Monday, May 30, 2011

The Nazca Lines of Peru





"But we must watch the video first!" the Dutch woman demanded shrilly. She had salt-and-pepper hair and looked to be in her fifties.
"But señora, we must fly now. The light, you see,” said the pilot.
"Yes," I chimed in, "we need to go now."
The Dutch woman's beefy companion, most certainly her husband, threw me a steely look and in a menacing voice said: "Stay out of this!"
I shut my mouth and sat down to watch the woman argue with the Peruvian pilot.
I had come here to Nazca to see the mysterious figures etched into the desert floor centuries ago by the people who lived here. These are not your garden-variety sidewalk art, but stylized figures of monkey, flamingo, hummingbird, whale, dog, man and various whorls, lines and trapezoids miles in length and diameter. They are so huge that for centuries no one knew they existed until they were spotted by a pilot in the 1930's. Because it hardly rains in the Nazca plains and no high winds existed that would have eroded them, they had remained intact ever since their creation. Their makers simply removed layers of dark topsoil covering the lighter earth underneath and voilà: a Nazca line. Archaeologists studied them and puzzled over their significance. Erich von Daniken wrote a wildly popular book in the `70's called "The Chariots of the Gods" wherein he postulated that these figures, and most specially the trapezoids and lines were actually landing strips for aliens from outer space. Less fanciful students of the lines thought they were offerings to an all-seeing sky-god. You can see similar figures in pottery excavated from graves around the area, so the theory that they were connected to the religious culture of the time is probably the most logical one. The Nazca Lines are the second most visited archaeological site in Peru after Macchu Picchu.
They cannot be seen at ground level. Not even their creators could have seen them at all. To fully appreciate them, you have to hire a small plane that will bring you 500 feet up into the air in order for you to view them in their magnificent totality.
Which is the reason why I found myself in the small airport of Nazca this early morning of Janury 27, the year of our lord 2008, barely three days after the end of my Inca Trail adventure, listening to a woman from Holland insisting that she and her husband must first watch the orientation video about the Nazca lines promised in the brochure. Meanwhile, as the morning wore on, the light and wind were subtly changing. The quality of our viewing was in danger of being altered. There could be passing clouds, obscuring the furrows in the lines. It could rain. There could be an earthquake.
"Come on, woman!" I seethed inwardly. I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and scream:"No video will ever be useful or effective enough to compare with actually seeing the lines themselves!." A look at the wide shoulders and sledgehammer arms of her husband discouraged me from doing so.
There are actually two kinds of plane trips you can take: one to take in the Nazca lines, and the other to take in the Palpa lines, a totally different grouping. I decided to go with the more famous one although you can see both sets of lines if you paid for more plane time.
Finally, the pilot managed to convince the couple to go up in the plane without watching the hour-long video presentation. They could do it after the trip. We squeezed into the four-seater piper cub, me beside one window, the woman occupying the one opposite mine, and the husband's bulk filling the space in between us. The man stank. We did not exchange a word throughout the entire trip. The pilot did all the talking. Up we went, the husband wildly clicking  his camera, my face, resolutely turned away from them, pressed against the window.
I looked down at the brown, treeless plateau below. The pilot pointed out the figures as they came into view. The man craned his neck to see through my window. I firmly blocked his view. Anyway, he was going to see what I was seeing when the plane banked over to turn back to the airport.
The hour-long flight was soon over and as the plane taxied to a halt and as we three passengers had all scrambled out of the plane, I reflected a little on the sights I'd seen.
It was a fast transient view, like a video in four dimensions. Unlike stationary monuments like Macchu Picchu or the Pyramids of Egypt, the Nazca lines can only be appreciated in an instant, and then you may never have the chance to see them again. How often do you really want to go up in a rickety plane to do in-depth viewings of these lines? How often do you want to take a mind-numbing, if pleasant half-day bus trip from Lima through a featureless desert landscape and depressing towns that still bore marks of destruction from a recent earthquake? No, the hour you spent up in the air could be the only time you can spare to watch these wondrous lines and the rest of your life you would have no choice but to re-imagine them. Hummingbird, Monkey, Flamingo, the Astronaut on the mountainside, Snake, Dog and a host of other strange whorls, intersecting lines that went straight as arrows from one mountaintop to another, trapezoids, parallel lines so straight you can be forgiven if you thought that perhaps, as von Daniken averred, they really were landing spaces for alien craft: all these would have to be conjured up again in your mind's eye. Of course, a videocamera would be useful as well.
This much is beyond doubt: the lines were made not by aliens but by a hardworking, religious, creative race, forebears of today's Peruvian Indians. How and why they created them are still subject of study and speculation. A German woman named Maria Reiche who spent her life studying these lines probably came close to explaining their function. She theorized that they formed a giant astronomical chart that reflected the skies above the Nazca plains and was connected with the seasons of sowing, growing and harvesting crops. It is enough to believe this, and continue to feel the magic of the lines in one's memory ... whining Dutchwoman or no.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whittier, Alaska


