The International Writers Magazine: Arriving
When landing in a foreign country
after dark its pretty hard to tell just which one youre
in. Looking from the window seat of the plane on approach a cloak
of darkness obscures any landmark that might help you deduce where
you are. Even inside the terminal, signs are written in hieroglyphics
that only narrow your knowledge of where you are to somewhere
outside a major city on one specific continent.
Herded toward customs
you are funneled through stalls manned by personnel donning oversized
Gestapo uniforms, demanding in broken English, to see the documents
they will use to determine your eligibility for admission. They regard
you with suspicion and begrudgingly award you the official stamp of
approval, allowing you to proceed deeper inside their country.
Back outside, even at night, you wish to discard a layer of clothing
for the heat that begins to suggest your latitude. A 40 minute bus ride
into the city, over a bumpy road, in the company of a dysfunctional
air conditioner better skilled at moaning than cooling, causes you to
question your itinerary. But youll have to wait until morning
to get the real flavor of the place.
And then morning comes. You wake to the sounds of music filtering in
off the street. Not just the syncopated rhythms captured and modulated
from disc through loud speakers, but the wild sounds of the street.
Horns incessantly blaring to warn listless commuters to get out of the
way, there are things to be done that day. Sing song voices in a foreign
language chanting phrases that you can strangely understand to say,
"Wake up my friend, come out and join us." A weak wind rustling
the leaves of the palms promising that it wont be able to keep
you cool for long, that the sun is moving up and its going to
be a hot one today. The sound of the ocean crashing over the barrier
wall and onto the street beckoning you with a suggestion that what the
wind cant do it will, so get up.
You roll out of bed yielding to the call of the sounds and the pull
of the light. You open the window to a market place of people, a world
of colors, and an ocean of aromas. They all foretell new and exciting
adventures, an excursion that could not be had from any place else in
© Richard Turner
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