Good Morning Diego Garcia! Excerpt Chapter 3

Good Morning Diego Garcia, by Susan Joyce


Bombay, India — 26 June 1975
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. —Marcel Proust

We arrived in India at 7:00 AM. On final approach, I pointed out to Charles the hundreds of shacks, surrounding the airport. Endless clothes lines strung across roof tops to dry laundry.
“Welcome to Bombay, gateway to India,” the flight attendant announced.
We pulled our belongings from the overhead bin, and waited for the cabin doors to open.
Exiting the plane with us was a beautifully dressed Indian woman, in a sari which appeared to have gold threads woven into it. “Be careful in the terminal,” she said in a thick British accent. “There are bands of thieves who steal valuables. Keep your suitcases close to you at all times.”
“In the airport?” I questioned.
“Yes, It’s terrible. Crime in India is out of control. The government needs to do something about it.” “Oh, thank you,” I said, “we’ll be careful.”

With only ten minutes to catch our scheduled flight to Madras, we stopped at the airline desk to ask them to hold the plane for us.
“What is your final destination?” the airline clerk asked.
“Colombo, Sri Lanka,” Charles answered.
“I’m sorry,” the airline clerk said. “It’s not possible. You’ll need to collect your baggage and pass through customs.”
“Customs?” I asked. “We’ll never make the flight.”
“I can book you on the next available flight to Madras in two days time, and on to Colombo,” she said.
We wondered aloud how to contact our friends in Trincomalee. No clue how to let them know.
“Surrender to fate,” I said.
“Not much we can do,” Charles said. “Book us on the next available flight out.”
“Since the delays are Air India’s fault, we will book you into a luxury hotel and pay your expenses,” the clerk informed us.
“Where will we be staying?” I asked.
“The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel,” she answered.
“The Taj Mahal?” I asked. “Fabulous!”
“It is,” she said. “It’s been renovated and is beautiful. It’s Bombay’s first harbor landmark and the first licensed bar in the city.”
“Sounds great.” Charles smiled.
“It’s legendary,” she said. “Ask the hotel staff to tell you about its history. The ballroom has a gorgeous view of the Gateway to India.”
“Exciting,” I said. “Thanks!” I turned to Charles. “Time to see the sights of Bombay.”
Charles nodded.
“But for now, all I want is a shower and a comfortable bed,” I announced.

With our tickets re-booked, we followed the crowd into the baggage area.
After two frustrating hours, we found our luggage and proceeded through customs.
We lugged our heavy suitcases along a long corridor in the direction of the exit. Charles walked ahead of me, trying to locate a bank so he could change money. Seeing none, he suggested I stay with the luggage while he explored.

I pushed our suitcases close together and stood waiting for him to return.
Disembarking passengers thinned out. All at once, the terminal seemed eerily empty.
Out of a side corridor, three young Indian men appeared, moving toward me.
I quickly straddled the suitcases and sat, legs dangling across them.
Approaching, they asked if I wanted help moving them.
“No, thank you!” I said, firmly. “I’m waiting on my husband.”
“We help you,” one young man said, reaching for a suitcase.
“No,” I shouted, looking around the terminal for help.

I noticed a sea of orange robes heading my way. A group of young women chanting and dancing in brightly colored orange saris.
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama,” their chant grew louder and their dancing got wilder as they neared.
The three young men backed away and disappeared into a dark passage.
When the dancers reached me, they smiled.
One introduced herself as a devotee of Krishna, and offered to sell me a booklet to benefit the starving children of India. Others continued to chant and sway.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“New York,” she said. “And you?”
“I’m from LA. Why are you in India?
“We’re here to sell our books and spread the word about Krishna Consciousness, and build a temple to honor our Swami, Srila … ”
“There are thousands of starving children in New York,” I said.
“We worship the Hindu god Krishna as the one Supreme God,” another young woman chimed in, ignoring my comment.
“So you’re missionaries?” I asked.
“We’re evangelists. We believe in reincarnation …” one follower wanted to explain their beliefs, but another interrupted, while others continued to chant.
“I believe in reincarnation,” I said. “But I don’t think I need to sell it to others.”
They kept chanting and dancing around me.
“How many times do you have to chant this?” I asked.
“Sixteen,” a young woman answered.
I shook my head in disbelief. Where the hell is Charles?
“We’re vegetarians, and abstain from worldly pleasures,” the young woman said.
“Does chanting help?” I asked. I must have looked confused.
Another young devotee explained they practiced being celibate.
“No drugs or alcohol,” another chimed in. “The temple will be our heaven on earth when it is completed.”
They tried again to sell me the book.
“No. But thanks,” I said, my eyes searching the corridor for Charles and grateful for the diversion which drove off apparent predators. What was taking him so long?
When the Krishna believers realized I had no intention to purchase a book, they moved on.