A wind that must have been born in the ninth circle of Dante's Inferno blew through the lonely town of Whittier, Alaska. It brought a cold that rendered extremities numb and insensate. It clawed ferociously at exposed skin, threatening to freeze ears and lop off noses. The sun played peek-a-boo all day long.

The view all around though was nothing if not stupendous. No mist obscured the cliffs that rose steeply from the fjord that formed part of Prince William Sound. In the past few days snow had fallen in great amounts, blanketing the upper reaches of the Chugach mountains with fields of velvet white interrupted only by isolated outcroppings of dark, bare rock . Towards the west a glacier uncoiled into the sea like a white, luminous serpent flecked with blue scales. Terns wheeled silently above the ruffled surface of the fjord. Waterfalls that in summer roared like trains down the mountainsides now trickled down in thin rivulets. Bands of browns and yellows ran through the evergreen, a sure sign that summer had ended and fall, and eventually winter, was about to grip the land.

In the midst of all this beautiful scenery, Whittier stuck out like a snatch of nightmare. It seemed less a town than a scrapheap. All around lay rusted barrels, abandoned cars, twisted cables and pipes, unhitched cabooses, unused railway tracks, rotting hulls of boats, plastic garbage bags and decaying driftwood. Inclement winters had ordained that the few hundred inhabitants of this place hole up in one squat, graceless medium-rise building. A town where all the people lived in one box: isn’t that a prescription for terminal cabin fever?

I didn’t always think Whittier was ugly. I first saw it from the deck of a ship as we approached to berth. Bathed in the half-light of the midnight sun, Whittier appeared to be a sleeping resort village. Gray highrises that looked like a hotel complex rose up from the hillside. Snowy ridges studded with conifers seemed to have sprung out of a Christmas card. From the heights of the mountains that formed its backdrop, three high waterfalls magnificently cascaded down into the plains below.

“But surely this is Switzerland!” I thought. I could not have been more wrong.

Whittier was the terminus of the Alaska railroad. A terminus, by definition, is where things end up, and that includes the discards of boats, trains and people on their way to somewhere else other than here. And that was what Whittier was, a place of discards.

On a positive note, cruise ships and fishing-boats docked in Whittier. You can fish here, cruise the inland sea, or drink lots of alcohol. For a lot of observers, Whittier is a nothing town…nothing, that is, but what nature has to offer, which is actually a lot, if you look past the garbage and the grim buildings. Whittier is part of Prince William Sound after all. If only it didn’t rain so much.

The complex of gray buildings that I took at first to be some sort of an unfinished hotel was actually the long-vacated quarters of the US military. Built after World War II, it was used by the military till sometime in the 60’s. Some say it was never used at all. Having served its purpose, it was abandoned to the elements, to graffiti artists, and (rumor has it) to squatters of the ursine variety. Some private entrepreneur had bought it from the government, perhaps planning to convert it into a resort. I wonder who the clientele would be.

On a subsequent day, the weather in Whittier turned warm and summery. I ventured onto a pebbly beach near the mouth of the tunnel that led to Anchorage. I came upon a group of people sunning themselves on large boulders. One was a white man who looked fifty. In his company were an Inuit woman and her two small boys. They were friendly, and were not coy about making small talk with me. I managed to hide my surprise when the man told me he was from Germany. I did not ask him how he came to be in a place so far away from Europe. Yes, they all lived in the only apartment building in town.

“ Are there bears here?” I asked the man.

“Not now, but the bear vill kumm. Jah, dey vill kumm.”

One of the kids chimed in:

“We see the bears coming down from the mountains. We keep away from them. They fish in the river.”

