Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Motorcycle Diary"

Feb 15

Peter leaves in the morning.

Max suggests I drive up river to the rapids and also take a dirt road up the hill.

The rapids are not very interesting. But going up the hill is kind of fun, and the view from the top is marvelous. I only wish it were later in the day, so the light was more favorable. But I have not brought the camera with me lest I fall and break it.

The drive down was pure terror for the first few seconds. I did not think the downward trip through, and as soon as I started the motorbike began to accelerate downwards without much help from the gas handle. I panic while trying to turn the gas down and instead I turn it up. The motorbike takes off at a frightening speed, a curve looms ahead, but I mange to correct myself and slow down in time. The rest of the trip was nice and slow, and at the bottom of the hill I feel as if I have earned the right to drive the motorbike.

Max had also suggested that I look up his artist friend Lockie, who leaves on the same road but closer to town. I go to town, to the same restaurant where I ate before and order the same dish. The girls have come to know me here. They smile knowingly as I enter and appear to be ratcheting up the spicy heat. Today I love the hot taste, but I begin to hiccup. They seem alarmed and bring me water, but I say I love the taste.

After lunch I go to Lockie’s house. The house is on the river, with a deck that looks out to the river, rattan sofas are spread around the deck, two hammocks. He asks me to sit on a sofa while he lies down on a bed he has on the deck. Wiry and thin, balding with some white hair, Lockie looks like in his late sixties or early seventies. A Scotsman painter, his work is spread everywhere in his home. An unfinished portrait on the easel lies downstairs. He takes me upstairs where his bedroom and the small sitting area are choked full with canvases and paints.

I tell him I will return next day with a camera.

Back in Utopia, I immerse myself into The Lost Executioner.

A harrowing account.

Max starts the music. A French couple is staying in the Bungalow. They are from Paris and have traveled all over India and Asia. Max insists I should show them my black and white portfolio.

I do a bit of portraiture of Max’s family with the Leica.

The music stops by 9:30PM. A toh kay beeps, TOH Kayh TOH Kayh some seven times. They seem to always beep some seven times. These funny looking lizards are about 8 to 12 inches long, with dark skin with red spots, a smiley face and beady eyes, are everywhere in Utopia and the surrounding jungle. Max says they are numbered and every room has its own.

Like last night I take a Tylenol to ease the pain in my ankle.

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