Women are after me again. It's getting worse. Endless demands grind at my resolve to remain aloof. Insatiable creatures say they want to know! Know what? It was my life to live; it is mine to forget. The effrontery. Old wounds are opened; the insistent pressure weakens me.
It started with my daughter, Zoe, insisting I write about, well, my life. Is that personal, or what? For years she has been demanding that I produce an autobiography for her. What? It's going to make the world a safer place? Gentler? She will learn from my mistakes?
She reads travel books and thinks maybe I will write a sort of memoir of my wanderings: the dusty aisles of my youth revealed. Reading travel books isn't a vicarious thrill for her, not completely, for she goes all over the place; she is in South Africa as I type. Why? She does this instead of looking for work. As a parent I have trouble containing my cautionary comments about wastrel grasshoppers and old people who never paid into Social Security and are likely to spend their Golden Years in soup lines. As a person I must admit to a certain admiration; she is nothing, if not dogged, in her pursuit of places. While she might innocently ask who Joe Stalin was, she will never ask where Bora Bora is. Lets's leave her in Africa and move on along.
I threaten to derail myself before we have left the station. This is not about Zoe. It is not even about the newest "Mz. Tell-me", the ever-questioning Kristina, Princess of Sweden. I won't go into how she showed up out of the blue on my computer screen asking questions in slightly fractured English after a nearly 40 year absence. It is just that she has pushed me over the edge. Between these 2 women I find my hand forced; I will write Israel. One little part of the whole will be exposed, vulgar and quotidian as it is. It is a small chapter. It shouldn't take too long. What I have forgotten about those days, and that will be most things - partly due to the immense quantity of hashish smoked at the time, is probably best forgotten. It would only show me to be, at best, a supporting actor in my own story. Who could countenance that? Can't I star at least once? And where I don't accurately recall I can add details in the best style of one exploring the further reaches of middle age: I can confabulate. I can gild the lilly. Maybe don e. will emerge from all this frantic finger-pounding as an almost real person. We can only hope; prayers are out of the question in our present state of spiritual bankruptcy - Pat hates this sentence, I told her it is a jest.
I am back. I have been away from the keyboard looking for an old passport. It was recently sighted but is now nowhere to be found. Another nail in memory's coffin. Dates cannot be confirmed; supposition and near-guesses will suffice.
When did I get to Israel? Damn good question. I know I turned 22 at Kibbutz Beit Oren in November of 1965, and I was in the kibbuz for three months, and after that I was in Eilat for 3 months, and I went to Istanbul in the Spring of 1966. There is the somewhat ragged timeline. It is appropriately broken, like any real human life.
To go back just a bit, and I don't want to intrude on what must be a prior chapter, I had worked my way south from Baden-Aargau, Switzerland, drinking heavily, stumbling through Italy in a haze and hating its intrusive excesses. The cause was a failed romance which had roots back in Australia. See how nastily complex this all gets? A+B=C, and then the 23 other letters in our alphabet become a cluster-fuck of indecison and ambivalence and missed opportunities, ad nauseum.
There was a binge in Athens on retsina, a local wine much like turpentine, but very cheap. There is a dim memory of standing on a hotel balcony throwing handfuls of shit into the street below. Whose shit was it? I ain't telling. Following the binge came deck passage on a rather small boat headed for Alexandria, and then Cyprus; I hauled a bag of boiled potatoes and boiled eggs, and I only went hungry a couple of days. From Cyprus I took passage in a larger boat and came to Haifa. Coming into the harbor at Haifa was extraordinary. There is a quality to the light in the Mediterranean that either cannot be explained, or is an absolute figment of the romantic imagination. Its memory stays with me - we can imagine what that means. (Are the antioxidants finally working?)
An old town rises up from the utter blue of a warm sea seething with the precedence of the remembered dead. Stone buildings quiver in the rising waves of heat. For centuries peoples have passed this way and their taste is still in the air. And did I mention the light? It is indescribable. I arrive and have no money. Being destitute is just another stone in the bundle I always carry. I am at least slightly underwater much of the time. All my movements are slowed. I often lack the energy to do more than get one foot in front of the other. I am depressed. This is nothing new, but I may refer to it time and again as it was the overwhelming feature of my youth. I was not actually suicidal; I just felt suicidal on a regular basis. The reason I was not actually suicidal was due to a remarkable event, which must be a different chapter.