I looked again for Charles and sighed, relieved to see him coming back. His smile told me he had found a place to exchange money.

Stormy Seas

Sandalwood Sanity and Diego Garcia–A Journey of Discovery
by Susan Joyce

Excerpt from Chapter 12
Stormy Seas
Indian Ocean, July, 1975

Soon after dawn the following day, a frustrated Dylan made several attempts to get a read on our location with no success. The skies were darkening and black clouds billowed over a choppy sea. I watched him go back and forth trying to figure out where we were. I also noticed he tapped the barometer often.
“Why does he do that?” I asked Charles.
“If it goes down fast when tapped,” Charles answered, ” it means a storm is coming.”
“Oh,” I said.

Sometime later in the day, Dylan announced, “Strong winds are taking us further east than planned.”
“Are we lost?” I asked. Lost at sea. I shuddered at the thought.
“We’ll get back on course,” Dylan said, trying to calm my concern. He grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back up on deck.
Seconds later, he called for Jake to help him lower the sails. “Twister, heading our way,” he yelled.
Jake ran up the stairs.
“A twister could capsize the Zozo,” Charles said bounding up the stairs after him.
I followed and tried to help. Sudden squalls could sink a boat. We were all acting fast to lower the sails and secure them with ropes. I knew quick action was the only way to keep a boat under control during severe weather.

Sails lowered, we went back downstairs to the galley. Dylan closed the hatch to keep the wind and rain from causing damage inside the boat.
“A sudden gust can topple any sailing ship,” Mia said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you can’t react fast enough to match the sudden change in force.” Charles explained. “Unless you keep a close watch of changing skies.”
“A sea twister like a cyclone on land, right?”
“Yes, it appears as a whirling column of air and water mist. A funnel cloud,” Charles said. “And can be quite destructive when the water spouts swirl.”
I could hear the ferocious wind blowing and see the sea rise higher. Two visible water spouts were sucking the sea water.
“Glad we’re not outside,” I said.

More lighting strikes as we heaved back and forth with the ship in the raging sea. When the worst of the twister had passed, Dylan opened the hatch and climbed up on deck to take his turn standing watch for other ships or obstacles in the area.
Not knowing where we were and with sails down, Dylan decided to let the winds take us where they pushed until the storms cleared.

The men kept constant vigil during each watch. Charles mentioned that the cross bar on the main mast kept plunging into the water, then jolting back to the other side when the ship rolled side to side with the mountainous waves. “Keeping watch is the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind,” he said.
“Not exactly pleasure yachting,” I said. I knew he was having a hard time dealing with the tense situation.
“Watching the course indicator and other instruments keeps my mind occupied,” he replied.
“Opportunity of a life time?” I asked.
“What was I thinking?” he muttered, questioning his original thoughts of a fun high seas adventure.
“It will be opportune, when we survive.”
Charles shivered. He looked pale.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Just weak from lack of food and sleep.”
“These squalls and waves are overwhelming,” I said.
“It’s difficult to sleep knowing how easily a boat can tip over.” Charles added.
“Let’s hope Zozo’s hull is as great as Dylan claims.”
Charles nodded. “If it takes in water, it will sink. And it will happen fast.”
“A matter of seconds, minutes?” I asked.
“In an instant.” He snapped his fingers. “No time to grab a life jacket or launch a raft.”
We looked at each other and sighed. Charles bowed his head.
“It is disheartening,” I said. “Hard to think clearly. But I think we’ll make it.”
“I hope you’re right.”
The ultimate struggle for survival happens mentally,” I said.
Charles looked at me as if I were a stranger.
“Have you had one of your crazy dreams?” he asked.
“Several,” I answered.

