Sunday, September 9, 2007

Starting from Scratch

I met two guys from the Crown Princess cruise ship today from New York. They live up above Tarrytown. After talking about how and why I got to the TCI they told me I should write a blog. I told them about my friend John Leistler, who moved from Tarrytown to Amman Jordan at the beginning of August. John told me he had started a blog about his adventure. I started reading his blog today. After seeing how nice it was, I decided to start my own. This will not be as eloquent, nor as lengthy, as his. I am hoping to write a paragraph or two every few days. We will see. If you know John, go read his blog, it is amazing. He is at

Here's my blog entry:

In the movie Angel Eyes, a Luis Mandoki film starring Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel, there is scene that is one of my favorites. The main character is living in a dirty apartment with no furniture, just a mattress on the floor. He has a line: "Do you know when some says lets starts from scratch? Well this is what it looks like. This is scratch."

That is what it has felt like living in the TCI for the last three days. It feels like scratch. I have nothing in the house but water. There is old furniture, but I am afraid to sit on it. There are about five DVD and VHS players. every night I struggle to get one to work. Last night I finally found one that would play. I set it up in the one room with an air conditioner. I only have three DVDs, the two Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure. Go figure. I work all day trying to get up to speed and I clean the house in the evening. My furniture should be arriving in port on Monday. This will also be the first Trustee meeting for the museum.

I have been trying to figure out where to purchase things and how to live here. Today I bought 4 limes. This was huge because now I can have something more than water. I can put lime in my water. I cut one open. It had begun to rot. I used it anyway.

In the midst of this. In the last three days I have stumbled upon the fish market. Every day at three local fishermen bring in a small catch, clean it and sell it at a small table just down the street on the beach. My first day here I had a fresh Conch right out of the ocean. These guys smashed the shell, cut it into strips, put hot sauce on it, and passed it around. It was an amazing experience. Yesterday, I went down to investigate the ruins of a resort closed in the 1980s. I walked down to the beach area and spent an hour on the softest sand I have ever felt in my life. These two events were so brief, but they make up for any other discomforts. Next week should be better.

I miss my family.

1 comment:

John said...

"This is scratch."

What a great line!

After the "nauseating comforts of Columbus" and the same for me in New York, scratch is hard, isn't it, Neal? How many times do 40 year olds get to experience things as a child? The newness, the strangeness, the discomforts--what revelations. Thanks for starting your blog, and we can compare what scratch is like on an island, and what scratch is like in the Middle East. Good luck with the scratch.