[ 05:21 friday 21 september – ryanair 3916, stansted to palermo ]
here i am, fitting myself into a seat in a packed plane at this truly unholy house. karsten dropped by while i was packing this evening and suggested my expectations of getting a couple of hours´sleep were optimistic. he was right. i didn´t get any.
thus commences an alarmingly complicated journey. after this flight to palermo i´ll take the train to milazzo, a hydrofoil to stromboli (where i´ll stay a week), then the overnight ship to naples, from where i´ll fly to madrid for a night, then fly to marrakech, drive around morocco for a few days, up to the spanish colony of ceuta on the mediterranean coast, take a ship over the straits to gibralter and finally fly back to london. with any luck i´ll manage to meet a succession of friends along the way. i didn´t intend the trip to be so tortuous, it just gradually got that way. sorting out all the connections has been a nightmare.
13:00 / now seated on an even more crowded train waiting to depart from palermo. this is one of the ancient regional efforts with no air conditioning and seats designed to banish any possibility of sleep (of which i´m in sore need). nonetheless i´m feeling excited. it´s a while year since i was in sicily and it´s wonderful to be back in the midst of the familiar sounds, perfumes and chaos.
my first liaison has already gone awry. antonio was due to travel down from tuscany today but he had a run in with a dentist and won´t be coming til tomorrow. meanwhile he´s told me where i can find a key to one of his aunts´ houses on stromboli so i have somewhere to spend the night.
19:44 / perched on the wall overlooking the little port at rinella, on the south-western corner of the island of salina. from where i´m sitting the islands of lipari and vulcano spread out to my left, with filicudi and alicudi to my right. i shouldn´t be here at all but the hydrofoils switched to the winter timetable two weeks early so there was no way to get to stromboli today. rinella was the most remote place i could get to and i´ve never been here before so it was the obvious choice to spend the night. so far nothing is going to plan.
i arrived an hour and a half ago, sorted out a room in a deserted hotel by the harbour then swam off the rocks with the sun setting over alicudi. preparations are underway for an open-air theatre performance on the little square above the harbour but it´s hard to predict what my state of consciousness will be by the time the show commences. i´m already hallucinating from sleep deprivation.
: c :