Sandalwood Sanity and Diego Garcia

800px-Sun_squeezed_in_the_middleExcerpt from Chapter One

“I’m sure they’ll teach us the ropes; how to hoist, and lower sails. Should be easy. Tomorrow,” he said, heading to bed, “we’ll book our tickets.”
I nodded.
“The Cyprus book can happen later. After our return,” he said, kissing me good night.
“Good night” I said. “Think I’ll read for a bit.” Instead I found myself thinking about life and the places it can take you, if you’re open to an adventure. I thought about the influences that move one forward and the obstacles that hold some people back. I remembered the cocktail party friends had in their home to welcome us to LA after the Cyprus War. Lots of interesting, high powered people in the entertainment industry welcoming us into their world. Many mentioned how they wished they could leave it all behind and explore other countries; all had a great excuse for why they couldn’t possibly leave their comfort zone.
Wonder why Charles didn’t want to finish the book? Perhaps he couldn’t? I enjoyed researching and writing. It was a challenge trying to figure out the unknowns surrounding the coup and subsequent Turkish invasion. Maybe Charles wasn’t free to tell his story. If so, why wouldn’t he mention it to me? Was he protecting me by not telling? I pondered that possibility. Oh well, I thought, tomorrow I’ll research Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, pleasure yachting, how to handle sea sickness … and how to avoid drowning at sea. Just in case.
I opened the book I had checked out of the library earlier that day. It was written by Jess Stearn, an author who explored the hidden dimensions of man’s mind. I had read a book by him some years ago about Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet; a book about an American psychic, a clairvoyant who could, under hypnosis, diagnose physical illness, prescribe cures, and even see a subject’s past and future lives. I had found it comforting after a near death experience following routine surgery in LA years ago. The book explained many things to me—like astral projection, near-death experiences, out of body experiences, and reincarnation.
The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell’s Psychic Lives by Jess Stearn had me hooked from page one when writer friends Stearn and Caldwell are at a social event, debating the concept of reincarnation. She is adamant about not believing in it. He says he is skeptical, but open to the idea. Caldwell is a best selling, award winning author of historical fiction; Stearn is a best selling author of works on spirituality and psychic phenomenon. Stearn is convinced that Caldwell’s brilliant books are a sub-conscious recollection of her own previous lives. She makes light of his suggestion; pooh-poohing the idea, and agrees to go to a hypnotist and be hypnotized to prove her point. In session after session, Taylor Caldwell tells of the many lives she has lived and all seem related to the “fictional history” accounts in her books.
Fascinating. I thought, placing a bookmark into the book.
I went to the kitchen sink, turned on the water and began cleaning the wine glasses. I found myself staring out the window, into the dark of night, imagining being out in the middle of the vastness of the Indian Ocean somewhere.  Seemed profound and overwhelming.

Another Five Star Review!

The Lullaby Illusion, by Susan Joyce

Thank you M.J. Faraldo for your great review!

Susan’s “Lullaby Illusion” is an incredible tale, full of life, risks, friendships, history, loss, suspicion and trust. It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions that compelled you to keep on reading from beginning to end.
Her life will amaze you. The situations she shares will keep you on the edge of your seat because Susan’s writing will transport you to those places, making you “live” those circumstances with her.

The Lullaby Illusion hits the shelves (and e-shelves)

The Lullaby Illusion, by Susan Joyce

Now available!

The Lullaby Illusion

by Susan Joyce

New book details the harrowing personal journey of a young
American woman facing seemingly insurmountable situations while living in the Middle East and Europe.
After many miscarriages and the loss of a child in childbirth on the island of Cyprus, Susan seeks solace by creating art and recording her vivid dreams. Through difficult life changes—Cyprus’s bloody coup and war in 1974, a rescue from a sinking ship in the Indian Ocean, learning
of her husband’s secret life, and surviving his deadly assault in Belgium, she discovers her “ticking clock” is not the child she fails to produce, but rather her creative potential.

Following her vivid dreams and intuition, she successfully reinvents herself as an artist and writer. From beginning to end, Susan Joyce reminds us of the stream of awareness that flows through all of us.

Early reader reviews show it resonates universally with men and women:

A hell of a tale…

— Mark Mercer, Writer

Amid the gripping account of her final days living in Cyprus as war broke out and bullets flew past, what moved me most was Susan’s spirit through the difficulties life throws at her. This true story gives honest insight into the complex emotional turmoil we all experience for various reasons, and shows how it is always possible to see the positive and build our life afresh exactly as we choose to live; not to long for what might have been. An uplifting, inspiring and triumphant story.

— Jennifer Barclay, Author, Falling in Honey

…like riding the roller coaster of life, exciting and engrossing, funny and sad. A real page turner. I was sorry to read “The End.”

Isabel Saltonstall, Editor


Available from, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Powell’s, other online sellers and better bookstores.

Tribute to Stuart Wilde

Stuart Wilde, the great metaphysical teacher and writer has passed on. May he rest in peace knowing his steady light brightened the way to my awakening.  His philosophy and writings have greatly influenced my life and my works. Thank you Stuart Wilde for sharing your thoughts with others. Link to Stuart Wilde site