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Posts Tagged ‘backpacking’

OK, so this week, you have a choice of two ’50 words’ – sometimes I write more than one, because of course there are many indelible ‘moments’ when travelling, and this week I couldn’t decide what mood I was in, so you have a bit of both – light and dark:

41. New Zealand

41.a

So there I am – girly heaven:
wallowing in an outdoor cast iron bath,
hot water swirling,
(bubbles of course)
champagne glass to hand.
Head lolling on the edge of the tub.
Admiring the endless mountainscape of the aptly named ‘Remarkables’.
Nothing but steam and immodesty between me and the view.

jpm

 

41.b.

On the Franz Josef Glacier, it’s all so unexpected.
The ice is not white,  but an unearthly blue,
and it’s not cold and silent, but alive with unexpectedly human sounds
groaning, creaking, squealing, grinding.

I hold my breath,
step tentatively.
Somehow to still the lumbering giant:
Unstoppable author of landscapes

jpm

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36. Thailand (Chiang Mai)

Our noses wrinkle in disgust at the pong of the returning hill-trekkers, reeking with a week’s unwashed grime.  

Happily, we are entirely oblivious to our own odorous stink a week later at journey’s end.

Until I spy the comically familiar expressions of the next group waiting expectantly for our return.

 

jpm

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34. Austria

Clickety Clack

Orderly Austria flashes past.
Suffocatingly precise.

Oh for some fresh air.

I pry a reluctant window open just a fraction.
In an apparently personal affront to the severe man glaring at me from afar.
Who storms thunderously through the carriage to slam it shut in my face.

Twice.

 

jpm

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Košice Town Square.
Safety pinned and superglued,
the sneering punk sprawls his scrawny self beside me on the bench,
radiating a loose-limbed exuberance
at odds with his steel capped boots.
An outpost of desperate wannabe anarchy
amidst Cold War Communist conformism.
Thirsting for my corrupting tales of the Wicked West.

jpm

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24. India (The Taj Mahal)

Blinding heat ricocheting off the pristine marble of the Taj.
My bare feet dance across the white-hot path as if walking across coals.
Devastated to learn that the fabled love of a man for a woman
which built this great edifice, resulted in her death:
Fourteen children in fifteen years.

jpm

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22. Belgium (Liege)

Hurting blue autumnal skies, crisp above the waterways surrounding Liege.
So peaceful, as my bicycle bumps along their banks.
But still the distant echoes of bloody world war which stole my grandfather’s dad,
drowned in these same canals.
Handwritten postcards to his six year old son, a family’s poignant sorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jpm

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20. Bangladesh

It’s 50°C and temperatures are rising.
Hidden beneath the colourful, tattered veils of conservative Chittagong,
the modest matrons as young as eighteen shelter chastely from prying male eyes.
Squatting on swept dirt floors,
they chatter with bawdy, eye-popping, side-splitting aplomb about their husbands’ inadequacy ‘indoors’.
Butter wouldn’t melt!

jpm

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