That river, more of a shallow stream really, gurgled nearby. I picked up a piece of driftwood and wondered how to defend myself with it should a hungry bear attack me. Curiosity propelled me to an area where the river met the sea. No fish jumpin’ here for now. Good. I could see the white spout of a small waterfall at the cliff’s base on the other side of the shore. I wanted to walk over and have a closer look at it. I looked back at the family on the rocks. They regarded me with some amusement. Spooked at the possibility of encountering a bear at the waterfall, I decided otherwise, said goodbye to the family and retraced my way back totown.

Later that night (which was actually more of a prolonged twilight because, at this time of the year, the sun never set) while making my way back to the ship after a couple of drinks at the Quarter Deck, that infamous Whittier dive whose walls are adorned by the graffiti of half the world’s seamen, I noticed movement near a garbage bin. A gray figure was huffing and puffing around the steel container.

A bear. A grizzly bear.

It was some distance away from me and was so intent in trying to open the garbage bin that it didn’t notice me at all. Spurred by a sudden rush of fear, I sprinted back to the ship in what must have been an Olympic record time. Legs shaking, my nether-belly just about ready to give out, I sputtered weakly to the security guy at gangway: “Bear!”

I wasn’t the only one who saw the bear. Other crew members did. Some claimed to have seen not just one, but two bears. The number and size of the creatures varied according to the degree of the intoxication of the crew member. This would be one of only two times I’d see a bear in all the years I’ve cruised in Alaska. The only other time was when our ship rounded a cliff in Glacier bay and I saw the retreating rump of a startled bear that had been feeding near the shore.

I suppose, if you wanted to, you could go see the bear where they feed on fish and such. You could make a trip to Denali or British Columbia or even to that place where the -obsessed actor from California got eaten by his bears. Me, I’m pretty much content watching the safely enclosed bear in a zoo somewhere whilst drinking coffee and munching a bear-claw Danish.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Curse of the Sunglasses in the Pharaoh's Tomb


(Background story: In 2010 I went to Egypt and joined a crew tour to the Pyramids of Giza. In Giza, you have the option of going into the tomb deep in one of the pyramids [I think it was Chephren's ] which was accessible via a long narrow tunnel that was used by the workmen to escape once the tomb was finished and ready to be sealed. This tunnel is half the height of a man and very claustrophobic. I made a serious miscalculation in this tomb that could have landed me in a hospital. Thankfully it ended with nothing more than a sprain, and what I consider a lesson from the Gods of Egypt!)
_____________________________________________________________
O GREAT GOD OSIRIS, LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME,
A TOURIST!
I only went into the tunnel that barrels down into the depths of Chephren’s tomb because I wanted to be able to boast later on that I went inside one of the pyramids of Giza. How was I to know that I would be following somebody’s behind as we crouched in the dim, cursed passageway that was so low you had to bend down and present in turn your posterior to the person who was following you, willy-nilly? How low can you go?
