Saturday, October 15, 2016

Αt the time of the Great Depression


                                      
His favorite charities dealt with Greek war orphans of
the Second World War.                                                  
He was honored by both U.S.President Richard Nixon
and King Paul of Greece for his various philanthropic
efforts outside the ring.
                                                


Our ship was docked in Scarborough, Tobago.

"My Dear Son, you wrote to me that you will go to San Diego.
Do not neglect to visit your uncle John who lives nearby
and tell him that I hope to see him before I die...''

This was written in the letter that I received from my mother
in which she was referring to her expatriate younger brother.....







San Diego, California

           [is known for it's natural deep-water harbor...

Thirty miles northeast is Escondido where John lives, he is a barber....

Uncle John greeted me with great emotion
and told me that when he saw me, as if in slow motion,
his life flashed before his eyes......

Later, he took me on a tour of the city, ending with a surprise
He showed me a statue saying he is "The Golden Greek"....

It was Jim Londos, and if he were alive today and could speak,
he would tell you at the time of the Great Depression
his wrestling was able to boost the morale of our nation.
___________________________________________



*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work //
page c63// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

_______________________________________________________________



The New Yorker - Jim Londos a Greek professional wrestler who was one of the most popular stars who performed on the professional wrestling circuit during the Great Depression.



* Jim Londos was born Christos Theofilou in 1897 in Argos, Greece. As the youngest of thirteen children. At age thirteen he ran away from home and eventually ended up emigrating to the United States.
Working whenever he could, Theofilou took several odd jobs including cabin boy, construction jobs and posing nude for figure drawing classes.Theofilou landed a job as a catcher in a carnival acrobatic act. It was during this period that he was exposed to professional wrestling and began training.
Londos' first matches would be as "The Wrestling Plasterer" Christopher Theophelus, a gimmick that saw him coming to the ring in overalls. After a number of years he dropped this in favour of wrestling under the name Jim Londos and being a no nonsense wrestler.
To compensate for his lack of wrestling ability, Londos was well known for his good looks and his well muscled physique. He capitalized on this by having himself matched up against the ugliest opponents he could find.This promotional tactic worked very well and Londos became one of the most popular wrestlers in the 1930s and early 40's.
Considered to be a national hero in Greece, Londos once drew a crowd estimated to be made of nearly 100,000 fans to see one of his matches when he traveled there.




Londos retired in 1953 and would spend the remainder of his life working for charitable organizations. His favorite charities dealt with Greek war orphans of the Second World War. He was honored by both U.S. President Richard Nixon and King Paul of Greece for his various philanthropic efforts outside the ring.
Londos died of a heart attack August 19, 1975 and is buried at Oak Hill Memorial Park in Escondido, California.


* photo: Scarborough, Tobago, part of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago




  the tales of a greek sailor  

Monday, July 4, 2016

On Dangerous Ground



For most of us, lighthouses are synonymous with trips to the shore. But for
 seafarers, lighthouses have represented a vital symbol of safe passage for   
centuries. In fact, they go back to 280 BC, when the famed Lighthouse of   
Alexandria was built — though lighthouses of the ancient world looked      
 more like battlements than the candy-striped variety we know today.            
          

           Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

When I was at school
and of course, because of my age, a fool,
I hated my classes, especially geography
which however life taught to me forcibly...
                                              (clear in my biography).

How can someone forget points on Earth
where he risked his life and cursed the day of his birth?

       The first unforgettable lesson I took in North Carolina,
       in Cape Hatteras, on board our overloaded boat coming from China.
       The waves formed small hills,
       and we were saved thanks to our skippers skills.

       In Cape Leeuwin, South Australia, we had the same thrills...
       A dangerous profession, a profession that kills ...

       I learned the Strait of Magellan
       where the flames of hell marked me as a felon, 
       that same night I had a bad dream, a nightmare, 
       as we passed Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, close to nowhere.        *Fire Land

       Indeed this edge of the world seems to be burned to a passerby.

       In many parts of the world I said to my life... goodbye,
       like the fire on the ship in the Ivory Coast... 

       The ship's name was "North Star" for our company, a ship boast.....
       In South China Sea the colossal waves smashed hatch covers
       "The vessel's buoyancy would not recover"
       our captain screamed in horror, watching the inflow of seawater,
       we needed a miracle for him to see his family and daughter....

