|Title:||the night train|
|Location:||nairobi, kenya (1746m)|
|Text:||53 194 kilometres on the road
first they served the soup. i couldn't believe how white the uniforms of the waiters were and how elegantly they managed to stand next to table and offering the bowl, while the train rattled, jerked and swung forth and back on the old rails. there was not a single stain on their jacket but it was us who instantly marked territory on the table cloth with our food.
the food was great and there was much of it: soup, fish, chicken with vegetable curry, beef with carrots and mashed potatoes, then a fresh fruit salad with tea or coffee. in good company, with the african bush passing by in front of our windows, served by perfect gentlemen in uniforms, we felt travellers in long-gone days. only the portrait of president kibaki on the wall behind ralph reminded us of the current year.
i've always preferred to travel in trains where you have plenty of space to walk around, meet people in the gangway and stick your head out of the window to feel the wind in your hair. not only do you get a real bed to sleep on, it's also much safer than travelling in overpowered night busses in the hands of drugged up aggressive drivers.
like last time we opened a bottle of south african red wine when we got back to our compartment. the few days in mombasa had been a nice little holiday from the holiday. next week ralph will return to his job in southern sudan, mercy will go back to school and i will start to prepare myself to continue my trip.
i am starting to gain confidence to travel again. for weeks i have felt fragile and vulnerable, wondering if i might ever be able to travel again as before. in the luxury and comfort of switzerland i had looked upon my past trip, the months of driving into unknown futures and lands, as a voyeur through a looking glass, hardly recognizing myself as the protagonist of the virtual movie in front of my eyes.
sudan, saudi arabia or egypt, libya, jordan or syria? i try to invent the landscapes, the houses, the people, the smells of the bazaars and the garbage, the noise of traffic, the shouting traders and the screaming dogs, tails between their legs, looking back with resentment at the butcher who just kicked them from his stand. as i lie in my bunk i see all these visions and i am unable to fall asleep, too excited about future adventures which are always grand in anticipation, heroic in retrospect but often hard and frustrating in reality. the worst encounters always make the best memories and the funniest stories. but even when they happen they are the ones that make you feel so alive that you feel like being on drugs.
only a couple of weeks, a few weeks more… ratabadang, tududung - ratabadang, tududung - into the endless night.