Sleep inside

vida-eterna

“The ideal travel book’, Christopher Isherwood once wrote, ‘should be perhaps a little like a crime story, in which you’re in search of something.’ And it’s the best kind of something, I would add, if it’s something you never find.” Pico Iyer

I’m already in Mexico, the thirteenth country on my way from Argentina, but let’s go back in time and space and let’s return for a while to Panama – “the land of our dreams, where everything is different and much bigger,” as Teddy Bear said in one of Janosh’s book “The trip to Panama”. This country will always remind me the archipelago of the islands Bocas del Toro, where several months ago I had been writing my latest book “Sen powrotu” (Dream of Return), and where I was glad to accept generous hospitality of Józek Gwóźdź (his surname, very difficult to pronounce for English-speaking people means simply “a nail”) – a Polish catholic priest who has lived in Bocas del Toro for a couple of years and soon will be responsible for co-organizing a very special event (not only in the Catholic Church), as Panama will be the host of the next World Youth Day in 2019. If anyone is interested in his job, there is his website: www.misjapanama.pl

jozek-biskup-i-piotr

This time on Bocas del Toro I spent only a few days. A few days of resting in safe and friendly environment, with good food and on a paradise island surrounded by the calm sea – what more could you expect to be happy? Nevertheless, similarly like the previous time, I could not escape from feeling some kind of incompatibility, or disharmony. And I am not writing about the bishop’s residence in which I stayed nor the people who lived in it, far from that. I am writing about the island and the town themselves. I could not stop feeling that mismatch between what was inside of me and all those various physical stimuli that surrounded me and that I had to, albeit unwillingly, experience too intensively. You should not come to that island alone, with your own loneliness. Even if the cats are coming out of their nooks to soften it.

la-gata

And then the next countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, and finally Mexico. Despite so highly developed communication techniques (even in the backwoods people use smartphones, not to mention satellite TV), it didn’t change a lot on the cognitive level. Everybody builds their image of the world watching on TV stereotypical, biased and usually dramatic news.

In each country people warn me off going to the next one. In Peru they advised not to go to Colombia, in Colombia warned off Panama, in Panama warned about smugglers in Costa Rica, in Costa Rica – about corrupted police in Nicaragua, in Nicaragua – about gangs and youth in Honduras, in Honduras I heard that in Salvador I will be robbed and decapitated anyway, and so on and so forth.

But in spite of all these ominous warnings I keep going. I cycle surrounded by ghosts and Jesuses, sometimes stopping surprised to look at such curiosities as “Selling Tires Saint John Paul II”, a meat shop “Jesus Maria”, a shoes shop “Who is like God?”, or coffee shop “Holy Heart of Jesus”. Among those ostentatious emblems of alleged though highly doubtful devotion I go constantly warned but all the people I meet are invariably good, hospitable and friendly. Am I surprised? No, I’m not surprised at all.

Maybe they simply return a smile I usually wear on my face, or maybe it’s just a sham that hides their true and terrible character, which however neither can I see nor I can feel. I cycle in the scorching sun, in the deafening noise of the passing trucks, I follow lots of unpaved roads, which are full of surprises such as not-always-clearly-marked “hops” (reducers of the speed) or the holes (in which the half of my bike would fit), I put up the tent in the ditches, I cycle through some of the most dangerous countries in the world (at least it is what you may hear in the news), but nothing bad happens to me.

Since I left Panama, I have not experienced any form of aggression; I have not heard even one bad word. On the contrary – even if I don’t expect anything I still receive something. Accommodation, sometimes clothes, but usually – lots of food: fruit, bread, some local specialties to try (I still remember the taste of delicious Salvadorian pupusas, served with a whole jar of cabbage salad), or even panela (cane sugar, about which I have already written).

It turned out that panela is not only an essential component of Colombian cuisine, but it can be bought throughout Latin America countries, including Mexico, where it is known as piloncillo or panoche. The process of preparing panela itself, at least in theory, seems to be very simple. The sugary juice obtained by squeezing sugar cane is cooked for several hours until it becomes more dense. Then the thick liquid is poured into the appropriate molds where it remains until it hardens and turns into a solid form of panela. Although today the production is becoming increasingly industrialized and panela (or piloncillo – as it is also known in Mexico) can be purchased in almost every supermarket, many people still continue home-based manufacturing.

