Travel post #1- São Paulo to Manaus

Sun, breeze, or the extra pill. Or maybe the Sirocco numbness has left town. The blinding headache has retreated somewhat and maybe things won´t be so bad. Maybe I won´t sink into its sands but get across unscathed, but for the slight delay and heaviness. Maybe I can make myself lighter by soaking up this warmth and allowing things to come. At their own pace. The tar will evaporate slowly, with this magic combination. The feeling of dread will be left behind. I shall proceed carefully and keep light. Rapid movement might break the balance. The forest lays ahead, the humid, bug-drenched forest by the rio, and the labour to come will bring strength and promise. In a little more than a month, I will be at the edge of nothingness and I will be happy, staring down at the immensity of the world. On top of the world, chewing on coke because humans aren´t built for feeling so light. I will be real again, up there. A young explorer amidst old happy folk, ready to learn and feel pain. Ready to vomit out what´s left of the tar and see how it really is that I feel, that I am. Alone and loved by the world, I can be anything I want to be.

This was written about two weeks ago, shortly before my departure for Santarém, Para, deep in the Brazilian Amazon forest. As I´m on a two-month trip around the Amazon region and then Ecuador and Bolivia (I think) and as I´m struggling to maintain contact with family and friends (due to lack of internet connection, laptop and time), this website is going to temporarily be turned into a travel/informative blog. I apologise if this will cause a lack in the literary consistency and care that I usually try to maintain in my posts but I´m very tired – or ´cansada´ as they say here – confused and in a hurry. Which, now that I think of it, isn´t all that different from my usual state of being. I promise, however, to try not to bore you with descriptive information about my trip and to keep the material reflexive, existentially inquisitive and creativity/psychology related. There may also be some photographs.
And, last but not least, I´ve been admitted onto an MSc in Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex, starting mid-September, so this website will return to its original state of being around that time.


Plane FCO-GRU, 3rd July 2016

I want to breathe in the world like a noz balloon. I don´t want to see, I want to be, to feel. To sink into people´s skin, to touch, to feel real. To feel their pulse running in my veins. Human flesh, dirt, nakedness, running. The forest, the mud, the discomfort, the pain, the rain. I want to find the kindness, the humaneness, which is a waste to so many people´s lives. I want to learn how to always stop the car when I see another man dying, to never let the fear and the apathy take over.


São Paulo, 4th July 2016

Sao Paulo feels uncomfortable and people walk about fretfully and suspiciously. I missed my ride, my luggage was temporarily lost and I hold on to my things and myself while I wait an hour for the bus. I want to be in the forest and get out of this hostile concrete town, which screams poverty and looks down on you with its obvious luxury. The hostel near Paulista is a momentary comfort, greeting me with water, caipirinha, a joint and good people. Why do I fall in love so easily and why am I so prone to sleepless nights? I just want to slide in quietly and go unnoticed. I catch so many eyes for my clumsiness, my looks, or my curious attire. Sometimes it´s ok. I smile and they smile back, even help. Sometimes we´re immediately best friends, or lovers. Other times they just stare back vacantly, a slight edge of hostility and incomprehension. I feel guilty then, as if staring at hyenas at the zoo. But I don´t want to look at you, I want to look with you and keep you forever with me. Maybe I need to devise a strategy.


Plane to Manaus, 5th July

I am scruffy, tired and hungry, my shaky legs my only company on this plane into the jungle. The view from the plane window is magnificent and disturbing: concrete, concrete, concrete blocks, expanding for miles and miles (and miles), surrounded by the impenetrable blackness of the forest. Man vs. Nature.


Manaus, 5th July 2016

Manaus is friendly and very LOUD. Chaotic and messy, it stands rebellious and arrogant in the middle of the indomitable forest. Traffic and trafficking, cocaine and diamonds stuffed into bananas. Daily torrential rain, dirty water, dirty streets. People shouting stuff at me while I try to clean the humidity off my glasses. I arrived to curious looks and pats on the back and me and my backpack were shoved into a bus/van-thing, blasting music from a portable speaker. The driver stopped the bus/van-thing and shouted from the window for an açai. He also skilfully wrote me a list of fish to try – Tombaqui, Pirarucu, Tucunare – while navigating the busy streets of this humid mess of a city. Most importantly: I haven´t seen a single mosquito. I mean, ok that I lavished myself in repellent spray while waiting for my suitcase but seriously, Manaus makes Rome look like, well… the Amazon.

 

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Post # 11 Ventotene

I

My stomach churns and my brain sways with wine and waves. The sun burns and I feel ridiculously happy. My feet skip gently on the volcanic rock, my body high and moon heavy. My rock, I am a rock! My empty space, my nature – a habitat where the buzzing stops, replaced by cicadas and a clash of deep blue. The mighty cshhh… The world is shut out by the echoing silence. The people are cactuses, blended in mud and rocks. The only colour is blue. Everything is blue, I think I’m turning blue. Maybe if I sit still enough, I’ll fade into this rock. If I sit here long enough the tide will rise and the blue will eat me whole. Maybe it will kill the green and I will be one with this cave, my true colour at last.

II

I can’t put my finger on the people over here. They seem lighthearted, merry and intellectual. Yet I still feel clumsy, heavy and uncoordinated. I remain awkward and I can’t express what I’d like to express. I feel as if their camp of love is too structured in its being unstructured and I can’t find my place in it. I feel embarrassed and awkward at the intimacy, of losing my fears and inhibitions in their midst. As if I have a role to fulfil and I’d be judged a prude if I didn’t live up to expectations. I suppose I just don’t like being a sideline. I do not sparkle here, I’m just a fish in the sea. Here I don’t even serve entertainment purpose. I’d rather be alone maybe, where I can gawk at myself and my thoughts.

III

I thought this year would be a blank slate. I’m not new here, I’m old and consumed. The comments and judgements remain those of my childhood and everyone here is missing a piece. A rather large, constructive piece. Isn’t it ironic that it is easier to communicate with strangers that with loved ones? We see each other through the lens of our history and it is often too hazy to be clear.

IV

Up the gods rock,
To the top of the island
I climb – a lucky guest.
I’m crowned in laurel

And bigger than the sea.
Round and round
The sparkly heavens shove me;
The pitch black

Catches me.
I’m a microbe, a quasar;
A pillow, a knife!
I’m ready, I’m hazy

Your nightmare, your prize.
Have I yet the courage
For the dive –
The big dip.

I’m still green and weary
I shall dry up or slip,
Into death
and oblivion and dread.

Newton is dead.
Why are we still clinging to a flat Earth?
Observe the atoms,
Ride the waves.

It is me I see
In every crook and corner.
It is me who sees,
It is me I see.

I am your Frankenstein
You mighty organiser
You puzzle maker
You forgot to flip the light switch.

You stuck me, colourful
to a monochromatic Earth.
Unrelentingly chasing
Hidden meanings,

Fireflies.