Somewhere in northern Spain, May 28, 2011 – Hoo, boy. Life was so simple just a week ago: I had almost everything packed, I had arranged to buy my ticket, ship my stuff to Moldova, get my loan or sell my Robert LaVigne painting for $ 2,000 to David G., and set out from here on the bus to Madrid on 14 June.
And then I get this e-mail from Igor:
I have a lot of pus, it is bad. I smear ointment. It helps a little, but sometimes I feel bad…I'm very scared, what if it gets worse. I think you'll understand when you see. Well, Dave, I don't know, maybe it's for the better... not so long to live and suffer.
Oh, Jesus! That sounds like he’s on his death bed, and I only have 300 euros – about $ 420 – to resurrect him – not enough!
I immediately sent him the following message; but was he hurting too bad to go to an Internet café or wherever and read it? He doesn’t have Internet at home.
My darling, I am very worried about you. Would an operation help? What do you need in order to feel better? Can you wait till I get there? I think I can send you money for an operation about the 6th of June if it would help. Honey, I am very worried about you. I love you, I miss you, I kiss you. Write as soon as you can.
I was still very worried about him the next day, and when I hadn’t heard from him, wrote the following:
My Darling Igor,
Once you said that an operation would cost $ 300. Is this true? I think I have $ 300 which I can send you now if you can have the operation. I am very worried about you. I love you very much. I don’t want to lose you. Write me as soon as possible.
And then while I’m fretting and stewing over Igor’s health, I suddenly get an e-mail from beautiful, sweet Sasha, whom I haven’t heard from since before Christmas:
Hello, Dane, how are you? This is Sasha. I miss you very much. I want very badly to see you. ’bye. Write me.
Just the thought of his 17-year-old going on 14-year-old-body, with no body hair and just a swatch of pubic hair was enough to give me a hard on, and I quickly prevented the first case of prostate cancer in about two weeks!
When I got through jerking off, I sent him the following e-mail:
My darling Sasha,
How are you? What happened to you? I received an e-mail just before Christmas, and you said you were going to Moscow and then home. Where are you now? What are you doing? Are you still in the university? Are you working? Where? Are you married? How I would like to see you
Maybe I am soon going to Moldova, but don’t tell Sergei or Zhorik or anybody else who knows them, because I know that they want money from me, and I don’t have any and won’t have any. But maybe you can come visit me? I am going, I think, on the 18th of June, and I will be living with Igor and Misha. I hope I will get a job teaching, but I don’t know.
Write me, honey, and tell me everything about you.
I love you and kiss you
And then the very next day, I get this from him:
My dear Dane,
I finished the university, and am now free.
I want to come to you in Spain. I have the money. I think I can come to you in Spain in September. During the summer I will be working in Moscow, and in September I will come to you in Spain. Can I? I don’t have a problem with the Schengen (European Union) visa.
I don’t want to live in Moldova. Spain, I think, is much better!
And right now I definitely don’t want to get married
I miss you very much.
While I was figuring out how to answer that, I received an e-mail from Igor.
His pustulous coccyx is much better – he’s putting ointment on it and taking his pills. But he has another problem: His throat:
It’s hard to breathe . I’m afraid I need more than one operation I can probably wait till the 17th or 18th of June. If you can send more money for medicine – not $ 300, but as much as you can.
I also miss you very much I don’t know what to do with my throat. If I ignore it, it might turn into cancer. I think everything will be all right. I want to call you. Maybe tomorrow.
I miss you, etc. etc.
So I replied:
Hello, my darling Igor, I’m very happy to hear that everything is okay with the pus, but I’m very sorry to hear about your throat. I think it’s not cancer – you’re too young; but all the same we should find what the problem is. If you can wait, we’ll find out what the problem is after I get there.
Speaking of your throat, I think you need to give up smoking. I know it is very difficult, but think about it. Okay?
Honey, I’m afraid that to call me is too expensive! I think you don’t have the money for that. We’ll see each other in three weeks. I think we can wait; what do you think?
I was very worried about you. Please take care of yourself until I get there and can take care of you
By the way, I received an e-mail from Sasha. Remember him? He finished the university.
If I send you $ 100, will that be enough for now? What kind of medicine do you need? By that I mean, what for? (Understand, I speak Russian poorly, and don’t know if I said it right; what do you need the medicine for, exactly, your throat?)
Okay, honey, I’m very, very glad that you feel better. I will send the money tomorrow and write you the number. Take care of yourself. Remember that I love you, miss you very much, and kiss you.
With love, etc.
So, he’s going to live at least until I get there, and then we can worry about the rest.