Well, and what about Mexico? Well, Mexico is as it is, full of cats, of course, one shouldn’t be surprised. At least I shouldn’t. Even if they are not the same, it is enough to look deeper into their eyes to see what is usually hidden for us under the thin layer of unconsciousness.

I got to Rigoberto’s home town almost at noon. I easily recognized the gate through which the little red cat wanted to escape. And the whole house, where basically everything started. In which the dream began. The dream of return. Although still unfinished it is already long-lost and forgotten.

Because the ginger gata passed away. She was already dead when I wrote my previous book; in fact, she was no longer in that dream two weeks after my visit to Rigoberto’s house. La gata, a little red cat, was bitten to death by a dog, a sweet, little pit bull. Maybe the dog just wanted to play, maybe he did not want to hurt her, but anyway, this time nobody was running after me and I after all, I didn’t have to regret leaving.

rigoberto

Sonnerie de Sainte Geneviève

guatemala-antigua-6

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” Judith Thurman

He comes every morning, more or less at the same time and stands for a few hours in the middle of the small but overcrowded square. In the midst of lingering scents, in the midst of screams ringing out in the scorching heat, among the shadows of the running people – he stands awkwardly, with his legs apart, holding more than a dozen backpacks, the biggest of which every now and again slides off his shoulders and falls down to the ground. He puts him up and throws it on his back again and then he stands still for another few minutes.

Not only does he not say anything, but he doesn’t seem to be encouraging anybody to come closer to have a look at his stuff either. No one stops, no one slows down and nobody asks anything. Nobody needs those too big, too whimsical and impractical backpacks. Anyway, probably none of the passing people could afford them. But even if they could they would surely buy for the same price something absolutely different – a wheelbarrow full of beans or a plastic chair or simply a bag of rice, not to mention the whole mass of other useful little things, spread on sweaty arms, backs and shoulders of stubborn and desperate vendors.

Sometimes a little girl approaches the man. She comes barefoot and plays with the strips and strings which stick out of the backpacks. A swinging, stooping figure of the man bends, moves as he was dancing in the wind until a large backpack slides down to the ground and the man’s loud voice can be heard. The girl stands still, puts her hands behind her back and lifting her belly raises her head and looks up. She seems to be saying something, but her words die out in the bazaar hustle. After a while the child goes away and the man returns to his posture, enshrouded by vagueness and silence.

There is something irreversible in his persistence, inexorability of fate, a sort of necessity which eludes definition. In his figure there is nothing that would reveal impatience, fatigue, resignation, nothing. He sticks around silently in the middle of the screaming noise, like a clumsy puppet from which the strings were cut, a fragment from a long-running show, a silent cry of those who are not able to change anything but they try anyway.

Silence and noise, light and darkness, inertia and movement. There are no halftones in here. When it’s dirty – it is like being at the dump, when it’s clean – it is almost sterile, and even I have to put on a fresh t-shirt to be allowed to enter the mall. When it is poor, something squeezes you inside, when it is rich – everything glitters and flourish. 

And in that whole intensity of sensations, in those halftone-free impressions, in that changing colourful kaleidoscope of characters and landscapes – I often think I don’t move, I stand alone, I do not know what I try to sell or what I have to offer for those who probably do not need anything. I often feel that I myself stand still in the eye of silence or, as Noteboom once wrote – “in the eye of the cyclone”.

gato-1

And that everything I had experienced, even if it really happened – it has already gone, leaving no traces. And there is no redheaded female cat that I was going to see in a Salvadorian village. A month ago she was run over by the car. Just a month before my arrival. And there are neither kittens nor Oscar, who nearly three years ago helped me in Salvador. I arrived the day after his funeral. There were no warning signs, there was no transition, no halftones – it was a beautiful, sunny day, I had a smile on the face, a friendly, warm wind pushed me to the west, and then the evening came, quickly, unexpectedly, bringing sadness and sorrow.

The family recognized me. They even remembered Rafineria – my mascot. I put up the tent in the same place as three years ago. Someone caught a new kitten and brought him home. The cat climbed on my knees, we ate some rice together. I did not even notice when he fell asleep. I took him to the tent. In the morning the roosters were noisy as usual. I left early and that day I was talking only to the rain.

lluvia

The Holy Week in Guatemala Antigua. Everything is prepared with pump, tangibly, spectacularly, full of sophisticated gestures. The Holy Week is not so sad here, rather far from reflection, all-danced in a strange, feast-shaped performance.

desfile

Holy songs resonate over the rugged streets. Vendors run among curochos – those who painstakingly carry huge, lavishly decorated floats. The biggest demand is for sunglasses and hats. With huge roses and wooden crosses everything wins – blown balloons, cotton candy, sticks for selfi, ice cream, even ordinary burgers.

