Archive for October, 2007

Paintings for sale

Posted in art, love, Nias, painting, painters, surfing artist, underground, Indone, short story, surfing, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 27, 2007 by pgoodrich13

“Old Boy”

original oil painting on wood
September 2007
Nias Island Indonesa
24″x32″ $2000
contact (858)652.9065

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Philosophy of Nias Tube Riding

Posted in Nias, painting, painters, surfing artist, underground, Indone, phil goodrich, surfing, tube, Uncategorized on October 27, 2007 by pgoodrich13

this is me surfing…

Durian Point

Posted in art, love, Nias, short story, surfing, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 27, 2007 by pgoodrich13

Like the daily clockwork thunderstorms of Sumatra, my reoccuring memory becomes a downpour of nostalgia about the first day I layed eyes on the wave.  At that time, My heart was torn between the possibilities of new adventure, and  an intense love I had built at home. The chief of the village  took me to the tomb of the Queen of Nias Island.  High on a hill above the coconut palms, was a fantastic monument with finely carved dragons writhing around its pillars. From the balcony of the tomb, I saw the wave wrapping into a small bay. I asked the chief about it, and he explained that it is called Durian point. Durian being the king of all fruit, when it ripens, emits an odor so pungent, that it attracts the ghosts of blues singers from the exact opposite side of the globe—deep in the Southern Delta.  By the time it reaches the Deep South, the smell is just faint enough to be sweet, some people even describe it as sexual.  The lonely  ghosts of Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Blind Willie Mctell, lightning Hopkins, and Lead Belly have all made the ghost pilgrimage to the tiny village called Hillisataru. Home of a wave shrouded in mystery and tragedy—obscure and mythical as the ghosts that wander through the village  drawn to the smell of their last sexual encounters on earth.
     At sunset, I  walked through the village in order to find a papaya stem (makes a great pipe), and a better view of the wave.
An old man sputterd something to me in Nias language.
I asked the boy who was following me what he said.
“He says that you wear your pants too low.” said the boy.
At that moment, a faint voice drifted into our midst
among the sound of goats bleating and pounding surf. Music in a language that I recognized that carried the same loneliness that I felt. I took a hit from my papaya pipe and closed my eyes to follow the sound to the front of a tiny bungalow that looked like all the others along the road except for the enormous pile of durian skin which is spiked and ominous like a medieval torture device.
Bukka White paused in the middle of singing when he heard me pass
through the door. vHe shot me a look and
then continued his song that was a warning not to give
your woman everything she wants at one time or else she
will leave. Materialistic jealousy, envy, and drunkenness were things
his song warned against . True Bluesmen were not concerned with money. It was the love for the music and traveling that completed their souls. Getting paid just enough to “go big” for one night and then move on to the next town was their goal.
His scratchy voice vibrated off my skin, and I got
goosebumps because I became so sure that the wave I was
chasing, and the  paintings I recently finished  were exactly what I
had wanted to accomplish.  It was my song and the lyrics spoke
of what I was willing to cast aside to arrive at this moment.
Jobs, health, girlfriends, loved ones, and cars were like a giant barrell
 that I had to pass through, driving  like hell and not looking
back.  Few people really care about some lethal wave on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. They may seem amused at the time of the story, but will never fully understand how riding a wave  can effect your life. It would be like hearing Bukka’s song, but later not being able to even hum the melody. It was like meeting the absolute girl of your dreams and then losing her phone number before you had a chance to call her. That is how my heart feels when I describe my travel experience to people and then see the blank stare like a mirror held up in my face.

