“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?
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