Life placed me with the losers, and not with the winners.
In Dante's Inferno I found myself with sinners ....
_______________________________________________


*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work //
page c62// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

_______________________________________________________________
                             



Cape Hatteras lighthouse, the most recognised US coastal symbol, stands proudly on the Outer Banks of North Carolina — despite being battered by numerous hurricanes. More than a million bricks were used to build it, and it’s still the tallest lighthouse in America.




Cape Leeuwin is the most south-westerly mainland point of the Australian Continent, 
in the state of Western Australia.




The Cape is considered the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean
however most other nations and bodies consider the Southern Ocean to only exist south of 60°S.




Tierra del Fuego (/tiːˈɛərə dɛl ˈfweɪɡoʊ/, Spanish: [ˈtjera ðel ˈfweɣo]; Spanish for "Fire Land") is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of the main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, with an area of 48,100 km2 (18,572 sq mi), and a group of many islands, including Cape Horn and Diego Ramírez Islands. 

Tierra del Fuego is divided between Chile and Argentina, with the latter controlling the eastern half of the main island and the former the western half plus the islands south of Beagle Channel.

The first Europeans came upon it in Ferdinand Magellan's expedition of 1520. No Europeans settled there until the second half of the 19th century, at the height of the sheep farming and gold rush booms. Today, petroleum extraction dominates economic activity in the north of Tierra del Fuego, while tourism, manufacturing, and Antarctic logistics are important in the south.





Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire  officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (French: République de Côte d'Ivoire), is a country in West Africa. Ivory Coast's de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and its biggest city is the port of Abidjan.




"Dante's Inferno"  Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul toward God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.



  the tales of a greek sailor  


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Many people owe their lives to this system.....



The airwaves were for the sailors their only connection with life,
with family, with their beloved...and now a decision cut like a knife,
this perennial bond and romance of a world that is leaving..

The crew were in grieving...
to them it was a plan case of thieving. 
Suddenly and completely unexpectedly, 
you might say quite aggressively,
the wireless radio* on our ship went silent forever. 

The order was explicit.... 
            [it would not returned to operation ever.

The international agreement,
                      {in the future, ships will communicate
in another way and somehow decided to excommunicate
"radiotelegraphy", with all the emotional load that exists around it. 
Seafarers and wireless for 100 years were tightly knit.

In the next port, our farewell to the Sparks*,                           *wireless operator
at the same time farewell to the post office,
                      romanticism and communism.... poor Marx...


In the strange new world of quanta and cyberspace,
unfortunately for us, the romantics, there is no place,
and the solution is, together with our memories to flee...
So let's wander with some flying Dutchman* in the boundless sea....




_______________________________________________

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work //
page c61// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

_______________________________________________________________


* Wireless radio, Wireless telegraphy is the transmission of electric telegraphy signals without wires (wirelessly). It is now used as a historical term for early radio telegraphy systems which communicated with radio waves, although when the term originated in the late 1800s it was also used for a variety of other experimental techniques for communicating telegraphically without wires, such as photoelectric and induction telegraphy.
Wireless telegraphy came to mean Morse code transmitted by radio waves (electromagnetic waves), initially called "Hertzian waves" and by 1910 universally referred to as "radio", and the term has been largely replaced by the more modern term "radiotelegraphy".
Two United Nations-chartered organizations, the International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunications Union, are responsible for defining and regulating maritime telecommunications systems. The most current system adopted by these two organizations is the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, or GMDSS. Morse wireless telegraphy, used by ships for distress and safety communications since the beginning of the century, was discontinued by the USCG in 1995, and ceased worldwide on February 1, 1999. Many people owe their lives to this system.


* The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. The myth is likely to have originated from 17th-century nautical folklore. The oldest extant version dates to the late 18th century. Sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries reported the ship to be glowing with ghostly light. If hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman will try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom.



  the tales of a greek sailor  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In the heat of the Gulf





         Stowaway

The self serving captain said winking,
you're a tireless hard worker and I am thinking
although you are a foreign illegal stowaway,
we'll integrate you with the crew...
Would that be okay?

Τhe stowaway was named Espinoza Medina and 
                                           [boarded in Ceuta,North Africa,
with a dream that ended by making it to the coveted America...

He started working as crew aboard
but generally everyone else on the ship the stowaway abhorred.

Nobody wanted him as a friend....
Always alone, after work he was constantly trying to mend
an old abandoned, neglected, personal portable air conditioner ....
For this they called him jokingly "general practitioner".

In the fifties an air conditioner was very rare
in the vessels, to fight the hot air
and in general the infernal conditions
which was normal for the Persian Gulf's characteristics and preconditions.

Our ship had arrived from Walvis Bay, Namibia
to load crude oil at Ras Tanoura, Saudi Arabia.
The very high temperature in the metal cabins, decks and alleyways
forced some to sleep at night on the quays, on a raised dais.....

But in the morning shortly after sunrise
on the glowing deck you could bake pies.
Literally there was no place to hide,
either inside the vessel or outside...

And then... all sought friendship with the strange stowaway...
everyone was saying, ''Espinoza is good'', ''Espinoza is okay''.
No mystery....
In Espinoza's room it was running, the repaired air conditioner.
Nobody now called him the "general practitioner"...

For two days and nights twenty five people slept there sequentially.
Patients and somewhat older preferentially...
______________




*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work
 // page c60// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

_____________________________________________________


*Ras Tanura. (more accurately Ra's Tannūrah, Arabic: رأس تنورة meaning "cape oven, cape brazier" presumably due to the unusual heat prevalent at the cape that projects into the sea) is a city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia located on a peninsula extending into the Persian Gulf. The name Ras Tanura applies both to a gated Saudi Aramco employee compound (also referred to as "Najmah") and to an industrial area further out on the peninsula that serves as a major oil port and oil operations center for Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. Today, the compound has about 3,200 residents, with a few Americans and British expats.

Geographically, the Ras Tanura complex is located a distance south of the modern industrial port city of Jubail (formerly a sleepy fishing village) and north across Tarut Bay from the old port city of (Al-)Dammam. Although Ras Tanura's port area is located on a small peninsula, due to modern oil tankers' need for deeper water, Saudi Aramco has built numerous artificial islands for easier docking. In addition, offshore oil rigs and production facilities have been constructed in the waters nearby, mostly by Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, and Halliburton.

Najmah compound (Aramco code: RT) is one of four residential compounds built by ARAMCO in the 1940s and the only one located on the coast of the Persian Gulf itself. Ras Tanura refinery is surrounded by a heavily guarded security fence, and Saudi employees and their dependents may live inside the Najmah residential compound which is less heavily guarded. Built originally to allow expatriate oil company employees (mainly Americans) a degree of Western comfort and separation from the restrictions of Saudi and Islamic laws, the community today has shifted somewhat in line with the reduction of western residents into a multi-ethnic mosaic of Saudis, other Arab nationalities (e.g. Egyptian and Jordanian), Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis, and a few Americans and British expats - all of whom live with English as the common language.




The Royal Walls of Ceuta and navigable moats
* Ceuta, (/ˈseɪʊtə/,[2] SAY-UU-tə, or /ˈsjuːtə/, SEW-tə; Spanish: [ˈθeuta])[a] is an 18.5-square-kilometre (7.1 sq mi) Spanish city located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a western border with Morocco. 
Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. 
Ceuta, along with the Spanish exclave Melilla, is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish territories in mainland Africa. 
It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.

Ceuta, like Melilla, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union.[citation needed] As of 2011, it has a population of 82,376. 
Its population consists of Christians, Muslims (chiefly Arabic and Berber speakers), and small minorities of Jews and Indian Hindus. 
Spanish is the official language. The majority of the city's population are ethnic Spanish who are opposed to the idea of being ruled by Morocco.
_____________________________________________________

seafarers




  the tales of a greek sailor  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Eighteeners in chains




The ship sailed, it took only a few hours
to figure out that skipper was a mad man with... 
                                     [unreasonable legal powers....
                                 _____________

A “cold” lay-up means shutting down the ship completely.
Hundreds of such ships were laid up in rows, neatly
at safe places waiting for new employment.
For those who dreamed of becoming sailors, 
                                         [nothing but disappointment.



Four of us, we must have been the biggest sinners,
graduates of the Maritime College, none of us winners,
immediately after being awarded our degrees,
we signed on, as deck boys on the tanker "Ocean Breeze".



It was July sixteen, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight,
for my life perhaps the most unlucky and most important date ...
Seafarers unemployment was higher than ever
so to get this job we used every endeavor

As I said earlier, we sailed and it only took a few hours
to figure out that skipper was a mad man with unreasonable legal powers....

The captain who caused the "Mutiny on the Bounty" some time ago,
the tough Captain Blythe, was an angel compared to ours Captain Joe....

All four of us lived through dramatic situations
Exploitation and many privations....
Because of our humiliating salary, there was no money for a return ticket.
Our families never learned about all this, we kept it secret.

The only way out was the job search in any port,
in any foreign country, we risked being judged in Court.

                    ____________________


We four were dispersed to the four corners of the earth
John in Rio de Janeiro, Nick at Bilbao and Mike in Perth.

