Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Apart and a part...

Most of the cruisers here in the Marina are preparing to leave for their summer cruises, except the ones with varying degrees of mechanical problems! Or like us waiting for documents ... ah me, patience really is a virtue.

By the end of this week the core of our friends will have left, we will miss them. It's a strange experience spending so much time in one place, living cheek by jowl with a group of people that you have never met before, that come from so many different backgrounds and cultures.

Cruisers come and cruisers go, some I am sad to see leave and others I am glad the moment they let go the lines and leave the dock. And the, thankfully rare, few that I will actively avoid EVER being in the same place as them EVER again.

Okay its politically incorrect to say these things, but I cannot bear hypocrisy. This fake bonhomie and friendship makes me sick! I suppose that the small enclosed environment of a marina is like a tiny rural village. Each place develops its own hierarchy and character. We are not so far removed from the wild as we would like to think. The pecking order of a flock of hens, the leader of the pride of lions an awful lot of human behaviour can be identified in those situations.

I am not a psychologist, nor a social scientist but isn't it fascinating watching the characters of fellow human beings unfold as you observe them at close quarters? The leader, the underdog, the carer, the needy , the outcast and so forth. Sailing seems to attract more than its fair share of what can only be termed 'personalities', makes for interesting group dynamics.

We are all marginal people, living on the edge of the land, in some ways a part of the countries we visit and yet in other ways very much apart from them. There is power in this marginality, in the privileged perspective you gain, and there's often a strong temptation to get drawn into the country you visit.

We would have liked to buy a shack on the edge of the River Guardiana in Portugal. In many ways we envy those cruisers who have taken root in Panama, and of course there are lots of predominantly male cruisers who've 'gone jungly' on the Rio. Not unrelated to the presence of the 'chicas caliente'!

Today is Super Tuesday when the Clinton v Obama race for presidential nomination comes to a head in the US and many of the Americans here are shaking their heads as they watch the story unfold on TV , saying "I am glad I am no longer there."

We have been feeling the same as we read the stories about the Conservative politician, Derek Conway, in the UK who has been discovered paying his son and assorted friends through his expense account.

We never really leave behind what we leave behind, we carry it with us in a different form. Like it or not we all exist in some kind of cultural bubble.

It's this tension between being a part and apart that contributes to the thrill of cruising, the excitement of setting sail and the anticipation of a new landfall.

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