So It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything and it hasn’t been because things haven’t been happening—quite a lot has happened since I last updated you all—but I’ve honestly just been too lazy to type anything out and I’ve been quite beat. I’m finally ready to tackle the massive backlog of writing I have to do, so I will now do my best to recap some of the key things that have happened over the past few days:
On Wednesday, February 13, I decided I was going to spend my time after work at a group of hot ponds called the Champagne Ponds. I set off hitching from the bed and breakfast and got my first ride within 10 minutes. A man picked me and two other hitchhikers up and we all rode in the bed of his pickup truck. Driving in the back of a truck going through the forest that leads to the Champagne Ponds is absolutely incredible because of the canopy the trees form and the beauty of it all. The man took me about halfway where I needed to go then dropped me off. I began trying to hitch a ride the rest of the way, but was having much less luck this time. After about 30 minutes of standing I was beginning to contemplate just hitching back the way I came, but just as those thoughts began to creep into my head a man pulled up and I hopped in. The man introduced himself as Roland and he just so happened to be heading to the Champagne Ponds too, so we set off. We ended up getting lost along the way and had a great time laughing about being lost and got to kind of bond over the fact we had no idea where we were going. After driving for about thirty minutes and talking to some locals for directions we finally found where we were trying to go. When we got there, though, we both decided we weren’t really feeling that location and instead decided to head up to another hot pond down the road. Once there Roland went to the hot pond and I went to the cliffs just a bit away. About thirty minutes later I ran into Roland at one of the pavilions in the park leading to the hot pond. He was cooking steak using one of those portable camping grills, and he insisted I sit down and share some steak with him. He proceeded to cook me the best meal I had had in days, something I was indescribably grateful for. We began to talk over dinner and we both exchanged life stories and both learned a lot from one another. We had some really great conversations and it was really nice to be involved in such deep conversation with a total stranger. After dinner Roland said he was heading to a hippie market at the Kava Bar a bit up the road and asked if I wanted to tag along. Thirty minutes later we were at the market surrounded by hand blown pipes, homemade tye-dye for sale, delicious local food, and great local music. We met some really great people (including a girl from Austria, who was quite odd but nice nonetheless) and about two hours later we headed home. Roland dropped me off at the bed and breakfast and we both shook hands and wished one another the best. As he drove away I shouted “Have a nice life!” to which he replied by throwing his hand out the window and flashing the shakka. It was quite an awesome experience. There’s something exhilarating and intriguing about spending your day with a complete stranger.
On Friday new WWOOFers moved into the house I am currently staying in. One is a man named Tom, about 26, from the suburbs of Chicago. The other is a 19yr old hippie girl named Rayne from Canada. I spent Friday helping both of them get adjusted to the place, and after we were finished with work for the day I took Tom to my favorite hot spring to introduce him to the island and show him around. I absolutely blew his mind and it was pretty cool to see someone so excited about everything, especially since that had been me a little less than a month ago. Tom is quite odd, though, and doesn’t exactly fit in on the island. Nevertheless I am trying my best to make sure he survives out here. He doesn’t have any money and our host isn’t too pleased with him, so it isn’t looking too great for him at this point, though.
On Saturday I woke up early to hitchhike to another local farmers market. I got some local bananas and avocados for really cheap and they were both absolutely fantastic. The hippie beach was on the way home, so I hitched there and stayed for around an hour before hitching back home. On the way back I got picked up by Roland! We were both really excited to see one another and laughed at how weird life is. We talked a bit but sadly had to part ways a few minutes later. We exchanged phone numbers, though, so I there’s still a chance we’ll do more before he heads back to Seattle in a few days. Afterwards I spent the rest of the day helping the news guys (and putting up with Tom). At night Tom and I went to a few of the local bars, during which Tom got me ripped off by a local (even though I had warned him about locals beforehand). I was furious. I tried not to get too mad though and instead just went to bed.
