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I might stay in school, or die in prison

Waking up in terrible pain from the twenty kilometre walk of the previous day, encompassing muscular, blister and sunburn pain, I spent the first hours of the day getting a free education from one of the hostel workers about how all good in the world came from Indian conquest of Europe (when, I’m not sure; he didn’t use the word ‘Sanskrit’ once), how the Out-of-Africa model of human expansion is an American lie, how the only good peoples of the world are those that don’t speak English very well, and how the English are the worst people on Earth. Apparently, the academic establishment for anthropology are morons, but they won’t be able to defeat the website he’s going to make with his facts, and facts other people will submit. As a bonus, he told me hated America, despite living there for ten years, and it’s a stupid country because David Letterman had the wild sex, but it wasn’t him who went to jail. I find it unfathomable that this untapped font of wisdom is stuck working in a hostel, and not making policy somewhere. Throw in a friendly yet gruff New Yorker who does no work, and an anxiety-ridden surfer who performs all the labour and shares a mutual hatred with the anthropologist late of Hindustan, and you get the quirky hostel that was home for 3 nights.

Anyhoo, I spent the rest of the day at Alcatraz. And, by the way, my main problem with that damned film was that the first time I saw it I couldn’t concentrate on the plot as I was so disturbed by the non-to-subtle foreshadowing screaming that Nicholas Cage had to stuff a hypodermic into his heart at some point. But, I digress. The ticket price includes ferries both ways; an introductory documentary and museum displays, which seem to linger too much on plants and the fekking birds the island is named after in Spanish; and the audio tour of the cell block, in which Prison Officer Pat Mahoney (I think) supersedes Roger Moore to become best audio tour narrator know to man (this man, that is). The cell block itself is actually much smaller than one might have thought, though simplicity was evidently its strength. The tour illuminates its history brilliantly. To round it out, the gift shop(s) had an array of actually interesting and nice merchandise, if somewhat impractical to transport. I procured the Alcatraz Women’s Association cook book (families of the prison staff lived on the island), and were I to have space I would have gotten an extract of the prisoners’ rules that sums up graduate study: “21. WORK. You are required to work at whatever you are told to do.”, and another to torment my future children with: “5. PRIVILEGES. You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.”

This lunar cycle

April 2015
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