Thursday, August 24, 2006

The night train

Every time I take the night train to Arad I feel like going to a ghost town. A good part of my childhood took place there and some of my family still lives in Arad but the city itself is gone, emptied by what made it the City. I always wonder if it is more me that changed and symbolically emptied it or the fact that so many people that made it my own are gone or changed beyond recognition made it deserted of relevance. The night train, once totally crammed, cold in the winter (or super hot) and steamy in the summer, hundreds of people, sleeping cars with double and triple bookings, the occasional bribe to the car steward so you can get a bed and maybe clean sheets. All different now or almost! But with people making the trip in private cars, planes or busses less and less of them seem to take the train and the night train is deserted. Going out on the aisle is now devoid of the old sensation of social experiment. Nobody to observe, just the odd businessman, I admit also less stink of stale cigarettes and old carpets. Gone is the discovery rewarding curiosity with a chunk of fractured, incomplete but delicious bits of conversation, details of lives, snippets of information on the world, histories and opinions.

The same with my old childhood city… It is gone. One way or another it lost some of the magic that always made it so special. I am yet to know if the change that brought this about is good or bad. In the meanwhile I still take the night train … Posted by Picasa

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