiful tonight. Latest thoughts put me in Central America in 1993. We'll see. Still haven't sold my bike. Haven't asked anyone. Why do I procrastinate so? I'll be on a plane in 3 days. The world is so beautiful. I'm watching the birds fly by. The cloud formations. The mountains. Playing with Pantera, the black kitty.

Sunday, November 1, 1992

2:30 pm

So here I am at this particular point in my life. Soaking up the beautiful sunshine on my terrace, listening to some great music on Radio Tres Pop. I feel a need to go on a big CD shopping spree upon my return! I don't feel so good today, so I'm treating myself to an entire day on the terrace. Maybe I'll take a bike ride later, and visit Gitta in Torreblanca this evening. Time to start saying my good-byes. Last night I went out just for a short time. Didn't see Joel or Jeannet as I had hoped. I was happy to get home yesterday. The highlight of Évora was the Chapel of Bones in the church of San Francisco. Made from 5000 bones and skulls of monks. And there was also a decaying monk corpse hanging on the wall. The sign over the entrance says it all: "We bones that are here await yours." Great stuff! Those crazy Catholics!

3:30 pm

Forgot to mention: I called "the gang" at Matt and Elizabeth's shower from Faro last Saturday. It was great to talk to them. They were so stoned! Karen could barely even talk. Elizabeth was gushing with "We love you"s. Matt gave me directions to Sylvester and Louie's in Lisboa -- and I did find Louie. I knew it was his grocery store when I saw 4 or 5 guys standing around drinking inside! I don't know if he really remembered Matt or if he just said so. Doesn't matter. He offered me a drink and some cashews. An English woman there was able to translate a bit for me. Helpful.

8:50 pm

I've always had to write when I'm high because the thoughts that I have are so precious that I don't want them to get away. And I wish I could write faster -- shorthand! -- so I could record everything. I lose a lot of offshoot thoughts that are rocketing through my head while I'm struggling to write the original thought. Yes! Exactly! Like Right Now! My hand is falling off by going so fast, but the thoughts are overtaking it, leaving it fallen down in the dirt. How poetic. I'm listening to Juan Luis Guerra, writing, singing, dancing, thinking, learning. Thinking great thoughts about a big party with all of my friends from around the world. Everyone I know together. Reminiscing about all those times we've had. Wow. Does this mean I'm going to die?? My life is flashing before my eyes! Wow! I must be dead now. Well, that's just great.

8:58 PM
Wow. I miss getting stoned with my friends! Is that why I want to go back to Michigan? Just so I can get stoned with my friends? Hmmm. It is a pretty sound defense. Nuthin' wrong with that! Although I do enjoy getting stoned alone so I have time to record the thoughts. I wonder if De next door could hear me singing salsa earlier? A couple of weeks ago she told me she heard me singing in my apartment the previous Friday night. How embarrassing! How loud was I for God's sake? These are thick walls here. She must have heard me again tonight! I'm thinking of watching the "Masters of the Universe" movie, in Spanish of course, on TV right now.

9:06 PM
Oh man! Now I've been thinking of writing a TV script starring my friends -- stoned. It would be great! Well, I suppose the major networks wouldn't carry the program, but I could write it for a home entertainment video series. But, damn it, I lost the original thought again! I was at a welcome-back party telling them about my writing when stoned in Spain. I show them the journal I'm writing right now, saying that it has all my thoughts on life and on my life when I'm stoned. They look like, "Wow. That's really great. Look at the size of this. It's all the thoughts about your life when you're stoned..... Let's look at it!" It'd be Karen looking at it. Oh, this is all looping inside itself -- "like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning, on an ever-spinning reel." But there were even 4 or 5 thoughts within writing that sentence that were missed! Rocketing in my head again!

9:16 PM
Oh shit! And then I pass out copies of my "stories in Spain" while they're high and they read it and are dying! "It's a hit," I say to myself. Zoom in to an extreme close-up. It's the screenplay popping in again! Yes, I could do it! But I'd have to be high to write it! All the time! I'd have to be high to write. Tough life! I'm sure it's what many musicians and writers do or have done. Look at Hemmingway and his drinking. That's it! I'm a modern-day Hemmingway. Coming to Spain to write -- 60 years later.

9:24 PM
Now I'm listening once again to Juan Luis Guerra. "Ojalá que Llueve Café en el Campo" was the song. I was imagining a music video for it and then imagining me and my friends -- you know, the ones from around the world -- at this big party dancing and singing to "Tu Boca." Great fun! It all goes into the movie. The movie is in addition to the TV series. Two separate entities. Which first?

9:31 PM
Again! When

9:37 PM
Oh! major interruption! Annelies just came over. We talked about my leaving. How much stuff I have and that maybe she and Frank could take me to the airport. That would be nice! She's a good friend! I really think I'll come back here! I had been very neutral on my feelings the past weeks, but now it's leaning towards Málaga a little more heavily! So, of course, I lost that thought from 9:31! It was a good one, too. Another episode!

