Dec. 13, 2012
What freedom means to me is living free of roles. People who attempt to force roles on me, instead of encouraging me to be TRUE TO MYSELF, are not helping.
Puerto Rico is 100 miles long and about 35 miles wide.
Met Molly and came to her house today. Love her! She’s a fucking Aquarius (which I love), so everything is POSITIVE.
Dec. 14, 2012
Molly and I had dinner with Ricardo Pacheco. Nice.
In Kingston in a tin-roofed, ghetto house with Phillip, his 3 kids, 5 Couchsurfers (2 Danes, 1 German, a Frenchman, and me), and a bunch of musicians, dogs, cats, and a bird. The house is the back one of a “shotgun” line of 3 houses. Phillip’s has two big rooms (both bedrooms, with 3 couchsurfers to the double bed and the kids in the other room). The recording room is a few steps across the yard (which is a paved., very creative, arty space). Off the yard are the toilet, the shower, a sink, and inside in the little hallway is a two-burner hot plate.
It’s a very noisy space, with the kids’ TV blaring, the computer roaring when the kids are watching their shows, the music howling from the recording and mixing studio, and the dogs barking furiously now and then. They only freak out when black people come into the yard, which is crazy since Phillip and his kids are pure black.
One of the group’s new songs has been playing at full volume off and on all day as Phillip and another guy tweak it.
“Love Universally” is a video Ben and Phillip just made. These guys use the stage names Ben Hompaya (aka Hansen) and Cassafaya (Phillip Wright). Video was filmed a month ago, mostly here in Fletcher’s Land where we are living.
It’s wild, crazy and totally real. Poor, but not like Haiti. Phillip goes to the US now and then, a freedom only wealthy Haitians have. Little stores and hot food stands are everywhere in this neighborhood. It’s expensive (undoubtedly because we’re whites); a pound of little tomatoes and a small green pepper was $3 US (I forget how much in Jamaican dollars (Ben was helping me with the money). Most people seem to know English but speak the local patois (which is impossible for me to understand).
This is not a comfortable house at all. It’s a musician’s home. It’s totally dedicated to music so people like me struggle a bit here, but I can deal. I prefer being around artists; they’re non-judgemental. Or perhaps we just make the same judgements about things.
There’s no privacy here and no quiet (maybe in the middle of the night). It’s noise, noise, noise. I have to really take care of myself in this kind of environment. It’s all about individual expression, and anyone who wants to be a “giver” and “take care of others” is eaten up in a place like this; I’ve seen it before. But ten, that’s exactly the role some people really want to play. And, god knows, the kids at least (and probably others who live and hang out here) could use a little mothering.
I am wearing my earplugs 24/7 and hiding behind my computer. I have to focus on thinking my own thoughts and feeling my own feelings or I get sucked into the vitality of a community like this and just float along with it. I have to intentionally isolate myself at regular intervals and refuse to relate to others.
I am going to be here on Dec. 21, the day the Mayan Prophecy says some big world changes will happen. I think it’s a perfect place to be because, if any people know how to deal with calamity and crisis, it’s people like the ones here.
Ben is twenty-eight years old and has been on the road for three years. He returned to France three times during those years, mostly to heal from one illness or another. . I haven’t gotten to know Phillip; he’s in the studio all the time., It’s suppertime and the noise level has gone up a few notches. I don’t know what’s going on out in the yard, but it sounds like about 20 people are out there. It’s probably the TV, computer and music and about five people, plus the three kids who add considerably to the pleasant chaos. It’s a peaceful house, and respect for others and their stuff is very important here (or so Ben told me when I was worried about my leaving my passport in my backpack in the house when I go out). Great. I count on that kind of security.
I was going to go to the dentist here in Jamaica.
I barely got through immigration; they insisted that I had to have a ticket back to the US. I have one from Jamaica to Trinidad & Tobago. At 6:30 am, California time, I sent Seth a text message (what did that cost?), explaining the situation and asking him to put $50 into my account ; he put $80 in. The head of immigration finally interviewed me and let me enter Jamaica; she asked me, “Are you island hopping?” Yup, that’s what I’m doing.
Jamaica (i/dʒəˈmeɪkə/), is the 4th largest island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, and 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the 5th largest island country in the Caribbean. The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan. meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs”.
Kingston is 190 sq. miles in area; the population was 937,700 in 2011; the pop. density was 3,520 per sq. mi.
Fletcher’s Land is a section of Kingston which some people say is dangerous (the crime would be robbery). It’s in or near Downtown Kingston.
Dec. 16 Sunday
Being at Phillip’s humble home is great! He’s poor; luckily, I have been poor since my divorce in 1974. I told Phillip I raised my kids in RVs, trailers, hotel rooms, city apartments, and country houses. Camping has also helped me to adapt to many styles of living. The hypothetical “average American” uses so many unnecessary, manufactured products (so many of which are plastic and end up by the side of the road in poor countries); Phillip avoids this in favor of simplicity and fundamentals.
I slept really well; lots of dreams. Phillip got up and complained for a while about the dog shit in the yard, gangnam style, an Asian girlfriend who insisted he take her family name if they married (Yong), and how the yard smells like piss. No mystery here since the dogs are locked in the cement yard all night (during the day, they can also poop and pee in the dirt alleyway leading to the street). I prompted Phillip’s complaints about the Chinese when I said he’d better get to like them since they are going to take over the world. (Helpful, no? I live to serve.).
Phillip went out to the market with the kids since “Sunday is a special day,” and I think he’s going to cook for us. I fed the bird a soda cracker and cleaned up the trash in the yard (but not the dog shit). I fed the dog a soda cracker too. We all pitched in cleaned up the yard.
Phillip cooked us a big lunch of rice, potatoes, pasta, bananas, greens, and a kool-aid drink. Then they all left for the beach or a concert or Montego Bay (the young, clean, blond Danish couple could only take this scene for two nights). I stayed home to rest and have some quiet, but a crazy, super wound-up guy came and rapped in the yard outside my bedroom for over an hour, stopping once for three minutes max. Extraordinarily boring, all about “and the fat girl has to get the boom-boom, and the slim girl has to get the boom-boom” accompanied by rapping on something. Very annoying.