Friday, November 12, 2010

I remember that it was so hot we couldn't move but we did anyways because we had to catch the night train back to Cairo. Middle of the day, and we had no food and K was stuck in the bathroom and I was grumpy and tired but we went out at noon anyways and walked up and down the dusty main street looking for a supermarket to buy peanuts and ginger ale. Tried to stay out of the sun by sticking to the edges of the street, staying under the awnings, but the heat still dragged us down of course.
That night, instead of being hot we froze in the air-conditioned train, and I pulled out my sleeping bag and slept on the filthy floor with my head under the seat with the trash. Mahmoud called the McDonalds at one of our stops, and so we had McDonalds cheeseburgers delivered at midnight to our train. It was completely surreal.
By daybreak the airconditioner was broken, and I woke from my shallow dozing drenched in sweat as the sun started to pour in.
I wanted to go home lots on my trip. There were quite a few moments when I longed for the crisp Canadian Fall, for bonfires and leaves falling and sweaters and scarves. I would daydream about the wide open spaces of the prairie with the biggest sky I have ever seen, about the unpopulated wild mountains and tundra and the OCEAN. About hiking for weeks without running into another human.
But mostly I just missed my family. If I could have transported them to be with me, I would have. I didn't miss home enough to seriously think about leaving, but the tug of family was like an insurance that I would come home at least for a little bit before leaving again.
The trick is to not think about stuff like that. Keep it locked up in your brain, and don't let your mind wander down that path.

Ugh, I'm feeling restless and trapped again. As the weather gets colder and colder, the days shorter and the nights longer, I feel like I'm in a fight with the door closed. I need that door to stay open.

I remember running around Rome by myself. Sometimes after class I would get so bored, feel so claustrophobic with the same people constantly around me, I would just have to leave. I would catch the metro out to Vatican City, get gelato and fill up my water bottle at my favourite fountain, sit and watch the fat tourists. Once or twice I wandered up and down the Tiber River, but mostly I would just find an old church and sit on the steps with my sunglasses on and write little sketches and letters. Or just people watch. The amount of people passing soothed me. The interesting things you can see if you take the time to just sit and watch!

I think I've lost my spark again. Perhaps it's drowned in the mucous of this horrible lingering cold I have?


  1. Since I never got to see you this summer, I'm so happy you are writing about your travels! I feel like I kind of know what it was like... what you saw, what you did, who you met.
    This is nice, I like hearing about it all.

    I think at this time of year, we all feel a bit smothered by the dark and the cold. I just keep reminding myself that as with all things, this too will pass.

    You aren't giving yourself enough credit...
    You couldn't lose that spark even if you tried.

  2. Mucus is hell on the wanderer's reverie.

    But I know just what you're talking about. The delirium that traveling brings on. The surrealism. The ethereality (that ought to be a word if it isn't). You start to wonder if you're awake or dreaming, if you're on some kind of drug that came from too much fresh air, too many lurching buses and rattling trains, too much McDonald's at midnight.

    (They delivered McDonald's in Korea, too. I saw guys riding around Seoul on scooters with the golden arches on 'em. That was pretty surreal, let me tell you.)

    Ain't it great to escape the indoors, the posers, the frustrating, stifling, toxic people...and just sit in some foreign square and people-watch?

    Jacqueline's motion seconded. You wouldn't lose that spark. Not in aeons. The notion is ludicrous. Painters may go blind, but they can still produce a sunrise.

  3. My darling Jacq,
    I miss you so much these days. In fact, sometimes I worry whether my missing you will bring about a disaster, or some horrible set of circumstances that will force us to see each other.
    It's very pessimistic of me.
    Merci, as always, for the kind and warm words of wisdom. French air kisses all round

    Postman: You always understand! It's crazy. You just GET what I GET. It's rare to find someone like you who can put into words what I feel, but can't say. And yes, sometimes you need that foreign square, that complete alienation from everything you know and are comfortable with. I hope that much more travelling and exploration will come into your life: you deserve it.