Archive for March, 2008

Atlanta, 27/3/08

29 March, 2008

The airport in Atlanta, Georgia is surely one of the largest in the world. Within it’s huge concourses and in the basement beneath with it’s seven stop train line, there resides the most stunning art collection.

From life size ponies fashioned from scrap aluminium to historic photos, from delicate quilts to collections of prohibited imports. But most impressive of all is a quote writ large upon a screen from the immortal speech of Dr. King, “I have a dream this afternoon”. Wise words indeed.

To ease the last few hours of my wait for the flight to London, jazz played live on a grand piano, with gusto! The flight north into the night then developed its own mystery as a late moon shone weak upon a star adorned cloudscape.

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Good Friday ’08

29 March, 2008

The clock strikes half past something, mid siesta. My first week in Buenos Aires was spent in an amazing hostel near the Congresso, very chill, lots of great music, animated conversion, celebration of life (of survival), too many cigarettes, too much tension on the city centre streets. Some very nice folk on leave from a distant war, letting down their hair and looking after each other.

With both regret and relief i train out to the northern suburbs and arrange to stay with Mary, who has lived in her flat at the base of a tower block for forty years. Here there is less tension. The tall trees that line all the side-streets, interact with the balconies in the warm breeze. Sirens are few and far between, Hose’ the doorman helps clear the spare room to make room for me.

On Sunday i will church with and then lunch with my uncle and his family. Then my purpose for coming here will be complete, i will take Wednesdays plane back to the states, Thursdays plane back to London, god willing.

The prospect of staying in northern Europe’s emotional freeze over after weeks of South American warmth and generosity, is not very appealing.

Why do i not stay longer in Argentina? The answer is simple, living costs money, even in this economy. If i stay here too long i will then be stuck in England when i return, trying to live as a lonely pensioner. The purpose of this trip was, in part, to break out of that rut so i do not want to return to it. Further south there is a place where i might be able to make myself useful, hopefully.

Sorry Dad, i’ll not be returning with an Argentine wife, the budget simply does not cover it. Sorry Sweetness, i can not stop being in love with you no matter how forlorn the hope por Los hombres disafectionardo.

Eating Out

16 March, 2008

There are definitely some aspects of the Argentine way if life that sit very comfortably with the relaxed type of person. Morning happens in the afternoon, buses push start stalled cars, eating out costs less than a take away in the UK and the world passes endless breezy Rocco balconies at less than twenty miles an hour.

This is not the height of summer mind you, this is mid march. For the next few days the only shops that will be open will be the ones that I need. No complaints there. The buildings of the city grace the streets gently like stoic and beautifully elders. Thirteen million people take their time.

The inner turmoil subsides. The shakes return gently but the stride is good. Today i will wear the elephant T-shirt brought to me from Thailand, maybe it will assist the failing memory. Stranger things happen at sea but hey, it’s worth a try. This is my chance to see if a change of pace to south american time will work for me, so how many pesos do i have left…… enough i think, just.

Buenos Aires, 13/3/08

15 March, 2008

Warm faces, warm hearts on a warm morning. I am here at last. It´s taken me a whole lifetime but i am here, no one can stop me now.

I stand outside the aeropuerto door smoking and crying and soaking up the lilting chatter of the re-united. I know no-one here but that won´t last long. Sitting on my big purple wheeled case the cool morning feels as comfortable as a new lover.

As i pollute the atmosphere of BA with my first cigarette of the day the smoke tastes as grungy as my soul. Now… the city.

Atlanta Airport, 12/3/08

14 March, 2008

An airport more enormous than i could have imagined, dwarfing anything i have seen before. Americans grumpy and beautiful and bossy. I walked four kilometers just going for a stroll through the basement connecting tunnel between the terminals. It was full of Zimbabwe sculpture and there were some amazing American collages and architectural art including two rows of topsy tervy pillars in the arrival hall, dusky red and reeling like the whirly whirlies near silver city.

