FROM 2-2. Equator-Dutch Harbor

McQ: The Equator

Well, it was just as I remembered: First the gigantic pink neon sign comes in to view, ‘Welcome to the equator!!!’, it flashes. Then you get closer- it is just like any other border crossing, a magnet for the fringes of ocean society, a hub of vice… To the left, pineapples being shaken, coffee being ground and the fish market, unscrupulous fish trading in other fish (one squid for 3 flying fish, as we passed) The sea snail magician dude was still there doing his same trick on unsuspecting punters, to do with water going clockwise or anti-clockwise down hte plug hole and crossing the line as often as he could get away with!! Down a back eddy, round an undercurrent and you come face to face with a snarling big fanged, translucent and etiolated sea creature with his own lightbulb above his head, just like Nemo or Blue Planet, and trying to sell lumps of coral for extortionate prices; ‘why so expensive?’ ‘Have you any idea of the depths I have gone to to get this?’ The Northern Pacific Hotel and the Southern Pacific Hotel, joined by the aquasino, open all season (that is all the time!!) The only drinking establishment to venture into is ‘The Old Grog Barrel’ where the regulars go for watered down rum and local scuttlebutt: The Landlord, goes by the name of Admiral Vernon, will pass on messages to Neptune- Have some rum and thank you for a safe passage so far, Neptune. Not, in general, is the equator a place to stop, so soon enough we are well through, a quick glance back to a gigantic yellow neon sign in the sky, ‘Thank you for visiting the equator’ and with a flicker and the accompanying buzzing film-sound-effect its gone. So fast that we might have been dreaming…

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