I have been so busy with work since the start of the year, that I haven't had much time for a decent vacation. Hence, I have to resort to traveling through the stories of others, which doesn't really help as it just worsened the "itch" to simply drop everything and go, right?
Anyway, this below is not a story on travel. It's just an example of vicarious living on my part. My dreaming of Vienna through the eyes of young love.
Song for the Moment (A Revisit - 2014)
I watched Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" today. Both movies featured Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delphy (Celine). The first was released in 1996 and the latter, in 2004.
Okay, I'm not even attempting to review the movies. Literary Criticism had never been my strong point, as confirmed by my Literature grades...haha!
Anyway, the trilogy began with a meet cute on a train enroute to Paris from Budapest. Jesse managed to convince Celine to accompany him as he explored Vienna (where he was scheduled to catch a flight back to the US in the morning).
And, in the next 14 hours or so, we see the two strangers walking and talking (a mixture of cynical and innocent contemplation on relationships and life), with Vienna as the backdrop. In the morning, they both went their separate ways, with the promise of meeting again at the same place six months later.
Annotations (2014): In 2013, Jesse and Celine came alive again in a third movie called "Before Midnight" - making it a trilogy of a romantic relationship that spanned 18 years.
What I actually wanted to share (in a very long winded way) is the captivating scene in the record store. Jesse and Celine were in a music booth listening to a ballad called "Come Here" sang by Kath Bloom.
In a glance, the song is pretty simple, the lyrics is less poetic than most songs. Yet, you can't miss the intensity and passion in this wonderful ensemble of acoustic guitar, violin, simple lyrics and Kath Bloom's raw, soulful voice. And not forgetting, the scratches from the vinyl!
The song and her voice just transfers one to a whole different place (or state of mind, if you will).
Well, I am one who lives her life vicariously. I have fallen in love with this song and this is my song for the moment.
there's a wind that blows in from the north
and it says that loving takes this course
come here. come here.
no, i'm not impossible to touch
i have never wanted you so much
come here. come here.
have i never laid down by your side
baby, let's forget about this pride
come here. come here.
well i'm in no hurry
don't have to run away this time
i know that you're timid but it's gonna be all right this time
"I've always had a thing for historical war stories - especially those set in Africa or Europe. No specific reasons, I guess I just find the landscape a little bit exotic, a little bit mystical.
Years ago, I watched "The English Patient", without knowing that it was based on a book. It was pretty embarrassing for me to know that fact later, considering that I call myself an avid reader.
Anyway, shortly after, I stumbled upon the book at Tower Records in Shibuya, Tokyo. When I was living in Japan, Tower Records was a favorite book haunt on Sundays, as it had the best selection of English books in Tokyo (my opinion, at least).
Since then, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje has been a true traveling companion, reread every year - coffee stains, dog-eared pages and all...
I have traveled the African continent countless times through the pages of this book. Some day soon, I hope to set foot there myself and see all the beauty there as seen by Almasy.
This today is a sharing of what I regard as the most haunting page in the book:
There is a whirlwind in Southern Morocco, the aajej against which the fellahin defended themselves with knives. There is the africo, which has at times reached into the city of Rome. The alm, a fall wind out of Yugoslavia, The arifi, also christened aref or rifi, which scorches with numerous tongues. These are permanent winds that live in the present tense.
There are other, less constant winds that change direction, that can knock down horse and rider and realign themselves anticlockwise. The bist roz leaps into Afghanistan for 170 days - burying villages. There is the hot, dry ghibli from Tunis, which rolls and rolls and produces a nervous condition. The haboob - a Sudan dust storm that dresses in bright yellow walls a thousand metres high and is followed by rain.
The harmattan, which blows and eventually drowns itself into the Atlantic. Imbat, a sea breeze in North Africa. Some winds that just sigh into the sky. Night dust storms that come with the cold.
The khamsin, a dust in Egypt from March to May, named after the arabic word for 'fifty', blooming for fifty days - the ninth plague of Egypt. The datoo out of Gibraltar, which carries fragrance. There is also the ------, the secret wind of the desert, whose name was erased by a king after his son died within it. And the nafhat - a blast out of Arabia.
Other, private winds.
Traveling along the ground like a flood. Blasting off paint, throwing down telephone poles, transporting stones and statue heads.
The harmattan blows across the Sahara filled with red dust, dust as fire, as flour, entering and coagulating in the locks of rifles. mariners called this red wind the "sea of darkness". red sand fogs out of the Sahara were deposited as far north as Cornwall and Devon, producing showers of mud so great this was also mistaken for blood.
Herodotus records the death of various armies engulfed in the simoom who were never seen again. One nation was so enraged by this evil wind that they declared war on it and marched out in full battle array, only to be rapidly and completely interred.
Dust storms in three shapes. The whirl. The colum. The sheet. In the first, the horizon is lost. In the second, you are surrounded by 'waltzing ginns". The third, the sheet, is copper-tinted - 'nature seems to be on fire.'
From Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient