devi: (fields)
I am in Iquitos on the banks of the Amazon. I was going to come here on a riverboat, taking three to five days, slowly sailing up the squiggly Rio Ucayali till it turned into the Amazon. But I heard in Pucallpa that the river was so low it was taking nearly a week at the moment, and I´d already lost a couple of days in Lima, so today I caught another little local plane. Iquitos is a cool little city full of grand buildings with dark blue tiling, left over from the rubber boom.

After checking into the Hobo Hideout hostel I walked a couple of blocks down to the riverside. The sky was grey, broken by patches of rusty light, the air was shifting around expectantly as though it was about to storm. Thousands of birds were flocking around a bunch of communications masts in the Plaza de Armas. Then I came out on to a high promenade that looks out across a sweep of lush vegetation and wet fields to the broad silver curve of the river, and the forest beyond it. There was a thick steel-grey curtain of rain coming in from miles away, with distant thunder and lightning. And now the whole sky was swirling with birds, all kinds of birds from sparrows to big scruffy buzzards, some flicking through the air just above my head, some so far up they were just tiny flecks.

People were strolling on the promenade or making out or selling sweets. A children´s play was going on in a little amphitheatre. I stood and watched the rain coming closer for a while, then all the birds suddenly vanished and I knew from the smell of the air that I only had seconds before it rained. I ducked into this netcafe and moments later, outside the open door, bringing a smell of hot wet concrete, the sky fell.

a thing for rainforests )

The jungle around Pucallpa was scrubby, just the fringes, not the really old-growth forest with the huge ancient trees. Here, though, or at least 100km or so out of town, it´s the real thing, and I´m going there. In a few days I´m heading down the river on a boat and then hiking into the forest, and if they still have space on that bit of the tour I get to climb high up into the canopy, where a science team have hung a walkway for people to stand and watch birds and animals you can´t see from the ground.

It´ll be a delicious irony if I get eaten by an anaconda or something while I´m out there. But I don´t expect nature to love me back. I´m just glad to be here.
devi: (bookish)
I am in Oxford, it's freezing hard outside and there's a funny yellow moon. I have finally broken 25,000 words (with the help of a small Totoro and Winston the orange cat) and I am jubilant. I know it's 2am and I should go to bed. Instead I am going to have a glass of wine and watch Galaxy Quest. Hurrah!

I wrote to one of my old DCU lecturers today, asking him if he'd give me an academic reference for the coming job-hunt. He just mailed back saying he's left academia, and sorry - but he remembers me, and my thesis topic, and wishes me luck. This has made me sad and happy at the same time - happy he remembers me and sad that he's no longer blowing students' minds. He was unhinged and brilliant, obsessed with mythology and collective consciousness and poetry, had a glorious disregard for teaching anything practical or careery, and had a huge impact on me. It's taken me the last eight years to figure out the full meaning of some of the stuff he taught. I should tell you about him some time, when I'm feeling more coherent.

But now, wine and cat-on-lap and film and bed.
devi: (city)
I'm up way too late. From my attic eyrie I can see the trees threshing in the wind, throwing shifting shadows across Colney Hatch Lane. Hardly anything is going by on the road except all-night delivery vans. It's sad that I won't be here much longer, so I'm enjoying it while I can. No school tomorrow, and I like the feeling of being awake while most of the city's asleep.

After ripping what I want off the CDs I'm selling, I've made a playlist, six hours long and counting, of music they used to play in Dublin at Fibbers and Dominion. Music for dancing and moshing and pogoing, squealing with glee and dashing off to the dancefloor on hearing the first bars of a favourite song, waking up on Sunday with a sore neck from too much headbangage. It's got The Smiths and Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine and Covenant and The Cure and the Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails and so much other stuff, and I have it on random. This is the sound of me before London, before most of the music I actually listen to now, before I'd written anything much, before I had a proper job, before I ever danced all night, before I had any politics, before a lot of things. God, what's left when you subtract all that? Still in the womb, like Douglas Coupland says.

Between that and the photos I was looking at earlier, I feel completely dislocated. I've remembered the name of the Man called Kate, finally. And I found a picture of the DJ I was infatuated with, and a picture of me on the same night. I can wonder now why I thought he was so out of my league, because I didn't look as crap as I thought. "Wise Up, Sucker" has just come on. That was my song of the time, because he loved PWEI and I was the sucker who needed to wise up.

Back then I always had a feeling that I hadn't really started living yet. At least that's gone away now.

Yeah, time for bed.
devi: (Default)
Reading [livejournal.com profile] verlaine's recent heartbreak story sent me tumbling back into being sixteen, clumsy and shy, and for the first time in years I remembered Douglas. For those of you who read Matt's journal, he was my Grace.

the story of a starry-eyed Trekkie )

But Matt's post made me wonder where he is now. I searched for a while, then found this, in a local Northern Irish paper from 2001:

THE works of Shakespeare will be on view in Carrickfergus Castle this Friday (24th), as 26 year-old Belfast actor Douglas Burke performs a one-man show in aid of Action Cancer.

It was the death of a friend from the disease that prompted Douglas to stage the charity event. He said: “I wish to dedicate my performance to the memory of my late friend Kam On Wong, who died of cancer in 1994.”


So he was still acting, even if only in Carrickfergus, and still grieving. I feel all mixed-up and joyful and sad. I want to congratulate him for keeping it up, and to apologise for the horrid, fluffy-bunny platitudes I gave him about his friend's death, not even really believing them myself any more.

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