Hadji Don't Surf

Looking down the egress behind the shacks here at Camp Phoenix it's easy to get lost. The sun is warm today and people walking this route can't help but kick rocks, sand and pebbles as they amble along.

In many ways, Phoenix and its ubiquitous yellow wooden beach umbrellas feels like an ad hoc island community. Sand, rocks, sun, umbrellas, folk in floppy hats, smoking or knocking back bottled water, these are all props in our grand illusion.

It is an island, and though almost everyone carries a firearm, the weapons become very easy to ignore, are just another element of apparel, sort of a fad – an item that seems necessary for the climate until you realize it isn't. The equivalent of a foam beer holder maybe.

We are locked out of time and place and so the name seems appropriate and the silty texture of pollution acts like a temporal binder, covering everything and rendering the transient as eternal. Burning haze hides the outside world (and for all we know, the outside world might have burnt away) and holds us in an atmospheric bubble, equidistant, but undefinable on all sides. It's a phantom distance that might be 500 metres or 5 light years. The noise of the air conditioners masks any sound from the world and even the choppers that circle appear only inside the haze.

Outside there is a war. Inside there are boardwalks and evening dance parties thrown by the Romanians. Blue skies and cigarettes, we walk the halls in shorts and flip-flops. And like any good beach culture, it takes all comers. soldiers arrive from around the world and over time, though they might not know it, they become surfers.

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