But worse was still to come. Because of the blinding light of the Egyptian sun, I wore sunglasses that I forgot to take off when we entered the tunnel. Somebody was saying “ Go! Go! Go!”, so Go! Go! Go! I went, still wearing my sunglasses. I noted how dark it was. If I was somebody else, observing me, I would have said:" It's doubly dark because you’re wearing sunglasses in this cave, dummy!” But I forgot, because I was excited and thrilled to be seeing the tomb of a Pharaoh. And everyone knows that this pyramid is the gateway to other worlds. At least that’s what the movie “ Stargate” told us, although Michael Bay, in “Transformers 2” , may have another idea.
Osiris, husband of Isis, Father of Anubis, O Lord of the Underworld, you truly strike fear in people’s hearts!
At least that’s what I gathered from seeing the sweaty, pale faces of other tourists whom we met as they tried to claw their way out of the claustrophobic tunnel. I saw one woman who could hardly breathe from sheer panic. She saw your shadow, in the darkness, and she didn’t like what she’d seen, I guess. I didn’t have time to sympathize with her, because a) I didn’t want somebody to bump me from behind and b) I didn’t want to bump my face on somebody’s behind. Crouching and sucking in the hot, damp air of the tomb, I honestly started to feel like Gollum.
Ah, my Precious!
Then the tunnel started to ease up, widen a bit, praise be to the Sun God RA! The ceiling disappeared. I could stand up. Then the line of tourists stopped. We weren’t moving. There were too many blinded Caucasians (mostly) trying to gain purchase in the dark. I got impatient. I shouldn’t have. I felt like I was driving in Miami while a whole bunch of retirees were also driving in front of me on their way to their doctor’s appointments. Not. Good.
So I stepped out of the line to get into the tomb. I put my right foot out and placed it down into ….empty space.
O Chephren! Was this the fate you had in store for me, a supplicant sight-seer, bandmaster of the M/S Ocean Princess, lover of Chopin and chop-suey, hater of the slide-guitar, and admirer of art that is NOT displayed on the ship’s (bwahaha!) art gallery? Am I going to break my leg here in the darkness of your tomb? Am I going to fracture something worse?
A thousand apologies if, when my foot didn’t find the hard, granite floor, the first word that came to my lips started with an "S" and ended with a " T". Reflex, O great God, reflex.
When my foot did find the floor, from the height of the ramp that I was trying to make a shortcut, I felt a sickening thud. Instinctively I rolled on my back to lessen the impact of the crash and I lay there, in the dank interior of your tomb, and again, that immortal word rushed through my mouth, S………T!
IMMORTAL GODS OF EGYPT, it was great that there were mortal tourists, passengers on the ship, who brought me to my feet.
“ Are you OK? Are you OK?” They asked me. I'm sure some of them thought " Do we have to carry this joker out on a stretcher?"
But I could walk, although with a limp. There was a gash on my knee, but nothing was broken. The pavement of the Pharaoh’s tomb, for all I know, has a permanent record of my presence in it now, in the form of the molecules of blood from my wounded knee. Let that be my offering to you, O Chephren etc.
And what was in the tomb? What did I/we see after all that huffing and puffing and all that drama?
NOTHING, not even a sarcophagus.
! !! *(See below for translation.)
And what was the important lesson that I learned on this great adventure into the depths of the Pharaoh Chephrens’ pyramid, out there in the middle of the desert that is not quite desert because it’s surrounded by the tacky city of Giza?
Don’t ever forget to take off your sunglasses when going inside a tomb or you'll break your leg!
Still, O GOD OSIRIS, I must give thanks to you for sparing my limb! It took me a while to re-align my knee-cap, but, hey, how many times can you say, with a straight face: I nearly broke my leg inside a pyramid in Egypt?