9:42 PM
Name for a salsa bar -- or band. "Dis Paradise."

9:44 PM
I just realized that Annelies is going over to Frank's awfully late. He has to work tomorrow! For sure, he'll be in bed. All this is going on while I'm making and eating tea and pound cake.

9:46 PM
Another thing! I was thinking how "tea and pound cake parties" could be the rage after the movie comes out. You know, cult-like, Twin Peaky stuff. Getting stoned, drinking tea and eating pound cake. They'd write about it in the underground social pages. Newspapers like "The Midnight Express!" Well, I think it's funny!

9:54 PM
I've got to memorize these words to "Tu Boca." I love it! What poetry!

10:04 PM
Now I'm thinking... I hope De doesn't hear the squeaking of my rocking chair and think it's the bedsprings. Don't want her to get the wrong idea! It certainly is interesting to see what I feel is important enough to stop what I'm doing and run to this journal to write down. I've been jamming to Juan Luis Guerra again.

10:11 PM
Teaching "Anti-Paranoia While High" classes. Dancing to "Ojalá..." Staying focused. Just enjoying the feelings of the song. Not thinking about how silly you might look to everyone else. It's another episode. "The gang" takes an encounter class together, a la Bob Newhart. Shit! There's Karen again, "What are you trying to say? That we're all paranoid or something?" Looking to someone else for support, "Is that what he's trying to say?" and getting a shrug from Richard. Expand on this sometime!

10:38 PM
I was thinking I need to call Matt tomorrow and tell him he'll be married in two weeks! Think he knows? I'm tired already. I was already lying in bed listening to "Tu Boca" trying to memorize it and trying to remember how to dance Salsa. Sevillanas, too! So much to learn in life!

10:44 PM
I wish I could hang from my feet right now. That would be helpful, I think. My body aches. Oh, I'm so old! Wow! Just realized that me, Jenny and Richard are the only single ones left. Karen, Matt, Elizabeth, Kim, Stu, Di, Linda and Julia. All married! Wow! Yeah, but I'm in Spain!

10:50 PM
Changed the music. Couldn't listen to that song over and over again. Now it's Louis and Ella -- a surprise selection over the venerable favorite, "Strange Angels."

11:11 PM
So I'm listening to Ella and Louis. And I'm concentrating on just the backing harmonies instead of the lead vocals. It's really incredible.

11:25 PM
I think I'm heading for bed now.

Friday, October 30, 1992

11:50 pm

Oh, there's so much to write about. From the heavy play of Motown music -- and English-language music in general -- on Portuguese radio to the "night life" of Évora. We saw the most beautiful "Palacio" in Sintra. Palacio de las Penas. It was still decorated in the manner of 100 years ago when the Portuguese royalty resided there. Absolutely stunning. Probably the best castle/church tour I've ever been on. And Nazaré this morning was stunning. The old town on the cliff overlooking the mighty Atlantic and the beaches below. Oh, I'd love to live there! But winters must be fierce! And this evening I read a bit about Michigan, even southern Oakland County, and their importance in the presidential race in the International Herald Tribune.

So back to the music. Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Sinead O'Connor, and not their current singles, but other stuff off either new or old albums. What a nice diversity. Portugal is different from Spain in that respect. Old Ike and Tina Turner, Four Tops, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, James Brown. Really! And through it all, some magnificent scenes. Old women carrying baskets on their heads -- dressed in black or perhaps several layers of petticoats. Thick shawls to protect them from the biting Atlantic wind. People "walking their cows" down the main road. Magical stuff. So different from where I'll be one week from now. We finally had some decent weather today. From the Palacio in Sintra you can see Lisboa and the Atlantic. Tomorrow, we explore Évora and make the journey homeward. I must admit that I'm ready, although I thoroughly enjoyed today. Through it all, I keep daydreaming of being back in Detroit (with it's 39° high -- yuk!) Let's just plug along, day by day, and see what develops!

Thursday, October 29, 1992

11:00 pm

We're in Nazaré, Portugal. It's a very touristy village on the Atlantic. But, of course, at this time of year it's a pretty sleepy town. We're staying in a home. I feel so funny doing that. We bargained the lady down from 5000 to 3000 escudos. Unintentionally. But anyway, I hope the weather is better tomorrow so we can enjoy it. It must be beautiful. I love the waves crashing in. Makes me think I should run a bed and breakfast on the California coast. It rained all day today. I hated it. We walked around Porto in the morning, but I really didn't enjoy it. We took a tour of the Sandeman Port warehouse which was pretty fun. I think Porto would be beautiful in nice weather. I have to admit, though, I'm ready to go home. Home to Málaga. Even home to Detroit. For a while. Frank asks me every day, "What do you think today? Are you coming back to Málaga in January?" I tell him I honestly don't know. And I honestly don't know! We'll see what happens in the next two months.