I decided to reply to Sasha after I had “slept on it”; maybe an answer would come to me.
But when I awoke on Friday morning, the following e-mail was waiting for me from Igor:
Hello, Dane! I don’t know what kind of medicine I need. I haven’t checked my throat yet. If I have the money, I will go to check it immediately. It still wakes me up because it’s hard to breathe :-( A relative of my former wife died today. :-( He had the same thing. He also couldn’t breathe at night. He didn’t check it and didn’t take medicine for it, and died today. They found cancer. :-( That’s why I’m afraid that I have cancer. Yes, I need to give up smoking. But I can’t. But there is one possibility. There is a clinic where they give you a shot, and you quit smoking. But it’s also rather expensive. Maybe that gives hope that I can quit smoking. On my coccyx, I massage with ointment. Still it’s not very good. I can’t look for work because it hurts :-(. I have (I didn’t understand this, but maybe sleep apnea?) It’s serious :-(
As far as your not knowing Russian is concerned, I know; but at the same time I haven’t forgotten how you chatted and talked Russian, and I always understood you and understand you when you speak Russian in general.!!! Well, that’s all, Dane, write; I await a reply, I love you, kiss you, miss you, etc,
So I wrote immediately:
My dear, beloved, Igor,
I don’t know how much money to send – maybe $ 200? Yes, honey, absolutely check your throat. How old was the relative of your former wife? Yes, you must check it immediately.
As far as the smoking clinic goes, how expensive is it? I think that after I get there, maybe you can go to this clinic. One thing that determines if treatment for quitting smoking works -- you have to REALLY want to quit smoking. If you don’t really want to quit, it’s like money thrown to the wind! You have to decide, honey, whether you really want to quit or not. I have American friends who quit smoking, some with treatment, some without; but in any event they really wanted to quit smoking! Otherwise, you can continue smoking and die young. I’m almost 78 years old. If I smoked, I would have died 20 years ago! Maybe even sooner! It will be hard for you. All of your friends smoke; Denis (Igor’s brother) smokes. I don’t smoke, and I hate smoking. But the question is: Do you want to live or not? If not, continue smoking. If so, you have to quit. That’s the simple question. But you have to decide. Only you can!
Okay, that’s enough preaching! :-)
As far as speaking Russian goes, I can generally speak it, but sometimes I don’t understand it. For instance, I didn’t understand what you said when you wrote “у меня нарушена горловая шитавитка.” I don’t know the word “шитавитка” and couldn’t find it in the dictionary. Can you say it in other words?
Oh well, honey, I think that’s all. Don’t think about working now. First you need to heal. I will soon be there and I can look after you.
I am sending $ 200 today and I hope that will be enough for now.
In the meantime, I love you, miss you, and kiss you.
Your Dane (soon we will be together)
When I got back from the Western Union “store,” I wrote and gave him the number. A little while later, I received the following:
Hello, “rodnoi” Dane (we don’t have such an expression in English, but it means you’re one of the immediate family); in Russia for instance, there are “second brothers,” which means cousins; and “rodnoi” brothers, which means blood brothers),
I just woke up; I couldn’t sleep all night :-(; I only fell asleep early in the morning. As far as giving up smoking is concerned, I want very much to; I need to. I haven’t been to the bank [to get the $ 200]. Now I will dress and immediately go to the hospital. Thanks for the money, honey!!! [This is new. He has never used “honey” before.]
You help me a lot. Thank you!!! Yes, I remember my wife; sometimes she writes to provoke me :-( I don’t want to go to Moscow. I dream of Spain. But that is for when I get my Romanian passport; then we will go. What did Sasha write? Well, that’s all, Dane. I will go to the bank and then to the hospital. I await an answer. I kiss you, I love you, ’bye.
So I immediately wrote:
Hello, my dear, beloved Igor,
Why couldn’t you sleep? Were you suffering?
So you really want to give up smoking! If you really want to, we will go to the clinic after I get there. Okay?
Don’t even think about your wife, honey! She can go to hell. We will have a good life without her :-)
Yes, maybe we can buy you a Romanian passport and travel to Spain :-) That would be excellent! We will see if we have the money. Probably yes, if I can find work :-)
Sasha also wants to go to Spain. I told him, first he must come to visit us in Moldava :-) He is no longer in contact with Sergei and Zhurik.
Okay, honey, tell me what you find out at the hospital.
Remember: I love you very much and we will soon be together.
Now time to turn my attention to Sasha.
