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This review is from: Lonely Planet Kenya (Travel Guide) (Paperback)
It was a long flight. He waited and waited to pick up his bags at the airport - his link with himself - with who he was, He felt better when the suitcase arrived - a connection to his place as a real being in the world, a sort of confirmation that he was a bigger person than who he was on his own. It was a thin cord leading back to a place where he had an identity more substantial than this ghostly, extended version of himself on the other side of the world.
He was exhausted, not in a bad way, but still exhausted. He checked into the hotel and caught a taxi into town. He stopped at a lodge bar and sat at the counter. He ordered a whiskey and water and sipped it gratefully - gradually realising that he was falling asleep in his hands, arching over the bar stool, letting himself go blissfully, slipping lower and lower. He was so happy to sleep - to be deliciously embraced by unconsciousness
He came to slowly. He felt like a mouse emerging from inside a fluffy loaf of bread-pushing aside cotton wool blankets between himself and the light. He asked for the bill - the waitress thought for a moment in an abstracted sort of way and mentioned a horrific figure. Looking at the coins in his hand - he realised he had nowhere enough money - there was no way. 'What was this for' he said. 'Oh this drink and that drink she said, pointing to the couple sitting next to him deep in conversation. ' I just had a Scotch' he said. He slipped his finger into his empty glass and drew a line on the bar top with the wetness from the dregs of the liquid. 'This is me' he said, pointing to his side of the line - 'that is the rest of the world' She shuffled through the bar slips in her apron. 'Just 60 then' she smiled. He paid and walked over to the window to look at the evening falling across the wide plain. There were giraffes in the far distance grazing around acacias. The evening was cool and warm at the same time. The land was green and yellow and brown, growing indistinct as the warm amber lamps in the growing darkness of the bar glowed more brightly.
He was aware that somebody was standing at his side watching with him. She was taller than he was, a slim coffee coloured woman. He thought immediately of that film with the girl emerging from the sea with shells in her hands - a vision of loveliness.
While he had been watching the landscape he had slowly realised that he was utterly lost. He had been so groggy from the flight that he hadn't even bothered to notice the name of the hotel he had checked into. All the papers were with his luggage; the itinerary that he was going to follow automatically, the arrangements that had been made for him. He had been switched off, on a kind of auto pilot, just operating in a kind of fog all day. Now he was coming to, to the realisation that he was completely on his own with hardly a cab fare in his pocket. He needed his hotel, he needed his luggage, he needed to reassemble the bits of him that would make him complete.
They caught a taxi together, searching for the hotel, but everything looked the same. In the darkness it was impossible to make out a thing. His glasses were in the suitcase. The world was a fog. But as she sat beside him he was completely content. There was nothing that he could say except 'You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen'. 'You are very subtle' she said, and smiled and leaned towards him kissing him on the lips - kissing like water kisses the lips of a man in the desert. 'What is your name'? ' Africa' she said.
The buildings were rushing past in a blur outside the window of the taxi. The streets seemed wet from the heavy humid air, reflecting pools of coloured lights. Everything seemed to be moving faster and faster. It didn't matter about the luggage any more. 'It was all rubbish anyway' he said.