Thursday 14 December 2023

Aghia Galini, 1966

Lynne Tillman's Motion Sickness by page nine pauses at a hotel in Aghia Gallini in Crete. I stayed in a hotel in Aghia Gallini in 1966, it was two and six for a room with a bed, one and six for a mattress on the terrace, one shilling for a space on the terrace. Thin old women in black came down from the hills with sticks and cheese. I thought I'd rent a tiny cottage and look over the sea for a winter, write in a rocky landscape. There was a lot to absorb that year and far away by a sea the place for that, in a language I didn't understand. Sea urchins among the rocks. 

Lynne Tillman, thirty or so years later, stays on her shady balcony in Aghia Gallini, for fear of the Cretan sun. She is aware of her neighbours, Australians, and a New Zealander.

The New Zealander yells down that we should have a drink. He has a bottle, he says. Of what, I wonder, but don't ask. I say, I'm reading but all right. I don't know why I put it that way— 'reading but all right'. Perhaps I meant to suggest that his visit ought to be short.

Online now Aghia Gallini  looks like average tourists in shorts viewing the merchandise as they go down to the harbour. 

Lynne Tillman is in Bologna Paris Venice London Amsterdam and Agia Gallini. I am there too, passingly, by proxy and in my own right. We share the same motion sickness, or at least some of the same comforts.

I feel out of place and know that I'm right to feel out of place. Travel unsettles the appropriate. You're bound to be inappropriate. Which is probably why I don't feel the intense embarrassment some do at not being able to speak foreign languages correctly. It seems to me that one of the privileges of travel is never to fit in. And not to fit in, not to be able to, is a kind of freedom.

No comments :

Post a Comment