Monday, 9 March 2009

09 March 2009

wonderful bath. And he directed us to the strangest thing in the world: it was an ordinary American type bathhouse one mile out of town on the hiway, full of kids splashing in a pool and showers inside a stone building for a few centavos a crack, with soap and towel from the attendant. Besides this it was also a sad kiddy park with swings and a brokendown merrygoround and in the fading red sun it seemed so strange and so beautiful. Frank and I got towels and jumped right into ice-cold showers inside and came out refreshed and new. Neal didn’t bother with a shower and we saw him far across the sad park strolling arm in arm with good Gregor and chatting volubly and pleasantly and even leaning excitedly towards him to make a point and pounding his fist. Then they resumed arm-in-arm and strolled. The time was coming to say goodbye to Gregor so Neal was taking the opportunity to have moments alone with him and to inspect the park and get his views on things in general and in-all dig him as only Neal could do and does. Gregor was very sad now that we had to go. “You come back to Victoria, see me?” “Sure man!” said Neal. He even promised to take Gregor back to the States if he so wished it. Gregor said he would have to mull over this. “I got wife and kid—ain’t got a money---I see.” His sweet smile glowed in the redness as we waved to him from the car. Behind him was the sad park and the children. Suddenly he jumped after us and asked for a ride home. Neal was so bent on the road he was momentarily annoyed by this and brusquely told him to get in. And we went back to Victoria and dropped Gregor a block from his house. He didn’t understand this sudden businesslike grimness on the part of Neal and Neal realizing it began talking and pointing what he could to him, and finally they were straight again and Gregor walked down the streets of his life. And off we bowled for the jungle, the mad mad jungle that we never expected. And after all this what more could we take in? Immediately outside Victoria the road began to drop, great trees arose on each side, and in the trees as it grew dark we heard the great roar of billions of insects that sounded like one continuous high-screeching cry. “Whoo!” said Neal, and he turned on his headlights and they weren’t working.

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