Sunday, March 01, 2009

'doesn't read instructions well'

spring decided to poke it's weak little head around Skopje today, so I
decided to celebrate by wandering out to the nearby aquaducts. it's
the first tourist destination I've really been to, and after over a
month here it seemed about time. the route to the aquaduct took me
back to my favorite highway, the first trip on my bike only a month
ago, and though it certainly wasn't as fun or fast to walk in the
little 3-foot wide shoulder, the cars certainly honked less.

I have, it should be said up-front, a problem with reading
instructions. it's a problem first identified in the forth grade and
clearly, it has gotten no better since. I'm of the 'figure it out as
you go' school which is usually slightly frustrating but generally
fine. this is, however, not so much the case when you're wandering
around the outskirts of a Balkan town alone and apparently clueless. I
follow the instructions to the first turn and then promptly put the
book away thinking, how hard can it be to find a giant, ancient
aquaduct?! apparently, it's not as easy as it would seem.

in the search for the aquaduct, I got to explore a small, rural-
feeling town full of half-built houses and overflowing with chickens
and roosters and all the sounds (and smells, I imagine) of country
life. if walked up to the highest point in the village to try and get
a clear view of the aquaducts. of course, they were nowhere to be
found. the view, however, was really wonderful, despite the presense
of two large satellite towers and an abandoned truck. upon further
examination of the layout, I recognized a few buildings and the city
cemetary, all belonging to the neighborhood of shutka. turns out,
despite my round-about way of getting there, I had really just ended
up in west shutka, in the more albanian region.

it was wonderful wandering around, strolling down the train tracks and
enjoying the change of pace. when I started to head back, happy with
my find despite missing the aquaducts, I dug out my book and gave the
directions one more look. and shockingly enough, one correct turn and
twenty minutes later, I was standing at the aquaducts. it was a bit
smaller and less dramatic than I imagined (not terribly shocking,
considering I hadn't seen them from the hill top) but as I was the
only person around, I spent a good bit of time exploring and taking in
the view from a small piece of history.

life has a funny way of behaving a lot like my little journey today.
you start out, get totally lost, decide that your new destination is
surprisingly worthy and are happy with where life brought you and then
finally, a satisfied person, you find exactly what you had set out to
find. the journey, afterall, is just as important (if not more) than
the destination.

and as luck would have it, I got home just in time to partake in a big
Serbian (pre-Lenten?!) meal with borka and family, whereupon her son
had a bit too much to drink and started talking incessantly about his
divorce, stopping only to turn up the radio and dance a (surprisingly
nimble) little jig. maybe I should have stayed at the aquaduct...


At 9:10 PM , Blogger Angel said...

I miss you, Amy A.

At 10:15 PM , Blogger Judy said...

You are beginning to rival Thoreau's daily walks of 18-20 miles. And this journal entry sounds totally transcendental!


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