23 August, 2009
by Pirate Joe ©

    It's quiet up here on the mountain. Frankly, all I can hear is the whistle of the wind and the flapping of the tattered banner on the flagpole behind me. The grass is a bit on the tall side, as there is no longer any foot traffic to wear it down.
It wasn't always this way. Last year at this time it was almost impossible to find even enough space to establish a lookout post. Folks by the hundreds of thousands came through to do their respective jobs, indeed, it seemed as if everyone in the country came through in the space of a few short months.
Then there was victory. What an experience those of us who were up here that ningt had! Tears and celebrations! The slow but sure sinking-in of the realisation that the long, bleak night was over.
    Such a dawn I have never seen: the sun had never been this bright, the sky had never been so blue. Weeks of  fêtes followed, leading up to what would be a crescendo on the 20th of January. The din was of such intensity that I could hardly hear George W. Bush say, in his waning hours, "nothing is going to change". What exactly does he mean? Ahhh, who needs to listen to him anymore? Turn that radio off. Let the celebrations continue.

30 March, 2009: Is it my imagination or am I not seeing some familiar faces? No, new folks are still coming in, it's easy to miss friends in a crowd.

16 May, 2009: Today, some new folks told me that a small patch of land was being cleared at the base of the mountain. How much? About three square meters you say? Hmmm.....what could anyone ever do with that piddling amount?

13 June, 2009: Everyone here now is a stranger...I haven't seen any of my friends in over two months.

4 July, 2009: I can't believe it's the forth of July already...time flies...only about 15% the people here now, and just one new one. I found out what that small land clearing is all about: today that "newbie" told me that some sort of sign is being erected.

9 July, 2009: Droves of people are leaving.

28 July, 2009: July is just about over now. You know something? I'm the only one here. It's been that way for more than two weeks. What could have happened?  I'll give it a little more time, but just a little.

7 August, 2009: The end of the first week in August. Its been three weeks since I've seen another human being. No use in staying here any longer, just as soon as I finish packing my knapsack, I'll be heading down. Let's see here: some food, my cameras, (got some good pix, can't wait to get home and develop them) oh, and the machete: those trails have gotten rather overgrown, you know. Geeze! Just a few months ago these paths were a wide as boulevards...
I'm only a few hundred meters from the bottom now....there's the road. It sure isn't used much anymore, I didn't hear any traffic on my way down. It would be great to get a ride. Oh, man! Here comes a convertible, what luck, he's stopping.

Thanks for the ride, man, sure I'll throw my stuff in the back. What's he got on the radio? Oh, Rush Limbaugh.

Before you hit the gas, give me a second to check that sign: I almost forgot all about it. I wonder what it says....

What did it say, you ask? It says "sold out". Let's get out of here.