The next day I didn’t do much. It was a day of self-discovery, and it was quite interesting. Later that night—around 1 am or so—Tom wakes us up. His head is bloody and he has huge bruises all on his eyes and his forehead. Apparently he hadn’t learned his lesson the night before as he was apparently once again fraternizing with the locals. This eventually led to one of the locals getting in Tom’s face before proceeding to headbutt and pummel Tom into the ground right in the middle of the bar. It didn’t help that he was extremely drunk, and when he got back to the house he continued to drink more rum. Even though he had woken us up asking for help, he eventually starts trying to say that he is alright and that he doesn’t need any medical attention. He said his shoulder was dislocated and tried to get us to put it back in place for him. We tried but eventually told him he had to call an ambulance. He calls and for some reason starts to lie to the operator and tells her he fell. I yell at him to tell her the truth, and he reluctantly listens. When the ambulance arrives they try to get Tom to sit on the stretcher in the back of the ambulance so they can take him to the hospital. Tom argues and instead insists—quite drunkenly—that he sit in the seat next to the stretcher. It was painful to watch. It gets slightly heated but eventually they get him to lie down. They close the door and through the glass I could see the exact moment in which Tom realized what was happening and the reality of the situation hit him. You could see it on his face and seconds later he let out a scream that I can still hear in my head. It was really quite sad. The ambulance then pulled away and off he went. It was like a movie. It was nuts. The rest of us were all quite confused and shaken, and we all chilled and talked for a bit to calm down and then headed to bed.
This morning we wake up and Tom still isn’t there. I eat breakfast, go into town for a second, and am about to head next door to start work when Tom walks in. He’s all bruised and bandaged up, and his arm is in a sling. We talk for a bit about what happened and then I went off to work. At the bed and breakfast our host spent a long time talking to me about Tom. He doesn’t think he’s cut out for life out here and is really worried about him. He also feels Tom doesn’t work enough. I share his feelings, to be quite honest. I agree to try and talk Tom into finding another place that will suit him better, and then head off to work. Three and a half hours later I’m done with work and head back to the house. When I get there I find Tom even more drunk than he was the night before, which is really saying something. He is completely incoherent and makes absolutely no sense the entire time we are trying to communicate with him. I left to the beach shortly after that, which wasn’t too great because it was dreary and rainy pretty much the entire time. The waves were absolutely massive, though, and I stayed for an hour watching them crash along the shore. During this time a naked man decided to lie down on the sand in front of the waves and lets them sweep over him—it was slightly odd, but it honestly seemed like it would have been fun to do. On my way out of the beach I was walking a decent distance away from the water when a huge wave hit the shore. It was so powerful the water came all the way up to where I was standing and sucked my sandals straight off my feet. As my sandals left my feet I immediately realized how incredibly difficult it would be to hitchhike while barefoot, so I sprinted further up the beach, dropped my bag, and rushed to the water. After taking both of my sandals and churning them through a couple of massive eight or nine foot waves, they miraculously returned to shore. A man had been watching from the cliffs above and cheered “Hooray!” and started clapping when he saw me reclaim them, and I laughed and smiled and waved back. I got a ride halfway to town by a man who ended up offering me $12 an hour to do some basic landscaping for him, which is quite awesome. We exchanged numbers and hopefully I’ll start doing that at some point. After that a woman picked me up, and she was very nice. She only took me about a mile though because her car ran out of gas. We laughed, I thanked her for the thought, and she pulled in to a small processing plant to ask for some gas from somebody. I sat along the road and tried to hitch a ride the rest of the way, but before anyone else could get me she comes driving back up and we both laugh and I get in. She was extremely nice and extremely interesting. She was a roller derby coach and apparently spent age 18-28 living as a nomad all across the US. She had also been to dozens of Rainbow Gatherings, which I found quite neat. After having some nice conversation she dropped me right off at the house and told me “Wander safely!”. And that was pretty much the end of the day. Phew. Finally. I’m done. There’s a ‘quick’ rundown of what has been happening lately. It isn’t everything, but it’s enough. I am now going to rest my fingers from all this typing.