Charita to Prapat
Prapat Travel Blog› entry 24 of 47 › view all entries
last night: talking talking
and Johnny: drinking drinking
in between: waves crash
white line in the darkness
only know it's a wave because of the context
the sky is moonless. starless
can't see anything
his arm reaching out to circle my shoulders
me rolling away
toes stirring up the sand
& waves crash
in they come
out they go
Today: The sun shines & I am sitting at a table in a tiny outdoor capong.
"Yes. I am here," I think. "This is his
how many people drown each year in those oceans?
food for the thots of fishes.
"So. Today I am getting somewhere," I think. "With everyone else gone off to
...until the conversation turns:
"Do you have Nirvana?" ????? (Later I gather he was hoping to bootleg a copy or two of the popular American grunge band. At the time, I admit, I was completely at a loss.
...& in a moment he is gone...
"Where are your friends?" a young girl asks.
They have gone to see
ping pong in front of me now
the women giggling when they miss a shot
their Indonesian conversation replete with information I cannot access.
& in the silence. between their words.
the ball bounces hollowly
back and forth
back and forth
... & along the way there was a woman grinding sugar-cane. A domed thatch umbrella protecting her from the sun. Her children, working all day to keep the fire burning under the vat that boiled the syrup; helping to carry away the ground cane husks, to be put to use later. She does not stop as we approach. Periodically she voices soft words, coaxing the ox that drives the heavy toothed gears of the pressing machine. Labourous beast, that ox; banana leaves over its eyes. Plodding endlessly. Round and around in a circle...
on the road
He was dressed in military fatigues. & that alone was enuf to dispel the lost-Eden image this landscape often inspires. We are on who knows whose property, having pulled off the road to set up a quick camp just long enuf to consume a meal before continuing. & we are each standing white skinned, Euro-centric around the canopy of the truck. Scuffing sneakered toes in the soft earth. Shuffling uncertainly before his gaze. Before the polish of his gun... After all even, Johnny's Indonesian isn't perfect, and one wrong word...
Yet the man seemed friendly enuf to quell some of the fear that jumps to mind when one thinks of
I gather he is asking where we are from. When
"I am an orphan. Homeless," a silly girl voice in my head plaintively intones... making me smile at the absurdity of the very notion of "home" ...the impulse to weave a sweet Anne of Green Gables story around my country's struggle for identity. Home and heart(h). This, despite the overwhelming guilt I carry around with me on my solipsistic journey. Having abandoned the cause... like a sinking ship. Can Canadian politics follow me? Even to the other side of the globe? Am I to be ambushed by my country's petty squabbles? Even here?
...but no. It seems the soldier has never heard of
"apart" "broken" "rip" "sky" "air?"
Ah, so: instead of a quaint little orphan story like Anne-of-the-turn-of-the-century, I am left with a science fiction extravaganza:
Gayle, the world traveler extraordinaire, returns to Saskatchewan to find that the beautiful prairie sun, the sun that had always turned the autumn wheat fields to gold, has this year transmogrified into a monstrous nuclear weapon, having burned the land until it had a bubbly brown crust (resembling nothing so much as the top of one of my grandmother's baked custards--she wasn't the greatest cook), the sun set to work on fragile flesh. My family coming to greet me at the
For the first time ever, the ozone layer has developed a fissure over a non-polar region:
I found a Batak calandar to take home for Jeff. Fragile and mysterious piece of an enduring past. Some twenty wooden slats hang from a fragment of bone. Tattooed everywhere, inscribed with what seems to my romantic ignorance a magic code. The calendars recorded the movement of the stars for these people centuries ago. Their purpose both medicinal and logistical
health = place + time
& the faces of Western tourists loom like pasty pink weather balloons all around us. Vague sense we don't belong here, now that I see so many others like myself. Desecrating. But there's no way of reading the Batak characters on my calendar. No understanding of where we are.