It is no wonder – the weather is good, there is a holiday, and most people do not seem to come here to seek any spiritual rapture. The procession passes, the flowers are trodden down, and everything what is left on the road will be swept in a while. They passed. One can make another selfi, then go back to the table and open another beer. Laughing returns, although in fact it did not stop at all – it just got frozen for a while, enveloped with the clouds of incense which odour still rises above the cobbled streets.

kadzidlo

The bells are ringing, the night is coming, It gets cooler and the sounds become more intense. Streets are full of worshippers. The flames of the candles flicker, the whole world seems to be moving around. The parade seems to be floating above the ground in a dreamlike, phantasmagorical dance. Its movements swell out and crawl on the walls. The space is dancing in the flames. Everything moves when the light flickers. The figures shine, the halftones intensify, and the silence harmonizes with the sound. The trumpets blare, the drums beat, the bells toll and echo across the streets.

Laments

rio“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” Isabelle Eberhardt

It was almost noon. I was sitting in a shade, near a supermarket, eating my second breakfast. I made myself a lavish gift, went over my daily budget and bought a tasty, Costa Rican gingerbread, known here as pan bon. It can be bought on the street, especially now, during Lent. Interestingly, its recipe came to Costa Rica with Jamaican immigrants – descendants of working on Caribbean plantations African slaves, who in turn took it from the English. Pan bon (also called pambon) is sweet, full of raisins and it combines perfectly with peanut butter.

So, I was sitting in the saving shade, being watched by a uniformed man, guarding an almost empty, huge parking lot. An hour earlier I fell into disfavour with that security guard because I didn’t give a damn for his rebuke concerning my outfit. The man said that I was obliged to wear a t-shirt while staying in the area adjacent to the supermarket. Before I even noticed him, I had already set up my mattress and lay down to have breakfast.

I bit into the sandwich when I saw him coming. I knew perfectly well what he would say. My naked torso works as a fire alarm on all uniformed guys and it does not matter whether I’m sitting next to a supermarket or getting closer to a checkpoint, or if I’m using an ATM machine at an empty gas station. From right out of the blue a man dressed in a multi-layered uniform appears and waving his gun asks a gringo to be dressed up, because it is not the beach (well, although on the beach a gringo can walk only in his shorts, while natives usually put on shirts and trousers).

Ignoring those sweaty and fevered guys sometimes is effective, especially when I meet them on the road and it is easy to shrug shoulders and just drive off. In that case however, I had no intention to look for another place, so I had to wait patiently and bear the entire Spanish monologue.

At first I pretended that I did not understand anything, but the man had been using such an extensive set of non-verbal gestures that, willy-nilly, I put on my T-shirt. When I was wondering if I would like to eat another sandwich, I noticed a slim, foreign-looking man walking slowly toward one of two cars left in the square. A young boy was making slow progress a few steps behind the man, pushing two overloaded shopping carts. The wheels caught on uneven surface and wedged themselves in tiny crevices of the concrete square.

The man turned around repeatedly and talked loudly, but I could not recognize any words. They were just a few steps from the car when one of the carts rolled over. The hole in the ground was too big and the boy probably even noticed it and he certainly felt that one wheel came into it and jammed, but instead of pulling the cart, he pushed it forward and all its content was on the ground.

Something was broken, something was spilled, one bottle rolled under the car. Among the screams of an overexcited man, the dark-skinned boy was hastily scooping up the scattered stuff, throwing everything into the open trunk of the car. There were so many things on the ground to be picked up. The boy was sweating and his eyes were alight with terror. His huge, wide open eyes, still looking for things which had already been found, lifted and packed. The eyes looking for things which no longer will have to be pushed in overloaded carts, somewhere out of the invisible door, slammed hard by a man from another world.