The immediate need being for cash I did what world travelers without means did in those days: I went to sell my blood. In almost every city of size there is a place to do this; a quiet room of small beds, needles, looped tubing, slowly, brightly filling bottles, and afterward orange juice and cookies. People there wear white and speak softly. There is a manual somewhere that has been translated into every tongue that deals with the management of this place. I had sold blood in nation after nation, switching arms to hide the most recent needle mark. The routine was as familiar as old shoes. I asked along the road and got general directions to go up some side streets, up that hill, back that way. Finally, baffled, I found a very friendly group of young men who nodded knowingly and led me right to the door of the sanguine establishment. The poorly marked door. Things were looking up. It was like being near the head of the unemployment line and knowing your check was almost in hand. Time to lie back and leak.
Having done my business within and being flush with the local currency I came back out into that wonderful light and headed downhill, only slightly lightheaded. Very soon I saw the grounp of young men again, still lounging against a wall. They asked me how it had gone and I responded that I could once more buy a meal. They thought that very nice indeed and told me that half the money was theirs. Uh-oh, I was thinking, if they can smell fear then I stink. While I hesitated one of them informed me that showing the way to the bloodbank was a paid service, and that in kindness they were only taking half my money, and that they wouldn't beat me up if I would just pony up. I did. The wonderful Mediterranean light seemed to dim.
My next clear recollection, other than sleeping under a bridge in a culvert that night, was being in some sort of official building, in Tel Aviv, a place that housed information on all the kibbutzim in the country. One of those fabled kibbutzim was just what I needed; a good restful place. A couple of notes are in order here. The 'im', pronounced 'eeeemm', suffix is simply the plural in Evrit, which is, I think, what modern Hebrew is called. The kibbutzim of Israel are known to all travelers. There were about 220 of them when I was there, and they tended to be either politically or religously organized. A few were run by Orthodox Jews, but the majority had a socialist framework which was really quite secular. And they were so various that each was of an individual cast. Some manufactured, some farmed, some fished. Beit Oren, where I was to finally go, had chickens, a tourist hotel, a bannana plantation and citrus orchards: workers always needed.
It was in this official building that I first met Yaakov, the man from Beit Oren. SInce I was looking for a place to stay he told me to come with him and I would be welcome. He invited me to ride back with him in his car; I declined. His goodwill seemed suspicious. But a few days later, completely broke, I came to the gates of Beit Oren on my thumb, truly ready to be welcomed. And I was.
The place was idylllic. Set high up on Mt. Carmel above Haifa it lies as a complex of buildings in the pines, reached by a winding two lane blacktop thread that winds up from the coast. The only thing nearby was a prison a couple of hilltops off. I presented myself and was sent to the clothing shop for a set of work clothes. Next I was shown where the chow hall was and told the mealtimes, and then I was given an apartment, which I shared with a young Morrocan carpenter. Socialism didn't seem half bad.
What did I do at Beit Oren? I worked for a time in the bananas. We would get up before the sun, eat breakfast, and then catch the big open-backed truck down the mountain to the fields which lay along the coast-road at the edge of the sea. The sun would follow us down so that it was light by the time we started working. We worked a 6 hour shift, had lunch, and were off for the rest of the day by 1300. The work consisted of going up and down the spaced rows and carrying out the freshly cut bunches of fruit left lying beneath the trees. The bunches, absolutely inedibly green, we stacked along the road and then loaded onto flat bed trailers. The work was physically demanding and exactly what I was in need of. It was mindlessly numbing and consistently asked only for a strong back. Sweating beneath those broad fronds was like medicine. The plantation was a tropical forest.
When I wasn't working in the bananas I was in the chicken house. Taking care of the chickens wasn't much. They started out as thousands of tiny yellow balls and six weeks later were of a size to go to market. The really weird part was getting them ready for transport. On market night the shift started about midnight and as fast as you could work you simply grabbed chickens and stuffed them, six to a box, into wire containers. There was no time to fold them nicely up and tuck them in. They were thrust in. You can see where this is going; maybe you should skip to the next paragraph... About half the chickens you stuffed ended up somewhat broken. A chicken with wings flapping wildly does not easily go into a chicken-sized hole without some anatomical rearrangement. I would privately mull over the fact that I was working in the chicken-world's version Auschwitz while I stuffed. There were no co-workers to whom I felt I could confide this insight. This was strange stuff. Stephen King could have used it: Charnel House of the Cluckers. The mind wanders into possible scenarios of reincarnation with a vengeance; who had these chickens been in previous lives? After the truck was all loaded I would climb on top and cling to the chicken cages as we sped down the winding mountain road to the chicken market in Haifa. (The Bhagavad Gita would tell us that chickens who thought themselves broken were but dreaming, and likewise for those who thought themselvs the breakers. It seems too easy by far.)
