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Hakan'ın Kamerasından
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Salvador

We are surrounded by some very strange forces.

We like to think that we are on top of them, that somehow we understand just exactly what is going on, that we see the parameters that rule the universe and that we are allowed to play with them. I know some people who don't even accept the presence of these strange forces and constantly explain them by the lame concept of coincidence. I for one have rejected the entire world of coincidences, which may be as lame as the ones who use it all around, but choices need to be made in life to be able to accept and understand the world we live in. In my world coincidences do not exist.

We're attached on firm land. No more dinghy to mess with, one more or less easy jump sends me straight in the city center of Salvador, to the warm showers of the centro nautico we stay at, to the never ending delights Brazilian food. Life is going to be so easy for the next week... yeah right, just the thought of it probably triggered Murphy's coming on board. Do you know Murphy? Or his law? I know it has many variations but to me Murphy's law goes something like "what ever can go wrong, will go wrong." A very enticing prospect no?

We wake up, in our triangular bed, which after a bit of getting used to is very comfortable. I crawl out of it, and put some water to boil, oops the gas comes out way too powerfully, something is wrong, Hakan takes a look... no tea this morning! I think Murphy is a British red head, no surprise he starts his attack by forbidding us our morning tea. No worry I think and start doing some laundry, with direct access to water it's nearly, but not quite, a game. I go back in the cabin and half the bed is wet. Oops again, there seems to be a leak in the hull. No worry I think again and I decide to write a bit on the computer... Oops, it's not starting, it's actually dead, and another leak, this one in the motor, and the rain that won't let my laundry dry. Hakan needs to fix a filling on one of his teeth, we find a French speaking dentist, change the filling, go for lunch and the tooth next to the one just taken care of falls right off. It lies there in his hand, I can't believe my eyes, what is going on here, Hakan tells me he can fix this himself, he used to be a dentist after all. Work work work, no play, need to fix our problems, so we run from left to right to find this guy and the other in a language I only very scarcely master. So after a full week of this I start a revolution in the kingdom of Mardek. Play, I want play!

So we head for the nearest beach, play ball and inspect the waves for our first try at body board. The waves are there, the surfers as well. We look at them with a mixture of delight and terror. These waves are huge, oohw look at this guy thrown out of the water head down hands still attached to his board legs swimming the air. And the other one, being dismantled by another water blast. But then we see as well this other guy cruising the wave with an apparent happy face. We're just watching and I can feel the rush of it already. Yep, tomorrow we will join them, as the tide will rise we'll be throwing ourselves in.

We have found a hotel who will keep our clothes. Stripped down to my bikini I feel very awkward in a hotel reception, in the streets, I hide behind my board, take some courage in Hakan and soon we're on the beach, my self consciousness fades away as I put my fins on. They are supposed to help us pick up some speed to catch the waves, help us to go trough the raging water to reach the area where the wave will form. I throw myself in the water and start paddling, waves crash on me and push me a few meters back, the power of the water is extremely strong, I'll never make it... but I must! So I double up my energy and suddenly I have passed the wall of crashing down white foam. I lie on my belly, and decide to wait for my breath to calm down. Hakan joins me. Yesterday we said that the first one to catch a wave wins, and just as I turn around to remind him about it I see a huge wall of water rushing towards me and him. I know it is perfect, my position, the curl that's starting to draw itself on the top of it, fear fills me, I should take it, but I won't... I let it pass, and turn to tell Hakan about its hugeness. He's gone... evaporated, he's taken the bloody wave, I look towards the beach and there he is, tens of meters further in a sec. I congratulate him from afar and decide that I have to stop being a chicken and take next wave, it's not going to kill me, it's going to give me lots of strong emotions and an incredible rush, I'm here on my belly on a board for these particular reasons, so... time to go! Soon enough another wave shows his scary face to me and I decide to paddle as hard as I can place myself at a slight angle and face my fears. I feel being projected forwards, I feel the furious foam right behind me, my head is much lower than my feet, the sound is overpowering. I am being rushed towards the beach, I press the front of the board a little and cry for mammy.

4 or 5 waves like this leave me incapable to cross the white line and I let myself be pushed to the sand, happy and exhausted. I find the last rays of sun to warm my body and soon Hakan is out as well, big smiles on our face we head for an ice cream parlor and I take one scoop of goyaba, my favorite pink flavor right now. We decide in extasy that we'll be doing surf every afternoon from now on and leave the work for the morning hours.

Sure enough the next day we're in the water again, it is Sunday and there seems to be a little more people about. I take my first wave, at full speed I see a second one coming in from my right, at the very spot of my board and me the 2 waves merge, and for me to be thrown airborne and then crash into the confused water. I'm being pulled down pushed up, pulled right pushed left all at the same time, like the laundry in the washing machine I fail to have. I lift my hand high above my head and wave it before daring to stick out my head. And start to paddle my way back to the right spot. It is a very hard business to make your way out there, and today seems to be even harder. I suddenly see a surfer heading straight for my head, I scream and pull my whole body as close to the bottom of the sea as possible and wait for the possible collision, nothing, and I come back up. The surfer is right next to me, which tells me that he has jumped of his board at the vision of me. We nod at each other to confirm our being uninjured. Ones again I paddle my way to where it all starts, and find Hakan on his belly, on the board, we'll take our next wave side by side, I can not really see him, but I know he's there, very close to me as we rush to the beach. And there, right in front of me, a young man, pushing his way back to where he wants to be, and me rushing straight at him, I let go of the board, survive the furious water and wait for a collision that doesn't happen. A third close encounter happens soon after and I take it as a huge signpost telling me to get the hell out of there before the accident does happen.

I leave the water, sit on my fins and thank myself for having seen the signs. After a while I go to the hotel where our clothes wait for us, enter the reception area close to naked, and get hold of my bag, extremely uncomfortable. So uncomfortable in fact that I don't see where I put my feet, I'm rushing blindly for cover, and hit, full power, my toes against a step my mind thought smart to ignore. On the other side of the street 3 girls laugh hysterically at me. I decide to ignore my pain to face the 3 bitches straight into the eyes to somehow, and god knows for what, keep some kind of decency, hurt, naked or nearly on the steps of a hotel. I reach the beach before setting my mind on my foot, put it into the sea and observe, which toe has been hit, and is it broken? It is not bleeding and slowly I manage to locate where it hurts, it could be broken for all I know, except I didn't hear the loud cracking noise I heard last year when I broke the little toe right next to the one in pain today. But last year there were no girls laughing at me, no cars no busses no music in the air. Hakan arrives, he had a collision! And there's a cut in his board, fortunately he's not injured. We set of for a fruit juice and ice for my foot, is it broken? We head for the boat, fall asleep and the next day I can't walk, is it broken? Hakan thinks it's not, I'm in pain, furious at myself for being so stupid, ashamed even. Is it a reason not to watch your step because you're naked in the street? Is it? Certainly not! On the contrary, looking where you set your feet might lessen the feeling of embarrassment. What a fool I am, and I even saw the signs, to walk straight into it, very well my dear, way to go.

It is not broken, or so we think, every day I can walk a little better but it is quite clear I should not use it too much, so I stay on board a lot and read and nap, Hakan takes the opportunity to fix this and that, I am left to wonder if my head would have been cut clear off had I stayed in the water? Was the accident inevitable? Could I only choose how and where it happened? Like Damocles's sword lurching above my head, or did I just bluntly walk right into it?

01.08.2005 / Salvador (Brasil)

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