eastwind memoirs


eastwind memoirs21 May 2016 02:33 am

THE ART OF DRIFTING eastwind wings and wanderlust

The Art of Drifting
 
eastwind memoirs 13
version 2
 
by Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

http://www.sisterraquel.com/2016/05/the-art-of-drifting

This is the 13th excerpt from the book Wings and Wanderlust. I discovered the art of drifting back in the 70s. I was lucky to escape New York City, a spiritual desert that left me empty. I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime that I called eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa.

It was a mind-boggling heart-rending storm-chasing experience that changed me dramatically, every fiber of my soul. It was a violent hurricane and gentle breeze all at once.
 

Drifting is addictive. I have met people who have been on the road for 20 years. I did only 36 months and it was so filling and intense, I needed to stop. For me, drifting was only a ‘pro­cess’, a spiritual phase, a preparation for a vocation or a career, a key to self-discovery. But there were a few rare ‘extremists’, the ‘hard core’, the ‘professional drifters’ who made it a way of life.

The art of drifting and self-discovery is based on things which are many times against everything we learned in school. The Brain Matrix below explains. The right brain is the poet in you. The left brain is the engineer in you.

Click photo to blow up.

Cover of the book Wings and Wanderlust,
with critiques from Ateneo philosophy students.

Order the book – email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com.
 
when you enter the dark forest
good and bad things lurk
to make and break your soul
take the chance, you will not regret it
darkness and light will encompass you
make the Lord your beacon
gather strength in His grace
and everything will fall into place
 
THE BRAIN MATRIX
 
right brain
left brain
frame
overall
spiritual
imagination
conscience
philosophical
random
role
creativity
intuitive
play piano by ear
compose
pictures, vision, ideas
inspiration
whole
final goal
synthesize
strategy
integrate
discern
fluid
holistic
monolithic
surrealism
abstract
improvised
spontaneous
unpredictable
risk
estimated
qualitative
controller
architect
pianist
poet
no rules
freedom
flesh
detail
spatial
memory
knowledge
technical
sequential
tasks
accuracy
logical
schooled piano
read notes
words, grammar, vocabulary
perspiration
parts
steps
analyze
tactic
break up
compute
rigid
one at a time
granular
realism
concrete
programmed
studied
predictable
assurance
precise
quantitative
accountant
engineer
carpenter
mathematician
rules
discipline
 
the pendulum swung from structured to unstructured
order to chaos, completeness to vacuum
sequential to random, steps to non-steps
programs to non-programs
right brain to left brain
in all the absurdity there was meaning
in all the meaning there was absurdity
 
Every­one has a left and right brain. The art of wings and self-discovery belongs to the right brain. It is therefore important to make the right brain dominate your actions and decisions while on the road. Other­wise, you will not attract magical experiences by chance, you will find yourself more elusive, and you may remain in a whirlpool or vicious circle of caution and disci­pline.
 

But there must be balance, like Yin and Yang, like light and darkness. You cannot survive the whirl­wind if you are totally right-brained. Complete abandon to the whirlwind is not practical. There are limits to ‘un-planning’.

The right brain mysteriously senses danger but when it is there, the left brain must plan a course of action to avoid that danger. Left and right brains complement each other. We know the meaning of dark­ness only because we know the meaning of light and dark­ness is the absence of light. Light and darkness are bound together and is manifested in the lights and shadows on a face. We do not see anything if it is white on white or black on black. We see everything if it is white on black or black on white.

to be idle is not evil
you must be empty so you can be filled
nothingness complements fullness
they are cosmic partners like yin and yang
like light and darkness yielding shadows and figures
 
when no thoughts enter your mind
that is the time you discern your being
you become aware of your fullness
be the undisturbed water in a pool
as smooth as a mirror
that you may see yourself clearly
 
Finally, wings and self-discovery are a form of education beyond one’s wildest dream. I compare it to a doctorate but only much more. A doctorate degree can be an arm chair affair, vicari­ous, book-bound. Its wisdom is theoretical and of the mind. Drifting is sensual. Its wisdom is experiential and of the heart. I can still smell the fried fish in Tetouan, Morocco. I can hear the distant peal of sheep bells in the Portuguese countryside near Fatima. I can still feel the sting of fine grain of Sahara sand on my face.
 

Scattered excerpts

Fellow drifters from Mauritius at Pisa, Italy. Note the author’s eastwind sweater.

 

***************
all is darkness, all is silence
suddenly, a nova blinds the eyes
thunder rapes the ears
all is darkness, all is silence once again
 
My general plan was to head south for winter where it was warmer. I was on a general direction towards southern Spain, that was all. Nothing speci­fic. My right brain was functioning. That was good. But my left brain kept bobbing up. It was a product of my programmer’s time frame, quick, short and with no orienta­tion to linger, overly conscious of efficiency. I was still a green­horn as an adventurer. Order was pullng me down. I needed chaos. As soon as I saw a place, I moved.
 

