I find myself in a corner café for several reasons; I need a seat to rest, some food to eat, tea to drink, and a place to watch all that we miss when we are moving too fast. Even in such a short time I see so much in this small corner of the world that I would not have seen back home. How utterly immersed I am in the people that walk by and the lives I imagine they live. My lunch time is something special sitting here, I will never be here again I am sure, my food is good and the interesting people I watch keep me company without the trouble of forced conversation. This short respite from the cool weather and the chance to collect my thoughts makes me eager to continue my journey to somewhere.
The places I seek are the usual haunts for me, small cafes, bookstores, and places that speak so loudly when you see them they block everything else out. One establishment was so perfect for me I fail to understand how I found it, a store that was crammed full of books and records. There wasn’t an inch of space that wasn’t occupied by some hidden gem. It was as if the walls were made of these items; no more perfect set could have been designed for a Hollywood movie. Of course I found a special item that I couldn’t resist, too bad I wasn’t keeping this one for myself; this would be a special thank you for my friends that were boarding me on this extraordinary adventure. I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed finding it. From the subway in the mornings, to the places that inspire me, and finally to the famous eateries where I can cap the day off with my favorite indulgence…great food, atmosphere, and the best company I could possibly imagine. It’s a chance to look back on another day like no other and revel in something fantastic. My last night was such a night, the day had been one more surprise after another, finishing off with a relaxing meal and stretching one day into the next in a small jazz club. Here the music did most of the talking as we sat back and enjoyed.
I feel lucky in so many ways to have been able to experience all that I have on this trip. It was simultaneously exciting and exhausting but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I had no real plans going into this journey other than some general desires; I have found that this works best. I took my time to find my way, to let the place guide me and in doing so I experienced something special. The streets became so much more to me than a way to get here or there, they became a place that spoke to me; at first I didn’t know what they were saying, but eventually I understood they were telling me everything, everything about the places I was visiting, the people I encountered, and the feeling of what it was like to actually understand the place for what it was…just another piece of me now.