Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 58 Endless Beaches of White Sand

These beaches never seem to end... the sand is fine and the dunes high.  Ups are difficult, but skiing the downs is out and out fun.  The fishing villages have become smaller and smaller, mostly consisting of a single shack.  One such shack on the side of a bluff came before me as a small miracle.  I started out in the mist of the morning with advice from an old man telling me that I should walk across a part of the desert rather that follow the shoreline because it would be a much shorter distance and the village that appeared on the map would take the entire day to reach.  Would there be houses where I could get more water?  Of course, yes, many...  Is the dirt road clear and easy to follow?  Of course, yes, can't miss it... Are there people in the village where I might find a place to pass the night?  Of course, yes, many...

Advice can be so outrageously misguided to save the pride of an old man... why couldn't he say he had no idea where the village indicated on the map was (turns out, it was abandoned more than a century ago and nothing but old stone walls remain) and that he hadn't been on that dirt road in years and didn't know what I might find?  Moron may be too strong of a word to describe the old man, but taking the advice put me in quite a difficult situation.  The desert road shown on the map - in reality dozens of crisscrossing tracks all over the place... the houses - none, so no water available... the town with no people, no place to pass the night... details details details.

Reserving my water as well as I could, the clouds burned off and the sun came out and I became concerned.  Using my compass to triangulate off the antenna masts let me know my location in reality but not on the map, so no sense of how close or far from any habitation... all day long... in the last hours before sunset, I devised a contingency plan to reach the sea again, make an emergency shelter among the rocks, possibly gather shellfish in the surf, and hope that the morning mist would provide sufficient moisture for a few sips of water.  The inventory on hand was down to two dry cookies, an orange, a chocolate bar, and a quarter liter of water.  Not a very good plan, I thought at the time, but lacking other input, it was the best I had.  Everything looks better in the morning and I could pass the night comfortably enough for contingency planning.

As I reached the sea at dusk, I saw the glow of a light on the shore to the south and quickly abandoned my plan for a new one.  A light might mean people, and people would surely mean water, and the introduction of water improved any plan.  I found the source of the light inside a fisherman's shack, with three young men watching Big Mama II dubbed in Spanish, three big dogs, and three small cats.  The men, without interrupting their television viewing, offered me water, prepared some fried bread and clams for all of us, and didn't mind in the least that I would spend the night on their little sofa once the movie was over.  The generator powering the television ran out of fuel a few minutes before the movie finished anyway.  All's well that ends well with a moral to the story being that staying by the shore increases the probability of finding fishermen with water compared to the barrenness of the desert in bloom.

I spent six days walking along the long shore encountering fishermen's shacks with jovial gentlemanly fishermen more than happy to provide fresh water and shellfish with fried bread.  What a diverse culture I've seen.

Northward, the shacks will thin out, I'm being told, but I'm good for another 200 kilometers (another four days.)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you found fine and friendly fishermen with food.
Linda, Sheila,Lynn & I were together today, marvelling once again about your courage, spirit of adventure, optimism, etc.


Amy R said...

Just glad to hear from you. Out there living life. Glad you found / were lead to friendly fishermen. Kinda crazy that the guy giving you directions that went nowhere was so worried about losing face, that he'd do that, though.

Mary Ann said...

Hi. I' m so happy to,hear you're doing OK after that harrowing adventure across the desert. I would imagine it's difficult to know when to,trust advice and when not to. Anyway, on Friday my students and I thought of you, and so I told them I would check out your blog. Maybe they will send you a blog in the near future. Until the next correspondence ...
Mary Ann Stringile
Shaw Heights Middle School

Jovanna said...

Dear Johanna,
I'm one of ms,stringiles students ms stringle
Told us about your adventure in the dessert it was verry intrusting I liked it . I hope you make it to your destination