Drifting does not hurry. It lingers so one can absorb people and places more deeply. Drifting is precisely defying the regularity of nine to five schedule and programmed city life. Tourists who have no time have to hurry and cover a lot of ground in a short time. Time frame is a product of lifestyle. But you can change your time frame by changing your lifestyle.

**********
I was starting to avoid the big cities because they posed more effort to get in, seek complex tourist informa­tion, then get out. It was more complex, more maps and streets to study, more for the left brain. The people in the cities were also more busy and colder. The thing was to simplify. The countryside and villages of Europe were more edible to me. The people were also more warm and had more time to talk. Quiet, no hustle and bustle, the Old World in its rural splen­dour was nice, more for the right brain.
 
**************
From Faro, I headed  for Vila  Franca de Xira  to see  the bulls.  They gave me a good tip. This time, I had to make it on a specific date. It was a time to be prompt. I couldn’t miss it. My left brain took over. I made sure I made it on time even though I was hitch­ing. I arrived at Xira after noon, just in time for the bulls. In the evening, the right brain was in charge. All the houses offered grilled sardinas frescas and agua pe (cheap red wine ) to passers-by.  I was drunk with joy. Alone, I slept in the woods, thanking the Lord for the gift of serendipity.
 

Robert Frost wrote –
the woods are lovely dark and deep
but I have promises to keep
and miles to go before I sleep
 
eastwind writes
the woods are lovely dark and deep
and i have promises to skip
and on the roadside until dawn i sleep
 
****************
The best medicine for loneliness or boredom on the road was the road itself, I was starting to learn. Pain and loneli­ness vanished instantly when the excitement of the road emerged, when I looked towards the horizon. This would happen many times, Madrid, Canary Islands, Zurich. Whenever I felt lonely, I ran away from it by achieving the speed of light. Motion was the best friend of the drifter. That was the advan­tage of wings. You can run anytime and to anywhere. You can run away from pain, at least for now, not forever.
 
****************
I lived in a seashore cave for a month in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. No electricity. I gathered a ton of discarded  candle drips from the garbage, re-melted it in 25 sardine cans. At night, one could see my cave glow from the outside. Every other night, I invited 8 other backpackers living in tents and other caves to my ‘party’. I served gofio, crude hot chocolate. My cave was the biggest and the brightest and the center of the Universe.

*************

hitchhiking requires both left and right brains
left brain for the physical
right brain for the spiritual
miss one and you miss the other
it’s all or nothing
 

**************

By the time I reached Barcelona from Andorra, I was completely trans­formed from my New York self. I was ready for the world, ready for Spain which colonized my country for three hundred years. Now, I was bold and daring. I was begin­ning to realize the importance of not planning and of walking aimlessly as the best form of drift. My nascent right brain was swell­ing and constricting my programmer’s left brain.

*************
Getting lost in crowded cities became a habit… Athens, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. Once you got the hang of it, it was great, a powerful tool to absorb new places and new people. I drifted aimlessly, not knowing where to go but having the gut feel where to go. Discovering new places this way was better than a planned cerebral organized map-based or book-based tour. You have no expectations. You are not looking for a place a book mentions. Your left brain is recedes. Your right brain swells. You are thus surprised at seeing things. Later on, after another six months, I would expand unplanned city travel to unplanned country travel. I would hitch without knowing where to go. The essence of drift is the right brain. And I discovered that – better than discovering magical places is discovering magical people.
 
for the new adventurer danger is its own end
for danger is a deeply moving experience
but danger is a double-edged sword
one blade is the razor’s edge of excitement
the other blade is the razor’s edge of disaster
one has to make a choice
whether to take the tight-rope walk
whether to take the one giant leap
into the abyss leading to nowhere and everywhere
 
**************  
The economics of drifting is your left brain function­ing. No money no honey. It is a good complement to your right brain which takes care of beautiful sunsets, exhilarating roller coaster rides and the magic of the road.
 
***********
20 long years after eastwind, I wrote from sheer memory the book Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self). It took me two weeks of frenzied ‘stream of consciousness’ to finish the book, sleeping an average of 2 hours every night. I feared that if I stopped, I would lose momentum. It took me one year to refine and edit it. The book is a mix of adventure anecdotes mixed with philosophical verses.
 

