BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, July 1, 2012

To Berlin and Back

One of the greatest rewards of travel is the return home to the reassurance of family and old friends, familiar sights and homely comforts and your own bed - Paul Theroux

The Laughing Lizard -- one glass to put me to sleep amid my jet lagged state -- tells me I'm home. And so does the familiar smell of the faded sheets that cover my bed, more comfortable than any duvet in a foreign land or the luxury I enjoyed in Business Class. I am home on a moon-lit night, to a quiet evening of sweet silence. There is nothing but the rhythmic sound of rain tapping the rusty roof of the rented shack I live in.

I am home after a week-long journey with Jes. The ride started in Frankfurt and ended in Berlin. And in between the two cities, there were lots of photographs and words, fights and laughter, warmth and cold. Good food, too. Steaks, salads, bread, chocolates, the finest brie and blue-cheese and a variety of ice-cold German beer which we drank up to the very last drop, represented by the very last euro we had in our possession.

There was a lot to take in, starting from the wildness of Frankfurt, a portrait of 'the morning after'; the intellectual possibilities offered by the conference in Bonn; the breathtaking view of the sunset cruise on the scenic Rhine River; the terrains of art and imagination in Documenta 13 in Kassel; Salvador Dali's surrealism to the historic barbed wired past of Berlin's Brandenburger Tor which Jes and I searched for hours just walking the city's cobbled stone streets.

In the end, the reward is bringing home the best of times, the most memorable of the many journeys. It is, at best, yet another stop in between the heart of an enigmatic young boy and a paradise of a beach called Puka.

Photos by me. Photos of me, by Jes.