The rain is drumming on the parasol and the wind blowing through the trees is unusually cold for the season. The lake, just down the slope in front of me, lies flat and gray like a piece of slate, reflecting the dismal sky. The embers in the barbecue glow red, heating me up just enough to keep standing here. The summer shouldn't be cold and wet like this but the sun is conspicuous by its absence. Two steps to the side I would be miserable yet here, in this little pocket of dry warmth, it's strangely cozy; like sitting inside watching the rain through the window but somehow more acute. All I lack now is the typical barbecue beer...perhaps exchanged for a cup of hot chocolate.
The rain is beating down so hard the noise drowns out all other sound. Down below preparations are going on for opening the market just like every morning; trucks of all sizes coming and going, boxes of fruit and vegetables being loaded or offloaded, and men shouting to each other over the droning of engines. Normally the sounds from all this would float up to me where I stand but this night they don't, nothing but the whoosh of the water. On a clear night you could see far from here, the lights of apartments on the other side of the city and the faint outline of distant mountains against the pre dawn sky, but tonight the pouring rain obscures everything, making the world seem small. It's like being in a silent bubble, surrounded by a curtain of water.
There are people absolutely eveywhere. They’re all around me, moving in all directions all at once. Each person has their own goal but together they become like ants, milling about frantically. Scooters mixing in with the people, normally so nimble, this crowd makes them feel big and clumsy, and they creep along at the same pace as the pedestrians. There’s noise all around, the omnipresent murmur of voices, the buzzing of scooter engines, and the shouts of vendors. I can see my wife ahead of me, but the sea of people has filled the gap between us. Beyond her, the … Read the rest
PLIMATES. The text is still clearly visible on the otherwise worn old paint bucket. It's being used as a temporary-come-permanent flower pot. There's nothing strange about that, except the location. I'm surrounded by greenery, to my left the park with it's bushes and trees, and to the right - just beyond the fence - lies the river, weeds growing on the banks and in the shallows, clear blue water gurgling past. For some unfathomable reason, there's a large collection of potted plants arranged in rows along the sides of the path. It's a haphazard mix of pots; old buckets, Styrofoam boxes, and actual flower pots in all shapes, sizes and colors; with just as varied a mix of plants growing in them. It's so strange to see them here, despite being real living plants they almost feel artificial - sort of out of place in the landscape. I've already taken a bunch of photos but I'm not sure they can fully convey the feeling. As I turn on my camera to snap a few more, one question is at the front of my mind: why would someone - clearly not the gardeners - bring a bunch of random potted plants to a park?
There is no trail! All there is, is a narrow ledge, barely wide enough for one person. To the left, a near vertical wall of rock, greenery spilling over the edge up above; to the right, a steep drop down to the swiftly flowing turquoise water, swirling and frothing as it passes over and around some big boulders in the stream, the sound of rushing water filling the air. A thin rope, attached at intervals to the rock, trails along the cliff side; no way of knowing how well it will hold. I grab on to it more for psychological support than actual safety. I don't want to stumble here, focus on placing my feet; step by step by step until the ledge widens. I can relax again and take in my surroundings; the gently rolling green of the opposite bank, the afternoon sun coming in at an angle, painting golden highlights on the tree tops. I stop briefly to snap a quick photo that doesn't quite capture the feeling, then continue onwards.
What my eyes see as fairy-tale-esque, the camera screen shows as flat. Three verdant mountains rising up in my left, one behind the other, their sides dotted with clusters of white tong flowers. The mists swirl around their peaks, alternately revealing the greenery for a moment then hiding it again. In front and to the right the valley opens up, lighter greens and more white flowers, another mist shrouded mountain in the distance. I take a sip of my tea then pick up the camera again, readjust the settings and put my eye to the viewfinder. Let's see if I can capture that magical atmosphere this time.