ORDER THE BOOK – email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

READ OTHER eastwind MEMOIRS

12 – EASTWIND VERSES
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/02/eastwind-verse
11 – HITCHHIKING WITH A GUITAR
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/12/hitchhiking
09 – THE COLORFUL FILIPINO SEAMEN Piraeus, Greece
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/06/the-colorful-filipino-seamen
08 – FILIPINOS AS GLOBAL MUSICIANS Leidseplein, Amsterdam
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/08/filipino-as
07 – A SWEDISH DAMSEL CALLED OLGA Canary Islands, North Africa
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-07
06 – THE 25,000-KM 3-YEAR TREK eastwind overview
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/11/eastwind-memoirs-06
05 – JACK DANIELS AND THE CANADIAN BELLES Algarve, Portugal
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-05
04 – THE BEDOUIN GIRL Tetouan, Morocco
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-04
03 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA the 7-day 80-km hike, Portugal
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-03
02 – BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR Vila Franca de Santo Antonio, Portugal
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-02
01 – TWO FILIPINOS IN ATHENS Greece
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-01
 
***************************
5 MEDITATION POSTERS

Click photos to blow up

 

amdg
eastwind memoirs16 May 2015 03:20 am

eastwind memoirs 13 – the art of drifting

The Art of Drifting
 
eastwind memoirs 13
by Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 

http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/05/eastwind-mem

I am a Filipino, a drifter in my youth. At the age of 26, I left New York City to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that I dubbed eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 long years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. It was a mind-boggling heart-rending storm-chasing experience that changed me dramatically, every fiber of my soul.

 

I consequently wrote from sheer memory the book Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self) 20 long years after. I took me two weeks of frenzied ‘stream of consciousness’ to finish the book, sleeping an average of 2 hours every night. I feared that if I stopped, I would lose the momentum. It took me one year to refine and edit it. The book is a mix of anecdotes and verses. This is the 13th excerpt from that book, others memoirs available at eastwind-memoirs-collection.  To order the book, email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com.

 

when you enter the dark forest
good and bad things lurk
to make and break your soul
take the chance, you will not regret it
darkness and light will encompass you
make the Lord your beacon
gather strength in His grace
and everything will fall into place

 

The art of drifting and self-discovery is based on things which are many times against everything we learned in school or in work. Perhaps the best way to explain it is through the so-called ‘brain matrix’ shown below. The right brain is the poet in you. The left brain is the engineer in you. Let us look at the matrix.

 

The Brain Matrix
 
right brain
left brain
frame
overall
spiritual
imagination
conscience
philosophical
random
role
creativity
intuitive
play piano by ear
compose
pictures, vision, ideas
inspiration
whole
final goal
synthesize
strategy
integrate
discern
fluid
holistic
monolithic
surrealism
abstract
improvised
spontaneous
unpredictable
risk
estimated
qualitative
controller
architect
pianist
poet
no rules
freedom
flesh
detail
spatial
memory
knowledge
technical
sequential
tasks
accuracy
logical
schooled piano
read notes
words, grammar, vocabulary
perspiration
parts
steps
analyze
tactic
break up
compute
rigid
one at a time
granular
realism
concrete
programmed
studied
predictable
assurance
precise
quantitative
accountant
engineer
carpenter
mathematician
rules
discipline
 
the pendulum swung from structured to unstructured
order to chaos, completeness to vacuum
sequential to random, steps to non-steps
programs to non-programs, quantification to qualification
right brain to left brain
in all the absurdity there is meaning
in all the meaning there is absurdity
 
Every­one has a left and right brain. The art of wings and self-discovery belongs to the right brain. It is therefore important to make the right brain dominate your actions and decisions while on the road. Other­wise, you will not attract magical experiences by chance, you will find yourself more elusive, and you may remain in a whirlpool or vicious circle of caution and disci­pline.

 

But there must be balance. You cannot survive the whirl­wind if you are totally right-brained. Complete abandon to the whirlwind is not practical. There are limits to ‘un-planning’. Balance is the key. You have to have cau­tion, measurement of risk, over and above your sixth sense, accounting of prices, of money left. Although the right brain dominates drifting and adventure, there is a time for the left brain to take over, especially in dangerous situations.

 

The right brain mysteriously senses danger but when it is there, the left brain must plan a course of action to avoid that danger. Left and right brains compliment each other like yin and yang, light and darkness. We know the meaning of dark­ness only because we know the meaning of light and dark­ness is the absence of light. Light and darkness are bound together and is manifested in the lights and shadows on a face. We do not see anything if it is white on white or black on black. We see everything if it is white on black or black on white.

 

Drifting is addictive. I have met people who have been on the road for twenty years. I did only 36 months and it was so filling and intense, I needed to stop. For me, drifting was only a ‘pro­cess’, a spiritual phase, a preparation for a vocation or a career or a mission, a key to self-discovery. It was not a way of life like for the few rare people I met on the road. For most drifters I knew, it was a phase in life. But there were a few rare ‘extremists’, the ‘hard core’, the ‘professional drifters’ who made it a way of life. It doesn’t mean they were in para­dise all the time. There are always lapses, some wide, some narrow.