Emotionally this was a raw land. Older Jews with tattoos. Younger Jews with turbo-charged attitudes. One war or another was always close by. Between the War ending in 1945, another for independence in '48, and the ever-ongoing one this was a land with little latitude, a training camp that wasn't sure of tomorrow. The old British Prison on the Coast Road that once held Jews now held Arabs. No place was more pragmatic.
Once the load of birds was sold I was free to wander; in the early dawn hawkers would be out on the sidewalks peddling fresh bagels stacked on poles that looked like broomsticks. Being off for the rest of the day I would buy a hot bagel and sit along the docks for the morning. Yellow stone warmed and gradually softened in the growing sunlight. When sleepiness caught up with me getting back to Beit Oren was simple as everyone hitched and rides were easy to come by. The kibbutz would give me pocket change for the odd bagel, but not enough to support much time in town.
Other than the work the other notable feature of Beit Oren was its population. At that time the kibbutzim were working-vacation hotspots for Europe's footloose youth. Beit Oren housed 14 Danes, 12 of them girls, 2 Swiss guys, and an English girl, not to mention numerous Israelis. I found people something of an abstraction; I neither could tell what it was they wanted nor quite how to be comfortable around them while I wondered what it was they wanted. I think maybe the language barrier helped ease that. About half the Danes spoke English, so unless the conversation included me it was always in Danish. It was like sitting in a roomful of people all rapidly and loudly swallowing and quite pleased with their efforts. I spent a lot of time with them. They were certainly consciously a group; always at least half a dozen of them together. And I could be there, and not be there at the same time. I liked that. It was human company without much expectation of reciprocity.
Many of the Danes had agreed among themselves to use assumed names in Israel. The most beautiful of the women was a lithe blond creature; she didn't walk or move, she flowed. She called herself Jane, prounouced Yene. And her heart's desire was the darkest young stud in the kibbutz, a lad as beautiful as she, an Algerian. How these two got on so was something of a mystery to me as they had no common tongue; I guess the sex was just so good nothing else counted; this did, does, and forever will count as 'love' among the young. Hand in hand they waded throught the extreme disapproval of their peers and elders. The problem was skin shade. While the kibbutz may have been a working socialist environment there was no escaping the inherent racist split between the European Jews, the Ashkenazim, and the darker, middle eastern Jews, the Sepphardim. There was heavy disapproval of such a very blond girl taking up with a dark man. This seemingly follows us everywhere.
I was personally infatuated with a girl who went by Belinda. She was, in turn, quite taken with a kibbutznik, a studious-looking Ashkenazi. Belinda and I went places together, like the beach where i got her completely undressed and found she wasn't really interested. Same thing happened in a graveyard. This was no ordinary graveyard, mind you; the light was intolerably fabulous, and the taste of salt on her skin in the hot sun, the lovely stones..... but she still wasn't interested. Did I mention that my depression was wont to lift now and then on engorged wings?
The girl who was intrigued with me, Inger, was only of passing interest in return. We, too, got undressed, but went no further; as an international lover I was a complete flop. Inger was smart, spoke 5 languages, was dedicated to my welfare, and I never had the sense to pay attention to her. She taught me to eat chocolate with my coffee in a little cafe in Jerusalem, and for that I shall remember her. (An aside here: I ran into her on the street in Copenhagen months later, but that, as they say, is another chapter.)
My tourist visa was for 6 weeks and I had been at the kibbutz twice that time. Off I went to the big city to get a renewal. Well, the beauracrat said I had obviously overstayed my welcome and would not be renewed and was expected to leave the country. It didn't all seem too imminent as immigration officials were not presently descending to deport me so I slid out the door into the sunlight and headed south for Eilat.
