May 4, 2019, off the coast of Casablanca — And before you correct me, the line is ‘Play it, Sam’... not ‘Play it again, Sam,’ the perennial misquote that Woody Allen turned into the title of a play and movie. To be complete, it’s ‘Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.’
For once I got ahead of myself: I started to draft my Casablanca post several days ago.
Problem is, we’re not going to Casablanca after all. There is a huge storm brewing in the eastern Atlantic, and the Captain has decided to skip Casablanca, Morocco, and head straight for Vigo, Spain. This way, we’ll be north of the Bay of Biscay when the storm hits.
We’re adding another port on Thursday, Portsmouth, since we’re not due in Greenwich until Friday. The Brits on board are not pleased, as Portsmouth holds no allure for them. My non-Brit friends and I would have preferred stopping in France. But the die is cast, and we’re going to Portsmouth. I may take the ferry over to the Isle of Wight, with the vocalists, since one of them hails from there.
I had planned to do an ‘out of Africa’ post after my final African port, which was to be Casablanca. Now, Senegal was my last port. So consider this short post a palate cleanser after my dour portrait of Dakar.
One last from Beryl Markham:
‘Africa is never the same to anyone who leaves it and returns again.
It is not a land of change, but it is a land of moods and its moods are numberless.
It is not fickle, but because it has mothered not only men, but races,
and cradled not only cities, but civilizations —
and seen them die, and seen new ones born again —
Africa can be dispassionate, indifferent, warm, or cynical,
replete with the weariness of too much wisdom.’
— Beryl Markham, West with the Night
One final final Beryl Markham, quoting Baron von Blixen (big-game-hunting husband of Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen) quoting an ‘old adage... translated from the ancient Coptic, that contains all the wisdom of the ages’:
‘Life is life, and fun is fun, but it’s all so quiet when the goldfish die.’