The last of the group, myself, in New York City
undocumented we were, with lead my parents to say "what a pity".
                     ____________________


I never learned what fate became of my friends,
although many years have passed, several tens.



The last time I remember the four of us laughing carefree,
was the day of the award of our degree.








*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work
 // page c59// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

______________________________________________________________



*Cold laying up    means that the ship is taken out of service due to lack of employment and is moored or anchored at a safe place waiting for new employment.
Shutting down the ship almost completely for an extended period, this leads to greater cost savings, but the ship will probably need dry-docking before coming back into service.

*Vessels laid up" multiple vessels are laid up together, either. alongside or in anchored or moored groups or 'rafts', they should be of a similar size.

___________________________


*Rio de Janeiro is the second-largest city in Brazil, the sixth-largest city in the Americas, and the world's thirty-fifth-largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, the second most populous metropolitan area in Brazil, the sixth-most populous in the Americas, and the eighteenth-largest in the world. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape.
Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. Later, in 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire. In 1808, when the Portuguese Royal Court transferred itself from Portugal to Brazil.


* Bilbao is a municipality and city in Spain, the capital of the province of Biscay in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. It is the largest municipality of the Basque Country and the tenth largest in Spain, with a population of 353,187 in 2010. The Bilbao metropolitan area has roughly 1 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in northern Spain; with a population of 875,552 the comarca of Greater Bilbao is the fifth-largest urban area in Spain.



*Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 2.02 million. 




*New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the State of New York, of which it is a part – is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area, the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.
Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 8,491,079 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 




  the tales of a greek sailor  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Her eyes were filled with tears

                      



A gentle soul

   As our boat departed, after many days of repairs,
    Penya's eyes were filled with tears...

    Three weeks before, the tanker "Lady Cleo"
    crashed into our ship, fifty miles outside of Rio.

    Two large tugboats towed us to the pier
    and the fact that our ship needed major repairs, it was clear..

    An extended stay in Rio de Janeiro, a real gift.

    A crowd of girls who looked like population shift,
    swarmed the boat from the stern to the bow.
    It was incredible, the sailors were constantly saying, "wow".
    A crowd of very poor girls from the favelas most,
    ready to sell their love, of which no one would boast.
                       _______________

What first caught my attention was her voice.
and this was the main reason for my choice,
It was Penya, not a girl from Ipanema, 
                                                  [but from the favelas....
A royal beauty she was, but of the shack dwellers, 
                                                           [not the palace.
A prostitute with extremely gentle soul....



For twenty days we did not part, 
                                     [whole days and nights, yes whole.

I asked for a five-day leave, and we left together on a tour.
The modernist architecture of Brasilia, the capital, was a lure.
We traveled one thousand five hundred miles, 
                                                                 [coming and going,
straight line distance, 1200 miles, if we had been on a Boing.

                     __________________

     On the day on which the ship was leaving
     I gave her a huge amount believing
     that this was what she wanted from me more.
                 
     "When I heard "anchor aweigh" and the "engines full ahead",
     jaded I returned to my cabin to sleep in my bed.

     The golden chain from her neck was in the same drawer
     with all the money that I gave to her shortly before...



* A gentle soul..... What comes to mind when I think of a gentle soul is someone who has no malice, wishes no ill-will on anyone, who is respectful and mindful of other people's feelings and is sensitive to the needs of others.

____________________________________________________



*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // page c 58// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//

______________________________________________________________








  the tales of a greek sailor  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Love Scenes from the movies



''Is it sinful if I go to a whore house ?''
I asked the boatswain with the nickname "Mouse",
I had reached the age of seventeen
and I guess you understand what Ι mean...

You know.......
when I was in my home town,
often in my walks around
when I happened to walk by such a house, 
I was upset, nervous''.....
                ''I will take care of this...'' replied Μouse...


Maracaibo, Venezuela was the next port..

On that same night, the boatswain and I 
                                 [went to the place, "sell short"..

This was an enormous room open on the side.
Dozens of women, blue-eyed, brown eyed and black-eyed
were defiantly calling to sailors... 
                                                 [to offer sexual intercourse...
Inevitably, one of them led me to a room of course......

The only erotic experience I had was from film scenes
where they always have sex wearing trousers or jeans.
                   

So I really was surprised when a girl asked me

to take off my trousers...
                        and of course I said "I don't agree !".

_____________________________________________

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work // page c57// e-mail: pmataragas@yahoo.com //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//
______________________________________________________________




  the tales of a greek sailor