Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Journey as Surreal...

Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that to him there was no such thing as magical realism. What people saw as magical in his books actually happened to him. Part of his youth was spent growing up in a large house where many relatives had died. When Gabriel was bad, his grandparents never punished him. They just locked him in a room with so and sos ghost.

To me every day life can be quite surreal. I recall the swimming pool my friend Carol and I found in the middle of the Mexican desert. Pristine, full of water, but when we got in to swim in the cool, soothing waters, a campesino arrived and told us that we couldn't swim in his patron's pool. Where the campesino came from and where his patron was remain mysteries to me. Apparently the patron didn't have the funds yet to build the house, but he had dug and filled the pool.

This picture above reflects one such moment. Larry and I were late to get the ferry to North Africa. We raced to Algeciras which had the slow ferry (as opposed to Tarifa that had the "fast" ferry; I wanted to sail into North Africa the way the Phoenicians did). At the terminal we learned that there was a ferry leaving in ten minutes and another in two hours, which meant that with the time difference if we took the later ferry we'd arrive in the middle of the night.

We tried to grab two tickets, but two Moroccan men were having visa issues in front of us. Finally they stepped out of the way as we purchased our tickets to Tangier. The ticket clerk phoned the ship's captain to say that two passengers were on the way. As we were led, racing to the huge vessel which could easily hold a few thousand people, I asked the woman guiding us if we were the last passengers. "No," she told me, "you are the only passengers."

I made her repeat it twice. "Unicos??"

As you can see from this photo, except for a few truckers who had cargo in the hold, we are in fact the only passengers. We are standing alone in this enormous ship's cafe. Two hours later we docked in what would not be Tangier ("I was misinformed" - one of the many lines from Casablanca I recall)but a place call Port du Med. We ambled alone down the gangplank to greet the solitary customs official who waited for us in an empty parking lot.

In the 1930's Andre Breton went to Mexico to teach surrealism to the Mexicans. He wanted a table on which he could do his work and he asked a carpenter if he could make him such a table. Breton drew for the carpenter an architectural drawing of a table - diamond shaped, two short legs in front, long in back. A few days later the man returned with a diamond shaped table built to architectural perfection with long legs in back and short in the front.

Shortly thereafter Breton left Mexico and returned to France. When asked why he was leaving, Breton is reported to have said, "I have nothing to teach the Mexicans about surrealism."


  1. GGM is one of the best writers to ever exist! Love your writing. :)

  2. Thank you, Global Butterfly! What a great name you have!!!