But the post also has content that brings contentment, for even though it’s taken six years, I can now put a couple of tick marks against my bucket list. Observe the parts emboldened –
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
And how shall I begin ... shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets. And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows … And one of them would have been me, standing at a window high above the Via Arriberti, looking out at the layered sky settling behind the chic hedgehog Duomo and the dome of a church in the next street.
The winter evening settles down With smells of steaks in passage-ways … except that in Calcutta, one would have to wait a long long time to smell a good steak. Perhaps in the CC&FC or Mocambo. Mem: Work on a good steak-house for the city. But as the weather slips towards December, it is nice to walk the darkling streets or perch (perchance) on a balcony and greet the chill of evening.
Life is very long … What does the week ahead hold for me? I need to change my job. Stay at home and tap away at this slightly speckled key-board until something emerges that I can parley for pelf.
Then take the money and run … to Peru to see the Nazca Lines and Macchu Picchu, push myself across a rope bridge in the Andes, stare down a llama … Or to Malawi, to walk the high veldt with a camera as the sun goes down behind the acacias and a stomach-jolting roar floats from the horizon … A wood-panelled pub in a narrow alley in Dublin, at a table scarred with burns and bitters, with the lilt of Irish talk around … Or on a road out of Istanbul with the Bosporus gleaming below, driving between two days and two continents as strange music pours from the radio … Perhaps a yurt on the steppes on the edge of the Gobi, lifting the flap to see the horizon distant as another day ...
Oh well. At least I have my coffee ... "black as sin, hot as the Pit and strong enough to float a horseshoe".
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Observe, good my lords and gentles, that I have got around to fulfilling a couple of these wishes. In 2007 a couple of kind souls who liked my store window, to wit, this Philippic, actually started buying some of my efforts. No princely amounts, but the satisfaction of knowing that somebody thought my writing good enough to buy with real money. Post recession, the market has even picked up, to the point where my keyboard can subsidise not just my panatellas but even the occasional bottle of peaty delight. Score one for the dinosaur!
Peru … I know my limitations, so I did not venture the Inca trail with its precarious bridges, but in 2009 I did manage to visit Machu Picchu (Pick-choo, say Pick-choo, not Pitchu). I even saw the Nazca Lines from the plane, on the long flight back towards Sao Paulo. And while truth compels me to admit that I did not in fact stare down a llama, I did withstand the downhill rush of three of the uncouth creatures while climbing up to the threshing floor at Machu Picchu.
Istanbul was the year before that, 2008, an idyll of quayside coffee in Ortakay and leisurely walks down Istiklal (marred only by a series of meetings, how work does intrude most unfairly upon life!).
And of course, Mocambo and black coffee are two of the enduring pillars of my workaday existence. For once, this Old Bong has reason to go easy on the sadness! Sunrise in Malawi, the Gobi, even Dublin - I shall get there, no matter that it’s a long long way to Tipperary!
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