Ah, that would be the answer to my prayers: Beautiful, sweet, loving Sasha with the 14-year-old body – no body hair and only a tiny clump around his uncut, phymotic piska. But I can’t tell him that in an e-mail. So here is what I wrote:
My dear, loving Sasha,
How wonderful to get your e-mail and to hear about your life.
You know that I loved you more than all the others in Moscow! How wonderful it would be to live with you and help you and receive your help for the rest of my life!
I absolutely understand that you don’t want to live in Moldova. It’s a poor, dreadfully poor, country and a future there doesn’t really exist for someone as bright, clever, and audacious as you.
BUT, I have already made a commitment to Igor and Misha. I agreed to live with them and to help them as much as possible. They can’t get a Schengen Visa to come to Spain, and the only country I can afford to live in and where they can travel to is Moldova.
I have made a commitment to them, and by my creed, I can’t back out of a promise. Although I would prefer to live with you, and probably I would be happier living with you, I can’t renege on my promise. I must move to Moldova.
Now let’s think about some disadvantages for you of living in Spain. You can get a Schengen visa; that’s super, and a big plus. But could you get a job in spain? Doubtful. Unemployment here is above 20%, and there are laws against companies hiring non-Spaniards because Spaniards need the work. So you could probably not get a job here. The same is probably true in every other European Union country.
I am able to get a job in other countries because I have a skill that natives don’t have: I speak fluent English. Igor is a very good cook, but many unemployed Spaniards are good cooks, so he could not get a job in Spain even if he could get a Schengen visa. Because you are an expert at computers, perhaps you could get a job in Spain; but I doubt it, because there are probably many unemployed Spaniards who are also good with computers.
I don’t plan to go to America, and even if I did, it would be very difficult for you to get a visa to live there with me, and again, almost impossible for you as an “immigrant” without a green card to get a job there.
So I propose the following: I will go to Moldova as scheduled next month. Let’s keep in close touch, because who knows what may happen between now and September? Then in September, we can make a decision. Maybe you can at least come to Moldova for a visit. God knows I would love to see you.
And maybe by then I will have discovered that I don’t want to live in Moldova. Who knows? And then maybe we can plan to go someplace and live together. Maybe back to Spain, where living is not as expensive as in Moscow, but you still probably couldn’t get a job. But at least we could live together.
I’m glad you don’t want to get married.
Anyway, that’s my suggestion for now. Please write me soon and don’t forget about me.
That’s all for now,
Your loving Dane
On Saturday afternoon, I received an answer from Sasha, as follows:
My dear Dane,
I understand your situation. If you have already promised Igor and Misha, then you must go to Moldova.
But I will nevertheless come to Spain in September. If you can, return to Spain in September, and we will live together. I think I can find work in Spain. Not immediately, of course. But I will have money to live for a while without working.
I am studying Spanish now.
I kiss you,
I didn’t reply until the next day, Sunday. I wanted to keep Sasha’s hopes alive – not artificially, but the fact is, I don’t know if Moldova will be, or even is now, feasible. The fact that by Sunday afternoon I hadn’t heard from Igor could have dire meaning. The last I heard from him, he was going directly to the hospital to check his throat. Maybe they found cancer! Maybe they immediately hospitalized him! I don’t want to go to Moldova if I haven’t heard from him, so how do I communicate the idea of hope with the possibility of disappointment if I do go to Moldova and don’t feel in September that I want to, or can, leave.
I tried to convey this idea with the following e-mail on Sunday:
Thanks so much for writing. I am always glad to hear from you and about you.
I’m glad you understand about my promise to Igor and Misha.
Yes, we will see what happens in Moldova. Maybe by September I will want to come back to Spain.
Let me tell you something about where I live. Ourense, or Orense, is a very small, out-of-the-way city in northern Spain. I came here because my Russian friend Andrei Yakimenko lived here, and taught here, and it was the only place I knew. As it turns out, it’s also much less expensive than other parts of Spain – Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, etc.
I think Madrid is a much more lively and a better place to live and find work, but it is also more expensive. I am paying 170 euros – about 6,818 rubles – a month for rent. It would be probably at least 500 euros – about 20,000 rubles – in Madrid. I can’t afford that by myself. However, if the two of us were living together and dividing the cost, it would be about 10,000 rubles each -- much cheaper and affordable. I think it would also be much easier to find teaching jobs for me and computer jobs for you. Anyway, it’s a thought.
There is also the possibility, of course, that I won’t want to, or can’t leave Moldova. We will only know when the time comes.
So, my darling, that’s the way things are at the moment. Please continue to write and stay in touch. It’s very important to me. I love hearing from you.
