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Posts Tagged ‘Travel writing’

38. Sri Lanka

In the Galle Face Hotel, there is an ancient lift attendant supervising a still more ancient mechanical lift.
Smiles creasing the corners of his gracious eyes, from his perch in the corner he politely refuses entry, pointing to the copperplate sign:
‘Take the stairs instead.  It’s better for your health’.

 

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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33. Hungary (Budapest, 1990)

Rubbery, flubbery, lubbery bellies
Peeking through the clouds of steam in immodest abandon.
It’s Women’s Tuesday in the Rudas Baths,
Nestled at the foot of the castle.

And ruddy-faced, barrel-shaped matrons pass gossip and time in the public baths
as they always have.
An hour’s respite from their daily cares.

 

jpm
(posted from Waiheke Island, New Zealand)

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28. Tanzania (Mt Kilimanjaro)

One foot (breathe)
in front of (huff)
the other (gasp).
Sucking at the thin air.
Boots d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g heavily through chunks of dirty ice and loose volcanic gravel.
My body as leaden as my head is light.
Summiting in Kilimanjaro’s numbing dawn,
5895 metres above the baking African savannah.
Woo-(wheeze)-hoo!

 

jpm

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27. Germany (November 1989)

Three days ago.
“Die Mauer ist gefallen!!!”

Checkpoint Charlie, so bleak and forbidding just weeks before,
as I inched my way through the traffic jam of surveillance and barriers.
Now a free-wheeling, riotous East-West human motorway.

I witness the pure joy of liberation
as The Wall comes tumbling down.

 

jpm

(Die Mauer ist gefallen: The Wall has fallen)

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25. Kenya (Nairobi, 2000)

A city of one million.
Most in full-time employment.
Commuters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers.
Laughter beside corrugated iron shanties:
children playing games in dirt alleys.
A neat blue clinic nurtures modest dreams
amidst the stench and grime.
Health for all.
The Nubian-named ‘forest’ of Kibera:
Biggest slum in Africa.

jpm

Dedicated to the MSI Kenya mini-clinic team of Kibera.

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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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