*Egyptian hieroglyphics phonetically explained:
- F
- K
- Th
- T

Sunday, May 15, 2011

THE UP MADRIGAL SINGERS IN EL PASO

Photo by EVHuang

I first had the pleasure of listening to the UP Madrigal Singers when they were still under the active direction of their founder, Andrea Veneracion back in the 1970's in Manila, Philippines.
As a young university student from the provinces, I found Manila under the Marcoses to be whirlwind of a city: exciting, filled with fabulous activity in the arts, a veritable boomtown where deluxe hotels and soaring skyscrapers were being built a mile a minute.
Also, we were under a dictatorship, and like all dictatorships, the government brooked no dissent or protest. Martial Law ruled the land, and what peace and prosperity occurred were all a veneer that hid the ugly truths of corruption, torture, arbitrary detentions (sometimes on the laughably flimsy pretext of " rumor-mongering"), and all the goodies that absolute power confers on a self-chosen few, in this case, the Marcoses and their cabal. Engrossed in my studies, I knew nothing, or paid little heed to these matters.
Paradoxically, the arts flourished under the Marcoses. This was true of any dictatorship through the ages: witness the Medici in Florence, the Czars in Russia, the Popes in Rome. The Marcoses came at a time in the arts when the Filipinos were so beholden to the West that anything that smacked of the indigenous was considered low-class. The Marcoses, and especially Imelda, for all their extravagance and eventual despoliation of the Philippine treasury, were good for the Filipino arts and artists, and I, as a lover of the arts myself, indirectly benefited from all their munificence, despite my misgivings.
The UP Madrigal Singers was one of the artist's groups that was a direct beneficiary of the Marcoses' largesse. I usually heard them perform at the Philippine Cultural Center, especially at the Little Theater, whose acoustics were superb. In this theater I first heard pitch perfect interpretations of the a capella works of Palestrina, Monteverdi, various Filipino composers and arrangers, and the modernistic works of Ligeti and Penderecki.
Even at that time, the Madrigal Singers had already achieved a high level of artistry and precision in the art of unaccompanied singing. The government sent them abroad to participate and perform in various choral competitions where they were always top-ranked or took first prizes. They were also constantly called upon by the Marcoses to perform at their various soirees and official functions.
When the Marcoses were deposed by People's Power, the arts in the Philippines lost their prime sponsors. Sic transit tyrannis might also be spelled as sic transeunt artes.
Under the late President Cory Aquino, most of the art establishment which was seen to be allied with the Marcoses lost its government funding. Everybody in the arts had to scramble for their own funds, I suppose the Madrigal Singers were no exception to this. Fortunately, they had always operated under the aegis of the University of the Philippines. They were able to survive as a choral group. As for the Marcoses, they’ve gone the way of all dictators, out of power, though not, given the quirky nature of Philippine politics, out of sight.
So when it was announced that the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers were going to give an unscheduled concert in our parish church of St. Francis Xavier with barely a week’s notice, I was quite dumbfounded. El Paso has never been on any Filipino artist’s itinerary, mainly because there were not that many Filipinos in it. However, there had been an influx of Filipino medical professionals in the area, and a lot of them knew what the Madrigal Singers meant, so at concert time on the evening of May 8, 2011, the church of St. Francis Xavier was filled with expectant concertgoers.
The current crop of UP Madrigal Singers had a new monicker: The Madz, and they were so much younger than the members I saw more than thirty years ago back in Manila. They still wore Philippine costumes: barong-tagalog for the men and the Maria Clara for the women. They still sat in a semi-circle, without a conductor, although they had a musical director, Mark Anthony Carpio. They were no longer strictly immobile. For some up-tempo numbers, they stood up, clicked their fingers, danced in sync and made theatrical gestures. This was new. But they sang with the same clarity, precision and expressiveness as the Madrigals I knew. In this, nothing had changed. They sang without microphones as well, letting the power of their lungs and the acoustics of the church carry their songs to the audience. Their programme encompassed a group of songs that went no further than 1928 (no Palestrina here), but varied enough to sustain the interest of the crowd. Of interest was the composition " De Profundis" by the Filipino contemporary composer John Pamintuan, an interesting mix of basso ostinato and eliding sopranos in the upper registers. I didn't quite see the point of their inclusion of a quirky arrangement of " In the Mood" for solo voices, except perhaps to show that the Madz can be wacky. The songs by the Philippine composers, foremost among them the Broadway-sounding Ryan Cayabyab, were welcomed by a Filipino crowd that may conceivably be tired of hearing nothing but Norteno music in this part of the world.
Whatever minor distractions were in the venue (the air-conditioning malfunctioned, the church was too echoey, the mostly Filipino crowd brought a baby and kids who played with their PSP’s the whole time), the artistry of the choir shone through. Although they had conceded somewhat to the changed times, incorporating crowd-pleasing songs and jazzy movements, they gave up nothing in the way of properly interpreting a pianissimo or letting out a full-voiced fortissimo.
The UP Madrigal Singers, it turned out, were on a six-month world tour. The members were all students of the university who were giving up a semester of studies to pursue this tour.
I wish them well.
There is no truer, more dedicated group of artists than the UP Madrigal Singers who represent the best that the Filipino can achieve in the field of choral singing.
Here's a video of an informal after-concert performance of the current crop of UP Madrigal Singers at the Cahiling residence in El Paso, during the night of the Pacquiao-Mosley (non) fight. The song is " Man in the Mirror". I never imagined Michael Jackson would figure in the UP Madrigal Singers' repertoire, but it's a sign of the times!

video

Monday, May 2, 2011

9/11, Bin Laden and Bermuda


Upon hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death by a US special operations force in Pakistan, I found myself reliving a beautiful, sunny day in Hamilton, Bermuda. The date was September 11, 2001.
I had been playing the piano on a Celebrity cruise ship called the M/S Destiny whose homeport was New York City. We made regular weekly runs to Hamilton and St. George, Bermuda. It was one of the loveliest gigs I ever had. I sang and played solo piano in a venue called the Cova Café. Every Saturday, the ship berthed at the South Street Sea Port terminal, just a brisk 30-minute walk from Times Square. There were no security checks such as we undergo now. New York was at peace with everybody. The Twin Towers still stood proudly, although some purist New Yorkers still complained that they stuck out too inharmoniously above the skyline. As far as I was concerned, the Towers were a constant, welcome presence in my life while I stayed in my friend’s apartment in Astoria, Queens back in 1989. They greeted me everytime I looked out of the bathroom window. Yes, people, whenever I took a piss or sat at the loo, I’d just glance over and see the towers in the distance, a comforting presence that I learned to take for granted.
Bermuda was, and still is, a beautiful island that is the nearest and most logical destination for vacationing New Yorkers. Temperate and semi-tropical, it has fine pinkish beaches that are some of the best in the world. In the summer, when the ship overnighted in Hamilton, the fragrant smell of profligately-blooming flowers hung over the harbor like a thick, intoxicating blanket. It is British , and the people are very well behaved (in contrast to other tropical destinations in the Caribbean). It is also stunningly expensive, which means there were no Disneyworld crowds here. I have swum in sparkling coves where sometimes I was the only person present. Based on the prices they charged here for everything from tea to hotel rooms, I wouldn’t come here at my own expense. Having said that, I still recommend that anyone who can afford it go visit Bermuda.
We left the port of New York Saturday afternoon. Pleasure boats were out on the Hudson, their sails catching the late summer breezes. This is one of the great sailaways in the world. On one side you saw the Manhattan skyline with the twin towers dominating it, and on the other, the Statue of Liberty on its own island. As we passed by the towers, their expansive, glass-swathed facades looking so impressive and inviting, I remarked to a passenger who was standing beside me at the railing: “You know, somebody could fly a plane into that.” I had read an article in a magazine speculating on what would happen if a plane did fly into any of the towers. The writer concluded that it would only do partial damage to the building because the plane would be swallowed by the immensity of the building. He was talking about a small plane, like the one that crashed into the Empire State building back in the forties. He could not have foreseen that fully-fueled 757’s would be used to attack not just one, but both buildings. That remark I made to the passenger would haunt me a long time afterwards.
After a day at sea, I woke up on September 11, somewhat groggy. I put it to a lack of oxygen in my cabin, a side-effect of a sometimes faulty and weak ship’s ventilation system. I went out for breakfast. The ship was already docked in Hamilton. It was 9:00 AM. I passed by the library. There was a group of passengers there, staring at the TV screen. Curious, I went inside to find out what they were looking at. The TV was tuned to CNN. It showed one of the towers with a blackened hole on the side.
“What happened?”I asked one of the passengers.
“A plane had just crashed into the tower. “
The screen switched to an announcer (I think it was Bernard Shaw) who was struggling to put on his earpiece and trying to describe the scene. Behind him, the damaged tower stood, framed by a gorgeously sunny sky. Perfect New York weather.
From the corner of the TV another plane appeared that seemed to be heading straight into the other tower. It disappeared between the buildings and didn’t emerge. We looked on in astonishment, unable to comprehend what was going on.
There was a quick newsbreak that said another plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
I went out of the ship into Hamilton, my mind in tumult. I was hungry though, and was still going to have my breakfast.
I decided to go to a restaurant on Front St. just across from where the M/S Destiny was docked. I went up to the second floor and ordered an English breakfast. The TV was on. The place was abuzz with passengers from the ship. At the table beside me, two women were consoling another woman who was crying.
“I know somebody who’s working there,” she was saying through her tears.
“I’m sure she’ll be all right,” her friend was telling her while stroking her arm.
By this time, forty minutes had passed from the moment the planes had crashed into the buildings. We were all hoping, in fact expecting, that things would be under control.
Then it happened.
A collective gasp of horror arose from the assembled crowd, me included, when we saw the towers disappear in a huge cloud of smoke and dust. The cloud engulfed the surrounding buildings , its tendrils curling slowly, almost elegantly, into the streets and into the waters of the Hudson. It stayed there, and for a moment I was not sure if the towers had actually collapsed. And then we knew. They had.
I went outside, into the wonderful sunshine of Hamilton. I had my breakfast, and I felt guilty for having it.
And as I walked and walked on Front St, a kind of blackness came over me, the sort that you experienced when you woke up with a hang-over and were not quite sure where you were.
In my heart and mind, I realized I had seen something truly evil unfold, perpetrated by unknown people for who knew what reason. I also remember thinking, “Well, I’m sure the US won’t take this lying down.”
Today, we know that, through all the changed milieu that has befallen the world after that attack, this greatly wounded nation has found closure.