Charly and the reptile kings of Galapagos, part three
As I already told, in the Santa Cruz market, Mr. Muscle, alias the mighty seal, does not rule alone. There is company. I am not speaking about people. They are an unavoidable bore. I know, that they are reflecting me like a multiple mirror, which deforms images and it is still very reliable. It tells that I am not better, and nothing else than one more pawn in the game. But if you come at the right time you may meet the real company… I am meaning the pelicans…these are splendid animals, they do not bark, but they cackle and gossip a lot. They are very social, even kind. They are also careful enough not to annoy the fish cleaners and patient to get a share. So we have here a kind of classic play situation: the fish cleaners, in a feminine role, they can bestow pleasure; the seal – the barking, up-standing, the body-builder don Juan; the pelicans – the chorus, me – the sensitive but not particularly intelligent public and the frigate bird who is a real villain and a hooligan. With big, slim body, fearless heart, sharply cut outline and tar coloured feathers, the frigate bird is a born outlaw. Any time, that a normal bird, stupid cormorant or clumsy blue-footed booby, or especially other frigate thief runs away with some food in his beak, just before to make it its own, and gulp it down already boy, a bigger frigate plunges like lightning and takes him the bread from the mouth, so to speak. It was heartbreaking. Bad temper big grizzly are doing the same in Alaska to the medium sized fellows by snatching them the salmon from the muzzle in the middle of the salivation course. Albatross, they were some, when seen on shore or on quay, walking melancholically seem to carry a certain amount of spleen. I do not know why but Baudelaire does.
Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.
À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux
However, I was there not only for fun, I had some business in mind. For some reasons that I forgot, the quantity of lobsters in the Galapagos waters grew exponentially. Even if the largest monsters were dispatched to the restaurants, one or two fishermen were offering in the market, for a decent price some vivant pieces running, so to say, from three to five pounds. I got into the mix and I indulged myself twice out of the four days presence on the island. Each time I was hitting other restaurant asking them for a personal treatment. I mind of the lobster not of me, so one was cocked and the other roasted on charcoals. The experience will remain for ever in my mind, as an ecstatic delicious enterprise mixed with fear and shame. The quality of the meat reached a poetical level but once the rich lore of the shell consumed I have to tackle the legs. Whatever the recipe was used they were spreading and spilling coloured, reddish orange juice around, even on me. This eruption was accompanied by the continuous growing of a sentiment of fear that instead to crack the legs I will break my own teeth. Neither one of the owners went out of his way to provide me with accurate tools enabling me to relate to the lobsters steely legs in an intelligible, proper manner. May them be punished in hell, the owners not the lobsters, to extract rusted iron nails from the oak keel of and ancient sailing ship. Once again I have to conclude that life is not as easy as it may appear at a first and hasty glance. More, it seems that to reach excellence one has to go through a kind of martyrdom. Think a little bit of the huge efforts the animal (lobster again) had to make to taste so good while being a close cousin of repellent spiders, centipedes and cockroaches.. Are you going to have a spider steak?
Often, after I was eating I began to have enough of thoroughly practising this capital sin, I mean gluttony and I like desperately to direct my mind to more elevate matters such as science etc. Let’s me give you a sample of this noble habit I have and of the train of my reflections. I know, that is genuine politically correct attitude, but I never pretended to be totally immune to the spirit of the time. So, the Scalesia (both tree and scrub) here at the left and and the finch, barely seen, low at the right, were Charly’s battle horses helping him to drug the theory of the evolution out of the mist into the focus of his mind. They spread on the islands in such a wide span of different species out of a probably single origin, that the English luminary was, so to say, forced to see the light.
Oh yes, these weird islands are massively covered by dense, variegated and surprisingly rich endemic vegetation (and fauna) without to have a drop of water in their ground. Divine miracle I will say, but let’s stay down to earth my very revered angel, and check some other astonishing things that are occurring there. So, powerful mangrove trees are making mighty incursions into the salted waters, develop buttress like roots and feel fine. Relaxed seals are graciously moving through this array of roots like well trained waiters into an overcrowded Parisian coffee shop. And the manzanillo tree that is growing little poisonous apples like those in a fairy tale which are killing everybody with the exception of the giant tortoises? I believe that this feeding habit of the armoured ones does not make them any smarter.
My favourite, head and shoulders upon rang and file, is the Palo Santo (Holy Wood) tree that I should have days to sing its praise. Used in religious rituals, shamanism and voodoo, it produce a fine oil, bleeds if cut, and more than anything else annihilates, when burned, “la mala energia” and also keeps away the vampire bat. A lot of things and I restrain myself. During the dry season the prodigy seems near to death, but when the first rains occur it springs back to life. Could I bring that sap to Europe where “ la mala energia” rages, what Europe? to the world, I should make millions, but unfortunately I am too busy.
To tell you that I loved the giant endemic cactus Opuntia echios the most tree-like of all the cactuses will be an understatement. It is called also the Galápagos prickly pear so richly provided is with needles of all size and diameter. The pear here is only a metaphor. His regular tenant is the large cactus finch of course, the star of the Darwin’s finches, Geospiza conirostris, which instead of paying rent takes care of the pollination. You see how the things are going, one hand washes another. Good business people! But more than size, needles and habit to grow on the naked rocks what thrilled me was the pattern on its trunk. A personal matter, as you will see further. It was a painter I forgot his name who invented the term of “Art Brut” thought to be independent of aesthetic laws (a large part of the contemporary art is), made by people who did not receive artistic training (there are so many who received wrong artistic training), partially or completely insane (that I will not comment) and using often recuperation materials, like Kurt Schwitters did some 50 years before. So what it is new and why the name of Art Brut? You can kill me, I don’t know why the term caught, and people are speaking of, collecting and exhibiting Art Brut till today. Also selling for good prices…There are also a couple of Museums, one at Lausanne….a decent, highly cultivated city, a prime choice for falling for this kind of snobbish, pseudo-intellectual,aesthetic racket…
Then, you can realize the extent of my amusement to find that the above mentioned painter, the mother and father of the Art Brut, slavishly and endlessly reproduced the trunk pattern of the Opunia cactus all through his infamous and expensive mass production. I believe that the Galapagos people should get some hefty royalties any time that such a “product” is publically commercialized.
*This post carries a load of contradictory information. It is nevertheless better than the today media delivery that spits in chorus the same biased brainwashing and that brands anyone against to be an enemy of the mankind. They are for plurality of cultures not plurality of opinions! Recently, people are compulsively compelled to watch their mouth, to use a precious and mild vocabulary and be impregnated with noble thoughts all through their organic activities of the day and night. But the mankind itself, descendent of the killer ape, the greatest predator ever, itself a disgrace in its vast majority dreaming to nothing else than to kill with impunity for a noble cause and gain Then there is no wonder than the only thing which remains to do is to hail and to adore, the Holly Lonely George who didn’t do any harm in all his life. Unfortunately, me too I am not faultless.. So after that I scolded him for his exaggerate abstinence, sex has it virtues too and it is relaxing sometimes, I made later a bigamous of him, to rash now to express my deep regrets., upon his untimely demise at the age of hundred young. Sofore, I feel pained to tell to all those who didn’t know that Lonely George, the last Pinta island huge tortoise, is no more with us. HE passed away probably (despite the villain rumours) still a virgin and forcefully, heirless Lonely George was a worldwide famous and precious ICON with an enormous pull. An army of geneticists are furiously toiling to built (read clone) a representative relative that may directly contribute to the increase of the average familial income of thousands of the brave islanders. Long live the social time….and the social networks that made us happy and less insignificants!