Friday, September 22, 2006

travelling dreams


I was again at the port, or was it the train station, ready to set out for my mysterious journey that would take me to that place South again. Then I learnt that it was not south at all but north and that i could have flown there. But I didn't want to fly anyway. I had memories of those ghostly flights to Los Nevados in which the place would melt and disappear in the mist and we would be left to climb the steep mountain, all the while seeing the cable car wagons slide up in the sky towards where we were going, far away and up in the heart of the mountain mist.

I had some doubt as to whether it was the same place up north that had been south, the route was different, the ticket they'd given me was different -where had I put that ticket, by the way? it was not in my pocket. But I had to have it on me, I hadn't been anywhere and I hadn't lost my luggage yet.

For some reason the train carriage reminded me of my room upstairs in my old house in Catia. How could a train carriage have cement floors? And leaky ones at that, and not level. A small screen at the front of the carriage showed a toy town-like map with features in primary colours and a big orange arrow reading 'You are here' which slowly moved as we shifted and left behind large gulps of landscape. Then I noticed the woman. She was blond and had her hair tied back, she had an acute, slightly aquiline note. She wasn't beautiful but was possibly the most attractive woman I'd ever seen. But, where had I put my coat? And my guitar? And my friends? I was sure I'd been with friends a short while ago.

I looked everywhere -found my guitar and my case, in the lower deck of the carriage, but never found my coat. Got off at the station when they called out the name through the addressing system. It was desolate. Tumbleweeds, a torn poster on a billboard, the air of a place where nobody had set foot for a very long time. I couldn't see the town behind the station, there were tall board fences with more torn billboards, only half-visible through the tall grass.

There was s red building like a Roman circus, surrounded by an expanse of dirt and litter. Paint peeling, old posters with toreadors and boxers torn and barely clinging to the wall. I was alone and no longer knew what I was supposed to do in this place, who I was supposed to meet, even where it was, geographically. I had been convinced I was still in Venezuela,, but some of the posters and the street signs seemed to be in English and other languages I did not know. The afternoon was drawing in and I was wondering -If I had to spend the night in this place, where would I stay? It might be better to go back to the station and take a train back. Or a bus, anything... I had a moment of panic when I couldn't think of the way back to the station, but then it appeared there in front of me at the turn of a corner. It seemed even more deserted and derelict than when I arrived a while before. I was alone, far away, with only the faintest idea of how to get back home...

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