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A Bad Experience - part I

Sometimes I get convinced that the system of Karma is extremely effective, actually better than you’ d like it to be. Karma works both ways – sometimes your karma backfires at you, straight in your face, sometimes the system lets you “gloat”, because you knew too well that somebody deserved certain karma consequences. Many people have asked me about negative travel experiences, or rather if I ever met people I would not like to meet again. “Since all you’ve described so far is filled with enthusiasm and pleasure, there’s gotta be something you’re not telling us”, one of my best friends stated over a couple of beers the other day. To tell you the truth, no – the usual experience is replayed every time I travel. The people I meet wherever I go are decent, hospitable, exciting and lovable. The only really bad experience I have is in Barranco de la Verga in Gran Canaria. And we are talking really the worst imaginable experience big time. If you don’t know what “verga” means, check it out on Google translate. Friends from other Spanish-speaking areas get a good laugh when I tell them where this War Zone is situated. This experience lasted for exactly 1.5 years and now belongs to the department for “experiences - that - were - necessary - to - move – on- in - life - never - to be - re-experienced. The other bad experience, which in comparison to the previously mentioned one seems like a fast-melting snowball in Hell, happened in Oslo. The whole experience had long since been forgotten, and at the time when I incidentally encountered her I hesitated big time before I actually recognized her. This happened subsequently to the warfare of Barranco de la Verga, on a remote island where I was actually going to spend a week on my own to recompose myself after the final weeks of the Barranco de la Verga warfare Karina invited me to come over to her apartment for a cup of coffee, and as I arrived at her house she was still in bed. It was shortly past noon that morning and she had voluptuously devoured the remnants of yesterday’s dinner which she had forgotten to remove from her bedside. Jack had left the premises at around midnight after one of their daily fights. Usually he would come back begging her like a dog for forgiveness, but this time he had not yet shown up. She wasn’t too preoccupied with Jack at the moment. She was hungry, thirsty and she instantaneously needed a fag. She hadn’ t had one since she fell asleep. Her body was longing for a nicotine kick, and she knew there were some cigarettes somewhere in some drawer she had hidden from Jack. Unfortunately she could not recall where they were hidden, so she took the easy way out and picked up the butts from the ashtray on the floor and lit one after the other while she sucked in whatever remained in the butts. She dragged herself out of bed, lit yet another cigarette butt , coughed vigorously, so vigorously that you would think that by the next cough something from the inside of her might erupt and come out of her mouth. She cursed something illegible for other people to herself and went to look for the cigarettes she had hidden. Her bathroom was screaming for a full rehab. In addition to dirty laundry, old towels, used toilet paper, some empty beer cans and a couple of full ones covering the floor, I could not help myself to avoid barfing as the odor attacked me when I entered the room to go about my business. The whole concept of “Mosselukta”, the smell that came from the paper –producing plant where I grew up , was at this point in time given a totally new content. The “Mosselukt” is from now on a fragrance that should be put in a small bottle and used in this woman’s bathroom in order to ease the pain of your nostrils. The mirror on the wall had suffered an attack and the way I interpreted the scarred mirror pieces still desperately clinging together with the odd one having fallen off, somebody must have hit it really hard, because there were blood stains unevenly distributed on the different pieces of mirrored glass and in the sink. I rushed out of her bathroom, straight out on her front porch, barfed again behind a small tree, and then managed to take a pee without her neighbor noticing anything. Karina actually laughed for the first time since I saw her and asked me to sit down on her bed while she made a phone call to the take away convenience store asking them in broken English to bring her a pack of Marlboros and two large coffees, hold the sugar on one of them. She then sat down beside me, swallowed a couple of aspirins, and finally started talking. She had decided to settle on this remote island after she had been declared incapable of carrying out any kind of work and now received a rather generous amount of social benefit money from the Norwegian Health Care system. For years she had lived in this small apartment, spending her days being cooked in the violent sun, not using any kind of protection. That, and add 60 cigarettes, a bottle of wine, and innumerable cans of beer and some cocktails on a daily basis had paid its toll. She more often than not referred to herself as an ugly wrinkle face, and actually she was right. I must say that I had a really bad conscience for thinking of her as a kind of crossover between the peel of a ripe passion fruit and Cruella de Ville, also taken into consideration the way she had scared the shit out of me in Oslo. Anyway, she had moved to her island all on her own, lived alone and in isolation for years before she got acquainted to Jack. Jack was her savior who took care of her, who helped her get her life back on tracks and who satisfied her sexually. They fought at least once a day, and Jack left her alone for hours but he always came back. Last night had been really bad, she told me. They were both drunk, and they she had got so furious with him that she actually pushed his head so violently into the mirrored wall in the bathroom so that it broke and he got cut in several places. She didn’t seem scared or sorry, but I detected a large amount of uncertainty on her part as to if he was going to come back this time.

“Anyway”, she said, “ it’s time for a celebration. You’re actually the only visitor I’ve had from Norway, and I am very happy to see you, despite of the fact that you probably hated my guts back home. Let me call the convenience store and get some more stuff so that we can party.” Ten minutes later she received her a carton of her precious smokes, two beakers of coffee, three bottles of sparkling wine, a gallon of locally produced beer and then I noticed her receiving a plastic bag of something suspiciously marihuana-like that the delivery guy slipped into her pocket. She gave him 100 dollars up front and then asked me if I could please pay for the “groceries”. I paid up and she started uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine into two XXL glasses, filled them up to the brim with ice cubes and slurped down most of her own glass as if she were afraid sparkling wine was going out of fashion the next morning. Then my neck was on the line: “Come on, you’ve gotta drink! I wanna get drunk with you”. My whole body shrank and I felt a strong need to get out of there right away. There was no way I was going to get drunk with Karina. Firstly I didn’t really like her, secondly I knew I couldn’t trust her and finally, I was actually on a recovery trip and the last thing I needed right then was getting wasted with a person I didn’t particularly want to spend any more time with than absolutely necessary. I had to make something up and I had to act fast. The only thing I could think of was that I had a headache and needed to rest. She didn’t buy it and she did not cave in until I had had two large glasses of cheap sparkling white wine. I felt dizzy and I really felt the urge to end this travesty, especially since she started talking about all kinds of weird stuff I did not want to get involved in. Then I remembered her paper-producing plant toilet. I went there and deliberately took a deep breath. I t worked, I threw up and made sure she heard it. I told her it came from the migraine and that I had to leave. Curiously enough she accepted, but I had to promise her to come back before I left the island. Easy, in certain situations one is allowed to lie. And so I did.

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