I met my ex-boyfriend when he answered my online personal. At the time, he was stationed on Diego Garcia waiting to be discharged. He had specifically planned to move to Portland, Oregon where he was accepted at Portland State Universtiy to finish his bio-chem degree and go on to Oregon Health Sciences University. He wanted to be a pediatrician. He didn’t stay in Portland very long, and didn’t even start school. He was working for Electro Scientific Industries, some job involving lasers and shit, but was laid off. Good thing he didn’t wait to take the job at Fujitsu, cuz the plant closed down last fall.
I am living on this tiny little island that is right in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is this British island that is situated about a 1000 miles south of India and is part of the Chagos Isalnd Archipelago and is called Diego Garcia. Well I have less than a month left here and then I am off to San Diego for a couple of months and then back home to New York to gather up some things. Go home and see my friends and family and prepare for the move out west. You know go the way of Horace Greeley.
Now let me get into the story of why I am where I am. Have you ever had a box of cracker jacks? Well forget about the prize, it‘s what’s on the outside that is relevant to this story. You know the picture of the guy on the front? Yeah the one with the little blue outfit on and the cute little sailor hat, that’s me. I have been a little sailor boy for about the last 6 years. I have less than 3 months left and then I will be free to head out and pursue the things that I want from life. I guess it isn't that bad being a navy sailor. I did get to travel all over the world. I have stood on the Great Wall, dove the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrated the turnover in Hong Kong, and been to Russia...and many other things. A list of countries that I have been to would include...Australia, China, Singapore, Korea, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Fiji, Bali, New Caledonia, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa, Japan, and I think that is about it but I probably forgot some. Needless to say I have lived an interesting existence for the past couple of years. Now I am just on this tiny little island waiting to get out. I have less than a month here and then it will be back to the states. I haven't been there in a while so I am looking forward to getting back and living the American dream. So that is the story of how I can to be on this little island. They thought it would be a good place for me to go for a year. And as for the humanitarian part that is mostly true, I did a lot of work in the countries that we visited. I have visited orphanages and helped them clean up and paint, went to schools and visited with kids, gave out clothes and medicine to homeless people, and many other acts of kindness or charity. I am a big fan of people and I like doing whatever I can to help out.
The Navy and me, almost like oil and water, as we really don't mix that well. We have both served each other's purpose though. They got a warm body to do work for them and I got things in order for myself and have been on more adventures than I can recall. At the time I came in back in '94, I really needed a sense of direction and a regimented life. I had been spiraling out of control for all of the 90's until that point. Involving myself in all kinds of crazy things and situations, ones that were on the far side of the law. I had no desire or motivation left to do anything. Then it all came to a crash in one couple month span. My heart was broken, I was arrested, and I watched two friends OD and one die. It was really time for a change and I had just enough willpower to make the changes. I went and joined the Navy as it had been like a family tradition of sorts. In my mind it would make me lives within certain guidelines with the threat of punishment over my head to keep me in line. And it truly worked and helped out, let me get things where I want them to be and decide what it was that I want out of this thing we call life. It is not much, just my "American Dream" and that is to just live life to it's fullest. There is so much that I want to do with my life, so many things to accomplish and see. But in the end if I did die today I would know that I have lead a complete life. Now it is time to get out and move on to different experiences and a new chapter in life. Your name is popping up here in the first few pages on that chapter.
Someday I will tell you all about the traveling and I will even write you a story about Australia. I have gotten the bug from your zest and writing. I will write it by hand and send it to you. You can be the first to have read anything by me since that experience back in '91. So if you want I can do that for you.
As for the island I did send you a link with some pictures of it.
I love it here and it is very beautiful. I can take you some pictures and send them to you. I love the ocean here and all the wildlife. They are really big on protecting it and trying to keep it as close to natural as they can. We have sea turtles that you used to be able to swim with but since their algae was being destroyed we can no longer do that. There are wild chickens that run around as well as donkeys. Then there are all the crabs and other little creatures crawling around. Then in the ocean we have all kinds of fish and interesting things. There is a lot to do here if you love the outdoors and I do. You can sail or go fishing (which I don't really believe in). You can swim in the big lagoon we have. Take a picnic at the plantation that used to be here, now it is just a place to visit and see it abandoned. All kinds of watersports and what not. Most people just sit in their room though or go out and drink. They never take advantage of all the beauty and opportunities that surround them. I try to make the most of it because I will never be here again and who knows the next time I am going to live on a tropical island?
It is mostly military and for that fact American military. It is a British island and they are overall in charge of it but there are not very many of them. They are mainly here to make sure we don't destroy the place. We have civilians that work here on contract taking care of all the stores and everyday operations like cutting hair, doing laundry, cooking, and all those other necessities. They are mostly people from the Philippines and Mauritius. They are some of the nicest people and throw these great big parties in the villages that they live in.
96, that is about the daily temperature. Nothing quite like living 7 degrees south of the equator. It is always "Africa hot" here. I have gotten used to it though and it doesn't even bother me anymore. When I get back to the states then I will probably freeze but that will be all right with me. Just as long as I can play in some snow and see a winter. It has been ages since I have been through one. In Japan it would get cold but then when it would get real cold we would head for the friendly and warm climates of Australia and all the other great places in the south Pacific.
