Alrighty, back in Blighty. Words fail, snow didn't. But after December's huge events involving Bo Nesto, it's good to get back to this. I now have in my possession the whole of the rest of GGG, as well as the third book, and will be posting regularly. Last I heard, Bo is playing catch with Douglas Adams and working on volume four of the trilogy. That leaves a fifth one before he has to stop catching up, ya hear me, Bo? (btw: whoever you are, dear reader, if you're reading this, and you haven't heard from me in December, I'd like to hear from you! you can post a comment, or just email me. please.)
Chapter 17: Back in the Alto-– trench warfare
Meanwhile Geordie and krew have settled down unobtrusively, have taken advantage of the altered circumstances to disappear into practical invisibility.
There are plenty of tasks to hand. They set to work and it seems that no-one considers their presence an intrusion. Everybody is too busy, piling stones to block the strategic Senkata depot from where the essential supplies of fuel are distributed to the city below. Fortunately, the roads leading to Senkata are as yet unasphalted, readily yielding their cache of rubble, ranging from pebbles to boulders, to the diggers. Inexorably, Senkata is isolated, no matter how the troops on the orders of their officers unwillingly labour to clear a path through. Spare a thought for these reserve army recruits – but not too many- they deserve whatever opprobrium is heaped upon them for their mindless docility. Anyhow , the piles they had set aside by day, would mysteriously reappear during the night.
For our krew, the physical exercise and the adrenalin rush of defying the authorities, compensate for the lack of other stimulants, such as their favourite stand-by, grass, which stock is also running short. The company and the shared risk provides its own high and permits them to blend in, inviolate.
Not that Geordie and Koff are totally dependent on their stash of illegal narcotics, but a quick smoke does ensure a security and distance from the restraining pull of reality. But in this case, the screen was quite unnecessary. The inherent danger of their involvement was a buzz in itself.
Beyond the trenching, another routine activity in which the krew participated was the essential matter of providing food for the general population. No routes open to the countryside; nevertheless people still have to eat. The effort of ferrying sacks of fruit and veg to the markets takes up much of their time and energy. Conversation piece. Unlike the forced labour of the Potato Fields episode, Koff and Geordie managed to reconcile themselves to the thrill of common effort.
Of course, the laughter and insight provided by las Maravillas help pass the time. Koff even manages to gain an insight into Jim’s contribution to the ongoing workshop cycle. If only Jim had trusted the krew earlier,and brought them fully into his confidence, they could have avoided all that pretence at being tourists. Jim would probably point to all the experiences being a valid learning process in Bolivian reality. Ayahuascar trip freak-outs in Rurrenabaque, experiencing the Flying Fox’s brand of persuasive hospitality in Warisata... there’s no answer to Jim’s argument. If he wants to assume the role of resident guru, the krew know they must perforce submit to his decisions. But, even so, it rankles. Especially for Sandy, the independent soul.
Chapter 18 : the Flea Market
And, yes, this is Jim calling in, at last, with every intention of reclaiming my rightful role in this chronicle. I could claim that I have no idea who has been relating this story so far, but I strongly suspect the work of my timorous friend, Koff. So move over noble narrator and give me an opportunity to explain my point of view and in return I will extend my hand to you , as well as trying to clarify some reasons for my reticence that you and the other members of the krew have so debated.
As you may have already guessed, the contribution of las Maravillas has been crucial, especially in the effects of the workshops on their development. In these, we entered into a detailed, at times painful, analysis of our sexual dependencies which inevitably led onto the topic of the subjugation of women in this society. Unfortunately at this point rumours of the workshop’s contents reached the overeager and bigoted ears of Padre Ignatz, who promptly reported us to the ecclesiastical authorities (foolishly we had rented an old church hall for the proceedings).
The accusations ranged from subverting the morals of society, which charge I won’t deny, to the usual charge of foreign interference in Bolivian affairs. But I would rather see my role as deepening the participants’ awareness of their mission to change current attitudes, an enhancement of their essential quest. Anyway, since then, we have broadened dimensions of the workshops to include other instructors and also found safer premises. But on the subject of safety, I must warn you, dear companions, that you must take great care. The situation is growing dangerous, especially for outsiders; Goni is on the look-out for so-called terrorists and the army recruits are untrained and trigger-happy. Mark my words, these troops will inevitably over-react and cause yet another bloody disaster.
So this very morning I was wandering through the Flea Market, only too aware of close observation. Unfortunately I was distracted by memories of my true love, Tzipi the Khazari princess, (you won’t be aware of our fateful liason after Yod’s death because it doesn’t occur in your copy of tha’ book, but later in the epilogue which you haven’t got - look for it in the five additional chapters posted on the bonesto blogsite). Anyway, being totally distracted – one must always be occupied devising ways of how to amuse your Muse, while at the same time keeping a close watch on the ever-present dangers - I almost missed the scrutiny of one of the informers that abound in the Flea Market. Almost but not quite. Whilst pretending to attract customers to his array of computer accessories, the vendor halted for a split-second to examine my features, despite the hat flung low over my face. Warning enough and I scooted off , only to discover you and Geordie, sweaty and red-faced, hard at it trenching and busily piling stones by the Senkata depot. Not wanting to attract undue attention, I immediately withdrew.
But allow me to repeat my warning; matters are coming to a head. Goni will not be allowed to escape unpunished. A time will arrive when I shall be forced to abandon my present position and I have plans to seek out my Khazari princess wherever she may be. I actually believe she could be on another dimension. I don’t expect you to accept this conviction, and despite my earlier assurance that I will deal plainly with you, please accept that right now I feel confused by the scale of my responsibilities and the fate that is beckoning. Having said which, as a precautionary measure you must be aware of the need of also being ready to leave and put yourselves out of immediate danger. I jest not! Please advise Geordie and Sandy of this and thank them for their steadfast, though at times, foolhardy backing. Be prepared to find a secure place at a moment’s notice and do not misplace any confidence in your respective embassies. They are not interested in our welfare; they move to a different agenda.
Hasta la vista and back to your account, noble Koff.
Meanwhile back into the turmoil