Monday, November 5, 2012

Then and Now 49 - Rain Preserve

Then and Now 49 - Rain Preserve
Time: Mid-2007, single and at the hostel.

One day at the hostel, I was using my subway map to find random stops and places of interest, as I had done in Then and Now 18. One of the stops was a single stop that connected the two main lines, but there was nothing of importance written on the map. I assumed it was some kind of residential area and that it ferried a lot of people to the two mutually exclusive lines, but I had to go see it for myself before I could check it off the list.

I got to the station, and it was dead, absolutely dead. There were only maybe ten people, mostly parents and older people, and nobody was making a sound. The lights were kind of dim, too, making it seem like some kind of ghost station. I quietly stealth-footed out, with the tiny thuds of my shoes sending echoes off of the high ceiling, and I exited the station to the street above. Right as I came out, a little bit of drizzle started to come down from the grey sky above, but thankfully, it never got any heavier than that.

The street was very long, and there were few cars passing by. I was walking on the side of the street that had some non-descript buildings to my right, but to my left was a massive field of green that was surrounded by a wide fence. I walked for a short time until I came to a museum, and deciding to get my cultural fix for the day, I went inside.

The lady there told me in the local language that they would be closing soon and that I couldn't go in, but when I promised I would only take a few minutes, she let up and said I could look around. I smiled and thanked her, and as I was walking in, I asked if I had to pay anything. She said that because I didn't have much time left to look around, she would waive the fee. I smiled even broader and thanked her again.

It was very quiet there, too, simply because just about everyone had checked out. The museum was divided into about six floors, with each one carrying a different theme. I remember that one of the floors was an ancient history floor with some old pottery and stuff there, another was classic portraits of locals in traditional and modern clothes at work or play, and another was a collection of different kinds of tools and technology, and how they evolved as the country continued on through history.

The final floor, which I think was the sixth, was horrible. It was some kind of modern art gallery and absolutely nobody was up there, and I don't think it was because the museum was closing. Almost every piece up there was just flecks of paint on a white canvas, or absolutely blank (save for a single triangle or something in the middle), and other kinds of nonsense, done in five seconds "pieces" that had nothing of relevance to say. I went back downstairs seconds later.

I left the museum shortly after and headed across the street to a place where the buildings of that part of the city started to thin out. I came across a very high hedge that wound around a very wide city block, and wondering what was inside, I followed it until I found an opening. On the inside was another tall building with a roof that angled outwards, and with some kind of reflective paint on the walls. Beyond it was a very wide natural area, some kind of nature preserve or something. There was a little path that went around and through patches of trees, which many, many locals and their kids were walking on. And beyond the paths, just behind the strange building, was a very wide man-made lake with some ducks swimming in it.

I stood on the banks of that lake for a while, listening to the sound of the drizzle lightly hitting the ground around me, and watching the ripples it made in the peaceful lake. I couldn't help but smile.

After that point, my memory gets hazy. I remember walking down some busy streets and coming across a part of town that had something like five pet stores all on the same block, and one of them had a parrot chained to a bird stand outside, but otherwise, that's about all I remember of this fun trip.

As for today...

I woke up at 6:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I watched TV.
I took my son out to get breakfast, then we went home.
I spent about three hours fruitlessly searching for my lost keys, and roughhoused with my son off and on.
I went to work by train, and played video games on the way.
I taught students.
I came home by train, and finished video games on the way.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I folded and put away a mountain of dry clothes.
I played video games.
I slept.

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