Category Archives: travel

love stories


My gawd, I’m using an advert in the tube to illustrate “love stories.” Is that what it’s come to?

No, not at all. I do like photos in subways and metros, and if I used photos of couples that I visited while in the UK, I’m sure they would not be pleased, as I aim to tell their stories. Lots of good love stories on this trip. And though my city gets a bad rap when it comes to love (“men there treat women as if they’re mobile phones, always looking for the next toy, never appreciating what they have in front of them”), while I was away, one friend eloped and another engaged. Not that matrimony and love are synonymous, but that these women have not been mistaken for androids by the men that love them (New Yorkers all). See? You don’t have to cross the pond. 😉

the anointed line


“She took the pen carefully and looked at it, twirling it around slowly as she did so. Then she wrote her name in the registrar’s entries of death book on the anointed line. She looked as if she was praying as she wrote. He looked over to see if her writing was as lovely as he was expecting it to be. It was; she had a beautiful hand.
_____The woman smiled at him. The intimacy between them had been like love. Mohammad would miss her. She said, “Thank you,” to him. She put the certificate and official papers in the Please Do Not Bend envelope that she had brought with her. She paid the fee for her own copy of the death certificate which she looked at before putting it away, as if to check if everything was all right.”

— excerpt from Trumpet by Jackie Kay

Photo: Book in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Book: Beautiful novel read on trip by Scottish writer Jackie Kay.

je ne sais pas


Giulia’s translation of the bit written on a planter on a street somewhere between Euston Station (leaving Alys) and Cornhill Street (meeting Tom) in London:

i dont know where i am going
and this i have never really known
but if i will ever know this i think that i would no longer go.

I’m back! What a lovely trip. I’ve never really wandered around London before on my own. Always I’ve been there on my way somewhere else (well, I guess that’s true this time, too), with someone who knows it better than me. I liked it more this time. The juxtaposition of new and old architecture is pleasing.

I stayed with an artist friend whose apartment building is in the Arsenal/Emirates Stadium complex (which is both strange and excellent) and had some time to wander about before and after Scotland, plus a short trip to Brighton/Worthing to see old Lithu friends.

My flight back was easy. Even enjoyable. I read 170 pages of a lovely book, Trumpet, by Jackie Kay. I have not read that much in one sitting in over fifteen years, I bet. Since home, I’ve read only about 30 to and fro on the subway. Snail’s pace.

Stories to write. Love stories. I hope I get to them sooner than usual.

finally there

1aug8-04This feels like a pivotal moment. I feel raw. I have always had my fingers in too many pots, and at this moment they are coming together, if only a little bit and in a symbolic way. I’m finally there. I’ve finally reached August 8, 2004 in the archives (representative photo at left), which was a big day in my life, one I’ve intended to write about for seven years. I mention it once in awhile because it has much to do with my understanding of people and life. I’m not sure I can explain it, so I keep putting it off.

I got here, to the eighth, the day my beautiful new computer arrived, so gorgeous I cannot believe it. So these photos will not be edited between crashes of my six-year old macbook, which slowed me down tremendously. I started editing the Center Kenes photos this morning. And now I’m there.

The writing and editing is also difficult because it involves Guka. Our friendship began to unravel during this trip, and we were already tense. Maybe that partly inspired my little revelation about humanity and relationship, but it’s still painful.

And my old friend left today. He was my houseguest for a week and a total gentleman. I’m easily annoyed, especially with people in my space, and he didn’t disturb me a bit. I loved having him. Largely because I felt appreciated and supported. His timing was perfect.

But now I am sad. Left to sink into my melancholy a bit, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’ve been thinking about old friendships, I guess because I’ve been seeing old friends. I tried to write about Danchik last week, after he (and Pasha, picture below) entertained me through a rough spot one Sunday at Coney, way out west where the beach is decent. But I’m not sure I can explain our relationship, either. He breaks a lot of rules as far as not being an ass goes. But he owns up to it totally, doesn’t pretend to be otherwise, and at the end of the day, he’s there for me. (I wouldn’t tell him that though. He’d be annoyed.) This is more than I can say for most people. People who pretend to be good or talk a nice game around it, but aren’t there when the going gets difficult. For a day.

NewYork_2011-01_CellSnaps_073Whatever “good” means.

So, I accept Danchik for who he is. He makes me laugh and takes me out of myself. He can be a jerk, and he knows it.

He went to Odessa last weekend to chase some girl. That will not have a happy ending, but it will be fun for a time, and that’s all the depth some people can muster. And that’s fine.

If you’re honest.

Well, there. I wrote a bit about Danchik. I didn’t include the hard-to-explain stuff, the quintessentially Danchik stuff. His declaration that he keeps a beautiful-but-boring girl around he doesn’t much like because sometimes you just need some company, a pretty face. “I am an asshole. She is an idiot. What can you do?”

Oh dear.

But, as you see, he’s honest. Most people do this sort of thing, in one way or another, but they don’t admit it. And so start the problems.

I’ve not gotten to August 8th. Or to old friendships. Why they feel comfortable, but also confining. Perhaps I’ll be as prolific tomorrow.

kyzyl kum breakdown


I told the story of this particular tour the other day, in which Valery’s bus broke down. While tagging photos in Lightroom just now, this image popped up when I moused over its folder in the catalog. I love trucks. I love transport in general. Yesterday, I was talking to fellow photog, Arnis, about how distinctly cars date photos. Looking at my photo archive, I realize that it does vary vastly in different countries. I remember how amused I was by all the old American cars from the 70s driven in Iran in 2000.

I’m suffering a crisis of quantity over quality. I want less.