FURTHER: THE SEARCH FOR NOW

posted by / Magazine / June 7, 2004

The fisherman paddles his dugout canoe to the side of the boat, dwarfed by the {{{100}}}-foot Indo Jiwa. His dark skin is covered in scabs and scars. His arms lean and strong. His face deadly serious. “This man is very worried,” the cook says, translating the fisherman’s manic jabber and excited gesturing.

A short distance behind him, Pipeline homebody Jamie O’Brien blasts an arcing 360 air and slides smoothly back down behind the lip. The fisherman shakes his head in consternation and implores the cook again. The cook smiles and translates.

“He thinks you are trying to kill yourselves.” Barbecued rats. An old woman pushes past you and selects a big one from the pile. Sinks her jagged teeth in hungrily. Even after three days of nothing but airline food the sight is disturbing; a gritty reminder of just how far you’ve come.

The market is swarming with short people. Tables of bananas, coconuts and peppers alongside tables of bats, rats, and snakes. The surfers stand out like fishing lures in the crowd, strolling the stalls with no real sense of purpose; amused revulsion and morbid curiosity. Blood squishing in the mud beneath their flip-flops. Prayer calls on a loudspeaker duct-taped to a scooter. A decrepit church. A steaming volcano.

This is the part of The Search they don’t show in the advertisements. This culture-shock bombshell. This indigenous reality check. The hours and hours of airport doldrums and rubber chicken cuisine. All this vital and unromantic Getting There seldom makes the movie. Not that it is any less important. Without this, there would be no distance between here and there.

This is it. This is Searching . . .Nathan Myers

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