The presence of Bukka White faded with the ending of his
song, and as I scanned the room I noticed a window and
the proximity of the ocean. A wave peaked quickly and
snapped out of view from the window which snatched my
attention. I rushed forward to watch the progress and
my heart started to pulse as I realized that in this
tiny cove was a playground of a wave that zipped along
gaining speed as it warped and peeled through 3
different shaped sections and squaring off at the end
as if to take a bow and then rudely spitting at the audience. Hidden from the road’s view, and cutoff on both ends by a series of bridges that were nothing but rotten planks and slippery steel, this village wave was a true secret spot. An hour away was the famous Lagundi bay that was long ago sold out to the whims of an international group of travelers seeking to digest their piece of surfing’s mythical Mecca. The beauty of this secret was guarded and shrouded in a tall tale based on a real two-fold tragedy.
      In 1998 a feud between neighboring villages was born out
of a classic plot between a young virgin girl from Teluk Dalam and her involvement with the son of a prominent Durian farmer from Hilisataru. (home of Durian point) The durian farmer was a drunkard but was rich for the standards of the village. He had delusional expectations for his son to attend university somewhere in Jakarta which seemed like a another planet to his son who was content with the simplest pleasures in life and wanted nothing more than to settle down in the village and build a life with his young girlfriend-Yusnidar, the daughter of a Teluk Dalam fisherman, poor as the day is long- but extremely beautiful in a plain-lazy-eyed-gapped toothed-unique sort of way. The Durian Farmer loathed Yusnidar because when he became drunk (every evening) Yusnidar transformed into his estranged wife, who could no longer stand his drinking, and ran off with the farmer’s former exporter of Durians to Jakarta. The man’s delusions would cause him to verbally abuse his son’s girlfriend because he truly saw all of the best qualities of his wife in her and hated himself for driving her away. His own expectations to reclaim his wife were pinned on his son, who had no interest at all at attending university on planet Jakarta where Muslims bombed Christians and Christians sold out to big businesses to bring western decadence that fueled the hate of the Muslims. His son wanted nothing more than the life of the village, the durian, and the fish.
For the 20th birthday party of his son, the farmer organized a banquet where 3 pigs would be slaughtered for the occasion. The parents of Yusnidar would attend, along with about 100 people from the neighboring villages. At the height of the celebration, which coincided with the height of the farmer’s drunkenness a song by bluesman Robert Johnson limped from the battered speakers.
“I’ve got a kind hearted woman, she studies evil all the time.,” sang Robert Johnson.
Indonesians are fond of their karaoke, and the farmer began to call attention to himself by singing along to one of his favorite blues songs of all time. He could really identify with the painful falsetto crescendos of Johnson’s voice, and he felt his own voice was quite the match. His painful rage began to bubble as he spotted Yusnidar and reminders of his tragedy magnified when he saw the way Yusnidar looked at his son. It was a look of total devotion that was a mockery to his sad story of loss. He began to direct the song to his son’s love interest that drew a crowd of smirking villagers who knew from experience and rumor mongering what was going down. Virginity is a commodity in the primitive animistic society of Nias, and a high price is paid in the form of a dowry even in this modern age. As the Farmer’s voice became louder and more overpowering than the whole commotion of the banquet, He decided to freestyle some lyrics of his own which severely questioned the validity of Yusnidar’s virginity.
“So high the price of a pure gal these days,
How low we men go,”
“The deeper the jungle, the cheaper the prize,
A man can sell his daughters’ rights,”
“Just rewrap the goods,’ cause her beautiful face
can slip past the blame!” slurred the Farmer.
A look of utter shock first crept into Yusnidar face and
