Hakan Öge
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Hakan'ın Kamerasından
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Timor Sea

Now I'm in an uncomfortable spot.

The only way out seems to come clear with you. It's my usual way out of uncomfortable things. I surely didn't use to think this way but it became clear that it is easier. No turning and wriggling to find a presumed exit that will eventually open in a puss smelling splash right in my face anyway. Except maybe a few days ago when I washed Hakan's shorts. His memory stick was still in his pocket, I put the shorts in the machine, pressed the heavy duty program button and much later when I wanted to stuff the shorts in what we call the cupboard but really look nothing like such a thing I noticed the memory stick.

I felt my heart accelerate. I turned it around in my hand several times. It looked clean. It even looked unharmed. What shall I do? What shall I say? Should I turn on the computer and check the device? If it works, I can keep quiet, if it doesn't I'll confess. Should I say nothing and appear really surprised when it turns out the stick is broken? Should I turn the situation around and make it seem his fault the stick got heavy duty washed? All scenarios spin in my head. I'm not one that lacks imagination or creativity when it comes to it. Hakan is a meter away, boiling water for tea. I look up, call him, squeezing my face in a mixture of mock despair and raw terror I tell him I washed the stick, heavy duty. Where and when have I become so alarmingly honest?

The stick is still working.

So I'm back to my uncomfy situation towards you. A few weeks ago I wrote something, it started really good, there was a good pace, it was funny. Hakan and I catapulted in Stone Age, roaming crocodile swamps barefooted accompanied by a speared man. It was telling you how I felt about this and that, about contrasts and the elasticity of time and then I got hungry... and I dropped you there and then, without an afterthought. I cooked we ate, then we arrived in Darwin and the hectic city thing caught us (not so) unaware. Now, not only am I not in Stone Age anymore but I even left Australia already and there is no way I can pick up my last written thing and just go on with it so there. Wrote something to you, and you'll never get it.

In Australia it was my birthday. We rented a car and went inland. The sun was horrid but we had air-conditioning so we didn't suffer for now. We were well equipped with new hats. After driving for a while we realized we didn't know where we were going. Sure we knew it was called Kakadu Aboriginal Park, but where was it? We had an assortment of tourist leaflets but it was still not telling us where Kakadu was or what road we should take. We pulled over at the first petrol station that turned out to have travel information as well. we thought it funny to be this disorganized, how could we possibly be driving for more than half an hour without realizing we didn't know where to. It turned out we were on the right road and we were told where to turn and drove without the slightest mishap...and back. Seems we're well traveled after all.

I wanted kangaroo-like creatures for my birthday. Not have them, see them. We were walking, sweating with out hats on, in the bush, we were heading to some rock art. It seemed to me we were strolling inside an oven. Everything was extremely dry, crunch crunch, everything broke under our step. We followed the path and the first rock paintings appeared. Little stick men hunting, 5000 years old. Red. On the rocks. We go on, turn around a corner, the rock has a strange shape, there's a huge indentation that creates shelter. I approach slowly. Something strange is happening inside me, this place has power and I'm about to enter it. My legs bring me up the rocks, under the big horizontal roof, all sides of the protected part are painted, layers on layers of stories and traditions, my eyes start itching, tears roll on my cheeks, I am breathing heavily, the rocks are telling me stories, the site is pouring inside my soul. My eyes are stuck on the paintings, I weep. It is a very strange feeling, it has nothing to do with me, it is not my tensions that are being freed, that feeling I know very well, this is something else, completely. There is no sadness. A brute voyage in the past, ancestral beauty in my twenty-first century face. I'm stripped naked of all protection, in this very vulnerable state we walk on to the next rocks the next shelters and stories. Big fish, kangaroos, crocodiles, men, women spirits, all entangled together or cleanly separate, on the rocks. The sun goes down, we've got a great view of the swamps down there. I feel very greatfull and honored to have been allowed to witness the traditions of such a different culture. I wouldn't survive 2 weeks in this climate, they, live and create art, teaching how to live, what to eat, where to go and what to fear. We walk back to the car, suddenly a few meters from us a dark grey creature jumps away, a kangaroo, for me, for my birthday. He stops looks at me and jumps on, I'm elated, what a day, what encounters here in the bush.

We sleep in a bush bungalow. It's a hard mosquito net on stilts. Rudimentary comfort they call it. I call it luxury. We have running water in the room, a big bed, a fridge and room to walk. There even is a ceiling fan. Life is so easy when you don't have to crawl. We stay 2 nights in our bush palace and I realize how easy practical things will be when we get back on land. I also realize how hard it will be to readapt to other things. I'm not sure which things yet, but I'm sure they'll be hard.

The north of Australia is way too hot, I have trouble resisting the sun and feel quite weak, nearly sick, like I've been beaten up or had an accident. I need a day off, I fend off the sun from the cabin, install the computer and watch 3 films back to back. Not moving the slightest bit. I wait for the sun to disappear before getting out for a little food. The next day I'm fit again. It is important I think to be able to accept your weaknesses when they arise, and heal them at ones. I could have pushed myself a few more days and then when I would have crashed, I would have needed much more than 3 films...

Now we're sailing towards Indonesia, I'm a little wary, I've only heard horrible things about it. Civil unrest, aggression, bombs, racism and unpleasant people. I hope it's exaggerated and that we'll find nothing of the kind. There is very little wind or no wind at all. There are no waves no swell and apart from too hot it is very comfortable, we have a few days to go and then we'll enter Asia. A whole new world. Again.

18.10.2006

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