 

There was so much gain in drifting, but I thought that in the long term, drifting would kill my soul. It was enough, 36 magic months. Then, I was ready to go back home, stronger, wiser and so nicely less realistic, more defiant of the fren­zied world, more rebellious, more questioning, more irrever­ent, more poor. It would be easier for you to go through any kind of crisis or pain after drift­ing. Pressure in work will not be pressure per se if you understand there is more to work.

 

to be idle is not evil
you must be empty so you can be filled
nothingness complements fullness
they are cosmic partners like yin and yang
like light and darkness yielding shadows and figures
 
when no thoughts enter your mind
that is the time you discern your being
you become aware of your fullness
be the undisturbed water in a pool
as smooth as a mirror
that you may see yourself clearly
 
joy is meaningful after sadness, feast after hunger
meditation and prayer, like night into day
begins with emptiness and ends with fullness

 

Finally, wings and self-discovery are a form of education beyond one’s wildest dream. I compare it to a doctorate but only much more. A doctorate degree can be an arm chair affair, vicari­ous, book-bound. Its wisdom is theoretical and of the mind. Drifting is sensual. Its wisdom is experiential and of the heart. I can still smell the fried fish in Tetouan, Morocco. I can hear the distant peal of sheep bells in the Portuguese countryside near Fatima. I can still feel the sting of fine grain of Sahara sand on my face.

 

But lessons learned are what I call ‘meta-sen­sual’. Beyond the sensual is the spiritual. When you feel the warmth of people, the children at the Mondego river in Portu­gal or the sensuous French Canadian who was running away from life, then there are spiritual lessons learned. I can still feel the faint brush of Maria’s hair on my soul in Las Palmas. I can still feel today the sorrow of seeing people in extreme spiritual pain in spite of their affluence. The wisdom of the mind is nothing. It is the wisdom of the heart which is true wisdom that makes you see yourself in others.

 

Scattered excerpts
 
Fellow drifters from Mauritius at Pisa, Italy. Note the author’s eastwind sweater.
 
***************
all is darkness, all is silence
suddenly, a nova blinds the eyes
thunder rapes the ears
all is darkness, all is silence once again

 

My general plan was to head south for winter where it was warmer. I was on a general direction towards southern Spain, that was all. Nothing speci­fic. My right brain was functioning. That was good. But my left brain kept bobbing up. It was a product of my programmer’s time frame, quick, short and with no orienta­tion to linger, overly conscious of efficiency. I was still a green­horn as an adventurer. Order was pullng me down. I needed chaos. As soon as I saw a place, I moved. Drifting does not hurry. It lingers so one can absorb people and places more deeply. Drifting is precisely defying the regularity of nine to five schedule and programmed city life. Tourists who have no time have to hurry and cover a lot of ground in a short time. Time frame is a product of lifestyle. But you can change your time frame by changing your lifestyle.

 

**********
I was starting to avoid the big cities because they posed more effort to get in, seek complex tourist informa­tion, then get out. It was more complex, more maps and streets to study, more for the left brain. The people in the cities were also more busy and colder. The thing was to simplify. The countryside and villages of Europe were more edible to me. The people were also more warm and had more time to talk. Quiet, no hustle and bustle, the Old World in its rural splen­dour was nice, more for the right brain.
 
Swiss friend. Stein-am-Rhein, Switzerland, near the German border.

 

****************
The best medicine for loneliness or boredom on the road was the road itself, I was starting to learn. Pain and loneli­ness vanished instantly when the excitement of the road emerged, when I looked towards the horizon. This would happen many times, Madrid, Canary Islands, Zurich. Whenever I felt lonely, I ran away from it by achieving the speed of light. Motion was the best friend of the drifter. That was the advan­tage of wings. You can run anytime and to anywhere. You can run away from pain, at least for now, not forever.

 

My map intrigued me. There was this tiny nation called Andorra in the heart of the Pyrenees between Spain and France. My gut feel, rather, my right brain, said it was a nice moun­tain place. I had to see it. Passing through Beziers, Nar­bonne, Perpignan, Prades, I veered east towards the rugged Pyrenees instead of south towards Barcelona. I would not regret my decision. I worked as a construction worker and met the beautiful Catalan labourers who inspired me because, like me, they were the essential rebels who defied rules, the essential drifters who loved recklessness.

 

*************
hitchhiking requires both left and right brains
left brain for the physical
right brain for the spiritual
miss one and you miss the other
it’s all or nothing

 

**************
By the time I reached Barcelona from Andorra, I was completely trans­formed from my New York self. I was ready for the world, ready for Spain which colonized my country for three hundred years. Now, I was bold and daring. I was begin­ning to realize the importance of not planning and of walking aimlessly as the best form of drift. My nascent right brain was swell­ing and constricting my programmer’s left brain.

