from the frontline

August 21, 2009

As I get older, and shed the sense of self-importance that is a part of youth, I realize that I’ve had a remarkable life. It wasn’t easy, or perfect, even though it took me a while to face those facts. And I tended to bitch about aspects of it for a while, until I realized that it was time to get over those parts of my life and move on.

All these experiences, good and bad, were the crucible that made me who I am, as an artist, and as a person.

Some memories that stand out, in no particular order:

A sunny morning in Morocco, the Beach Boys on the hi-fi, the smell of eggs cooking sunny side up. Tendrils of mint tea wafting in from outside with the breeze, as the front gate guards brewed a pot for themselves. Memories of a marketplace, me strapped to the back of our cook, smells of spices and baked goods, noise, the taste of hard candy in my mouth. The beach and huge waves, scraping tar off of our feet before getting in the car.

Vague memories of the Sahara desert when I was a little kid, my family with some friends packed into a VW bus, roaring along an empty road with a golden wall of sand bearing down on us, then finding shelter in a concrete bunker, me drinking Fanta, waiting for the sand storm to pass over us. Another one of an unsecured tent being blown down a gully we set up camp for the night. Eating lamb with Bedouins, the result of which gave me Typhoid fever. Hallucinatory images of an airfield as my parents rushed me to the nearest hospital, which was at a military base.

Seeing a thief get lynched in Lagos as I rode by on my Huffy BMX. Riding away very quickly. Waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke, looking out the window to see a house two doors down on fire, as the owner, a corrupt official, tried to get rid of incriminating evidence. The start of another military coup in Nigeria. Crossing through police checkpoints on my way to school on Victoria Island in Lagos. The nightly ritual of locking up the house… 2 padlocks on the front door, then 2 on the metal door that lead up to our bedrooms. A ten foot high wall with spikes, flood lights, and day and night guards at the front gate. Lagos was a violent place back then.

Staying at a hotel in Rwanda, and giving the front desk a tape with Bob Marley’s Exodus” and “Uprising” on it. Soon hearing that tape looping in the lobby, the hotel restaurant and on the in-room radios… pretty damn cool. The disturbing thought that some of the friends I made there could have been killed during the genocide.

Walking through a bazaar in Damascus, Syria, wearing a “No Nukes” tee shirt with the US and USSR flags in a yin/yang design. Ahh, my days as a righteous Deadhead.

Filed under: Life — Kiru @ 2:54 pm

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