Thursday, September 23, 2010

Post Impressionisms

Spain - familiar, earthy, the perception of an unhappiness or heaviness in people,  the presence of graffiti in Madrid, Barcelona and other cities that was more interesting than in other countries, the gales of laughter that made our stomachs ache in a wonderful way, the ubiquitous Burger King and McDonald Restaurants, the many reminders of the Civil War which still deeply affects the nation, five days in Barcelona, the long alleyway that wound down into the vibrant center of immigrant life in Madrid,  the swallows swooping past the balcony with their loud chirps as they ate the insects that rose up from the roadway into the heat of the day in Madrid, the evening heat, the summer light at 10 pm, the Pepsi/Coke, massages, hamburgers, and water hawkers on the beach, the great cafe con leche, the public notices of pick pockets on the metros, the plaza majores, the pet dogs, the great shoes and summer dresses of the Spanish women, the secretive obscure/private...even the language.

France - greater prosperity than Spain, how we literally broke bread together every day, almost every meal and how satisfying it was and how it held us together, the ripeness of the melons and peaches, baguettes and ice cream everywhere, the greens of the countryside and covering the hills of limestone - so different from the golden colors we saw in Spain, the narrow winding roads strung with small villages, each punctuated by a church steeple, a day on the smooth flowing river with its trailing water plants and feeling we were a moving tableau pulling together toward an unknown, living within the rock walls and feeling the sense of being a part of history, descending into the earth and feeling closer to death, riding on the River Styx and rebirth as we walked away from the round hole in the earth, hearing the sound that did not end in the Monastery.

England - practicality and common sense, friendly, thoughtful, helpful people, the neat and tidy and compact character of Dover, the whiteness of the cliffs with afternoon tea, hearing the echos of centuries in the Canterbury Cathedral as we sat in the wooden choir seats at Evensong, looking up to see Big Ben when reality touched concept, completing complicated underground rides with huge escalators, riding a tourist boat down the Thames with guide patter, lunching in Greenwich, hearing the diversity of languages and listening to the variety of English dialects, noticing how noisy London was, loving the taxi ride to the airport when the driver called me Luv.

Norway- how amazing it was to use the internet to find my relatives and how welcoming they were to Austin and me; how so expensive it was...two burgers, one French fries, one coke for $45, $13 beer, incredible glaciated scenery, huge slabs of granite, farms and water and more farms and water, wheat grain for cows; caviar, cheese, whole grain bread, sliced cucumbers, and eggs for breakfast,  Sood: lamb meatballs in thin broth with boiled carrots and potatoes, roller coaster sled ride with sharp corners and a ski lift to pull you up the hill in your sled, Lolita and spheres at the lake, very clean tidal fjord water.  Jim

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