Thursday, January 10, 2008

Been there, done that!

It’s funny how you are prepared to do crazy things to prove that you’ve done something, or at least joke about it. My friend Salsa King is a good example, although I never really confronted him with the story I have many individual sources confirming this. Salsa King studied at a university in South Africa. It’s obviously an exciting thing for a Scandinavian (I can confirm that) to come here for the first time and experience everything about this lovely country. He must have been very chuffed and eager to brag about it to all his friends back home… but how to spice up the story and give it some oomph - that was of course the question. I’m sure he had lots of stories to tell that could help – it was just never enough. What is truly an African thing he must have thought?! Malaria had a far less negative connotation than say AIDS… and sailed up as clear evidence and a great story enhancer. Malaria would more than justify all the possible sufferings and make him the coolest guy back home. Salsa King never went the whole way as far as I know, not even a mosquito bite to show for. Naturally his Africa encounters never hit the big headlines… only the nearest family and friends knows about his Africa stories and Malaria flirtations…

Likewise I had similar thoughts on my Madagascar trip recently. I caught a sailfish and had the fishing experience of my life there. Even as I was struggling to get the fish up from the water, I was already thinking about how I could inflate this story and brag about it. Not inflate if like a puffer and out of proportions size wise, but still make it an impressive and memorable story. Lots and lots of pictures were taken so the evidence was there. It was not enough though! Pictures eventually fade, and the colors look dull and old after some time and hunting/fishing trophies shrink to mice and sardines. I would not let that happen to my sailfish, so what else?!

When the fish was landed, I tried to carry it to the front deck in my arms like a baby, but soon learnt a painful lesson. The skin is like sandpaper! I got terrible burns on my tummy, upper and under arms… that eventually developed to open wounds and scab. That’s when one of my dear travel companions gave me the brilliant idea that I could keep rubbing and digging the wound to secure an impressive scar. I could show off for years to come, and the scar alone would make a far better story than I could ever make. The brave fisherman couldn’t stand the digging though… so the wounds soon faded and disappeared! Well, two months later, I have still got a dark shaded “sailfish mark” on my arm. I might have something to show for after all!!