then into her proud – poor- fisherman father, followed by the
oldest brother, and into her cousin ( who had a secret crush on Yusnidar and was considering hiring a local witchdoctor to inflict a painful death on the farmer’s son) Virtually the whole village of Teluk Dalam was swept into the fire of rage by the pathetic, blundering lyrics and pseudo- Elvis gyrations of the foolish Durian Farmer from Hilisataru.
In a society where two generations prior were hunting
each others heads, cooking and eating each other’s flesh
for gaining strength, and praying to animal spirits was
normal, this celebration turned into a William Wallace
style war. Depending on whom you asked, arms were
severed, skulls were mashed like watermelons, and fires
were strategically set to the sound track of steady blues
music. After the squirmishes at the banquet, travel and commerce
between the two villages became detrimental. Telek Dalam (a large
village near the port) and Hilisataru (a much smaller village,
but in control of all the durian fruit trade) were inconsolable.
Simple business transactions became covert revenge tactics.
Travel and communications via minibus and motorbike along
the tattered jungle roads became less and less trustworthy.
A few weeks after the chaos settled, the son of the Durian farmer made his way cautiously into Telek Dalam, with an apology speech prepared and a pocket full of money with the intention of paying the dowry for his love, Yusnidar. When he arrived at the bungalow of Yusnidar’s father, he had yet to return from his daily fishing route, and Yusnidar’s oldest brother and jealous cousin sat playing cards and drinking Asoka (local rice vodka). His greeting of “Yahowuu” received nothing but a bloodshot stare and a jealous glare. The durian farmer’s son decided to wait for Yusnidar’s father on the beach as it was nearing dark. As he sat on the sand and watched the octopus hunters pick through the reef, he could make out the outline of his love’s father’s boat bobbing through the shore break. It reminded him of the countless times he would rush down to help the old man drag his outrigger canoe back up the beach, and under the mango tree. The young man was not a fisherman, but loved to hear the old man’s style of story telling, and he loved the sight of a boat full of shiny fish. As he approached the old man and his canoe, he noticed the scowl on his face and was taken a back.
“ I can do it myself!” the old man sputtered. He
watched the old man’s rippled and gnarled arms straining
under the tension of pulling a canoe full of water and
fish. It was all he could do to hold back from helping
as the veins and tendons struggled pathetically. He
began to follow the old man up under the tree and
started into his well-practiced speech. The old man
snapped at him again
“ save your breath!”
It was all he could do to hold his tongue, thinking of how much
time and respect he had paid this man over the 3 years that he had courted Yusnidar.
The farmer’s son realized the futility of the attempt and
decided to regroup his approach and try reasoning with Yusnidar’s
mother. He could see his love and her agile, protective mother (who
would never leave them completely alone) across the road hanging laundry.
It was the sight of Yusnidar in the purple-orange sunset light, refracting
off the white laundry fluttering in the breeze which caught him in a trance
of love. She had never looked more beautiful to him than at that moment.
Had he not been so caught up with the sight of her, he would have certainly
noticed Yusnidar’s brother and jealous cousin crouching behind some palm trees-
one with a gasoline can and the other with a torn fishing net. As he reached the
trees he was met with the sound of metal colliding with skull.
When he awoke, the Farmer’s son could smell gasoline and taste the metallic
tinge of blood in his mouth. He could feel something gouging into the delicate skin
between his lips and nose, but he could not remove the torn fishing net which
he was now tangled in.
Everything slowed down as he heard the click of the lighter, and saw the
look of helpless horror on Yusnidar’s face. The heat came over him in a breeze and the
smell of his own flesh burning overcame him. He became filled with searing anguish
about the fact that it was too late for anything else.
JULY 2002

