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Posts Tagged ‘St. John’


I am afraid that some day when my memory starts fading, I will lose some of the memories that fuel me in dark times. Since I’m blogging now plenty about my children, I’m not concerned with these memories (though those keepsake memory books are only collecting dust– somewhere). I am concerned with the memories of those days pre-marriage and certainly pre-children. Remember? When life was so free that you could pack up your back pack and get on a bus to wherever whenever and not really care? So here is my first memory post, probably one of many as I get older and my memory fails me more and more.

I lived in Saint John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for three summers. The summer between my junior and senior year in high school was my first and I was only there because my parents had just divorced and my mom was a lunatic looking for escape. “WHERE are we going? What about my volleyball camp?” I remeber complaining. Ahh, but did my tune change over the following two months. ANYWAY, this particular memory in not about my first trip with Mom, but with my second trip with my college friends during the summer of ’90. (Remember 1990? I don’t- remind me.)

One of my good friends, Robby, lived on his boat, a catamaran, and one evening a bunch of us decided to take the boat to Tortola (British V.I.) for the Full Moon Party at the Bamba Shack. (This is all for real, I promise.) The ride over was breathtaking, with the sun setting on one side of us and the moon rising on the other side, the sails tight, and rum punch in our hands. When we got close to Tortola, we didn’t want to deal with taking the boat through customs (e.i. paying folks off), so we anchored out about 100 yards, stripped off our only clothes we had with us, put them on top of our heads, and swam in with one arm.

The moon was up and full and glorious by now. We were wet, rumed up and ready to party. And party we did, feet in the sand and music all around. (There is nothing but the Bamba Shack on this island, that I could see, though the people must live somewhere.) At midnight, the famous mushroom tea was served. I had never taken mushrooms, and was scared and excited. But one sip of cow-dung raised mushrooms steeped in water was enough for me. After making a dramatic display of disgust, several friends came to the rescue and finished off my tea for me. Not wanting me to miss the fun, however, one friend brought me a shot of Bamba’s homemade rum (shot=12 oz. plastic cup). Well, being the sport I was, I downed the rum, and felt chunks of something slide down my throat. Hmmm….

About 45 minutes later, I was laughing so hard I was crying, while drawing designs in the sand. The thing about mushrooms is that it takes a while to kick in, then you laugh until you throw up, and then the real craziness sets in. It must have been about 3 in the morning when we realized we had to get back to our boat. Out there. We were all tripping on shrooms and not one of us could help the other in any meaningful way. We all stood at on the sand, with the waves lapping over our feet watching the boat and thinking about what that meant to us, when some random fellow, also tripping out of his mid, saw us all staring at the boat. “Watch out for the eels,” is what his guy said. “They are attracted to the lights, so they are in close now,” he continued. “They lay on top on the water, so just swim around them.”

Okay, so swim around eels that you can’t see, but are sure to FEEL. I don’t think I need to go into details of that long swim out to the boat with everyone yelling at each other “it’s got me!” “oh my god, what was THAT?” “Hurry the fuck up!” “Where’s the fucking boat? I can’t see anything. What was THAT?”

When we finally reached the boat, our bodies still full on toxins, our minds were just completely overtaxed. We all passed out under the stars and woke up with the sun, looking suspiciously for the eels that we managed to successfully swim around without being attacked.

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