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in Bombay/Mumbai

Bombay (as the locals I have met insist on calling it) keeps reminding me of my time in Alexandria in the early 90s. I walked a lot and obsessed over the bicycle culture back then too.

A slum laundry?Mumbai Housing

In another life I would happily live here. The chaotic order of miriad cultures. The acoutrements of human life spilling across the roads and footpaths. This stuff is my fuel.

in tokyo

Our first trip to Japan. After driving up the coast and waiting at the airport, the nine hour flight was not so bad. We spent two hours figuring out and getting the trains to our airbnb. We dumped our bags after 20 odd hours travelling and found a bar which was still open. The menu items where written in japanese on slats of wood hanging from the walls. Luckily the couple on the neighbouring table spoke English and helped us out. By the time we had eaten and drank our fill we had befriended Jody and Hiro, our kind translators.

Tokyo is a massive city. We are staying in Naka-Meguro which has gone through the global urban gentrification process. I found a secondhand clothes shop yesterday with a worn out overcoat for an eyewatering price. Every second cafe has a European or North American theme. We have been getting morning coffee and pastries at a pattiserie near our apartment. The streets at night are crowded with tokyoites along with Japanese and foriegn tourists. Mostly walking or riding bicycles. The cars are mostly wanker 1%ers driving like they own the place. I sound slightly bitter because I saw a Jeep tearing down a crowded street tonight without slowing for the toddlers they narrowly missed.

So, this post has been a bit of an exercise in publishing via the terminal using my phone. Publish and be damned!

Walking and Travel

As a nineteen year old, Bruce Chatwin introduced me to the latin phrase, 'solvitur ambulando' (The Songlines). Translated as 'it is solved by walking' I liked the phrase immediately. It has become a talisman to be kept in my thoughts. I have not only sought solutions by walking but also by running and cycling. Physical exertion is part of the process. This phrase to me is about abnegation of immediate responsibilities freeing myself to remember or dicover my own core responsibilities. We bog ourselves in uneccesary essentials (lawns need mowing, dogs walking, gutters fixing... ) it is good to remind ourselves of what is actually important to just live and be happy. Solvitur ambulando is my reset button to living.

Tourists start out with lots of gold (suitable for shopping with), a credit card, lots of food, some maps, and an expensive camera. Most monsters don't like being photographed.

(Nethack)

I have not had the chance to go for a walk/run/ride this past week. My work and home chores have taken precedent. Next week I am visiting Tokyo. I am starting to look forward to walking its streets. There is something rather lovely about landing in a completely new environment and wandering around like an interplanetary alien exploring 'this city thing'. The aimless explorer who has been defined by Baudelaire as the 'botanist of the sidewalk' or the by the situationists as a drifting psycho-geographer. These romantic notions are appealing but in all honesty I will be a tourist. I will walk the city with my phone in hand and no doubt share a few snaps on social media. I will eat food that is new or unusual to me. I will buy souvenirs.

Readings

Blinkers

I recently bought some TaoTronics noise cancelling headphones. I thought they'd make the long-haul flight home to the UK less painful.

As an itirant miserable bastard I have found they also work to make long-haul life less painful. Sometimes I just want to switch the world off and step out for a bit. These headphones give me a bit a peace to recompose myself. Not as much peace as the electronic blinkers Panasonic is currently flogging though.

I chose life

I think if I was that desparate I could probably achieve peace with a sack over my head prior to a short walk on a busy motorway.

Next Year

At times I have a plan. I have been known to make a five year plan and more or less stick to it. More happenstance, less plan to be honest. I had planned to quit my previous relationship and go live in the Falklands or the Australian outback. My kids would get monosyllabic postcards occaisonally with no return address. Eventually I'd drown in the frozen wastes of the South Atlantic or get bitten by a death adder far from the nearest billabong and they'd never hear from me again. I was going to grow a beard, stop talking to people and just knuckle down to hard-bitten bachelorhood. I tweaked that plan a bit. Instead I hooked up with a kind and caring woman and her little boy. We remade the plan and it is a much better plan. I stayed nearby and weathered the break up. I have not stopped talking but I do talk less. I have grown a beard.

Now it is time for another plan. Happenstance will no doubt take precedent. Nonetheless I'll give it a try and get down to some boring specifics.

PLAN 1:

I have been considering studying for my Honours in Oncology beginning in February next year. I have to decide this week as the applications for scholarships close at the end of October.

PLAN 2

Alternatively, I could just spend a year goofing off. I could work less; spend time with my family; ride my bicycle; travel; fix my house. Maybe I will go to Uni the year after that.

It's a no brainer really. You know it.