OR, KNOWING WHEN IT’S TIME TO LEAVE A PLACE…..
I came across this post of a year ago and it very much fits my mood now. I am sick of it back here in London. To the point of gnashing teeth. I also fling myself down on the sofa and weep. I pace from room to room. I plod up and down the stairs with water for my food terrace. I drink too much and smoke too much on miserable binges. I can’t write. I can’t make art. I’m a wretched mess. It’s well overdue to hit the road but I’m broke. It’s vile for a free bird to be trapped in this way. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO HIT THE ROAD, ANY WHICH WAY!
A year ago to the day I wrote this post and now I remember that fraught time in Oaxaca when I hit a brick wall and knew that it was time to go. It was at the beginning of the end as they were closing a lot of museums and archaeological sites across the more Northern part of Mexico and my mood gradually deteriorated from then as frustration, with the very different Mexico near Mexico City, and the dawning recognition that the Mayan Riviera was a much more chilled place to be with little of the mask hysteria and closing down of places.
I have tried to occupy my time on ‘projects’ to keep myself busy. I have successfully turned my terrace into an organic veggie patch, made soaps and body butters and anything healthy with natural non-GMO products available, rejoined the gym and British Museum, gone on demos, read avidly and turned my front room into a Zen room for yoga and meditation. I have seen friends, partied and filled my time. I HAVE DONE MY BEST DAMMIT! Nothing, however, has made me satisfied
In retrospect, I should have seen the writing on the wall but I haven’t here either and really need to get my arse in gear for a trip to Turkey. I have been hashing a plan for a while now but with the restrictions, I have been constantly frustrated and chopping and changing and generally fucking about. I am going mad without being on the road, I need out I am a desperado. I need to be on the road like a flower needs the rain for fucks sake.
From these memories, I have awoken from a stupor.
A YEAR AGO, FROM THE JOURNAL. OAXACA MEXICO.
To my amazement, I’ve been in Oaxaca for two weeks. I never meant to stop here so long but I’ve allowed myself to just stop. A bad sign indeed, my active brain needs stimulation or depression ensues and it has.
My cousin Adam called me yesterday from London so I should have been full of joy but Tulum confusion, and doubt set in. My dithering there now was dithering here. I needed to grab the bull by the horns and organise myself. I needed to shake myself down. This ennui had to be tackled before it became depression.
Realistically I should have left after my hugely successful visit to the prehistoric caves in Mitla. I had just been hanging around drinking and eating and writing after that tremendous and emotional day. Without realising it I was now a hermit. I slightly blame my room which is rather dark and I should have swapped ages ago but realistically I’m ready to go. I am no longer functioning properly and people who travel solo or indeed are prone to a bit of depression should recognise the signs.
Top Tip: for solo travel you have to gauge when a place is no longer offering more things to do or you’ll stagnate. Now that things are so tricky, and so many places are closed, you have to move on as soon as you’re done as if you’re not busy you’ll start to notice the bloody depressing closures and masks and precautions and absolute shite everything is now. Normally I’d have been to at least four countries by now so staying in just the one is starting to feel like exile. It’s more difficult to meet people and converse in a normal way, it’s all just harder. So before you get glum you must plan for your next destination and remember the reason you’re travelling.
FROM THE JOURNAL: ABOUT EARTHQUAKES IN MEXICO AND GREECE.
THIS OLD BIRD RATTLED IN HER CAGE YESTERDAY.
‘Yesterday while trying to have a siesta the bed shook and I thought ‘hello likkle earthquake’. A bar I was in the other day evacuated clients and staff. I stayed put, I couldn’t even feel it. apparently, they have a lot in the Oaxaca area with two tectonic plates rubbing. The buildings are all very low here so it’s no biggy
Now, I have a history with earthquakes. I have gone through big-boy earthquakes in Greece. We had a huge one that was 7.2 on the Richter scale that the government downplayed to 6.9 because anything over seven means they have to pay damage compensation. Governments are always corrupt.
I had just come out of the hospital and was in my swanky penthouse (glory days of modelling and acting) and was still woozy from the anaesthetic. Suddenly I saw my dressing table mirror trembling, I’m high as a kite I thought. However, when the bed started shaking really badly and I tried to get up I was thrown back down onto the bed again. I called to my then-time partner now scared and then I noticed the noise.
It’s a kind of grinding roar and sound of the building complaining. Things were falling off shelves and I managed to get up and legs akimbo, to get through to the front door. We had a private elevator but as you should know, it’s best to use the stairs. If the power-offs you’re buggered and a lift should only be used as a shelter if you can’t make it to your main door, elevator shafts are really tough.
Anyhoo, boyfriend and I staggered down the eighteen flights of stairs (two per storey me just in knickers and a T-shirt. Now what you may not know is Greece gets its fair share of bullish quakes so everything at that time was built to anti-earthquake standards. These are costly so you could see where scrupulous builders had cut corners the buildings just fell down or at least cracked all over and had to be rebuilt from scratch. I
The meeting point was the fancy pizza place on the ground floor and people were terrified. There had been no warning. It’s estimated that our flat was swaying at least a metre hence the problem walking around. The aftershocks came in fast and furious. The squares around were packed as nobly wanted to be near a fucking tall building and Glyfada was new and swanky at that time and full of relatively high buildings.
We waited a while until the shocks receded and then Alex ran inside and up to grab clothes and blankets, for we would be sleeping in the car. We would be sleeping in the car for three nights. We parked the Mazda on the beach and settled very uncomfortably in its small tricky confines. I was in pain now and I had told him to buy a more fucking sensible car instead of this fucking chick magnet, this was now reflecting very badly on him and the earthquake was his fault. We slept fitfully in basically what is a two-seater and stank up the car with free pizza and cigarette smoke.
Love does not blossom in this environment. The sunrise was beautiful however from our new gypsy home but we had noticed mini tsunamis through the night so even that was scary. You can go back into your homes at your own risk but you feel uneasy even though we got the go-ahead in our new posh apartment straight away. I was sullen and whining in my mini superstar way, I now needed butler service but Alex was keen to get back into Pangrati where he owned a jewellery shop. I was fully aware he just wanted to gossip with his gold mates and they would all be telling tall stories to each other in a game of typical Greek one-upmanship.
I love the Greeks but they do tell porkies. It’s in their blood. For example. Whilst in New York one winter Alex told our porter at a hotel that the number of our room was ended in the same number that we won on at roulette the previous night. We hadn’t even been to a casino while there. Even though I knew that he fibbed constantly I stared slack-jawed at him.’Like I say, they do fib casually and constantly in my experience.
So as an earthquake reminded me while in Greece it had been a sign to go much like now in Mexico it was a sign to leave. Hit the road Jack. Make a new plan Stan etc.
Greeks and earthquakes are unpredictable and so are the Mexican tremors. Time to get out! Goodbye Oaxaca!
No earthquake here but the same presentiment of unease. I want out and I must go, or go mad.