Fingerprints taken, films recommended to me by a very cute security lady and then a cheering conversation with a Tibetan monk from New York before take off for Buenos Aires in the evening.

Then a night flight with a hundred mile an hour tail wind and a dawn over the vast plains of northern Argentina, an endless expanse of paddocks. Then the first sight of the elegant but dilapidated mother city Buenos Aires.

32,000 feet above Canada 12/3/08

13 March, 2008

Outrageously beautiful, no place has the right to look so spectacular.

Pack-ice to the horizon eventually gives way to to a vast rocky coast cut by frozen waterways (or are they glaciers). Trees fighting to keep to the edge of the permafrost along valleys with meanders miles wide.

If Europa and Enceledus are as troubled as this then we may have no place there, no hope, no strengths to pit against it. I fondly imagine tracks or settlements but no, they are not there. This place is harsher and more remote than Siberia or the Hymillias.

Happy birthday self, you bought one hell of a birthday present this year, you selfish …. And Sweetness wished you one too, at least someone else did.

 Towards southern edge of snow a crater eighty kilometers wide with a high almost volcanic looking central peak and a ring river outside its inner wall. The river is frozen and there is still snow on the central highland but the surrounding landscape is is dark green with conifers.

From ‘Wallpaper Without Flowers’ by R.Nelson, 1992.

6 March, 2008

If there was a place for

For tears to run

Mine would wind

A salt river

To your door

The Smell of Night

I have taken all life’s colour

Drunk

The dripping freedom

Of the sun

I have watched

Waters

Clarity

Her apparent nothingness

Her unmeasured depth

Of untapped knowledge

Free

Unsilenced

I have sung

My mirage

Of opaque

Edens

And gathered

The smell of night

Serene

Power of moon

I have listened to

Utopias

Rainbow

Of Senses

And felt

Totally lived

Utterly real

IT

IT

WILL VISIT ME

AGAIN

WHEN I’M OFF

MY GUARD

WHEN I’M OFF

THE RAILS

IT

WILL JUMP OUT

OF A

DARK ALLEY

WHEN I’M WALKING

HOME FROM A

FRIENDS SECURITY

IT

WILL PLAY

CHILDISH GAMES

INSIDE

MY HEAD

BECAUSE IT CANNOT

HAVE

IT’S OWN WAY

IT

WILL GET TIRED

I

WILL GET STRONG

IT

WILL

LEAVE

The Call South

5 March, 2008

The southern sky calls. There is nothing inherently better about the southern sky except the centre of our galaxy and the fact you are lying flat under the driest, thinnest sky dozens of kilometers form the nearest light pollution and thousands of kilometers from the nearest really big city.

These conditions are favourable for viewing the the galaxy, a hundred thousand light years away, the mist they call the milky way. Thirty thousand light years away, the thirty degree wide ball of stars and possibly black holes or some such which form the centre of our turbulent, crashing galaxy of two hundred billion stars.

Across the lower half of the ball of central stars a band of gas which completely obscures our view. The moonless cloudless sky is white but for minor color variations. Olbers paradox is solved.

Levodopa

4 March, 2008

I wake up ravenous, three am. I can move, like a normal person. I swing my legs off the bed and go to the kitchen for some peanuts. In the morning i will be able to shower and shave without having to wait for an hour to loosen up enough.

Levodopa is a medication which is a revelation to those who need it, though a dangerous one. I have dreams of working again, maybe even a good job driving an ambulance or something in engineering, instead of labouring.

Please don’t get me wrong, i love gardening, fencing, delivery driving and these modes have helped keep the wolf from the door between bouts of disabling stiffness, for many years. But the possibility of being well enough to hold down a better more skilled position, is not just a dream i cling to. That possibility is so enticing that to have it dangled before me, just out of reach, maybe soon within… is causing me to become slightly unhinged.

Meanwhile, my ancient Volks Vagon has passed away and i have received the gift of a bicycle. Exercise is what i need now. In order to further this dream of mine i must be fit and frosty enough to actually do it.