I ran into my friend Ethan on the way to get something to eat. Out the door he headed and on his way to get a bottle of whiskey. I told him I would pitch in and we could drink a whole bottle. At first he protested the idea but then finally caved in. Something about having the bottle in your hand and not knowing what is in store for you at the bottom of the bottle. I do hope that something interesting happens as I basically talked him talked him into it. I was called the devil for putting pressure on him. I guess he didn't watch those Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" commercials back in the 80's. Probably later I will regret my decision but the time being it seems like a good one. It just seems now that I am leaving soon I don't want to do very much. Live the hermit life and hide under the sheets.
Last night I went out to some of the local places here. It was one of those nights where you knew that something was going to happen. I saw a couple of fights, saw a band play, had a couple drinks, and then ate a late meal of steak and eggs. One fight was rather interesting as the combatants were a British guy in a kilt and this one black guy I know. It ended with kilt-boy getting taken away in the ambulance and old Marcus getting thrown in a cop car. That was the signal that it was time to go home. I don't like seeing things like that and can not stand to fight. Why can't everyone just be a happy drunk? I guess it is repressed feeling and emotions that come to the surface after the inhibitions are gone. I tend to just be happy and mellow.
The Impersonators also got in last night and I saw Neil Diamond wandering around last night. I didn't get to see the young or old Elvis. Perhaps tomorrow I will go check out their show and see what it is all about. No real plans for this 4-day weekend. Just trying to come up with something to do before I head out of here in a couple of weeks. I guess spending the 4th on a British island take away a bit of the spirit of things. I'll make up for it next year.
I guess last night didn't quite end up as I had envisioned it. There was not that much whiskey in my system by the end of the night. I became rather bored of the pursuit of being a happy drunk. So I just ended up having a drink or two. Then I met up with another friend and we sat around and tried to lay down some drum tracks for a song I want to record. We just hung out and what not, didn't accomplish much but we had fun just goofing around with music things. He has given me the desire to record my own stuff. Now I have the overwhelming desire to drop a couple thousand dollars to set up a little studio of my own in my room. That is something that I will do when I get to San Diego and back home. Pick up some toys so I can make a little music of my own. It will be a little hobby of mine.
Not much is happening today. I sleep most of the day away as I was out till god awful early. Then I think later I am going to go catch the impersonators. They are putting on a couple shows and I might as well catch one of them. You know they went out of their way to come all the way to the middle of the Indian Ocean. I should at least support them. Not that I am fan of any of the music that is playing there, well I do have nothing against Elvis. He was the king and all. I just like to check out old Neil Diamond as it brings back memories of being a kid at my grandma's house. I can only stand about one song before that gets old.
I went out last night and saw the Legends impersonators perform. It was a good show and they knew how to work the audience. I would suppose that would come from all the shows in Vegas that they do. The Blues Brothers were particularly good. The Elvis could sing but he looked more like Ben Affleck than anything. It was a good show overall and I am glad that I had a chance to go see them. Today they are supposedly throwing a giant party for it being the 4th and all but I am not sure that I will be attending the festivities. Something about being surrounded by 90% of the people here that keeps me from going to these large gatherings. I am not that big a fan of giant gatherings and actually prefer a quieter setting with a few close friends. So I think that I am going to hang out with my friend Craig and Jennifer. They are really great people and I am bummed that I haven't known them longer. They have only been here a couple months and my time to leave is near. We hang out and just goof around and do whatever we want. It is fun because there is no pressure from anyone to stop being "dumb" or anything like that. Plus Craig is pretty amazing musically; he made this little CD by himself. I have a copy of it and I will have to let you listen to it someday. He really has something there. Anyway I am going to hang out with them tonight and just do whatever. It should be better than being surrounded by a thousand screaming fools. And I might even get to make some music, who knows what will happen.
Well I hope that you 4th celebration went well, mine was a rather subdued affair. Just a lazy night of hanging out and talking with friends. It was nice though because I got to spend it with a pair of interesting people. We sat around and talked, laughed, and just told stories about our past. All in all it was a good evening and I would take it over watching fireworks with a 1000 drunk fools anytime. Now I only have 2 weeks here so I am trying to spend it with the people that I care about. Tonight I will probably go out with some other people and celebrate something. When we go out we always come up with some excuse to party and have fun. It doesn't take much; tonight will probably be a celebration of Wednesday and the fact that I only have 2 weeks left here. I am going to be sad to leave it behind. I was growing rather accustomed to tropical island living. I am ready though for whatever is ahead of me.
I don't mind the rain one bit. It was something that I got used to after living in Japan for a couple of years. They have the full rainy season. Times where it just rains for days on end. I actually got used to it there and I don't let it bother me. And here it rains quite a bit as well. I guess being 50 feet from the ocean and the tropical climate promotes rain. It probably rains about once a day here and that is a quick shower really. Right now we are in winter and it has rained a bit more than usual.
It will be a bummer to leave some of the people that I know here. I have done it a lot though and I still can't get use to it. I get really attached to those that I meet. The saddest part is leaving and knowing that you will never see some of them again no matter what your best intentions are.
For more information about Diego Garcia, visit http://www.mydiegogarcia.com and http://www.nctsdg.navy.mil/ncts.html