By the way, do you want to correspond in Spanish? [and then in Spanish]: We can, if you wish. I also need to practice my Spanish (unfortunately, there are many Spanish letters that I don’t have on my computer :-( . But in any case, I need to, and I like to, practice my Spanish, and we can if you wish :-)
With love (in Spanish, a hug)
I love you, I kiss you,
So that’s the way things stand at the moment with Igor, Misha, and Sasha. We’ll see what happens next.
I’m still quite worried about Igor. Maybe he’s hospitalized? Maybe with cancer of the throat? Fortunately, I haven’t taken any irretrievable steps toward Moldova yet, so I will simply wait and see if and what I hear from him.
Peaceful Morocco, where I went to renew my Spanish visa nearly a month ago (see Fiesta Queen #22) has been perennially peaceful because the masses have been satisfied to live subserviently under their “relatively benign” monarch, King Mohammed VI.
However, that peace turned violent May 22, when the “relatively benign” king’s troops beat and bloodied peaceful protesters in Casablanca and Rabat, the capital of Morocco, for defying “a ban on demonstrations across the country on Sunday.” It lead to arrests “and dozens of injuries, some of them life threatening…,” Reuters reported on Yahoo News.
Reuters went on to speculate that the government’s violence “appears to signal a tougher government line against the protest movement, which has become more defiant after festive demonstrations starting in February,” but that unrest it reflects “has yet to attract mass public support.”
Some of the protestors were also becoming “more outspoken about criticizing King Mohammed.” According to the Reuters coverage, “much of the anger was directed at the Makhzen, Morocco's royal court. ‘Protest is a legal right, why is the Makhzen afraid?’ crowds in Casablanca chanted. ‘Makhzen get out. Down with despotism.’”
Morocco reportedly has the lowest per capita GDP in that region of Africa that also includes Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. “Many live in poverty and nearly half of the population is illiterate,” according to Reuters. I’ve already reported that you see many fewer cars and many more bicycles, motorbikes, and even horses and buggies there.
Wikipedia reports that the GDP per capita in 2009 was a little less than $ 400 per month, $ 4,725 per year – about a third higher than the GDP per capita in Moldova, which is reported at about $ 250 per month. Russia’s GDP per capita is almost $ 20,000 – $ 19,700 -- five times that of Morocco (almost 10 times that of Moldova), according to Moscow Times news reports, with Putin promising to double it “within a decade.”
Reuters reported that Moroccan protesters had wanted to camp in front of the parliament in Rabat, “but authorities were anxious to avoid a repeat of the events in Cairo earlier this year when protesters occupying Tahrir Square eventually helped to topple the government. In major cities, police armed with batons and shields moved people off the streets wherever they gathered. Protesters broke off into smaller groups, often with police chasing behind.”
"We are standing together for dignity," one protest leaflet was reported as saying. "We are against despotism, against corruption. We are for dignity, freedom, democracy and social justice."
“Long seen as a relatively moderate and stable state,” says Reuters, “Morocco has experienced increasing unrest this year inspired by successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt,” adding that “in recent months, protesters seeking more democratic rights and economic benefits have held several nationwide protests in the country of 32 million, resulting in at least six deaths.”
The news report said that on the previous Friday, “a group of jobless graduates worked their way through a crowd to near the king after he led Friday prayers and chanted ‘Your majesty, we want jobs.’ State television cut off a live broadcast as the slogans began.”
Reuters noted that “The outburst was considered a daring breach of protocol in a country where the king's portrait adorns many shops and public spaces” (these I saw) “and many treat him with reverence. The king is also the commander of the faithful, the leader of Moroccan Muslims who is said to descend from the Prophet Mohammed.”
In response to the public protests, the king announced in March that he would amend the constitution to allow more democratic rights. A commission is due to announce a draft constitution next month.
I think my decision not to move to Morocco was probably a correct one. Who wants to have even a “relatively benign” absolute dictator at the head of their government. After all, Putin might also be described as the “relatively benign” dictator of Russia, but I still exited that country – partially because of his government.
And Moldova, to which I am now planning to move next month, is just flexing its wings as a fledgling Democratic state.
With nearly half the population illiterate in Morocco, the price of reading materials is relatively high. I bought a Moroccan cookbook and a delightful little book on Sex Education for Young Muslims for 150 dirhams, about $ 19.
