Sand

Sand

By:  Garland Davis

 

I live in a state composed of five main islands and numerous secondary islands and coral atolls.  There are literally thousands of miles of beach in the Hawaiian Islands.  Oahu, the island where I live has over two hundred twenty-five miles of coastline much of it composed of beaches.  I have a confession to make.  I hate fucking sand.  It lies there mocking you,  an almost impassable barrier between the parking lot and the water.

I sometimes look at the sand as I drive past a beach and wonder who the demented mother fucker was who decided he could heat that shit up add a little potash and make an object that you can see through; glass.  And who was the other unwrapped son-of-a-bitch who said, “I think I’ll make this brittle stuff bullet proof.”?  And then there is the asshole who decided to mix it with lime and clay and water and call it concrete.  With as much concrete construction there is one would think they would run out of sand. But no, our beaches abound with the stuff.  The Japanese even import the stuff from Cam Ranh Bay, Viet Nam.  I think the Vietnamese saw them coming.

Many of my shipmates have seen some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  The miles of beach at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.  The only problem there is you have to fight the fucking hermit crabs for a portion of beach if you want to go surf fishing.  If you are a fisherman, it is some of the best fishing in the world. A fisherman’s paradise.

As much as I admire sand’s miraculous ability to be transformed into useful objects, I am not a great fan of it in its natural state. You step on to that pristine stretch of sand, anywhere in Hawaii, that has been heating in the sun all morning and suddenly your feet are on fire.  There is only one option, hop to the water for instant relief, in a fashion that people with better bodies find amusing.  You know the only option is to dash back across it. As soon as your wet feet or body touch that sand, it adheres as if you were coated in Gorilla glue.  You can’t shake the shit off; you can’t rub it off.  It is stuck to you as if it were a part of your body.

You eventually make it back to the shower head of ice water, generously provided by the state and find that you can’t rinse it off nor can you brush it off.  Now that you are wet again and walk onto the very narrow grassy strip between the sand and the parking lot, the sand that has migrated into the grass immediately becomes part of your body.  You begin to look like a shrimp rolled in cornmeal; ready for frying.

You get back to the area your wife has staked out for your outdoor picnic and defended from Bruddah and his brood.  She tells you to wipe off the sand before you eat.  After you recover from your bout of hysterical laughter, she hands you an egg salad sandwich safely sealed in a Ziploc bag and an unopened soda.  You pop the top of the beverage can, take a large swallow and end up with a mouth full of fucking sand.  You carefully open the sandwich bag and bite into the crunchiest egg salad sandwich possible.

Finally, the miserable fucking day ends.  The SPF 75 sunblock failed about three hours ago.  You are more and more convinced that staying home in your air-conditioned den and drinking beer is a much better non-greasy sunblock than Banana Boat. You are red, hot, uncomfortable, and covered with immovable sand.  You brush, shower under that spray of water piped in from the nearest iceberg to no avail.  All you can do is hope that Irish Spring can handle the shit when you get home.

You give up, load all your picnic paraphernalia into your new car and settle into the driver’s seat.  Suddenly every grain of sand on your body drops off except the few grains lodged right near your rectum.  They are keeping those you picked up driving by Waikiki Beach last week company.  They give using Charmin all the joy of using 20 Grit sandpaper. The next time they see the ocean will be when they spread your ashes at sea.  That is if the heat from the cremation doesn’t turn the mother fuckers to glass.

You will wear out two vacuum cleaners vacuuming piles of sand out of that car’s carpet over the next five years and still when you trade it in, the dealer will tell you he can only give you the minimum value because there is so much sand in the carpet.

I think I will whip the next person’s ass that asks me, “Why don’t we go to the beach tomorrow?”

 

 

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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

 

 

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The Seventh Fleet Effect

The Seventh Fleet Effect

By:  Garland Davis

 

Yesterday I explored and opined about our legacy of the Viet Nam war.  My shipmate Jack Thomas postulated a legacy that I hadn’t considered.  His comment was that we sailors had supported thousands of Asian women while pulling liberty in Asian ports.  Not to mention, how many small businesses, bars, taxi and jeepney drivers, and cathouses did we keep out of the red. I often wonder what happened to the bar owners, the bartenders, waitresses, the hostesses, and the jeepney drivers when the fleet sailed away. But most of all, I wonder what happened to the children who depended on the sailors’ money for food.

This brings to mind an incident that happened to me in Olongapo.  I don’t remember the ship, probably one of the FF’s I served in.  I stopped in a bar in Olongapo for a beer on my way to the Barrio.  This became one of those nights that I never made it to the Irish Rose.  I fell in love (or at least my dick got hard) with a lovely young thing in that bar.  After a few beers for me, as many ladies drinks as she could con me out of (quite a few, my dick was ordering, I was paying), a few dances and some bargaining, I paid the bar fine and we set out for her place.  On the way, she asked if I would pay her some of the money I promised so she could stop and buy some food. I gave her some P’s and she went into a store and bought a loaf of bread and some other items.

We arrived at her place, a two room apartment. She went into the other room and came out with two adorable half-blood children, a pretty girl of about six and a younger boy.  The mother told me she wanted to feed them since they hadn’t had any food since the day before.  She made them jelly sandwiches and sent them back into their room. The thought of those kids not eating was heart wrenching.

When on liberty, I always wore denim jeans or denim shorts.  Both my jeans and shorts had secret pockets where I usually carried two or three one hundred dollar bills in case I ran into an emergency while on liberty.  I considered giving the girl one of those bills to help feed those two kids.  But if I gave her a large American bill, when she went to change it into Pesos, someone would take it from her or cheat her out of it. After leaving her the next morning, I went to the money changer, changed the bill, went back to her house and gave her the Pesos.

I never saw her or those children again.  I have wondered many times if my gesture made their life better for a time or did she just blow the money and end up back in the same predicament again.  I guess it is best I don’t know, but one cannot help but wonder.

Then there was a young lady I met in Manilla, who often met my ship in Olongapo.  All she ever asked of me was to pay her college tuition for the semester.  I don’t know that she was actually attending college although she was carrying college texts when I first met her. This went on for a couple of years and then she told me she had met a young man and intended to marry.  I wished her luck and gave her a wedding present.  When thought of her crosses my mind, I often wonder what became of her and what she accomplished in her life.

How much of the economy of Olongapo, Pattaya Beach, the more verdant cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, and the wellbeing of many of their occupants was dependent upon the presence of the Seventh Fleet and the sailors’ dollars?  Did the fleet contribute positively to the countries we visited or did we create and prolong the bars and the debauchery of the sex industry in those nations?

Deep thoughts, but I wouldn’t change a bit of my time in the Far East.  Well, maybe a few more days in port and more early liberty.

 

 

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.  To see a menu of previously published articles, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above.

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

 

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