The pain of travelling, and that is undeniable, is significantly lessened, nay, extinguished by the wonder that is diazepam. However, there exists on this fair earth a sister substance, clonazapam, which, far from being a member of the Taliban, is just that little bit stronger; it takes roughly 20mg of the former substance to place me in a gentle cocoon of escapism, floating both metaphysically and physically above the clouds, take 4mg's of clonazapam and you wouldn't be able to hear Sarah Palin orgasm. My flight from Lima to Amsterdam and from there to England was one long glorious kip. I awoke to the the calming voice of the captain: “We are now approaching...the weather is shit,” in essence informing us that my fellow passengers and I had made a terrible mistake in leaving our place of departure. “You fools, this is what you have lying ahead of yourselves. You could have stayed in exotic bliss but instead you elected to come here, congratulations.” The air stewardess feared waking me from my self induced coma - three meals we are entitled to, I received one. I have no doubt the comatose dribble from the corner of my mouth served as some form of a 'Do not disturb' sign.
The gates of arrival and departure seem to me to be of one and the same thing - similar sentiments are displayed at both ends; I left to mild teariness, and arrived to the sounds of a similar tune: following the emotional roller-coaster that is baggage collection, the butterflies start to flap around in my tummy; I look a little worse-for-wear, which calls for adjustments in the toilet – during which people look at me as if I have just finger-fucked their cat; it doesn't help that I am shirtless, sock-less and with head under a hand drier.
Having just spent the last eighteen hours touching/in contact with people, I happen to be strolling alone now, past the last security gate and around 'the' corner that is obligatory at every arrival gate – first put to test in Croydon Airport, 1928, so as to create suspense. A couple of teary faces greet me and my brother states he “was not” crying; my sister asks, “why are your eyes red?” I laugh, we all laugh – it is funny. I am eyed up meticulously for signs of damage or a half Argentinian love child – my mother's greatest fear – before being merited with the stamp of approval: “Well, you're all in one piece, and that's what matters.” Of course that's what fucking matters, honestly what sort of sentence is that? You are suggesting there was a distant possibility of my arriving in separate parts, figuratively in pieces – the victim of Cubism-obsessed natives.
Life back to normal...
The prodigal son has returned; I am Surrey-Kent border's living equivalent to Sir Francis Drake, sailing through the narrow-minded tides that lap against my beautiful boatlette; to family, and friends of, I am but an exotic piece - an African fruit bowl bought on a business trip years ago. Attention is food for the soul but not all of it tastes sweet; questions are continually asked of my brave travels, and I find myself growing weary:
“So, how was it?”
“How was what?”
“You know..(I did not)...'it'.”
“Ah, 'it', of course. You mean South America, how was South America. So, essentially you have boldly requested that I sum up the last two years of my life and a continent that consists of around twelve countries, all of which contain rich and defining differences, in the answer I am to provide you with?”
“Yes, I suppose I have.”
“It was good, thank you.”