 

*************
Getting lost in crowded cities became a habit… Athens, Rotterdam, Copenhagen. Once you got the hang of it, it was great, a powerful tool to absorb new places and new people. I drifted aimlessly, not knowing where to go but having the gut feel where to go. Discovering new places this way was better than a planned cerebral organized map-based or book-based tour. You have no expectations. You are not looking for a place a book mentions. Your left brain is recedes. Your right brain swells. You are thus surprised at seeing things. Later on, after another six months, I would expand unplanned city travel to unplanned country travel. I would hitch without knowing where to go. The essence of drift is the right brain.

 

***********
I could hit the Canary Islands through a boat from Playa del Aaiun in the Spanish Sahara. The map said so in crude pencil marks. From there, it would be almost spring and I can head north through Cadiz in Spain up through Portugal back into Switzer­land, where I could rest with uncle Robert Lips. That was the general plan. My left brain was taking over.

 

for the new adventurer danger is its own end
for danger is a deeply moving experience
but danger is a double-edged sword
one blade is the razor’s edge of excitement
the other blade is the razor’s edge of disaster
one has to make a choice
whether to take the tight-rope walk
whether to take the one giant leap
into the abyss leading to nowhere and everywhere

 

***
From Faro,  I headed  for Vila  Franca de Xira  to see  the bulls.  They gave me a good tip. This time, I had to make it on a specific date. It was a time to be prompt. I couldn’t miss it. My left brain took over. I made sure I made it on time even though I was hitch­ing. I arrived at Xira after noon, just in time for the bulls. In the evening, the right brain was in charge. All the houses offered grilled sardinas frescas and agua pe (cheap red wine) to passers-by. I was drunk with joy. Alone, I slept in the woods, thanking the Lord for the gift of serendipity.

 

***
If drifting and self-discovery depends on your right brain most of the time, the one time the left brain plays a crucial role is in econ­omics. You can throw all cares to the wind in terms of time, places to go, and people to see, but not in terms of money. Many amateur drifters have lost the ability to drift by simply ignoring this one important factor.

 

***
If you are so high and drunk with joy, make sure you have to have the right brain, the instinct, the nose, the sixth sense to sense danger, and the left brain to react quickly.

 

***
The economics of drifting is your left brain function­ing. It is a good complement to your right brain which takes care of beautiful sunsets, exhilarating roller coaster rides and the magic of the road.

 

***
drifting is not just discovering places
it is discovering people
people are more exciting than places
people are complete universes in themselves
they have shooting stars and novas and galaxies and black holes
and time tunnels and solar winds inside their souls
you can see yourself only in others
and in sunsets that pass by momentarily
you are a mere reflection of someone you look at
 
if you look at someone with reverence or disdain
then you look at yourself
you are opaque to yourself
the other is totally transparent but only if you discern
 
what you see in others is really yourself
if you see beauty or ugliness
it is your beauty or your ugliness
the more you look inward
the more you see a bottomless pit
it is only in looking outward that you can see inward
 
if you are able to see the beauty of a single soul
in all its stark nakedness
you would be struck down in awe
and realize your soul is the same

 

To order the book, email eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com.
 
Read excerpts from a new book of the author
TEN WISDOMS OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2015/05/collision
 
Book cover, Wings and Wanderlust (click photo to blow-up)
 
amdg
 
eastwind memoirs25 Feb 2015 10:30 am

lenten music – lenten verses

Lenten Music – Lenten Verses
 
eastwind memoirs 12
by Bernie V. Lopez
eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com

 

Lenten Music Filipiniana

 

paghahandog ng sarili / Music by Jandi Arboleda and Manoling Francisco, S.J.
Arranged by Francisco X.Z. Reyes, Sung by vinzfalken.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twVHpxAdg7I&spfreload=10

 

dirait-on / morten lauridsen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWXVZlrLa6E

 

panalangin sa pagiging bukas palad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCas2BsIULg&index=7&list=PLA61EF168D3E878B4

 

hindi kita malilimutan
version 1 basil valdez
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H8AD0bum3c
version 2 pilita corales
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-sPirFRhCQ

 

Bukas palad ministry songs PLAY LIST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tElpkxWvCho&list=PLwT7AuuRHysS_K8a79Q6h–MEGJTj23KE

 

Lenten Verses
 
when you enter the dark forest
good and bad things lurk
to make and break your soul
take the chance, you will not regret it
darkness and light will encompass you
make the Lord your beacon
for He is the Light in your darkness
gather strength in His grace
and everything will fall into place
beyond your imagination

 

page 3 – Excerpt from the book
WINGS AND WANDERLUST
The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self
At the age of 26, I left New York to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that I dubbed eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 long years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. Here are verses that flowed from eastwind taken from that book.

 

 
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Spring+Rain+Forest&FORM=IRIBEP&=0#view=detail&id=45E15800EFC5A1AFAF00C8879EE52C838A1CBEEA&selectedIndex=5

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

when sand and sea converge
when strangers on the road dialogue
unexpected unimaginable undisciplined
beauty condenses
surreal spontaneous sensuous

 

page 146
 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
the oak resists, the symbol of strength
the bamboo yields, the symbol of weakness
but when the hurricane comes
the oak falls and the bamboo stands
be as strong as the oak
and supple as the bamboo
be as wise as the serpent
and gentle as the dove
be in the Lord always
during passing storms

 

page 104
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
love is never blind
lovers can see totally
love is seeing who you are
mirrored in the other

 

eastwind

 

To order the book
Wings and Wanderlust – the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self
email request to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Send the book as gift to friends anywhere in the Philippines
Php450 all postal charges included
You will receive it via JRS in 2 to 3 days, no credit card needed.
 
Read other past book excerpts and anecdotes
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-collection

 

amdg
eastwind memoirs29 Dec 2014 09:22 am

HITCHHIKING WITH A GUITAR eastwind memoirs 11

HITCHHIKING WITH A GUITAR
 
eastwind memoirs 11
by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
 
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/12/hitchhiking
 
what makes water gold is the sun
water by itself is clear and colorless
the water is your soul
the sun in the light of the Lord in you
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
i know for certain from my travels
that there are guardian angels
in the nooks and crevices of our daily lives
mine has rescued me from danger many times
they hover like seagulls above us
 
At the age of 26, I left New York to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that I dubbed eastwind, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 long years, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. This was in the mid-70s.

 

I hitchhiked with a 5-kilo backpack and a 6-kilo Spanish guitar that I bought in Zarauz in Spain. Everywhere I went, I dragged this heavy guitar for a reason explained in this memoir. The true stories below are excerpts from a book I subsequently wrote, Wings and Wanderlust – the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self. (send the book as gift to friends anywhere in the Philippines, Php450 all postal charges included, received via JRS in 2 to 3 days, no credit card needed. Email request to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com).

 

sometimes it is good
to keep your windows open
during a storm
a nice leaf may drift in
and make your day
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
idleness is the preparation to meditation
when new insights, discernment and serendipity
steal across the vestibule of your haggard soul
 

 

COPENHAGEN

         Somewhere north of Hamburg, I picked up a ride from a stately Mercedes Benz. They were an elegant Danish couple and spoke perfect English as most Scandinavians did.
         “So you are on an adventure, young man,” the woman said.
         “Yes ma’am. Bound for Copenhagen.”
         The man hardly spoke.
         “You must play the guitar well. I mean, this is the first time I see someone hitching with a heavy bulky guitar. Don’t you get tired of dragging that around.”
         “I do ma’am, but I can’t do without it. It’s my magic wand.”
         She laughed, “A magic wand, eh?”
         “Are you from Copenhagen, ma’am?”
         “Yes we are, and you’re lucky to get your ride straight to your destination.”
         The man spoke in Danish and the woman replied tersely. It seemed she was in charge. Later, she mentioned that they owned a big food company, one of the biggest in Denmark.
         “Where are you staying in Copenhagen.”
         “I have friends in Christiania, ma’am.”
         “Christiania? That is a terrible place. Very dangerous. A lot of drug addicts.”
         “No choice, ma’am. But I will be alright. I know how to take care of myself.”
         “No, no. You don’t understand. You must stay in the youth hostel. Stay away from Christiania. That will bring you trouble.”
         “I’ll be alright ma’am.”
         “Maybe you are just trying to save money. Copenhagen is an expensive place, you know.”
         “As a matter of fact, ma’am, I am. I have been travelling more than a year now.”
         “You must stay in the youth hostel. I insist. I will give you 200 croners, okay?
         “Okay,” I said, knowing I would take the money and stay anyway with Jansen and Marijke in Christiania, a couple I met somewhere in Portugal, I think it was. Lying was the lesser evil. The other choice was to disappoint her with defiance.
         She spoke in Danish to her husband who pulled out his wallet. He gave me 200 croners without saying a word. That was about $40 then, if I remember right.
         We reached Flensburg and crossed the border to Denmark, headed for the car ferry boat that crossed the narrow passage that separ­ated the North Sea and the Baltic to Copenhagen. The car slid into the car ferry. We went up for a sumptuous dinner in a nice restaurant at the upper deck of the boat.
         After dinner, wanting to please the kind and sweet lady, I said, “I would like to play some Filipino songs for you on the guitar. Is that alright?”
         “Sure,” said the woman and the man nodded silently and smiled for the first time.
         So, I played a Filipino song and two numbers of the Beatles for lack of anything else. They listened intent­ly and clapped after my solo concert. I was proud they liked it. At least, that was my impression. The lady took out another 100 croners and gave it to me. In a few hours and for a few songs, I earned about $60, more than I did in Andorra on hard labor for two weeks. And it was at a time my money was running low.

 

         I ended up staying for two weeks with Jansen and Marijke anyway in Christiania. The next day, in the evening, I went through the bars, talking to managers if they would need a ‘folk singer’. I brought my guitar with me. Some didn’t even bother to audition me. On the fifth try, the manager asked me to play. I was a bit nervous. I played Simon and Garfun­kel’s ‘El Condor Pass’. It so happened it was the mana­ger’s favorite. I was hired instantly for $25 a night, three times a week, on a trial basis. I was excited. I practised the whole evening the day before my first performance. I knew I would earn more on the streets based on my Munich experience, but this was another type of adventure, singing in a bar. I had to try it out.
         On my maiden performance, I was jittery. I prepared a small twenty minute repertoire of Simon and Garfunkel and Beatle songs and chucked in a few Filipino songs.
         And so I played the first professional concert of my life. The crowd was noisy. They were not even listening. I was drowned out by the din of everyone trying to talk to each other all at the same time over their frothing beers. I sud­denly realized I had an illusion of being a great star, whom they would applaud till their hands turned red. I kept on playing. I did not feel ridiculous. At least, if I made a mistake, they wouldn’t even notice. So I kept on play­ing to the ‘wall’.
         I had three 20-minute sets per night. On the second set, I played the same repertoire. This time, I started feeling ridiculous. After three nights, I gave up. I couldn’t do it any­more, not even for good money. That was the end of that. When I told this to Jansen and Marijke, they laughed, but said at least I earned some money, which was true. I earned exactly $75 which was not bad. But it was not just the money. A backpacker rubbing elbows with the gentle super-rich, and singing in a bar for the first time were a good adventure.

 

ATHENS

 

         At the hostel, an American from South Carolina just came in. He had a clarinet. One evening, I took out my guitar and we started jamming. He was good. I would give a set of chord progressions and he would build a tune around them impromptu. We had an instant two-man band. His name was Jason. We played until early morning and the Arabs listened in amusement.
         One day, I suggested to him that we play on the streets for some money and split it 50-50. I could use the cash. He agreed. We practised for a while. Our intro number was ‘Oh When the Saints Come Marching In’, a Harry Belafonte tune which had easy simple chords. You could just keep repeating the tune endlessly.
         So off we went out to the street. We boosted each other’s morale as we hesitated, not knowing how the Greek crowd would react to a couple of dodos. I suggested to him that we go and play inside the subway station. It was too open out in the streets and we might attract a crowd we would not be able to control.
         At the subway station, we waited for a train to unload its passengers before playing our first tune care-of Belafon­te. Immediately, a few coins fell on my guitar case which I left open in front of us. That broke the ice. We kept playing for about twenty minutes and the coins kept coming.
         A couple of dirty gypsy children, about five of them, came up to us and were listening intently. After awhile, one started dancing. The others followed. By the time I knew it, we were having a real show. We were attracting a crowd. More coins were coming. It was great. We never imagined to draw such a big crowd because of the kids. My hands were getting tired and I signalled Jason for a break.
         A man came up to us, “Hey, guys, you better get out of here. This is not aloud. I am a policeman. Go.”
         “You’re not a policeman,” I said.
         In a huff, he left. We laughed and played some more. The kids started tumbling upside down. The crowd was applauding. We hoped to give half of the money to these wonderful kids. The coins clinked with a magical sound. We were getting ‘rich’. In five minutes, the guy was back, this time with two uni­formed po­licemen. So he was for real. It was not a bluff. I grabbed the coins and gave some to the leader of the kids. They arrested all of us, including the kids, and brought us to the police station.
         “F–k Nixon, heh?” one policeman said to Jason while looking through his passport.
         “F–k Nixon, sure,” Jason answered, shrugging his shoul­der. “I also hate Nixon, you know.”
         He looked over my passport, “You a seaman?”
         “No sir.”
         “Tourist?”
         “Yes sir,” I said politely.
         “I better not see you again playing in the streets, what more the subway. Is that clear?”
         “Yes sir,” Jason and I said in unison.
         “Now go, before I change my mind and jail you.”
         We left quickly but as we were going, I saw them beating up the kids. The girl leader to whom I gave the coins was crying. I turned around to go back but Jason collared me.
         “You really want to go to jail, don’t you? Have you ever been f–ked in the ass? The Greeks like it that way, you know,” Jason whispered to me.
         “Poor kids. It’s actually our fault,” I said.
         “No its not our fault. The Greeks hate the gypsies. They are dirty people to them.”

