I went to St Vincent and landed home a week ago, but I am still not back
I went to St Vincent and landed home a week ago, but I am still not back. It might be true that the body travels faster than the mind. My sleeping patterns are messed up, the space around me, the city of Berlin, my home, my studio, still don't make any sense to me. The airplane is a Time Machine, (literally too) the weather changes, the geography changes, the built environment changes, the development too.. and you land just the same person trying to make sense of it.
I first went to Miami, that for me is one of the most “foreign” place I have ever been, and I am South American. I like the food, I like that I can speak my language, but still can't figure it out... and I have a deep fear of animals that can eat you, so Miami, inhabited by alligators, is on none of my favourite lists.
Once you move out of big cities, direct flights are scarce, so we flew to Barbados and from there to St Vincent. We stayed in an All Inclusive and, although I am not a fan of the concept, nor do I recommend it, when you are booking a hotel the morning of your trip, there is no time to be picky. The people in the Barbados hotel were the most charming I have encountered in a long while (including 2 lockdown years) and yet the food was traumatic…… a good thing there is always rum and its combinations.
To St Vincent we flew in a small plane with a Caribbean airline. It was again, the most pleasant flight. The passengers entered in seat order, and left the plane the same way, we all waited in our seats while the person behind us was preparing to leave the plane, yes, we did exit from the back steps and walked to the airport terminal.
The St Vincent people were equally cordial and pleasant, but man, some of them do like their music very loud. What's with this idea of having loud dancing music while having dinner, do they take for granted the people sharing the table have nothing to talk about? and do they not need to digest their food? anyways. It is slow and nice, it is difficult to be an island, to be small and to be poor, but to be honest, they are doing so much better than in Miami, where I saw so many people sleeping in the streets, and the rent for many has had a recent 40% price increase, and everything is so expensive. In St Vincent you might have to live with whatever is available and in season, might have to perform several task and learn a few trades. It is a place when you talk to others and you will see them twice, or even everyday if you stay long enough. It is a place where you have meaningful conversations, where you connect and there is still a sense of community... That might be why it is so hard for me to come back to my reality from the Island...
I climbed a Volcano, what was I thinking, please don't do it, especially if you have the hiking experience of someone born, raised and who keeps living in cities as flat as the Pampa. That was very difficult, it was pretty, what I was able to see when I stopped and didn't need to look at the floor anymore. I fell a few times, the soil was a loose gravel, so any step could mean a slip. A few hundred meters from the summit the vegetation disappears, the wind starts blowing and the way up becomes a game of choosing which rock is not too loose to step on.
And after almost 15 days away we headed back to Berlin, everything all over again in reverse. Back on a small plane to Barbados, where we stayed in another hotel with better food, nicer rooms, but not as charming, then to Miami and seeing old friends which is always nice. And then the usual pilgrimage through airports where you run into fellow travellers coming from distant destinations and dressing accordingly, all seasons represented, all sorts of fashions and sizes and colors. More bad food eaten in a hurry, more queues to check your bags, to pass security, to buy breakfast, to enter the lounge, to get food in the lounge, to enter the plane ....
And then back into this airtight container, overly uncomfortable, with small corridors and tiny toilets where you have to keep pressing the tap to get water to rinse your hands... and I flew back business class.. I know the feeling of walking down the aisle to your seat in the back of the plane and seeing the ones who will sleep horizontally... pure envy, in some you turn left and the passengers travelling economy will never know the comfort money or miles can buy...
It is time we invent a proper travelling machine, a tele transportation one where our body can reach its destination within seconds.... I still wonder how long it will take to arrive back into our minds.