First of all, sex education for Muslims, I discovered in the slim tome, faces the same problems as sex education for “Christian” Americans – the fundamentalists are opposed to it because they protest that it teaches how to fuck. I am always amused by the notion, because it reminds me of when I was a student at Florida Southern College. Fraternity brother Richard H. was dating a girl named Mary Ann, and they fucked in the back of Richard’s car. A few years later, I read in the Orlando Sentinel, where I was a reporter, that one of the self-righteous parents protesting sex education for children in Orange County was none other than Mary Ann. It is another example of the “Don’t do as I do, do as I say maxim.
Anyway, I found the Sex Education for Young Muslims amusing. The author, Prof. Dr. Abdessamad Dialmy, is – as best I can figure out – dismayed at the lack of sex education in Morocco. He quotes an agriculture worker in Khenifra: “I gave condoms to my son and his friend…then I told them to go sleep with prostitutes so that my son does not remain repressed, so that they know about sex…so that he does not go (choke, gasp, shudder – exclamations added) sleep with other boys.”
Then Prof. Dr. Dialmy also notes that “sex education is considered necessary, because without it, you learn bad things in the streets [like how to fuck your boyfriend in the back seat of a car, which is more difficult in Morocco because so few teenagers have cars – maybe on the back of a bicycle?]. It shows the child that there is a sexual relationship between the man and the woman, ‘so that the child does not deviate toward [choke, gasp, shudder] homosexuality.’ Sex education, defined as the prevention of homosexuality, is therefore prevention of debauchery, where homosexuality is the perverse figure of debauchery” [bet you didn’t know that].
Prof. Dr. Dialmy bemoans the popular prejudice against sex education, much as enlightened Americans bemoan the prejudice against sex education in America: “It is thought that sex education is the path to debauchery. (Does this mean the path to homo – choke, gasp, shudder – sexuality?) ‘If we talk to our children about sex education, it means we are encouraging them to debauchery. Therefore (he seems to be speaking ironically here), we must not provide sex education to either the boy or the girl. If we give it to the boy, he will flutter around [that’s what he said]. He must discover sex by himself, because even if we do not give him an education in sex, nothing bad will happen. He will start to learn by himself around 15 or 16 years old, and the girl will learn when she gets married.’
“Similarly, a health civil servant thinks it’s shameful for a Muslim state to treat these things in public, in newspapers.
“Another civil servant in agriculture thinks that we should not talk about sex to children, otherwise ‘they will go into the street.’ According to him, you just prepare the girl ‘and warn her against those who would take advantage of her.’ They complain that the girls ‘go out’ and ‘sleep around’ now that they have known all about sex since primary school.’”
And in conclusion (and here he seems to be speaking seriously): “Sex education should not lead to sexual practices before marriage (especially for the girl). Indeed, the premarital sexual activity of girls can only be thought of in terms of debauchery. The same term is also used with respect to boys, but in addition, it is thought of in terms of positive experiences that make of the boy a sexually initiated person who can in turn introduce sex to his wife. In short we have here a sexually discriminating morality that serves to ensure the servitude of the female body in the patriarchal political economy.”
I think what he’s saying is that the attitude toward sex education in Morocco and other Muslim countries is geared to ensuring “the servitude of the female body in the patriarchal political economy.” But his language is so guarded – probably because he doesn’t want to offend his “benign dictator,” King Mohommed VI, that I’m not sure
Therefore, I think he’s saying that Morocco needs sex education.
But what kind of sex education do good Muslims need? “‘…It must begin with things that scare you (about sex)…then teach the boy how to stand in front of a girl…not to teach him how to fornicate, but how to consummate the marriage , on the night of the penetration, this in connection with the religious aspect…It is necessary to deflower the very first time, to not ejaculate in the vagina at the time of the deflowering, otherwise the woman will forever be as wet as a pool…after defloration, women must sit so that the blood does not go back inside them…with a teacher, it’s normal, he explains these things to you and makes sure you respect them.’”
“….This re-Islamization redefines sexual education as an education used to protect against pre-marital sex, the latter being defined as prostitution and debauchery. It is necessary to talk about all things sexual at puberty, but to prohibit adolescents of both sexes from engaging in any sexual activity.
‘Before marriage, it is animalistic,’ insofar as that sexuality does not respect the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong….”
What I get from all this gibberish is that fundamental Muslims have the same problem with sex education as fundamental Christians; that girls must not have sex at all (that’s prostitution); that boys must not have sex with other boys (that’s debauchery); but while he’s not supposed to have sex at all, he must somehow learn how to fuck so that he can teach his shy, sexually naïve wife how to do it on their wedding night.
Somehow paganism seems the much preferred alternative.
See also related pages:
Chapt. #316 - Staying in Spain – but summering with Igor in Moldova
Chapt. #314 - Back from Marrakesh, packing for Moldova