Wanted, before I disappear into the vortex, to jot down a few last words about the Hawaii.
Item: As previously noted, on my last day at the Volcano, I hiked around an area called the “Bird Park”. Did take time to make a brief field recording of the avian goings on. Way better to’ve been there in person, of course. But this snippet is kinda fun, I guess.
Item: Met a local guy on my way down the Muliwai (that’s the trail etched into the western cliff of the Waipio valley), on his way up with a horse. He’d stopped for a rest, and told me that he was getting his horse into shape, so that he soon could ride up to the top and hunt wild boars. At the time, the horse was dripping with sweat (I think horses can sweat?), while the dude was drinking a beer. Pretty damned funny.
Item: The “new” Thea Gilmore rekkid, Murphy’s Heart (actually released last year, but I somehow only discovered the fact a month or so ago) has replaced The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead as my fave album of the moment. The former rocked me sideways all the way around the Island. The latter had been in the top spot since it leaked in early December. Can’t recall an album that’s had its hooks into me for as many months in a long, long time. Probably when Robyn Hitchcock was in his glory days. If you’ve got neither, you need both. If you’ve got one, you need t’other.
Item: Never did mention, but I et a buncha cooked food right before leaving the farm. Okay, perhaps not a bunch; but certainly several ounces’ each worth of boiled Taro, steamed Breadfruit, and steamed Pumpkin. All grown right there on the farm (natch!), all unadorned with condiment or sauce or accompaniment or the like…and all straight-up delish, brah! (In fact, it’s why I waited ’til the end of my stay: didn’t want to find myself hooked on the cooked.) Breadfruit is really great raw, too, yo.
Item: Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. Picked this up from the “Free Zone” of my apartment building, coupla months before my departure. I was intrigued (to say the least) by the book’s description; and figgered that, at a thousand pages (or damned near), it’d make a choice travel novel.
Turned out that the farm had all kinds of interesting books in its own library; and so I didn’t get started in on Shantaram for a few months. Then, when I did get started, I was so enthralled by it that I limited myself to one chapter per day, so as to prolong the glory. Even still, had finished the book by Christmas, and had intended since to pimp its awesomeness. Sometimes a lazy-ass will just always be a lazy-ass.
Anyhow, here, from the book’s jacket, is what the author’s all about:
Gregory David Roberts, like the hero of his novel, spent many years as a fugitive. In 1978, after his divorce, losing custody of his daughter, and being convicted of a series of robberies committed to support his heroin habit, he was jailed in an Australian maximum security prison and sentenced to nineteen years. In 1980, he escaped over the prison’s front wall, and for the next ten years eluded authorities, living in New Zealand, Asia, Africa, and Europe — but for most of that time in Bombay; where he established a free medical clinic for slum-dwellers, and worked as a counterfeiter, smuggler, gun-runner, and street soldier for the Bombay mafia. He was finally captured in Germany and served out his sentence there and in Australia, during which time he role Shantaram. He is now a full-time writer and lives in Bombay.
What it doesn’t say, and what you shall discover soon after delving into its pages, is that the sumbitch can flat-out fucking write. I mean, it’s one thing to’ve lived the life that he’s lived; but to write about it with such mind-boggling eloquence as he does is a wonder to behold.
Apparently the sequel’s due in a few months’ time. Should make for a great next travelin’ read. (Although, I see that John Sayles has also written a thousand-page novel. Huge fan of his movies — although it seems to me that he peaked with Lone Star, and it’s been gradually downhill ever since — so will definitely want to give this a look as well. It’s okay: I plan to be gone a while!)