Globetrotting with Push
With your host,
Raji "Push" Pushparajah
6/4/03 - Guantanamo Bay Sabbatical
My sojourn in the tranquil mountain passes of Central Asia has taken a
rather perplexing turn. The friendly olive faces I encountered in
Jalalabad seem like a vague dream now. I wish, dear reader, I could explain
better, but my memory is still a bit clouded from the hard rubber of many
boot-soles which met my temple in the past few days. Perhaps I should
describe my unusual present accommodations instead.
A 6-by-9 concrete slab provides some degree of personal space, I
will concede, but the chain-link fence and corrugated tin roof block
much of the tropical breezes and island scenery from full appreciation.
Fortunately, the burlap hood, which for so long precluded my usual
correspondence, has been removed, and I can describe the carefully
regimented, almost military order with which my hosts run their odd
Something not wholly unlike a continental breakfast is pushed through
the fence each morning promptly at 6 a.m. I am taken to a vigorous
calisthenics program every afternoon, where I must say, the masseuse
does overdo it a bit. The pounding and kicking on my back and limbs
often relieves not only the stress of the day, but a fair bit of feeling
in my extremities. This facility appears concerned as much with my
spirit as with my body, for each physical challenge is accompanied by a
lightning round of mental tests, which cover my knowledge of various
Arabian tribes and certain tenets of Islamic philosophy. This place makes me
feel like a schoolboy again!
on the island provided a thankful break from my exotic mosquito-stocked
cell, but still no phones or gift shop, apparently. However, the sunset is
comparable to the finest I've seen, and I can get a lovely eyeful nightly
from a small crack in the doorway, and my small tin cup of pisswater makes a
decent proxy for a tropical cocktail. One must make do with what one has,
don't you think?
Mohamoud, my 79-year-old cell neighbor has promised that he can carry
this dispatch with him in an often-overlooked body cavity, when he is
hopefully returned to his native Tora Bora after more than a year at
this curious resort. Perhaps he can also get a message of thanks to the
bearded man I was dining with in Kabul before this retreat ensued. I
never did get to thank him for his hospitality.