Fear and Loathing with Dennis Mckenna on the Costa Del Sol - Part 2

Schwann Cybershaman's picture


I don’t usually operate well on lack of sleep, but having Dennis around adds spring to my step and thus it’s only 10.30 AM by the time we leave the vicinity of Malaga. We’d packed the car with appropriate stuff and headed out onto the freeway. Earlier, we’d googled that a ferry leaves for Ibiza from the city port of Denia at 5.00 PM. Denia is some 600 clicks away, so we figure that if we use the high-speed toll road we should easily make in 5 hours. Of course things don’t always pan out the way you plan them.

Two hours of jammed coastal highways with traffic moving along at 60 clicks an hour turn the beautiful coastline into a nightmare of heel and toe driving at nowhere near the type of speed needed to arrive in Denia before 5.00 PM. Things look hopeless enough for me to initialize time distortion, but no one takes me seriously. Dennis suggests we stay the night in Denia but I keep at the distortion. I want to be on Ibiza tonight, and for this reason it doesn’t matter that Joey and Dennis spend the next few hours arguing the validity of Bush’s sanity.

The traffic has diminished enough for me to attain a cruising speed well in excess of 60 KPH. I’m not sure if Dennis or Joey has noticed, but suddenly we’re on a highway. I put my foot down and drive at speeds faster than that of the surrounding traffic, which isn’t too strange because time distortion is where everything is both instantaneous and interminable, a forever moment where a large town constructed of clustered space ships towers over a long stretch of beach between two rocky outcrops. Is Bennidorm an alien embassy, or is it just hell on earth?

Back in the car, we’ve attained a cruising speed in excess of 160 KPH and I’m not only dodging the traffic and making time go backwards, I’m also making spliffs, because no-one else is qualified to do this. Fortunately, the crew keeps deathly quiet to let me concentrate. Survival is something we all understand, and weirdness can only get you so far in the real world, a world where 18 wheelers are trying to take us out while the shuttle is still due for lift-off to Ibiza without us. There is no plan B.

I hadn’t looked at my watch since I’d worked out that it was impossible to do the allotted distance in the given time. Thus, I’m somewhat amazed to see a sign that tells us Denia is only a short distance away. It appears we’ve covered five hundred kilometers in an impossibly short time, but there’s no time for wonder, or to calculate velocity, because it’s 4.52 PM and we’ve only got 8 minutes before the ferry is due to leave.

4.55 PM. Denia. Driving up to the barrier, I’m relieved to see that the ferry’s ramp is still down, but unfortunately this is where I lose control of the situation. Dennis and Joey, who’ve gone to buy tickets from the ferry’s fascist ticket office, are told they’re too late to buy tickets. Revving the engine and making threatening movements with my spare hand, I try driving up the ramp anyway, but am prevented from flattening the attendant security guards by application of the Art of War. I smile at the security guards, who have now surrounded the car while making police noises with their whistles. Joey and Dennis pretend not to notice. They know how close to the time warp we are. Unceremoniously, and with squeaky arrogance, the ferry’s ramp retracts without allowing us to board. I figure that this is not green because there’s still room for another ten cars.

Fortunately, there’s another ferry in an hour an a half and the good news is that Joey, looking a bit glum, has paid for the tickets. The bill for the three of us and the car amounts to the price of a return to South Africa. No wonder it takes Joey a while to cheer up. Telling him; “it’s only money”, only makes it worse, but what are friends for?

Meantime, I'd successfully invoked the time warp, because we’re scheduled to arrive in Ibiza at 10.30 PM, and the night is still young! Relieved that we don’t have to spend the night in Denia, a town that wont sell you an ice cream without a cover charge, we rejoin the queue of cars lined up for the next ferry. It’s over 35 deg C outside so we hang out inside the car with the engine running and the aircon on. It’s hot enough not to care what anyone thinks of three geezers crammed into an air-conditioned sports car with the roof up, nor could they imagine what weirdness our merry crew carried within it’s bosom, a bosom nurtured by psychedelic plants and a willingness to explore all available dimensions of reality.

By this time, we’d relaxed into memetic totems. Joey is a right wing fanatic, Dennis is a left wing liberal and I’m an anarchist. Everything remains wonderfully unclear. In a background window, one of the same guard/porter/idiots that had earlier prevented me from driving up the ramp of the 5.00 PM ferry comes over and warily checks our tickets.

Mumbling something in Spanish under his breath, he impatiently signals me to turn the car around and reverse up the ramp. Because of safety regulations, Joey and Dennis have to leave the car, but Dennis is a bit slow in moving out the way and in the confusion I nearly run him over in my first attempt at reversing up the ramp. The Peugot 307, with the roof up and fully loaded, has zero rear vision and the ferry personnel scream at me to move, first this way, then that. It is impossible to fully describe what it feels like to reverse into the bowels of 16 lane parking garage, but amazingly I’m somehow guided into a claustrophobic parking space between a whole lot of big-wheeler trucks and a metal wall.

There is very little room to do anything more than squirm out of the car and crawl along the wall, something I probably couldn’t do if I was Billy Bunter. Feeling briefly sympathetic for anyone overweight, I try not to notice the strong smell of sewage as I climb the stairs from the car deck to the passenger section, located some three flights of stairs above. By the time I’ve escaped from the smelly bowels of the ferry, I’m suffering more than monoxide poisoning. Emerging onto the upper deck, it takes me a few minutes to recuperate, during which time I begin to notice that a large percentage of my fellow passengers are brightly colored, young and mostly good looking. I notice a single fat guy, self-consciously filming everyone with a handy cam. I'm just a geezer, Nobody seems to care.

Strung-out from my first ferry parking experience, I find myself a plastic chair outside on the upper deck and collapse onto it, waiting for Dennis and Joey to appear. All around me, people are taking off their kit and applying suntan lotion. It’s 6.30 PM, but the sun is still high. We start moving away from the dock. Ibiza here we come!

Sometime before we clear the harbor wall, Dennis and Joey make it to my vantage point on the upper deck. Politics aside, they seem to be hitting it off fine so I proceed to relax into a spontaneous photo shoot, during which we endure curious stares from scores of nearly-naked onlookers who don’t appear to speak our language. This is Europe so it isn’t that surprising. Admittedly, we’re strange crew.

“This is better than the real thing”, says Joey, half to himself, his words blown at me by the ocean breeze coming over the deck.

Dennis is using my still camera to shoot me filming him. Things have finally kicked into gear. The time distortion I’d earlier summoned has eventually mellowed out. Feeling somewhat pleased with myself, I reclaim my chair, settle into a comfortable position, adjust my hat, light a thinny - and wait for planet-fall.


to be continued: