Published: October 18th 2009October 18th 2009
This is turning out to be a very nice trip so far, and as always when I settle down a little, I wonder whether I really do want to set out just yet. Even when I do decide i want to, I get nervous before I depart anyway, so thats the expectation Im starting to feel over the horizon. Beginning to cram all the things I feel I have to see and do before I have to leave, gone were the days of wandering through the streets and carelessly letting everything happen to me. Well, its not all that bad...Im just making sure I go to some museums and galleries and get a niggle for going to all the corners of the city to take it all in. Now that has shown itself to be quite an illusion, thankfully, for like Tokyo, which I still feel I cold go on discovering for the rest of my life, so New York, has managed to give me hints that that might be the case with her too.
I have walked a lot, and Im proud to have been to many places that my friends, who although not from here, have been living here for much longer, have on occasion admitted to not having been to. Well fair enough, what is there to be gained from walking through a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood for 30 minutes in a straight line, or from passing through a Polish hood, where a piece of electronic equipment catches ones eye, only to be confronted with the instructions and specifications in Polish! And so continuing on ones way feeling youve wandered into another continent and recognizing something of the Polish experience. Yes that is exactly what it is, I have never been to poland, have met many people from there in fact, but had never been surrounded only be phone calls in Polish and most of the material written around in that language. It was fun, it was different,and in 20 minutes you are hearing other languages, seeing different shops, feeling like you just walked through 3 or 4 totally non-contiguous counties. And finally you find yourself in a mumble jumble of layered neighborhoods, or intersections where none asserts itself yet, they all resist to mixing with a foreboding uniformity it makes one feel uneasy.
It is very strange to see this state of affairs after growing up in Brazil. Sure the Italians have married the Swedes and all that, and there are hints of the far eastern community starting to produce lovely hybrids, but its a drop in an ocean, and that is strange.
It keeps coming back to though, after walking through Manhattan one day and coming across a gigantic Polish Pride parade, with typical food and the bands and all, that now it is Edinburghs turn to take in more Poles, and they sure are filling the city up, and job vacancies and opening their bakeries, and I wonder whether they will be another indistinguishable community that eventually just likes to eat sour bread at home,and turns out once a year for Polish Pride in Princess Street. A quaint thought, though the more disturbing one is just how have they been producing so many babies that they can still export people in planeloads!! he he he... just kidding, I hear eastern Europe is rapidly deflating in population numbers, lets just hope some forest grows in place of so many villages! And here I am in nothing but a little village.
I had expected a much more cosmopolitan place, as I think I mentioned in my last entry, not that this isn as I have related in the past few paragraphs, and maybe I just dreamed up a kind of post modern cosmopolitan-nes, that just hasn come around yet. Or Im getting better at identifying the localness of the population that lives here, or something completely different, like well everyone who comes here it trying to look like New yorkers, and thats where I get thrown off track. -yes it has happened, and I do ask people in the street for directions,and have no idea whatsoever if they will be able to understand me or not. I actually reminds me of a feeling some years back now,when I went to visit a friend in Switzerland and, in that case it was the old lady who approached me, and I immediately felt her utter bewilderment when I turned to her, and she realized it was not going to be easy to tell where I was from, and she half addressed me in German then French, before we settled into Italian, then, the best i could offer her. And that is who I identify with on occasion, just wandering the streets of New York. Fun, indeed it is, especially for a linguistically minded guy such as I am, and very interesting to hear so many, many, languages that I just end up feeling quite lost from time time. But what sometimes gets to me is that many times I just have no inkling even as to a persons ability to speak English, which is startling and fun.
I have to apologize for how this entry is turning out though, rather too many short stories set in the 30s and so on, added to the fact that after I got my eBook reader, that is a piece of equipment that I can read books on,but which has a paper looking screen that doesn produce light, and so is very kind on your eyes; I have been downloading some books, which tend to be of the older sort, since mostly they have run out of copyright, and can be found for free online. Quite an amusing turn of events for my current writing mannerisms. and I hope you see it in that light... a trip to new york in the 30s at the hight of immigration waves hitting the shores, but with the added convenience of high seed internet and mobile phones.
Lots of love from chilly New York, Douglas.