I had been to Eilat before. One of the great things about the kibbutz was that every so often all the foreigners would be loaded into one of the trucks, aka banana boats, and hauled off on tour. We would sing Israeli folk songs as we traveled; to this day I can still sing Hava Na Gila. These trips were wonderful for us, and they were useful for the kibbutz as they were geared to the kibbutzniks' intent to convert. I won't say convert to Judaism as this kibbutz was not in the least religious. The conversion would be secular. The young men, like the lad who had Jane, were encouraged to keep their new-found friends in the kibbutz when all their foreign companions went home. It was hoped that some of us would truly want to stay and be career kibbutzniks. The kibbutz actively sought new blood and did what it could to promote our interest. I met Americans, not all Jews, who had come and stayed and loved the life.
So, the trips. We would go for a few days at a time to places like Masada, Ein Geddi, Jerusalem, the River Jordan, Gallilee, Megido. This was absolutely the way to see a new place. I have always liked archaeolgical sites, and there is no thrill like that of packing a loaded British surplus Enfield .303 on a field trip. I actually only got to carry a rifle once. Mostly we had a group of well-armed young kibbutznik men with us all the time. In some places we could see the other side, the Arabs, in the rocks across the nearby border, with their own rifles, watching us. The gulf had no meaning for us who had not been born there.
There was one trip that didn't go to well. I will mention it before I turn myself back toward Eilat. It was the Christmas Eve trip to Bethlehem. The Danes were not averse to taking a nip, and someone had purchased a bottle of clear liquid; it was called Arak. I recall two things about that trip. One was walking across a square with Inger. As I stopped she walked on ahead and a young man sidled up to me and asked rather leeringly "is she yours?" Please recall that I was very young when I tell you that I swelled with pride and avowed that she was mine. The other memory is of being in a cafe drinking a cup of coffee with the Danes; they were trying to sober me up before the service. The last thing I recall is puking in my coffee cup.
I hitched south to Eilat. It was the fabled home of the 'hippie colony'. Passing through Beersheba I was aware that every camel I got within a hundred feet of sneered and wanted so very much to bite me. I didn't stay long in that dusty little town. Ride after ride I kept moving south through the Negev. You have to consider how small Israel is; getting from place to place doesn't take long. Once in Eilat I found the hippie encampment in some low hills on the outskirts of this little town. Most everyone was down in a hollow in tents and boxes and anything else they could find. Not wanting to be quite such good neighbors with these strange people I found an old sandbagged machine gun emplacement on a ridge above the hollow and over the next couple of days I got hold of a piece of tin to make a roof and some old bricks for a floor, and I had my own home. It was like heaven.
There was still no cash in the bank, but there were jobs. The main job was at what used to be King Solomon's Mines - how'd you like that on your resume? It was called Timna. A bus would arrive every morning near the colony to pick up those willing and able to work and then take us off a few miles to the mines. The whole contract labor scheme was run by 2 men: Tsvee Dratvah, Polish, and Nakhom, Algerian. They brought in needed workers and nobody asked questions. We got a breakfast of mainly white bread and butter and jam, and we were allowed to make as many sandwiches as we liked and carry them off with us. Our work was above-ground maintainence and construction. Our pay was the equivalent of U.S. $7/day and we got to keep $3 of it, but in lira. i had reached the epitome of waywardness: I was an illegal alien in Edge City working under the table for gangsters.
Nakhom was obviously the brains of the outfit, but Tsvee Dratvah was the crew chief. The three dollars a day we took home were probably too much for what we accomplished. The daily crew would be from a couple to half a dozen guys; if not enough showed up for the bus one of the bosses would come to our 'houses' and try to talk us into working. Somedays we could squeeze an extra couple of dollars of out them.
I remember our setting up a pipeline; an involved process that took many days. It was to shift water from uphill to down, for some purpose I probably never knew. We spent forever carefully raising the pipe, placing it on leveled steel drums, shimming with pieces of wood to get the flow-angle right, and then connecting all the pipe sections together. And one day way up at the top a drum leaned, teetered and slid over. We were in the Negev Desert; we had built on sand. The pipe went down with the drum, pulling at the next in line. The next drum slowly went belly up, pullling more pipe. It was all in intense slow motion. Really an awesome display of casual gravity. The project was abandoned.
