OK, now for the Damascus stories;
I like Damascus, it's a hiker focused small town (900 people) which hosts the biggest trail event of the trail which is starting next week. Apparently they are expecting 30-35,000 for 'Trail Days' as it's the 75th anniversary of the trail and the mind boggles at how their infrastructure is going to cope with such an overload of people.
I got into Damascus on the 6th and am waiting here til the 12th for Suzanne to arrive and in those days (and especially last night) I have met #2,3 & 4 crazy people that have got me thinking that I should make a list of the 10 craziest people I meet on the trail. I mean, I'm around a fifth of the trail through and up to 4 already.
So onto these weirdos and why I call them such..
A few nights ago I was at Quinceys which is a pizza shop cross bar. I was there with Smores/Gandolf who had arrived that day and we had finished our dinner and had decided to have a beer before heading back to our campground. At the bar we saw 'Gator' who was a hiker we had met in the Smokey mountains and to be honest I was a little surprised to see him there as I didn't have him pegged as much of a hiker. He is a pretty rough looking guy with a star of david tattooed next to his right eye (he has a jewish son he told me) and another tat next to his left eye which kind of looked like a jail tat.
He had chewed my ear off the night in the Smokies telling me all about the dangerous creatures in Florida once he'd found out I was an Aussie.
The night in Damascus however he was pretty sloshed and didn't recognise me which was fine by me. The bar tender had called last drinks and Gator kept avoiding his bill until he started wandering off and then made a run for it. The kitchen was right next to the bar and the bar tender yelled out 'We go a runner' so both the chefs ran through the kitchen to the back door and 4 patrons took off after him through the front.
I was pretty full from the 2 serves of bean soup, 10 inch pizza, apple strudel and a couple of beers so I quickly judged that there was enough people chasing him. Instead I stayed at the bar (guarding it) and checked out his tab - they print it out for you.
Gator had done a runner on a $9.65c tab. Slowly the guys that had chased him came back and he had got away so I just paid his tab with a $10 bill.
I mean seriously, you're in a small town in which the word spreads like a bushfire, on a trail where the word spreads just as quick why on earth would you do a runner for the cost of half an hours work?
Later on as I listened to the people bad mouthing him I heard that he was supposed to be part of the 'Circle of Light - Rainbow family' which the locals had little respect for as they explained to me they were a group that masqueraded as hippies but were more like anarchistic gypsies, stealing and taking advantage of everyone they came across.
So Gator comes in as crazy #2 -risking life, limb and incarceration on a $10 bill
For the record crazy #1 was Dexter/Lazy Susan - trust fund kiddie with scary eyes
Crazies # 3 & 4 will have to wait until tomorrow as I've used up my hour and a half library allotment
Stay safe... Trev