 

MUNICH

 

         I had Derek’s address in Munich. We embraced as good old friends. It was a strange reunion. Now, he was married to a Japanese woman. The tables were turned. I was on a backpack and he was working his ass off to support a new family. Before, I was in a bank and he had his Westwind of sorts. Now, I was on Eastwind and he was the ‘slave’.
         His Japanese wife, Teiko, was kind to me for Derek’s sake but under­neath her hospi­tality, I could discern that she hated the counter-culture world and that she was pulling Derek away from it. For her, it was her enemy in a jungle of survival.
         “I feel like playing the guitar in the streets but I don’t have the courage,” I said to Derek and Teiko.
         “Why not?” Derek was excited. “You can do it. C’mon. The money would be good here.”
         “I was arrested in Athens together with an American for playing in the subway,” I countered.
         “The Germans are not like that. They are the most open people in Europe.”
         “Yeah, I know. This is a hitchhiker’s haven,” I said.
         “You know why, Bernie?” Teiko spoke.
         “Why?”
         “Because they suffered a lot during the war.”
         “Buddha said pain is the greatest teacher,” I said.
         “Of course,” Derek answered.
         Teiko suddenly stood up, snapping her finger. She took out a woollen blanket from the closet, got a pair of scissors and began making a slit at the center.
         “What are you doing? Don’t ruin a perfectly good blan­ket,” I said.
         Derek said, “Don’t worry about it. She can sew it back later. It’s for you.”
         When she was finished, she came over to me and put the blanket over me. It was a poncho, a perfect fit. I looked like a Mexican version of Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”. We all laughed.
         “It’s cold out there in the streets at this time,” Teiko commented.
         “I have a ski-jacket.”
         Derek said, “It’s not the same. The poncho attracts attention and money. It’s really a costume.”
         “You need gloves for the cold.” Derek added.
         Teiko stood up and took out a box from the closet. There were a dozen gloves. She began scrounging for an old soft knitted pair and found one.
         “You wouldn’t mind a pair of old gloves, would you?” Teiko asked.
         “But how can I play the guitar with gloves?” I countered.
         She got a pair of scissors and cut off the fingers of the left glove except the thumb. I put it on. I took out my guitar and started playing. It was perfect for the winter air. I could wear gloves on my left hand which handled the frets of the guitar minus the finger portions. I sang for them an old Filipino tune and they clapped.
         When everything was ready, I said, “No. Forget it. I can’t do it. I look ridiculous.”
         “No, you don’t. You look like a troubadour from the east. No way. You have to pay for the blanket and gloves you ruined if you don’t use them. If you use them, they’re for free,” he laughed jokingly. “No, Bernie, no guts no glory. Do it, do it, do it”.
         Teiko added, “Did you not come here for adventure? Here is your chance. You won’t regret it.”
         Reluctantly, I left. I was too conscious, just like my first hitch in Brussels. I stood there on my spot at the platz Derek told me to go to for a long while, scared to open up my guitar case. People walked around me. It was a busy day. Then I remembered Vicky playing for me and I remembered the gypsies the Greek police were mauling and I said to myself I would do it.
         I placed the empty guitar case open in front of me and started singing a song. Like in Morocco and Portugal, I played the Filipino Christ­mas song first. Then I tried a Simon and Garfunkel song entitled ‘El Condor Pass’. That got them. I saw a few five mark coins fall into my case with a sweet clink. I did some Beatle songs and achieved the confidence of John Lennon.
         Five marks was about $2 then. Ten of those and I had a treas­ure, $20, which could last me two weeks on the road. But it was not the economics that drove me to go on. It was the fact that I was appreciated for my song. My ego was buoyed. They did not stop to listen. They stopped momentarily, dropped in a coin or two, and left. I did not draw a crowd. So what?
         In a span of an hour, I was tired. I looked through my coins and mentally counted about 22 marks or $44. Not bad for an amateur. Teiko, Derek and I had a big celebration. We finished two bottles of white wine over a sumptuous Japanese dinner Teiko cooked. I basked in glory under the winter sun.
         It was my second baptism of fire as a troubadour after Athens. From then on, singing on the streets was a cinch. I did another stint the next day for two hours and got 31 marks or $62. A hundred dollars in two days. I earned more than my stint at Andorra as a con­struction worker for a week. If I did this everyday for two weeks, I would have enough money to be on the road another six months or forever.

 

How to order the book Wings and Wanderlust – the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self. (send the book as gift to friends anywhere in the Philippines, Php450 all postal charges included, received via JRS in 2 to 3 days, no credit card needed. Email request to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com).
 
Read other past eastwind memoirs
http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/04/eastwind-memoirs-collection

 

for healing visit the home page
of this site www.sisterraquel.com

 

amdg

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