… then I eat about three more.

fresh sea urchin meat

At his instruction and encouragement, I pinch the rough and shiny spines of a large, black sea urchin with two nervous fingers, pulling the squirming creature from its rock, gasping at my own audacity. I wade back into the hidden little cave, just five barefoot steps from this village of sea urchins, and I proceed to scratch out the pebbly orange meat inside, slimy little morsels, with my finger—my friend showed me how. But I notice the spines and shards of shell of its poor cousins strewn all about me on the rocks and the sand, as I scoop its salty squishy fresh flesh into my mouth…
I feel somehow sheepish and apologetic to these spindly carcasses when I exclaim aloud how delicious is its meat…

…then I eat about three more.

 

I wonder if it is offensive that I tried to use one of their stouter spines as a utensil to eat their own innards….

 

 

sea urchin shell

 

 

 

originally written : 06 January 2017 / Mirissa, Sri Lanka

manufacturing hope in status updates

a hopeful visualization of the future as a facebook profile

Three years ago, in my darkest months of 2013, in order to manufacture for myself some small light of hope, some small relief from the reality of my depression and the depression of my reality, I set up a Facebook account and profile for my imagined future self, living and posting in circa 2016.

 

I added to this page my dreams and my wishes in bits and bytes, in the form of photo posts and status updates, a visualization of the future I dared to want, built with Facebook and Google images, designed with ambition and hope.

 

And here we are now.

 

Now as I write this, falling into the latter half of this final day of 2016, I am lying on cotton cushions shaded from the high Sri Lankan sun, pondering adjectives and memories; I am trying at every sunrise to learn my turns on the glassy blue-green waves of the Indian Ocean. I have one dozen sentences in Sinhala to speak with locals as I swat at the flies competing for my food; I have a book in Russian on my bed to attempt and often fail to read at night. I sleep next to a red suitcase of scented mosquito repellent, sunscreen and hair oils, two bikinis and two rashguards, some books in languages I can not yet read, a set of tightly rolled black hand wraps for muay thai, a pair of decrepit, mismatched dancing shoes, their battered heels still with some glitter, along with the roll of duck tape I use to fasten them onto my feet, and, of course, some various means of recording my intentions, my reflections: two withering spiral notebooks, a leather journal, one MacBook Air.

I have a one-way ticket to fly, at last, to Kuala Lumpur.

And I am, after all, writing a blog.

call from the sea

sea in Weligama, Sri Lanka

On a one-month journey in Sri Lanka

I thought I was to explore an ancient nation….

 

It turns out

that I am here

to investigate, at last,

an inexplicable, lifelong pull

from the night sea that sang to me

in unknown memories, and in my earliest dreams,

calling me farther and farther onto its moonlit waters

with the wistful melody of a wooden pipe rising up in the zephyrs

to voyage forth into that world somewhere beyond the evening horizon…

 

 

where I belong.

Dubrovnik First Impressions

I fell in love with the beauty of Croatia within just 10 minutes
of leaving the teeny Dubrovnik airport
in a sour smelling shuttle bus.

Not the scent of upholstery mold nor the darkened grey windows
could mar the beauty of the Croatian countryside:
stone walls crumbling in grapevines,
lime trees rustling and laundry fluttering,
It was unlikely love at first dim sight under unflattering lighting.

And I have been scheming to return ever since.

 

***

I stumbled upon this market my first day exploring Old Town… and I was delighted!!!

rf day 1 market

I spent a long, long time ooogling at unfamiliar fruits and rustic-looking glass bottles of herbal ruby-red ointment and carob liquor.

The venders say something like… “proba, proba,” showing off sugar-coated orange peels, candied almonds, and dried figs… you use your elementary Spanish to guess they are saying “test, test” or “try, try” ..so you pop one exotic-looking treat in your mouth… or two…. the peels are incredibly sweet with a touch of sour, the nuts infallibly crunchy. The figs are MAGNIFICENT, —my favorite!— and available in all varieties: soft and juicy sun-dried, fresh and crisp, warm green, or deep purple!

The morning market is open every day, until around 1PM at Gundulić Square.

***

The entrance to one of the most heart-stopping, breathtaking moments from my entire time there…….

this moment took me by complete and utter surprise.

I had no idea – no one had told me that there was a hole in the wall to the outside… after hours and hours of walking enchanted and lost and alone in a maze of narrow stone streets and endless uneven steps… when I caught whispers of distant music on a sudden gust of wind, and followed my nose to the faint scent of kelp and sea salt… followed my nose to climb through the hole, pushing against the whipping wind…

I saw……….

rf buza

Buža Bar

***

Exploring within the walls, I’ve crossed this place a few times… and every time, it drew me in. It was somehow… intriguing… each time I saw it, whether by day or by night.

rf freshsheets ii

Perhaps it captures me so because it strikes me with such a strong presence of authenticity, a kind of snapshot glimpse into the lived-in Old Town — a kind of place that is surrounded beauty, stone, and sea, but also a kind of place where one sips coffee on a centuries-old back porch chatting with your lifelong neighbors as tourists walk by in awe and snap photos of your drying laundry…

 

 

originally written : September 12, 2013 / 12. rujan 2013 / Dubrovnik, Croatia