Some amount of the lure of exotic locales perhaps has to do with not being able to understand or be understood. Everything said, and written, is shrouded in mystery. The simplest of interactions take on the significance of an unknown significance.
It has been on the basis of broken communication that we have bonded. The girl at the pastry shop, while searching for a place to eat at 10am when everything was mysteriously closed, that brought a free coffee and for whom was purchased a cute bear made out of cake from the same shop. Laughing, laughing.
The chef who called his friend who could speak English to get the right order. The 5 course meal from there involved pantomiming to translate various words. He and the other old woman at the counter were very impressed by the preference not to smoke in the bar, but in the park with the trees and the birds. He was delighted to receive an additive free American spirit.
He gave a free iced coffee, and on the way out the woman gave a nectarine, explaining something to do with: vegetarian.
In the next town at 5pm everything was also mysteriously closed. Asking the man at the gas station about the adjacent pie shop, he said to wait and called the woman who runs it. She drove to the station with the pie in a bag.
The trickle of fluency also is an avenue to new adventures. The man indicated to sit in the lobby and brought a bag of apples as a gift, and eating, sentences in this new language passed back and forth.
He happily agreed to have his picture taken and explained where to go for food. The coals of the heart fanned for the second day in a row, novelty, happiness, and simplicity were the themes of the rainy darkness on the way to dinner.
From the balcony the next sun-speckled morning, two of the apples made their way down to Aaron, who was riding across the country with just what’s on the bike.
The previous night’s discussion about culture and context carried on as he tightened up the ship for his 150km journey.
Culture is contagious, and while it has roots deeper than what its results can reveal, anyone is capable of anything. The road is a pollinator. Like the wind it changes, in time, places poised on the edge of growing still.
Maybe they couldn’t see it, the ancient bees, what would sprout in their wake, but eventually it came back to them. On the cusp of organization, was there some edge, to life, for which the shift was like the relief of speeding downhill after a tremendous climb?