Sunday, 21 October 2007

Mud, Noise, Fast Cars...

At some point during the week I must have said, "hey, Dad said there will be rally racing in Preysal on Saturday night."

I had not made any actual promises, or even mentioned it again, until breakfast time when Sam said, "SO! Rally tonight!" Sean had worked nights and was out all day, clearing the land in Santa Cruz and trying to decide what to do about our drainage problem (tie the developer up and leave him in the ditch in the rain?) The boys were really good and helpful, vacuuming and cleaning in the afternoon... So I had no cause to say "Hmph. If you think you are going to any rally tonight, think again!"

The day was cool and windy after all that rain we had all week, and Chas and Sam crawled into bed and hammock with their books for about two hours before dinner. (Having a rest so they could stay up later. How did they get so sensible?) I was on tenterhooks, waiting for Sean to call and say he was coming home. I am not a huge racing fan, and had happy visions of sending the boys off with their Dad while I snuggled up with a book myself. By 6.30, the boys were so anxious I decided to just go, and meet Sean there.

Sean gave me directions, but it was not necessary. As we turned into Preysal, I could see huge floodlights lighting up the cane field, and there were hundreds of people, parked cars and trucks, and a DJ blasting out a true Preysal Mix of Bollywood hits, Techno Pop, and Chutney Soca. Over the music could be heard the racket of cars revving up and backfiring.

Sean met us a moment later, and we spotted his brother Scott with Ainsley, heading out to the track in their car. They revved up, sending flames shooting out of their muffler for the boys, which had them just dancing with glee. Even Chas the Nature Boy was grinning from ear to ear; but Sam and Max the Gasheads? Their eyes and mouths were big and round. Max even forgot to put his fingers in his ears.

Scott and Ainsley are in first place in the ratings, so far ahead that they can afford to take their time and go easy on the car. There is a huge rally in Jamaica in December, and they and a couple of other cars are going.

In second place, One-Legged Barry, who once put out an engine fire in the pardon-my-french car. For which I will never forgive him.

We moseyed past tents where other cars were having last-minute repairs and tuneups. Some were filled with solemn-looking guys, all gazing into the engine while it obstinately refused to do somethingorother. Some were in a mad rush to change 4 tyres because the track? Was muddy and dusty at the same time, thanks to the week of rain and one dry day. I cannot pretend to understand half of what was going on, but no doubt someone will correct me and add info in the comments, and I will edit them in!

We found a likely-looking spot for watching the racing action, and prepared to be enthralled. We could see, in the distant darkness, the lights of the competing cars leaping towards us. When they got nearer, the dust and lights made the scene look like something from "close encounters". There was a muddy patch on a sharp turn where we stood, and some guys who were sitting atop a tractor were sprayed with mud several times before they decided to move.

Uncle Scott and Ainsley did donuts in the dust, showing off for the kids. It was the coolest thing ever!

There were other kids there too: clean, pretty little girls on their daddies' and granddaddie's shoulders; older boys covered with grease and with burns on their arms from forgetting where the hot bits are; and small boys like ours, in a state of excitement and muddiness, getting in the way and learning the language of cars.

And food: Sham's curry duck and cassava oildown, with pepper choka for the truly insane. Sam and I had some, (without the extra pepper) and it is so good that you can't stop eating it, even when your mouth is shouting STOP! PEPPER! HOT! We just kept at it, whistling in and out through pursed lips to cool off. I just realised that my fingernails are stained curry yellow!

We watched several laps or stages, whatever they are, and then the boys started on their own "last lap before meltdown." It was late, and they were becoming increasingly overexcited and uncontrolled. Time to go home! Sean went and brought the truck for us, and we said goodbye and meandered home: a short trip for us.

Coming along San Francisco Settlement Road, we collided with a little owl. It just flew right into our headlights. I stopped and held it as it died, its neck broken, sinking its needle-like talons into my hand. Max cried, and Chas cried, and Sam looked unusually solemn and said words of comfort. We wrapped it in Chasbo's T-Shirt, and brought it home to bury. The funeral was early this morning, and then we had a big breakfast. It is cool and rainy again, and Sean has gone fishing. I hope to have a freezer stocked with fish later!

Wise old Chinee say:

"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and he will spend the rest of his life sitting on a boat with his buddies, drinking."

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