I had a connection with her. I felt it. but at the
moment, with the time delay on the phone and the
realization that my girlfriend had caught me cheating
was making my head spin. “ I fuckin hate you!” she
screamed (muffled with static) what could I say? half
way around the world on an island in the Indian Ocean I
couldn’t do a damn thing except watch the waves pound the
reef, and trust in my intuition that I was doing the
right thing. We had both hurt each other so many times
so in a way, her finding those pictures on my laptop was
a necessary evil. something to get off my chest. There
is no denying photographic proof of Indonesian conquests
complete with accidental self-portraits in the hotel
mirror behind a young “model” in various sexual positions.
Needless to say, I was up for anything (expecting
the worst at home) when the drunk American Tim, virtually
offered me a map to a wave a few hours to the north. A secret
wave I had heard of but gave up in the belief of its existence.
I knew that my story and a few cocktails later had
really struck an emotional cord with him. He began to
describe 17-second right hand barrels. $10 ounces of
weed. civil war so harsh that weeks before he had spoken
with a village girl who watched with her own eyes as
soldiers chopped her father and brother into pieces
starting with the arms and legs. people fighting for
independence to control a province that holds close to 85%
of the cash yielding natural resources (Oil, natural
gas, ganja, durian) A province still torn by a feud between
two families over the tragic end of a Durian Farmer’s son,
and the soiled reputation of a young virgin beauty named Yusnidar.
(nidar in Indonesian means bomb-irony unintended)
This sounded like my kind of risk. my mind was swimming and scheming and plotting. mostly I just wanted to figure out a way that I could stay right there in Indonesia. for the whole season, and then the next…
what did I need to go back to?, a girl that hated me, my job
serving coffee, and surfing closed out west facing
beach breaks overcrowded with mtvspringbreakextremexgamegeneration San Diego???
Early the next morning I sat with Big Mike watching
clean six-foot bombs pump into Lagundi bay. We were sharing
a few papaya stem bongs when we spotted “LA Tim”, my new friend
from the night before, silently pushing a motor bike under the
Losmen, so as not to awaken anyone else who might follow him to
his secret wave. We began stirring him up saying that we were bringing
six French body boarders, 2 chicks and a handful of photographers to his
new spot. He gave us a maniac smile behind a middle finger and sped off
down the road—little did we realize it would be the last we saw of him.
     It was the amount of blood that was most shocking to the local people
of Hilisataru. It flowed past Tim’s desperate fingers, down his leg and
onto the sand, and then into the reef. Absurd amounts of blood—A small
lagoon of blood mixed in pools between the rocks. The children of the
village wondered silently if all bule’ (foreigners) bleed this much. An
argument broke out between the villagers. Half of them wanted to bring the
bule’ to the local witch doctor who would prepare a salve of mud and leaves to clog the wound, the other half wanted to take Tim to the proper doctor Ima Restu who worked in Teluk Dalam(40 minutes away if the bridge was not washed out.) No one wanted to drive Tim’s motorbike into Teluk Dalam because the embers of the feud between the villages where a wisp of wind away from igniting again. Despite Tim’s desperate pleas for medical attention and his aversion to seeing a witch doctor, his life expired before a decision could be made. His last words were whispered because Tim could feel the cold  chill running through his body.
     “Tell my mother I love her!” he gasped.
But the local villager who was holding his hand heard his final words to be,
“Tell Yusnidar I love her.” and believed it to be the restless ghost of the
durian farmer’s son.  —furthering the belief that the village of Hillisataru is overrun with lonely  ghosts and the wave is a cursed and dangerous entity.
A shockwave rippled through Lagundi Bay. The news of a fellow surfer bleeding to death travels like a gasoline fire through a tight nit, united nations of exotic surfing characters. Tall tales were speculated on just what caused the laceration on Tim’s inner thigh which severed his femoral artery. Was it his fin, the reef, The nose of his board? Was the wave too dangerous to surf? Too shallow? The rumors gained momentum, and
curiosity got the best of me, which is how I found myself alone in the room
with a view of the lethal wave, the smell of durians and the echo of Bukka White, Robert Johnson, and Lead Belly. I entered the lineup cautiously, unable to get the mental picture of Tim’s bleeding to flee from my mind.  My first few waves are a blur, but the amount of time spent inside the tube mixed with the uncertainty of what would happen after falling off combined to make it a truly exhilarating experience.
JULY 2005
The village wave is not so secret any longer. Not crowded, just not secret—still a bit
tricky to find—and the road to get there sucks. To surf the wave is still a unique
experience, and I swear if you find yourself surfing there alone, just close your eyes
and you can hear the sound of blues music rustling through the palm trees and if the wind
is offshore you can smell the sexual odor of the durian. It’s an emotional experience as
well which can leave you wondering if westerners were ever actually meant to be traveling
to this remote village on a cursed, fatalistic, headhunting, war-torn island in the
mid Indian Ocean.