I have a certain affection for La Ceiba. First of all, it's the jumpin' off place for Roatan, an island fabled in story and song--my story and song, anyhow--and secondly, it's a pretty cool place, tropical sleaze abounds, the bars are for real people mainly, the whores and the cops are funkier, gentle breezes play among the palms and when the wind dies white men sweat like old cheese. It is the absolute classic banana town. Standard Fruit de Honduras, a Dole subsidiary, has its headquarters here. Not much tourism, except for the usual run of backpackers, pedophiles come for the kiddies, and people on their way to the Bay Islands.
We’re staying with a guy, a useful guy albeit somewhat deranged, who is/was a successful professional man up in the States (doctor, lawyer, Indian chief—I don’t know who’s reading this and don’t want to compromise him). He’s typical of a kind of ex-pat down here. Has a compound behind a high whitewashed wall topped with broken glass, with guard dogs and automatic rifles (paranoia has become the la turista of the 21st century), and several indigenous women who serve as cook/maid/sexual providers. He owns a largish boat and has done us favors in the past. If you let him, he’ll talk your ear off about conservative politics, yet down here he lives as a liberal, even performs some acts that might be considered revolutionary. I’ve never figured this out (maybe it’s a cover that’s become a reflex), but there seem to be quite a few people like him down here, kind-hearted assholes—or could be that’s just how I see the human race. The house is nice, if a bit tropical austere. Every wall whitewashed, cheap metal twin beds that squeak when you lie down and sound like Ornette Coleman when used for anything except sleep. Unvarnished wood floors downstairs, pigeons and chickens wander in and out. The living room is the only part of the house that’s decorated. Some locally produced water colors hung about, a few easy chairs, a gun rack, a TV always tuned to the weather—it’s sunny now, but there’s a fifty percent chance of thunderstorms, and I can see clouds moving in from the Picos Bonitos, the hills that hem the town in against the ocean.
I went down near the docks last night and walked along the Avenida de la Republica. It was like old times. The street hasn’t changed that much since I first came here thirty years ago. It was thronged with drunks, whores, vendors, farmboys in new stiff blue jeans and straw hats, the odd gringo, sailors, etc. The air was hot and glossy black, the asphalt shiny with rain, and the bars with their open facades (roll-up corrugated metal walls instead of doors) looked like rows giant tv sets all tuned to the Party Channel. I had a couple of beers, talked to some folks, but my heart wasn’t in it. I’m ready to go to Miskitia.
We’ll be heading to the boat soon. If things are ready, it’ll be quiet this end for a week. If not, I’ll post tomorrow.
DIVINE RIGHT'S TRIP, Gurney Norman, THE LAST WHOLE EARTH CATALOG, 1971.
Not a lot to say about this famous book--too famous for inclusion in this series? You'll find relevant history here:
So I'll just ramble.
This book was originally serialized in THE LAST WHOLE EARTH CATALOG, thus becoming an item in a rare category: famous serialized books post-1960. Once upon a time, when magazines bestrode the literary world, many famous books got their start as magazine serials. Nowadays, hardly ever. The most recent triumphant exception I can recall is Tom Wolfe's THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES in ROLLING STONE. Even Stephen King's famous attempt to serialize a novel over the internet failed miserably.
Although his GREEN MILE experiment worked considerably better.
The recent serialization of HAPPYLAND by J. Robert Lennon in HARPER'S garnered a little press.
I actually read this book a few years ago, but recall absolutely nothing about it now, thus engendering the maxim, "If you can remember reading a Sixties Novel, you never really read it!" Shortly after putting it down, however, in the midst of revising my own novel CIPHERS, I incorporated an allusion to DIVINE RIGHT'S TRIP therein, because the hero of DRT met a dragon (real? hallucinated? who knows now?), and CIPHERS needed dragon allusions.
And finally, I just now realized that I totally stole this cover image when I had my characters in "Master Blaster and Whammer Jammer Meet the Groove Thang" go into space in their van.
Posted by Paul DiFi.
Earlier this month I posted some photos from Bethany Beach, DE, where a beach replenishment project is underway. After bulldozing some sand around, and "scraping the berms," the project went on hiatus -- but now it's back, baby!
Here are the ships and anchored platforms that will peform the dredging (apologies for crapcam):
I'll try to get better pictures of these guys tomorrow. They're pretty cool and a lot bigger "in person" than they appear here. It actually looks as though Bethany Beach is about to be stormed from the sea -- who knew the terrorists had a gosh-darned navy?
Meanwhile, here are the pipes that will be run under the sand and the surf and the sea so that the fresh sand, and unnumbered residents thereof, dredged from the vasty deep, may be vomited up onto the beaches of Delaware. I think one of the Godzilla movies began this way . . .