Travel Brings Out

Travel can bring out every pore, pimple and scar.  All the afraid movements, the small double-checks of the passport and wallet.  It can amplify the street hawkers the peddle peddle peddle for a Euro, the begging beings. The layers of wealth and the sore and the oblivious and the daily.  Daily routines of a Metro in the snake holes of a tunnel through the lines trudging stairs, lines of puffy jackets boots flat to the stair.  Travel can expand the sense of the poor and the fat, the true gloating of the franchises.  The networked brush through the commuters to eat free lunches in foyers and be fauned on by a Spanish chef who keeps adjusting his testicles.  Loud Russian voices speak of an ugly veil of selfhood.  

Also, though, travel can bring a great pride in navigating.  In absorbing and also deflecting.  In the strength of the upper back against a sagging bag.  The sudden pangs for a home accent while loving fast attitude of the other.  

I have a new god and her name is Loli Cortes

Conduit, creator and conductor of universe.  Fierce deft form housing pure condensed essence.  Practiced choreography takes off into cry of the arms; footwork impeccable.

We watched the Patrimonio Flamenco in a small municipal theatre in Granada, up in Sacromonte.  Cobbled jolty streets wind white-washed up mountains.  Allhumbra opposite glowing is the backdrop through the large window.  

´The ´I Word

For me, the Ϩword is identity.  It is the crux of my thesis which I am trying to have a rest from, but it is everywhere, in everything, and also often seems hollow and a bit of a wank.  However, travelling has seen me drift from my usual identifiers.  Not having language to speak with many people means that I am not as connected to, not talking about, who I amñ where I liveñ what I do.  So in a way the ´I´ is gone, but still looking for attention, recognition, understanding.  But the I can also watch other Í´s in their own embedded habitus.  Or maybe we are all floating, sometimes, in some ways.

There’s So Much I Can’t Word;

let alone write.  The feeling-world of change inside my mind and it’s window on a year.  Window on travel, on my habits and values, on the immensities of population and poverty.  The sizes of scale; the healings and washing through of loss and newness.  There’s so much inside cells of my hands that I am trying to speak.  So, when I can’t, I watch it.  Watch the left hand field the right side of the brain.  Watch the reflections on the choreographies of listening to a foreign language.  Watch musings on the gestures of conversing people.  Watch the effect of European grey on my pupils.  Watch watch watch the regressions of an interior.  Watch watch watch the judgements and accumulations of conditioning brought sharp through travel.  Watch class values and culture values and ethnic values.  Watch the shape of people in relation to grey old.  Buildings of crumble, selective history, visible wearing.  Watch the addicts of television in little cubby rooms given up, temporarily, giving up, for a while.  Watch the old.  The old are visible in Europe, and they watch mucho television.

San Sebastian, Barcelona, and Don Watson

Don Watson kills me with his writing.  A sure, flat death.  I have been reading American Journeys whilst on my own European one and I am annihilated by his book.  I am at that stage of the inspiration cycle where there is no point, for moments, in writing at all, no point in responding to such a glorious death by words.  I can feel that my writing self is thrilled by this inspiration and will live off such a generous chunk of sculpted reflection.  But, for now, I mourn finishing his book and want to start again to be wrapped up in his voice.

Barcelona’s mix of design, thieves, designer thieves, hippies (or ‘kinkies’) or designer hippies, buskers, busking thieves and of course all of the city workers and kids like everywhere else had a funny effect of making me less interested in alternative culture, or in some of the unconsciously vain aspects of it.  Gaudi’s buildings drawn into the sky dripping with layers of stone topped with fruits made sense of a new kind of chunky.

San Sebastian’s in winter huddle, which is probably a good time to visit a tourist destination.  I have reached a bit of a threshold with church-visiting, but am enjoying close mountains through which to feel the history of borders and invasions, holdings and burnings.  

 

 

Eppi End Yur

Or something like that … Australians are entering it ahead of us … we have encountered some traveller’s challenges but hey.  It has been an intensely chastening year, I feel I have buffeted and blown down, into much more of a core.  A nothing save consciousness.  Lost everything I assumed; gained skeletal robustness.  A year of movement.  Now in Paris I have had motion sickness for almost a week.  But I have loved witnessing all of the beings on the ride, in their own carriages.  Own stories dancing their own choreographies.  Hu to you all and may 2010 bring wakefulness.

First Reflection

So far, I am particularly noticing that London feels cute.  Something about the compact dimensions and rounded corners of the cabs, buses, the older, more-planned-than-Sydney structures.  I was expecting it to be harsher, scary.  But I am feeling in me the toughness of Australia, the harsh white light, harsh impact of culture, harsh attitudes of, say, Sydney.  Even the multicultural moments in London feel more woven into the days. Just a first-travel-day’s reflections that are a gloss needle threaded across the top of an ocean of complexity, but, still.

The European wind on the cheeks in the eyes makes instant sense of the speedy junglish music in hot basements, huddling in pubs, and the weather-appropriate London style.  I know I know and many know this: it’s just that profound and middling knowing achieved by being here with feet on cobbly, cute-narrow footpaths that does it.

The Tate Modern had the usual gallery effect of stimulating overwhelm, inspired and hard on the feet.  I spotted a couple of hidden gems within the Poetry and Dream exhibition covering futurists, Dadaists, surrealists.  It is great and strangely ordinary, full of disbelief to stand in front of an image looked at in books and internet from afar and see it as a painting breathing the same air as me, but also limited in the confines of a frame and the history and machinery of Art Industry.  Say a Max Ernst.  

Many snippets ring.  The sandwich and coffee man empathising with his Pakistani regulars: “that’s true, Baba”. The serious stylish angles rocked in a configuration of afro and capped beanies. The grey light with receeding orange slices of sun on roof contrasting with my lived knowledge of Australia’s nothing-spared-knives of solar blast.  Kids camera-wrangling and loving at Globe Theatre gates where each wrought iron animal is in a Shakespeare play. And –

Heathrow Express

We are on the express train after travelling for over a day. I am feeling that surreal steaminess of sleep deprivation but could also just keep going now. Everything has been smooth so far, even though I was sick. I have just loved watching all of the different Emirates people, glimpses of Londoners so far. So, we’ve arrived!

Europa

This Antipodean is heading to Europa, swapping Aussie summer for snow-clad winter.  I’m talking London, Paris, Spain.  I am so blessed to be able to travel.  I am hoping to blog it, photo it, write and record and freestyle and snap away.  Stay tuned for, insh’allah, some street art, gig, flamenco, hip hop, and life snippets.  A.