As happy as Larry ever was

I long for eternity because there I shall meet my unwritten poems and
my unpainted pictures.
– Sand and Foam by Kahlil Gibran.

As the sun rose higher so did the temperature and it was soon over +25 degree Celsius. Pale turquoise sky, whether to call it French or Italian, rapidly turned in deep blue and the sea become azure-cyan color. Invigorating dive into embracing crystal made the body feel alive. Afterwards, while drying the soaked skin up on the teak deck, I tried to call to memory what was the equivalent temperature for +25 °C on Kelvin scale and came up with something little less than 300 K. Well, they should know it better at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, anyway, I concluded and fell into sweet haze of mid-awake reflection of Heisenberg uncertainty principle where the ghost of William Thomson tried to explain me details about triple points of water. “Son, you should have focused on serious thermodynamics instead of silly daydreaming!” yelled the magnificent Lord Kelvin, just prior to my awakening wince.

I had been a deck hand for “S/Y Sunride”, the invaluable expedition of Van Emst, for more than a month now. We had sailed over Corsica, Port de Centuri, Cap Corse and even Gorgona and Capraia on the eastern side of Corsica. The journey had been like one for a lifetime. Memories of lovely and graceful, young Ms. Amandiakis, the bureaucracy hell we did go thru before receiving the permission from the Italian Ministry of Justice to land on tiny Gorgona, snorkeling at marine sanctuary of Capraia, the splendid island of wine and succulent anchovies. Summer sailing around islands of the Tuscan Archipelago had been like an endless poem of life found in a row of small gemstones under the brightest sunshine.

“Voglio un piatto grande!”

At the guest harbor of Porto Vecchio I prepared late lunch, Trofie Pasta Liguria (Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans) on that day. I was to depart from Carrie’s and Joost’s hospitable company. This great vegetarian dish was served with good Vermentino from Patrimonio wine region located on the northern coast of the island. The wine completed perfectly our last meal together. At the same it concluded our common journey of discovering northern Corsica and islands. I owned a lot to this wonderful couple that so generously allowed me to join their journey. Carrie and Joost will stay in my heart, I love you guys.

A short quote from the first pages of Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica (1870), by Edward Lear, has become my favorite phrase while reading this book over again. It has already gained a lightly “dog-eared” appearance from being dragged around but the content is what matters.

“So, then, you were determined to come and see Corsica ? You have done rightly to hasten your visit, for in a very few years, thanks to the hand of progress and civilisation, they who come to seek for Corsica will not find it.” – The Corsican Brothers, a Dramatic Romance.

On the same writing Edward Lear describes his view of Porto Vecchio in a fascinating way by saying that being “more agreeable to a painter’s eye”

Porto Vecchio, about which I make an exploring ramble before entering it, is a place of forlorn appearance, with no little picturesqueness in its old gray walls and towers, but joined to a general look of decay, more agreeable to a painter’s eye than indicative of the inhabitants’ prosperity.

After lunch I felt a great unease heading forward with my planned journey by visiting the highest village of Corse-du-Sud, village of Ospedale, in the municipality of Porto Vecchio. I could also vividly imagine meeting the vineyards and hills in the sub-region of Vin de Corse-Figari of south west Corsica. I should most likely be fine by having a base camp in Porto Vecchio and doing day trips over the island. I finally grabbed my backpack and after short but heart-rending goodbye I stood in Porto Vecchio port quay. By following the theory of Edward Lear saying that “a study is next to impossible if you join a companion”, I went on studying Corsica inlands.

It’s too easy to lose the track of time, the days just go by. I had left for Athens on 3rd of April and it was almost mid of June already. I had come this far yet did not have had any space in my mind for being homesick. All that hit me while I was making towards town for searching some accommodation for the night. Therefore, in order to ease up my mind, I decided to look for the church of Saint John the Baptist near the central square of the old town.

Alongside the square there were cars parked, actually very tight, like they use to do in Italy mainland as well. One individual vehicle caught my full attention like no other man-made object I had seen for long time. Then I somehow heard a distant hum of Joe Walsh singing his “Life’s Been Good”. Tililippiin-thad-da-tililippiin-thad-da, My Maserati does one-eighty-five, I lost my license, now I don’t drive… There it was. Blue like Corsican sky, a 1976 Maserati Kyalami with Italian, black and white old school, license plates and 4.2 litre V-8 engine that claimed to have some 260 bhp and over 400 Nm torque. They never produced more than little over 200 cars and that makes it really special vehicle. No wonder I just could not get my eyes out of it. Most of us have heard of Italian car manufacturer Maserati but meeting this kind of rarity at the center of Porto Vecchio sure made my heart beat the native rhythm while my tour of the island’s landscape started with such exquisite flavor; Kyalami is “my home” in Zulu language.

After soaking my body for several weeks in water, mostly salt water in varying temperatures, I felt heaven on earth while having a bath. It was not a hot bath in a tub but in the adequately warm and very quiet pool at the hotel Les Bungalows du Maquis. The quietness reminded me about stories of the Wilkes Hilton at Antarctica in what comes to the number of inhabitants. Otherwise it was all of course completely different. Green plants and bright sunlight was offered in abundance. The pool water was body refreshing while the second Cuba Libre eased my mind into light sleep mode. I had picked up the book I saw at the hotel lobby corner shelf. It was the “In Bed with Douglas Mawson: Travels Around Antarctica” by Craig Cormick. That should keep me in its tight grip for the rest of the afternoon. I anyway got the pretty obvious impression that this season had a bit of stumbled start here at the outskirts of the town. All the nice looking and tidy hotel rooms we on -25% sale and decided to stay overnight. I congratulated myself being very happy to end up here, some 8 kilometers west of Porto Vecchio, since like always, I so soon felt uneasy among the tourist crowds in the town. But going this far did push me to continue with the vague plan even I already had realized that tourist free space on this island was rapidly running out like the species of Thylacine once had.

I let my, unfortunately aging and in some places an ever-aching, body to rest under this mighty quietness and fresh smelling bright sun. Of all that I questioned my mind about what was I actually looking for from here? What were the things I was after? Could I have had experienced this same peace and quietness, even in larger extent, just in my own garden tub? Probably yes but then again, not in the same manner. The human mind is an odd environment. Some people tend to reach for faraway things just for the sake of it, even they could easily otherwise arrange, yet not fully experience the same, just by going around next corner of their home. This strong urge emerges due to reasons. The unrest islomania and insatiable imagination in me. New unseen locations being apparently one big reason but that certainly cannot be the only thing driving me to this mad traveling. As it was not. I wanted to feel free, as silly as that sounded to me. What is being free anyway? If I was a religious person I would say that the human soul can be free. Then again the mind and soul are pretty much together in my comprehension. I believe the only thing that can be as free as it’s ever possible, is human mind, as long as you are sane. Then being a sane or not is another question that relies heavily on other persons judgement. Eventually all the things in life more or less depend on the environment and one can never be ultimately free while alive. This paradox is unbreakable but one can sure spend a lifetime in seeking the perfect state. I felt strong and amazingly happy being back on that graceful path again.

This chapter is an example from yet unpublished volume
currently identified as "The Fast and Slow Rays"
by Yumatzuga (2011-2014).



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