Or “I believe!”
I’m not a spiritual person, nor am I a great believer in what Hollywood likes to make of ‘fate’ but there are some things that even I must admit, are curiously coincidental to a point where coincidence just doesn’t cut it anymore. To what do I refer you might ask? Well, to the thrice shaved beard of course, and the curse that is connected to it!
It began many months ago in a small island with the name of Isla Mujeres. Ronni and I had just spent a very interesting month on the island, learning Spanish, driving golf carts, viewing some of the most spectacular sunsets on the globe and overall quite content with our time out from travelling. We had a pool, we had a comfy room and we had multiple adventures ahead of us, with Machu Pichu and Easter Islands to name a few. So what could go wrong? Well, we thought nothing, until a certain Hurricane Ernesto made its way to dear old Mehico just when we were getting ready for departure. But only 24 hours before our departure from paradise it was projected that the hurricane would venture south and make landfall about 300km away from us, so far enough for us to relax and enjoy one last fresh caught fish before heading off to Peru. Unknowingly it was the exact time the curse started to make its first appearance. Unknowing of the repercussions I went to shave, the bear-like appearance that had made me a gringo icon on the island needing to go, in order for Ronni to make it easier to find the right target when she wanted to kiss me :-)
Minutes after I left the shower, my bearded friend shoved down the drain, we got a phone call from Juan, the owner of the small place we stayed at. The content of the phone call was simple; get dressed pronto and get your asses on the ferry even pronto’er ‘cuz the last ferry for the next two days was going to leave in 25 minutes. Seemed like Hurricane Ernesto had shifted its course dramatically and would now make landfall only 100km south of us, leaving us literally, with our pants down. Near it in order for the ferries to cease their schedule and wait out the storm.
I wasn’t even thinking about the connection between the shave and the change of luck, I was too busy zipping my pants and trying to fit all of my stuff into the backpack before we got stuck on the island and miss our flight the next day. I wasn’t thinking about it as we ran down the streets to the port, the rain already pouring and the wind hurling itself against us. And I sure as hell wasn’t thinking about it as we just caught the ferry in the last minute and were trying not to hurl as we made for our 30 minute ride back to Cancun in what felt like a very torturous rollercoaster...
We did make our flight and we did make it to Peru and with time, as we all know, we forget things. And so it was that although I had grown fond of my beard and had many adventures with it in Peru, Easter Island and Northern Chile, the time came around when we were in Santiago, that Ronni asked the deadly question; “You gonna shave before we leave to the south?”
Instinct should have screamed a ferocious “No!!!!” not just because of the past occurrence, but because the beard would serve as another layer of fur when we hit the big P, Patagonia. I mean, who in their right mind would take off fur, fur that can protect you from snow and wind, before heading to the coldest parts of the world?? Well, meet that dumbass...it’s me!
I had to tempt fate, albeit unknowingly as the Mexico fiasco was already buried underneath the thrill of the last two months of travels. Off with the beard I sung all the way to our next misfortune. It took a bit longer this time, a whole 24 hours before the curse of the beard struck again.
We had just arrived in the sleepy volcano town of Pucon, a place that was known for its adventurous rafting and breath taking surroundings. After 9 hours in a minivan we had only one thing on our minds – where’s the toilet and where’s the chow? Unaware that the sharp teeth of the curse were only minutes away we enjoyed the BBQ and the friendly people we had just met. The beard had been shoved down the drain once more though, and The Beard taketh what is rightfully his. So it was in these dark hours of the day, the sun already on its way to the Northern Hemisphere that thieves broke into our room and stole our belongings. Gone was the laptop, gone was the camera, gone was phone, the money-belt, the credit cards and gone were all of Ronni’s clothes!!
The rest is history as you know, some of it was found, some of it was lost and we found ourselves suddenly stranded once more, this time in the small town of Puerto Varas, licking our wounds and finally picking up on the curse. Questions like “Didn’t I...?” or “Can it be...?” suddenly appeared in my weary mind and finally I made the connection and when I did, I felt myself lost for words. I mean, how could it be? How could something like shaving have such dire consequences?? But as you all know, in matters of love and fate, it is better not to ask questions and just accept the fact that the universe is bigger than us, and that supernatural things are part of our life, even when we chose not to recognize them for what they are. The three weeks in Puerto Varas did, however, peel open my eye lids and I swore that this ill-fortune would never happen to us again. The Beard had spoken its final word and with it, the shaving kit was pushed to the bottom of the bag and forgotten about.
It was this act that probably saved the Navimag ferry not to sink whilst we were in a gusty storm on the Pacific, turning back towards the Patagonian channels, it was The Beard that ensured we made our flight back to Santiago even though the ferry couldn’t dock in Puerto Natales and we were afraid of missing our flight to New Zealand (yet, miraculously there were 2 last seats on the 6 a.m. bus from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas and from there to our flight to Auckland!). And it was The Beard that gave us the strength to continue our trip after that dreadful theft and the wreckage it left for us to pick up. This new resolve to continue no matter what the obstacle was (I truly believe) of the Beard’s making. It was after all, The Beard that saved us from getting squashed by hundreds of thousands of Chinese on New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong.
So why I ask you, why did I have to tempt fate once more? Why play with fire when you have been already burnt twice? It might be my unspiritual mind, or maybe the itching was just too much to bear, or it was the astonished stares of the Taiwanese locals who couldn’t grasp what animal had crept onto my face and died, as they touched they’re smooth, childlike cheeks that had never felt the onset of a stubble, even at puberty. Maybe it was none of the above, but here I was, taking off the beard once more. An hour of hard work, two blades and a clogged drain later, and I had claimed my face back! Ronni touched it like others touched the statue of Jesus, unsure of how to proceed. It was like meeting an old friend (albeit a friend who had not seen the sun for a very long time and was very...white!). Laughing we shook off any notion of the curse. I mean, who believes in this old wife’s tales anyhow? Not me, I say!
What can I tell you folks? The curse has struck again and this time it went for what I cherished most...Ronni! We had enjoyed a stroll through the Chinese New Year’s markets of Taipei, tasting the various freebies that were thrown around, even had some delicious Pear Wine (??), munched on some undefined cookies, had some spicy (like the devil’s fart!) soup, and gulped down meat-buns that just flavour-exploded in our mouths, delicious. I had safely put away all the credit cards, had hidden our passports and only had minimal amounts of cash on me. I mean, I know I said that I didn’t believe in the curse, but why tempt fate??
Well fellas, right now Ronni is sleeping off a very rough night. And no, there was no alcohol, there was what we believe food poisoning. All of that delicious food we had...out into the toilet. 24 hours later and all she can keep is water and a small bite of banana, and it seems that tomorrow we will continue to stay in-house. Yesterday evening I found myself wandering the streets of Taipei at 11 p.m., trying to find an open drugstore to get something, anything, that would help Ronni. Although after much theatrical acting on my side to the pharmacist (yep, he had no English whatsoever!) we found something that seemed to fit the profile, it was too little too late.
A sleepless night and not much better day later I am still smacking myself physically and metaphorically for taking off The Beard and with it, unleashing the curse. I am now a firm believer of the Power of The Beard and nothing, and I mean nothing, can make me shave it before we are back home, I got a job, Ronni has checked off all her plans and we are safely back on home territory.
And even then I’d prefer not to get in any cars for a couple of days...just to be sure!
One can never be too sure where The Beard might strike next....