Those great, dilated pupils of another world. They look at me when I go, when I eat, drink, sit, when I wait, when I put up my tent. They sit on the porches of their tiny houses until finally they come closer. They say nothing but I can hear them talking. I even prefer them to be silent, because when they speak I do not understand anything. They are always behind the wall, as in Panamanian Luna’s Castle hostel, where on the one side live those who were born there, and on the other – well nourished gringos sit and eat gingerbread with peanut butter, watching the silent movie from another life.

dos-mundos

And although I once thought that these worlds sometimes meet, now I think they do not. They peer at themselves but they cannot see. They do not meet even if someone invites me to their house, and with generous hospitality offers bed and breakfast. We talk, we smile, we sometimes eat from the same plate, we stroke cats, but the wall remains.

nicaragua

I’m cycling through another country. The birds are constantly flying above my head. I saw them in Colombia, and then in Panama. I’m getting close to Salvador, and they are still above me. Yesterday I saw them again. I do not know what to think about it. I look at them as they circle, as they spin over my head.

pajaros

The Big Bear appeared in the sky. It hangs upside down and quickly hides over the horizon. The stars are dancing, celestial music can be heard. In the middle of the night I hear you. In the middle of the dream I twirl around.

God does not like carnival

carnaval-3

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

We reached Campo de la Cruz after dark. We were wandering clumsily among dimly illuminated streets, sensing invisible eyes leading us from the swinging hammock to the open gate, from the creaking bench to the dark and swarming with people backyards, which slowly were being filled up with cooler, evening air.

We felt uneasy. I mean, I certainly felt uneasy, but I am sure that Fidrygałka did not feel very comfortable either. An hour before, just in front of our eyes, a car ran over a dog. All in all, nothing terrible happened and, in fact, nothing special. When you cycle along Latin roads, sooner or later you get used to the sight of dead, canine corpses, so indeed, the whole incident should not have touched us at all.

And probably it wouldn’t if it hadn’t been for the fact that this dog was not a stray dog. It had its owner – somebody to whom it was attached more that to anyone else in the world. But after the “incident” the owner just walked up to a still shaking body, took it by the tail and threw it into the ditch; then shook his hands and went away. He did it so quickly and so naturally as if he did not do anything else in his life but walking along the road and throwing dead corpses into the ditch.

The next day, the carnival started. – God does not like carnival – says the boy met in the square. – Why? – I ask surprised. – He does not like it and that’s it – the boy answers. – So, what is he doing that time? – I don’t give it up. – He’s sleeping. But even then, he sees everything. He has a third eye, my grandma told me – the boy answers with a very serious face. – So even when he sleeps, he is able to see everything, because he has three eyes.

Such an eye would come in very useful. It would be nice to see what you are usually not able to see. At the very least one could respond somehow in some situations, especially those which happen unexpectedly and the only thing you can do is to smile and say “thank you”. What else could we do when in a small town Juan de Acosta a man brought breakfast for us? Or when the owner of Malibu Hotel (whose room prices exceeded our two-week budget) offered us the entire floor of his hotel?

malibu-hotel

Not to mention two, suspiciously looking women we met in Barranquilla, who at first we insolently and nonchalantly ignored. If it hadn’t been for their help we would never have found affordable accommodation, because somehow it escaped our notice that during the last four days of the carnival it would be more than advisable to reserve a room at least a month earlier.

And finally the girl from Panamanian hostel “Luna’s Castle”, who broke the rules and allowed me to stay overnight, regardless of the fact that the hostel was overbooked. I slept exactly in the same spot, where fifteen months earlier I had been finishing writing my last book “Dream of Return” (in original: “Sen powrotu”). I did not ask for anything. When I heard, “I’m sorry, but there are no vacancies,” I thought that the girl would just add “have a nice evening” and then she would continue taking care of the penitents queuing before the reception. She asked me to wait and then she led me to the big room pointing to a “hollow”. I knew that place. I knew that very well. I spent there hours looking for words in the ceiling. Mosquitoes bit as always.

I put up the tent and opened my mind, full of tangled thoughts. Tangled even more than usual, because I’m cycling alone again. Fidrygalka borrowed the wings and flew into the clouds leaving me on the ground. Although land or clouds, is there any difference? I close my eyes and I can see. Does it mean that I also have a third eye? Maybe all of us have. Always open. Always alert, even as we sleep.

“And before you hear it, listen well. Did you see it? Do not rush until you can see more clearly.” W. Myśliwski

When God created the coffee break

atlantico

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher

I can’t deny – I do like coffee. I could say even more – I feel a deep respect for it. There is almost an intimate bond between me and coffee that binds all mornings into one aromatic, caffeine continuum. I belong to that group of people who usually fall asleep after drinking, instead of being stimulated. So, I do not have to refuse one cup in the late afternoon or even at night. And I drink a lot and I prefer it strong.