Another day the crew was on a flat bed trailer behind a tractor being hauled to a job site. The trailer began to wobble. We all yelled at Tsvee Dratvah who was driving. He looked back just as a wheel came off the trailer and took off solo into the desert. Tsvee Dratvah grinned enormously and gunned the tractor to top speed, dragging the tilting trailer on the end of an axel. None of us came off the trailer, but it was by our bloody fingernails that we got where we were going. He didn't slow down until we got there, either. I don't know if it was just the little boy in him or if he was really as dumb as he appeared. His instructions were always interesting. A good example would be: "Nehme et dig here hole." A nice combination of Deutsch, Evrit and English to tell you to 'take the shovel and dig a hole here'. The best thing I learned to say in Evrit was, "Effo svetah?" Loose translation: "Where's the crescent wrench?" "Lama low," "why not?" and "low tov", "no good" were always useful, too.
We all saved our money, worthless as it was, ate our white bread sandwiches to the max, endlessly discussed how in the hell we were going to ever get out of Israel, and for entertainment we smoked exceptional quantities of Arab hash. Two American guys would buy it in Beersheeba for about $80/kilo; I think it came in by caravan from Jordan. It was packaged in the neatest little cloth bags with Arabic writing imprinted on them. The American guys would then sell it to the rest of us. A 'finger' , which was maybe the size of two sticks of gum, was thirty-five cents. It would keep you stoned for days on end. The hash was a hard brown substance that was cut from a block with a heated knife and then crumbled and smoked in a pipe. Dozens of us would sit around at night passing the pipe. This was such strong dope that the first toke would get you as stoned as you were going to get. Continued smoking resulted in something approaching paralysis. We would smoke until we couldn't move. If you asked me now "why?" I couldn't really tell you. It was a strange time.
Why we moved I can't recall, but the entire colony moved down to the beach in front of the Queen of Sheba Hotel. I know the Israelli Army would somtimes raid the colony looking for deserters; that might have had something to do with it. Night time. Headlights. Big trucks with loud engines. The only deserter I ever met was a young girl who had fled her outfit and was hiding out in the colony with an American fellow who had gotten burnt when his helicopter was shot down in Viet Nam. At our new location down on the beach we were spread out just above the water and could look across the bay into the town of Aquabah, in Jordan. Remember in Lawrence of Arabia when the Arabs crossed the endless desert and took Aquabah from behind? That's the place. Another dusty little desert town on the Red Sea.
Someone was leaving Eilat and didn't need his tent anymore, so an English fellow I had made friends with, Micheal O'Shea, and I went together and bought the homestead for $10. Another Englishman sort of lived outside and hung around with us: Paul Relph. (I later lived in England with Michael's family, but we have been out of touch for decades. Last letter I had from Paul he was in a Buddhist Monastery, in the Channel Isles, I think.)
So, we would get stoned, go into town and splurge on a plate of eggs and chips at the cafe, wander in the desert endlessly, wondering at the sheer enormity of time, and somewhere along the way we met Kristina, Princess of Sweden, and Michael and I became her bodyguards. I will insert one of Kristina's own recollections here.
For how long did you stay in Eilath? Where did you live? I myself got there in the end of December - 65. In the beginning I worked in a family (the husband was the owner of Eilat's Night club, he was O.K., but his wife was sort of person devoid of all humor, not to tell of her mother! My Good!) And I was stuck in it because I got my salary in Israeli lira and had to pay a ticket to Europe or anywhere outside Israel in dollar or something. So I met R, the Swedish guy, and he 'offered' me to stay in his house. It was part of a collapsed truck buried by sand on the top of a hill in the desert... there was a magnificent view though! But actually not much more. The entrance was the 'corridor' replacing the vanished motor. You had to crawl! Also four or five dogs lived there. And one night we had a visit. A cat! Just imagine what happened! You might call it a cirkus! The candle coursed a fire, we were lucky to expire it immediately though. My glasses, clothes, etc. and I guess myself changed appearance after that incident. My camera didn't exist anymore. I moved to the beach close to the Hotel Queen of Sheba. R started to walk around in a strange hat and with feathers on to his shoulder-straps...and five - six devoting dogs strolling after him... Well, did we know each other at that time?
You can see the problem here. Kristina and I are old friends, but we really don't know when we met, and we know far more about one another now, after a few emails, than we did in those smoky days. I rather like the combination of familiarity and confusion. (She went thru several Don Englands on the internet looking for me. One is a bicycle racer in N.Z. Another is a gay white male looking for gay black men. And one more is a published magician. There are quite a few dead ones, too.)
One of the things about living on the beach was the unique toilet facilities. When you had to go you would simply swim out from shore, do what had to be done, wash in the warm water, and swim back hoping nothing followed you home. It sounds rather unhygenic and even a bit nasty, but I have to say that I never ran into any floaters.
