Saturday, March 26, 2016

In the heat of the Gulf


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 with us,
                                            [as crew aboard
but generally everyone on the ship
                             [the stowaway abhorred.

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

In the fifties an air conditioner
                                                    [was very rare,
especially in the vessels, to fight the hot air
and in general the infernal conditions
which was 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 any more,
                                                 [as "general practitioner"...

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

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work
 // page c60// e-mail: //
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.


  the tales of a greek sailor  

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