Day 347: Dice Delay Departure


The stone work in Shela takes into account the grain of the coral rag. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli

Daily Updates are not edited and function more as daily journal entries – so if the plot seems to be all over the place or missing entirely and the tenses changes faster than a kaleidoscope, well, that's just the way it is.

I'M ANTSY as I wait for Cleo to swim back to the boat so I can roll the die and head out of town. Mini had originally wanted to watch me roll, but as soon as I said I was going to toss the die, she interrupted me.

“So what is this with the dice?” she asks. “Cleo explained a little, but what is it?”

I go into my regular spiel. It's funny to hear myself repeating word for word what I said last night and so many times before. The examples are the same, with the narrative I've created calcifying with each explanation.

“If you go to Turkey and meet some shit people and have a bad experience, you'll say Turkey is shitty country, which isn't fair, because it's an amazing country. However, if you go to Poland and meet amazing people and have an amazing time, you'll say Poland is an amazing country,” I say, always leaving out the obvious about Poland.

I turn the conversation toward Mini's life and her story. Since so many people were feeling sick the first day, and I was ill the second, and huddling in a ball on the third, I'm miles behind getting to know the people behind the beautiful eyes and shining smiles on the boat – why everyone, guys and gals, on this ship are so radiant, I couldn't say for sure.

“Isaac, can you take a picture of us,” Dan calls out, Mini doesn't seem to mind.

I snap a few shots of attempted gainers off the top deck.

After delaying my roll until after breakfast and it now being further delayed by Mini's questions and Cleo's swim, I'm starting to worry that I might be cornering myself. The proposed roll is to see if I stay with the Musafir another night, or if I attempt to get out of here and back to Rafiki in Kilifi.

This late in the morning, I'll have to word things carefully, giving myself wiggle room if necessary.

As it is, I don't like the idea of making such a big deal about rolling the dice – it's not a performance art. However, Cleo had specifically asked to watch me roll.

She was so engaged by the idea when I explained it last night, that it seems wrong to not let her know that I'm going to toss the die and leave.

Of course, there's no guarantee I'll be leaving. There is, in fact, a fifty percent chance that I'll stay one more night on the Musafir. Nonetheless, I know what the die is going to say, and I'm worried that my options for slipping off of Lamu Island were running out with the tide.

“Okay, I'm going to roll now,” I tell Cleo as her wet body crawls up the rope ladder and onto the wooden deck of the ship.

“Oh really! So what are you rolling?”

If it's an even number, I stay here at least one more night; if it's an odd, I do my best to leave the island today.

The die produces a satisfying sound as it bounces onto the wooden deck.

It's a four.

“I guess, I'm staying then,” I say.

“Isaac's staying,” Cleo calls out to everyone else on the boat. “He rolled and so now he's staying.”

She's delighted with the results, as well as the process.

I check with the die to see if I should head in town and do a little work. No, no, no, that doesn't seem to be the plan for today.

Instead, as instructed, I make myself comfortable at the stern of the boat.

Sometime later, I find myself wandering through Shela, the more upscale side of Lamu Island, where pink and fuchsia bougainvillea spill over walls of carefully crafted mosaic-like coral rag block work. The walls rise up, meeting cool, shaded buildings that press in tightly around narrow alleyways. Meters away, the ocean laps at the beach as the blue horizon kisses the mangrove islands and waters below it.

Though Old Town Lamu is an Unesco Heritage Site, it's Shela that's better maintained. Photos: Isaac Stone Simonelli

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The Proposition

THE premise is simple: Allow die roles to determine the majority of decisions faced while motorbiking throughout the world with a limited budget for an entire year.      It’s 365 days of tempting fate, enticing serendipity and letting go of free will – if such things exist at all.

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