July 14th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Work again, this time with Billy, the guy we’d worked with on the very first day.  We hung around for a long time, because for some reason not enough people had turned up for work, but eventually, when we despaired of getting anything else, we left with a short crew, and a heck of a lot of papers to deliver.  In spite of that, tho’, I didn’t find the day went too badly.  There were lots of short runs, and then we would be picked up again, so that provided positive re-inforcement that we were doing the right thing, and hadn’t got lost.  Still, it was a long day, and by the time we got back, found out how much we’d earnt for the day, and taken $20 for our daily draw, it was 6 o’clock – a long day indeed, 13 hours of walking.  It had been a really hot day too, and we must have drunk 4 or 5 cans of soda each.  We walked back to the shop at a limping pace, and stopped off at a delicatessen a couple of blocks before the end of the journey for a glass of milk.  We cleaned ourselves up a bit at the shop, and then went straight back to the deli for our evening meal.  I had a sort of stew, and Val tried a piroshky, which turned out to be a sort of long doughnut filled with meat – very strange.  We also shared a couple of pots of salad, which were both good, and then completed our meal with coffee + cake.  We shared some Irish coffee cake – good – and some cheesecake – delicious!  Worth returning to for the cake alone.  And by this time it was getting very late – well, 8 or so, and we were working the next day, so it was time to retire.  We had a mini-disaster back in the shop.  As Val was climbing up onto our sleeping platform, she dropped the camera – a mere 10 feet or so.  She was pretty pissed off with herself for dropping it, but it was just one of those things.  We would just have to test it out before returning it.  Then, sleep.

Note- writing this diary is a chore, and rapidly getting out of hand (currently 6 days behind schedule.)  However, it is both enjoyable, and provides a necessary discipline.

Funny, I’d never regarded discipline as necessary before.  My first comment, however, about the chore of writing (though certainly not the last.)  Also a reference to the fact that real life and diary life were drifting apart.  Interesting that currently I am in the opposite position, having managed to get a few days ahead.   Note also the tendency I have really to go off on one when writing about food, all the more so when it was an enjoyable meal.  Food is even more important to the traveller, marking each day, frequently the highlight.  From my perspective now, I think I would prefer the coffee cake to the cheesecake, but that is (sadly) just a theoretical choice.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I kept a daily journal when I was traveling through the Middle East in 1972. And sometimes, the journal and “real life” would “drift apart,” especially when I’d had a spectacular day but didn’t feel up to writing about all the wonderful things that had happened. One such day was spending the night in a mudhif (reed house) in the marshes of southern Iraq. I’d just read a book about the Marsh Arabs (by a Brit), and felt as if I’d stepped into the pages of the book, because my (our–I was traveling with a Texan at the time) experience matched his exactly. But I didn’t get it written up until a week later, and felt sure that I’d missed some of the more dramatic aspects when it was finally in the journal.

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