Michael and Paul and I took a trip up to Ein Geddi once. The place is a lovely spring in the desert on the shore of the Dead Sea, a true oasis, and the home of Kibbutz Ein Geddi. Water flows down out of the rocks in small falls and lazy streams. We sat in the pools up in the rocks that afternoon and smoked a pipe and later went down and jumped into the Dead Sea for a swim. This is not recommended! You have cuts on your body you don't know about. Tiny abrasions that are invisible. And water of that salinity is something to behold when it hits open nerve endings; your first appreciation is that you are probably being attacked by Piranhas. The pain is remarkable. And when you get out you cannot wash the salt off. It stays on you like a coat of oil. We slept on the beach that night and in the morning Paul was blind. Mosquitoes had attacked him alone, and his face was so puffy he could not open his eyes. We returned home to Eilat glad to have a tent to call our own.
I think the most fascinating person I met there was an English mercenary. He had been wounded in a mortar blast in one of the Emirates, having been attached to some quick-strike British commando unit that had a name like The Queen's Own. He wandered from place to place on his small military disability pension, and he was probably the only person I met there who seemed more distressed than I felt. His most recent stint, if you believed it, and I did, was to have fought in the Congo under Mad Mike Hoare. Remember Major Hoare from the mid-sixties? Name the atrocity in the Congo and Mad Mike probably committed it. His hired army had fought its way inland to Stanleyville, and not having received their promised pay they blew the banks in town. My acqaintance had subsequently deserted Mad Mike and walked across Africa to the East Coast. You would probably take his tale with a tinge of doubt; I have to say that at 22 years of age I did not. I can't tell you what nonsense it reinforced in me, because I just don't know.
Michael and I left Eilat in the spring. I had saved up about $100 worth of lira, and I had sold a very nice Leica, purchased in Hong Kong and used very little, to an American photograher named Stuart Fox; that was another $100. Stuart was living with a Danish artist, who is apparently still working, named Annie Hedvard. They had a great little house in Netanya; it was on the cliffs over the sea. They had chamelons in the house that had eyes on the ends of long stalks, and they could see everywhere around them. They moved very slowly and didn't mind people. I liked them very much. I remember the sadness when one was crushed when a window was closed. There was another Kristina, a small blonde daughter, also a princessa.
Did our Kristina go with us from Eilat? I haven't a clue. Maybe she will remember. I know I changed my lira for dollars on the docks at Eilat at some abysmal rate, and I know we took ship to Istanbul. I know she was there because she refers to it as our 'puking trip', and that it truly was. Another travelers note here: no matter how seasick you are never, ever stand down wind from all those ill souls lining the rails and wishing they were home in bed.
And that was Israel. And Istanbul is another chapter. don e.
Kristina adds another note:
Indeed it's striking how parallel to my Israeli experiences yours are; I arrived to Kibbutz Ein Dor, Lower Gallilee, I think in August -65 and stayed there till December. In a very primitve house with a group of Danish people. (How I got there is another story.) Hard work all days long, mostly harvesting apples and grapefruits. In the beginning I was so tired that I slept with my shoes on.
I was on the whole so badly naive but gradually, according to what I saw, heard, and otherwise experienced, kind of social- and political relating thoughts started to move in my little brain. These insights sorry to say were not too flattering for the land of Israel.
Your memory makes a great impression on me. You mention the quality to the light in the Mediterranean; well, do you remeber the pink twilights in Eilath... They kept me there. (Not to tell about a miserable love affair.) I also remember the awful military raid in the 'hippy-camp'. So humiliating. - As I told you I had no money. I wrote letters to friends in Sweden and one guy sold his guitar and sent me the money...
Thus I got a ticket on a boat that was going to leave Haifa in the middle of March, heading for Istanbul. The very last night on the beach in Eilath it was a horrible storm, I woke up with water to my throat... EVERYTHING wet or gone!!! All roads were destroyed, the bus couldn't leave... were you there? Anyway I caught the boat in the very last minute: What a trip!! Me puking all the time. For more than three days and nights. (You and Michael nursing me, thanks a lot!) I wasn't alone sick though - One Danish guy was trying to throw himself over-board... But we got to Istanbul! (It might have been a curious sight with all these odd hippies or whatsoever who invaded the town.)
I will add in the link to Kristina's home page here so you can at least see what this strange woman looks like as she is 4 decades after the fact.