Tuesday, March 6, 2012

notes on the return from "civilization"

I am back in Togo. My backpack, however, is still in Paris (i think) compliments of AirFrance. I am thus conducting a test to see how many consecutive days one can wear the same pair of daily disposable contacts.

Its sort of a relief being back in Togo, aside from the fact that most of my earthly possessions are in limbo. Its less stressful. I do not have to worry about whether I can drink water from the tap. Or if fruits/vegetables have been bleached. Menu choices at restaurants stressed me out. So did the prices. Operating in a constant state of near fiscal insolvency is infinitely easier when one can argue about the cost of everything. I can cross the street where ever I want to and not worry about being splattered by someone going 140 kph in a Maserati. My favorite sports teams win and lose games without my near-fanatic insistence on watching the box score. I am now almost guaranteed the little-boy-on-christmas morning feeling when I check my email/facebook because i know that someone is likely to have emailed me this week . . . instead of in the 5 minutes since i checked it last. I can take showers without being guilty about how many gallons of hot water I am using. I have meaning, purpose, and direction in my life again. I no longer wonder why I am here (not that I spent any amount of time doing that in Spain anyway). I do not have to worry about whether I am conforming to Western social norms anymore, like standing in lines and not having a beer at 9 am. I am not bombarded by the US political situation. Or the Greek bailout. Or much news in general. Life is much less chaotic that way.

Seriously, I am glad to be back.

I really like Andalusia. Great food, good wine, great scenery, nice people, but not to many of them. Andalusia is interesting because it is, in a lot of ways, a real fusion of east and west. the moors left their mark on the place. its not only evident in the architecture, but also in the food and the lifestyle.

I confess that my vision of Spain was partially colored by the fact that I had just read "for whom the bell tolls" last month. I made sure that i went to one of Hemingway's favorite bull rinks. His visceral description of the spainish mountains in "for whom the bells tolls" colored how I saw them. One of my favorite places that I visited in Spain was Ronda. I might have mentioned it in my last post. Its this city in the mountains that straddles a deep gorge. One of the most beautiful cities I've seen. I found out, after the fact, that the scene in "for whom the bell tolls" where the mob executes fascist sympathizers was likely based on a real event in Ronda where alleged fascists were thrown in the gorge. How civilized is civilization.

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