I am spending the last days in Colombia – the country which is the third producer in the world when it comes to the amount of coffee produced annually, and it is famous for its excellent quality. There is no doubt whatsoever that Colombian coffee is one of the best in the world. Nevertheless, despite of its good reputation many foreigners who come to Colombia find it strange when they want to buy a good coffee in the street, hotels or even a family home. Majority of Colombians, who are so proud of their product, do not know how to prepare that drink. As Paul Bocuse (a French culinary celebrity) once said that Colombian coffee is like “dirty water”.

Please, do not misunderstand me. The coffee here is good, well, it’s perfect but only if you prepare it yourself. And surely, as long as you succeed in finding it well ground and roasted. Those conditions, in addition to the appropriate mixture of water and coffee, are the key to making a good drink.

Colombians have their own word for “coffee” – they call it “tinto”, which could be loosely translated as “stained or inky water”. Tinto is sold almost everywhere, and you can get it for an equivalent of a few cents from street vendors who carry their thermos-laden, home-made carts and trolleys all over the country. Tinto is usually extremely sweet and diluted. I would say that its taste resembles “something with a taste of coffee”, although it might be better to describe it as “water with a taste of sweet syrup”. It is usually served straight from the thermos, and when it is cold (because the Colombian thermos do not hold the temperature too long), it is reheated.

Surely, there are some people among the readers who do not drink coffee at all. So, I would like to mention that coffee considerably changes its flavor after about thirty minutes of “aging”, whether it fills a cup or a thermo. It is obvious that after some time it finally gets cold, and cold coffee actually changes into “dirty water” – unless we like a frozen one, but that’s another question about which I’m not going to elaborate here, because with ice I drink only whiskey.

So, why do they drink so bad coffee in Colombia? Is it just a question of another taste and Colombians really like what they buy in the streets? Then, in principle, this issue should not be moved at all, because de gustibus non est disputandum, there is no accounting for tastes. But if even locals admit that their tinto has little to do with a well-brewed espresso, then it must be something brewing in that matter.

Let’s look at the statistics on the annual consumption of coffee in the world. In Colombia it is less than two kilos per person, while, for comparison, in Finland, the consumption is twelve kilograms per capita, in Norway ten, and even in the small country as Bosnia and Herzegovina (rather unknown for its liking for coffee) – six kilos per person. And perhaps here, apart from economic factors (because the best coffee is more expensive and for many years Colombia exported its best grain and left the lowest quality for domestic consumption) we should look for a source of disappointment, a kind of feeling which wakes up among foreigners visiting Colombia and expecting euphoric, gustatory elations.

Colombians normally do not drink much coffee and are not accustomed to more elaborate formulas like cappuccino or a latte macchiato. And when they do drink it, they conform to less quality. Many Colombians have breakfast with hot chocolate, juices from a variety of fruits or panela – a drink prepared from a brown, sugary substance. Not so long time ago, tinto was being added to dinner for free, as it is now “agua de panela” (water with lime and panela – sugar obtained almost directly from sugar cane, sold in sugar cubes).

Juan Valdéz (a sort of Colombian Starbucks), finally got the hang of it, but in Juan Valdéz coffee costs ten times as much as tinto and vast majority of Colombians simply can’t afford it, similarly like most Colombians can’t afford to buy a decent coffee maker.

juan valdez

The coffee machines used in Colombia are usually huge. Generally, they are quite good devices from which one could make a great espresso. The problem is that the cloth filters are not replaced very often, which obviously affects the quality of the finished product. Large quantities of coffee are prepared for a day and then, the drink is warmed over and over again, so it not only loses its freshness and original flavour, but actually turns into tarred sediment.

So are there no places in Colombia where you can buy a decent cup of coffee, and there are no people in the country who can properly brew it? Of course, surely they are, but it is difficult to find them. One could say that instead of moaning about the incompatibility of my own and Colombian tastes, I should prepare a cup of coffee myself. As I like it. After all, almost every store offers fantastically burnt and ground coffee, which I can put into the coffee mug to enjoy a unique, slightly acidic coffee aroma.

Yes, I could prepare my own coffee, but believe me, after a few hours of pedalling under the scorching sun, after climbing another heavy uphill, I really would like to find a good place to get a coffee, instead of looking for a shadowy spot to stay, and then pulling up the stove, firing it up, heating, brewing, waiting and so on. And it is a pity that in Colombia I have to prepare coffee myself, but well, as I said earlier, I like it strong, so strong, that accustomed to tinto Colombians probably would not touch at all, because for them it would seem to be just disgusting, smelly tar.

And maybe we come to the heart of the problem (if one could call it “problem” at all). Because, what on earth “brewed well” means? After all, there is no one “proper” way to brew. I like it strong, someone likes it weak. I do not add milk, someone likes ice and so on … In terms of tastes everything is relative. And I am from Poland, so I probably have an innate tendency to complain and to pick holes where they may not be any.

Well, but weak, transparent coffee, warmed up five times, served with three tablespoons of sugar and nearly cold? No, after all, I’ve had enough. I will make an effort and will look for a shadowy spot to perform my loved, caffeinated ritual. And when you come to Colombia hoping for a good espresso, do not forget to bring your stove-top espresso maker, or at least a spare sock. Bon Appétit!

Cendre

solo

“The only journey is the one within” Rainer Maria Rilke

You can’t escape from meeting people while being on the road. Surely, you may try to avoid any contact with them, but isn’t it one of the most important reasons for which we leave our home anyway? If it hadn’t been for all those encounters with seemingly unknown people (who sometimes are more close to you than your real relatives) what would all those journeys have meant? How many times can you write the same words? How many times can you go back to visit the same places? And why? Just for sheer pleasure? For the sake of experiencing the same things more consciously? To find something which was overlooked, with the hope that not everything went away, and that this time you will be able to focus your attention better, just to see something in its real form?

Sometimes it seems to me that I can’t live in the present and I still have to return somewhere, to elbow my way – not figuratively, but literally, physically. That, in fact, I still live in the past, and all my attention is focused on what had already happened. That I make up and tell the alternative stories which sometimes appear to be more real than those experienced and once told.

Robert Piłat, a Polish professor, elaborating on the subject of people’s cognitive abilities refers to Bergson and tells about instantaneous experiences of meaning – experiences that are either mystical or aesthetic, which allow us “register” reality better. And by asking a rhetorical question where that reality could be found, he refers to Zofia Król, a Polish writer, and quotes a fragment of her book “Powrót do świata”: “There is magic that allows us to reach that reality.”

I wanted to visit the Colombian cats I had sheltered two years earlier in the village called Zarzal, but they somehow disappeared. There was not even one. They hid themselves in the bushes. It is said that one of them became a mother. So be it. A few little creatures run around the house, and run away at the sight of man. Maybe it was their mother who advised them not to come along. Escape from any human attempts to stroke them, or even touch them. Well, maybe the mother was right. Why should they get used to the men? Why should they get used to me? At the end, as always, only sadness would be left. Surely, I could not take any of those feline creatures with me. And yet, supposedly “we always remain in the eyes of Cats.”

I saw three of them. I approached closer, but in an instant they just fled to the garden. The leaves of the trees swirled. I stood and waited. The cats did not come back. A white-black spot moved in the greenish landscape. I did not need any magic to know that it was her. The cat was watching me from the dense, bushy shrubs. I knew that she would not come out, and that the green curtain would not open that time. Neither would the meeting end with even one, the gentlest touch. And that in fact, that meeting did not start at all – although despite of that or maybe thanks to that it will last forever.

And Colombia? Yes, it has started. It has started with lots of meetings and probably it will end with plenty of meetings, too. We go along, being blessed and favoured, invited for conversations, even invited to stay for a couple of days, as it was in the case of Mario and Maricel, whose generosity and great hospitality I was able to experience once again. We were able to take a rest in exceptionally comfortable conditions, which we appreciated very much so, after a very strenuous ten-days section of Quito-Cali. We spent five unforgettable days and, as a farewell, we got a beautiful stovetop espresso maker to stop using socks for brewing exceptionally aromatic, Colombian coffee.

coffee

Let’s only hope, I won’t lose that watchfulness. Because we perceive the world in its real form thanks to our attention and concentration, thanks to the proper direction of the mind. In the aforementioned radio programme professor Piłat says that if we experience a moment too intensely, then “we seem to be losing ourselves, as if we melted in that experience. It happens so not because the time passes, but because we leave in that moment the best side of ourselves.” It sounds gloomy, that is true, but even if professor is right – so be it. After all, would it be anything more beautiful than to be able to burn at the end with the bright flame? To burn with the flame after which only pure, white dust would remain? “There must be a meaning in any burning, otherwise the burning ash means nothing.”