The notes from a globetrotter series begins with a night in Berlin.
Berlin is nice and quiet and the air is sweet and calm but never stagnant. When it rains it pours. The people don’t stare much. I am never provoked, or touched by strangers on the street. My last night in Cairo, a young boy grabbed my butt. That doesn’t happen here. Here, where there is law and order and organization and, above all, calm serenity.
I can see the stars at night.
I stayed in Baitz this weekend, population: 250. I lived in a large brick complex, covered in wine leaves. Bees live amongst the vines, and during the daytime the walls sing. At night I make and eat dinner with the artists, their eccentric clan of singing, dancing, drinking, smoking ballerinas and electrical engineers. Here is some of their work – be prepared for the noise!
We listen to one of the ballerina tutus, made of speakers, by the fire at night. We roast marshmallows too. The fire crackles and tendrils of fuscia flame fire into the sky. Full of stars. A million stars. A dozen different languages come together and try and name the constellations. A plow, a carriage, the big dipper. All different and simultaneously the same. Crackle, crackle. Pop, pop.
I can see the fire at night.
I return to Berlin and nurse my wounds. I crashed twice on a bicycle, the first time scratching a leg, the second time tearing a hole in my shoulder. I’d like to blame someone other than myself, so am content to blame the ground for not having been softer. It will scar.
So far this summer has been full of scars. The one on my shoulder from biking in Baitz, the one on my leg from horseback riding to the Pyramids at Giza in Cairo. But I like scars. They remind me of my more adventurous self.
So I look at their brutality with fondness because I know that those memories I will never forget. The smell of the sand in the desert. The feeling of the world after a rain. The sky full of stars. The sound of the fire licking the wind.