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 The Incomplete Cacophony 

 The Incomplete Cacophony
12 An Airport A Harbour And The Wandering Journeyman On The Other Side Of The Horse.mp3

  Ed Hooke

Date of  Composition:  August 2012

Date of Recording/Copyright:    2012

An Airport, A Harbour
And The Wandering Journeyman 
On The Other Side Of The Horse

Sections 1-3:   from Çannakale to Tevfikiye & Truva (Troy), Türkiye      [March 1997]

Sections 4-6:   to Dhaka & Sylhet, Bangladesh   [December 1995]

Section 7:   to Nova Gorica, Slovenia   [August 2001]      Section 8:  to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  [December 1998 - August 2003]

Section 9:  to Kaohsiung, Taiwan  [October 2006]

FROM ÇANAKKALE (“the port” in the first line) TO TEVFIKIYE & TRUVA (TROY)

After an eye-rubbingly early climb out of the barely wakening provincial town of Çanakkale, following a slowly winding, steeply undulating two-lane road through a seemingly insignificant part of apparently nowhere, the labouring bus, one of few vehicles evident, would appear to have no obvious reason to slow to a halt.  Barely a minute after stopping, it pulls away, resuming its journey to some far-off place and leaving behind a solitary figure, deposited together with a rucksack, a suitcase and a long, thin purple bag which could not feasibly have contained anything much different in shape to some lengthy and impossibly straight sticks.

The solitary figure stands for a few seconds as if in partial disbelief, trying to verify what limited bearings are available.  The location is indeed a junction with a barely noticeable country lane falling and winding away to one side of the main road.  With a certain sense of inevitability, the lone figure gathers his suitcase rather uncomfortably and sets off to exchange the virtually empty main road for the even emptier (if that is possible) side road.  In some ways, the features of this new route are like those of the main road in miniature, although the winding is more pronounced, the undulations far less dramatic, and the scenery seemingly less barren – although this latter may be somewhat due to the walker’s proximity.  Hedges and occasional trees appear on either side of the road.  There is no other traffic, neither motorised nor pedestrian, although this may reflect partly on the hour which is still not yet 7 in the morning.

The lone traveller’s backpack is not of the most suitable design for a long walk, but much more of a nuisance is the suitcase, heavier and more cumbersome than is advisable for hand-carrying yet, having been brought this far, carrying by hand is the only option available, given the indispensability of its contents.  The unusual shape of the third bag rather than its minimal weight adds somewhat to the task of transportation.  Perhaps predictably then, the onward journey is at frequent intervals interrupted by an extremely slow motion form of juggling as the wanderer attempts different styles of managing the unwieldiness of the load.  The options are rather limited, there being only one carrying handle to the suitcase, no handle to the long thin bag, and the rucksack precluding the possibility of a hunched over posture with the suitcase on the traveller’s back and a hand reaching backwards over a shoulder to keep it in place…. unless…. unless the rucksack is removed and carried in the other hand together with the long thin bag.  That mode however proves even more wearisome than just about every other alternative in this clearly amateur porter’s limited repertoire.  “It can’t be much further now” is a thought repeatedly interchanged with “surely it will be just around the next corner?” or “it must be just past the brow of the next hill” for the next two hours of intermittent progress in a direction which overall is westwards in a journey also featuring a more than desirable amount of trudging towards, seemingly, every other point of the compass.

One advantage of all this physical labour however is the warmth generated.  It’s true that this could have been better managed by wearing a shirt not made of polyester, but it is nevertheless welcome given the icy temperatures which have greeted the surprised traveller since his arrival in the country less than 12 hours ago.  If it’s hot in London, the sadly erroneous reasoning had started, it must surely be even hotter in Turkey.  The falling snow in Istanbul had been the first indication of the flaws in his meteorological assumptions and that a limited summer wardrobe, tent, sleeping bag and dismantled delta stunt kite might prove not to be the most appropriate kit to have to lug around the Turkish countryside.

Arrival in the village of Tevfikiye is followed by some further reconnaissance &, with the help of a not-exactly-over-busy security guard seated in a sentry box on the entrance road to the archaeological site, it is established that the most suitable place to pitch tent in defiance of the elements is the small patch of barren ground surrounding the museum, a deserted, apparently abandoned but relatively modern building, uncluttered by archaeological artefacts or indeed any objects worthy of musing upon.  The small blue dome tent is duly erected in a matter of minutes and a home away from home is established.


TO DHAKA (the airport “commotion”) & SYLHET, BANGLADESH

His overwhelming impression of a first arrival in Bangladesh was gained just outside the exit doors of the main airport building in Dhaka, where a meet-and-greet service was due to collect him & and unrelated other travellers from the incoming connecting flight from Dubai.  The allocated waiting area was a small patch of tarmac a few feet from the metal fence with the role of separating airport arrivals from the outside world.  The particular multitudinous part of the outside world being separated by the fence was displaying a rather alarming degree of enthusiasm which the fence seemed barely able to contain, their ear-piercingly cacophonous competing shouts and screams coupled with flailing arms reaching pleadingly through the bars

(And there should be even more.....)

Before the port awakes
he takes
hill hugging bus which snakes
then brakes
some miles on.

As the bus pulls away
he stands
assimilates the lay
of lands
bags in hands.


A side lane
a sign-post
Loaded with shivers, blisters, weal blooms
Trudge towards where the wooden horse looms
A raised tent
a harbour
Shepherds shout.  Staring gypsy children.
Coffee house.  Fire warm.  Wary.  Drawn in.
An airport.
A harbour.

Seat-belted on the plane
Long haul energy drain
brain strain
flying again.

Wheels barely on the ground
feet found.
Safety announcement drowned.
Bags downed.
Exit bound.

   An airport  
He feels like a zoo animal, penned.

Cross the border.
Up hill.
Hill down.
Gambling on the casino town's
bright false dawn.

Confluence in concrete
heat meet.
Muddy estuaries with
his feet
he has seen.

Love River petrol place
mask face.
Road rail spaghetti space
skirt chase
hung horse race

An airport
a harbour
How many travels will it take
to make
the light-bulb in his head awake?
A bus-stop
a station
The grass always seems to be greener
when on the other side of the horse.
  An airport
A harbour

Stretched arms implore their victim, deafened.
A three-wheeled.
night taxi.
Exhaust fumes putter splutter choking.
Torchlit protest march, anger stoking.
An airport.
A harbour.