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In The Art of Travel Spring 2018, Paris, 15. Farewells by Andie2 Comments

Dear Andie, ten years from now,

Do you remember taking an overnight bus to Amsterdam? How about listening to the passengers in front argue at full volume in three different languages at 2:00 A.M? Or maybe the flight into Bastia, with the sea out one window and the mountains cutting into the clouds on the other side? Can you remember the water winding through the tide flats like rivers, or maybe roots, or maybe neurons? What about train between Ajaccio and Corse? The one that went over gorges of grey rock, through villages abandoned since World War II? Across old valleys and rickety bridges? Remember that?

Do you remember seeing your favorite band play on a boat docked in the Seine, and you were thrilled because you didn’t have to go home and wash black X marks off your hands, so you marched up to the bar and ordered a beer that tasted exactly like Hint of Lime Tostito chips? And when the singer egged on a couple locking lips in the back and everyone burst out laughing? Remember when the rail service workers went on strike so all of the trains were overcrowded, to the point where you couldn’t escape from the middle of the car? And how you started peppering your polite “pardon”s and “s’il vous plait”s with much less polite words in English, and how the seas parted to let you tumble out into the rain?

Do you remember the jazz bar in the basement of a bar in Montmartre– it was The Cave, or The Tunnel, something subterranean, where you all went to sweat and dance a parody of the Charleston? Remember the jazz boys barrelling through key changes and solos at breakneck speed with hands flying and horns blaring and everyone hollering until the entire song broke open like an egg? Do you remember the chorus? Do you remember the sound? Do you remember the light? And that evening, slipping under bridges and spreading across the deck of the riverboat, everyone drenched in the sun? Do you remember how everything was languid and exciting and vulgar and golden?


(Image: A riverboat on the Seine; Source: Andie Newell)

Comments

  1. Andie,

    I love the format of this post… something especially reflective about it. I think it’s especially interesting the way that you emphasize memory and feeling. Sure, you can remember scenes and songs and places, but remembering feeling is a different exercise entirely.

    William

  2. I discussed a similar kind of thing in my post, the thought of what I’ll remember in the distant future. And what I’ll carry with me up until that point, and forget that I figured out those things about myself while here. I’m most worried about losing those sensations and moments which seem so minor but are really the things which make up our abroad experiences.

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