DAY 77: KEYS…

DAY 77: KEYS…

Around my neck I carry the keys to the world.

Antique keys that I seek out whenever I’m in another city that speaks to my soul. Old and rusty, strange and curious shapes, from eras and possibly buildings, belonging to people, that are long gone.

An intricate and ornate, swirling, gold plated key from the sprawling and labyrinth like Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen in Paris, fit for a mistress of Napoleon.

A slender and minimalist one with Bauhaus like, rectangular,  grid design from Berlin, from a surly stall holder, on the coldest and greyest of days.

A skeleton key for Brooklyn, bought on the banks of the East River, the Empire State building glittering across the water on a clear, bright, Autumnal Sunday.

A stout and rusty brass key from a glass cabinet, buried in the depths of New Orleans French Quarter.

And the smallest key of them all, rounded and gold, with Northeast engraved on it in cursive font, from a Christchurch building that did not see out the day on 22 February, a building that I will carry with me for my entire life. Now a part of our own history.

I like to imagine what kind of building each key opened. An apartment building, a bakery, a factory, a bank safe, a storage unit full of a thousand secrets.

I like to imagine who lived there, or occupied it. Who held that key? Where did it go with them? For How long? And how did it end? What life events and circumstances happened to make it end up on a table at a flea market, in my hands and around my neck, on the other side of the world.

And I wonder what will happen to these keys when I die. Will they end up in someone else hands? Will they look at them think they correlate to the buildings in my life story? Will they realise the journey and stories of hundreds of years, and hundreds of people before me, that I never met, that they represent? Or will they just go in the bin.

When I wear them, I jangle.
It’s a reminder of how big the world is.
How many came before me.
And how many more keys there are left to collect.

x

TRAVELOGUE: DAY 14 – HOUSTON…

TRAVELOGUE: DAY 14 – HOUSTON…

For photos of this post, click here.

And so here we are. The final day of this current adventure. Another 9 hour train ride has landed me back in Houston, where I have 24 hours until my departure.

My hurried quest to find a cheap but reasonably decent hotel has placed me in chain food, main road, middle of nowhere…which I think isn't far from the medical schools, but to be honest, when you’re as tired as I am, and its 37 degrees out, you may as well be on the moon because getting yourself 100m up the road feels like the most impossible mission.
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NEW ORLEANS: DAY 11…

NEW ORLEANS: DAY 11…

Fore corresponding photos click here.

My final day in this gift of a city. Let’s make it a good one.

My first mission of the day was a little shopping errand, via breakfast. Back to Bywater to collect as many Mexican Folk items as my budget and luggage capacity will allow. The shop, the Bargain Centre, a huge junk shop with 1/3 dedicated to the best collection of Mexican Folk that I’ve ever seen. I visited last week, and swore to return. I collected my tin and clay treasures, painted with bright emblems of hope, of sin, or death – skulls and devils, body parts, and full breasted women, dogs and flaming hearts, crosses nailed with lucky tokens. These will live on my wall and remind me of this trip, and also of all of these things that make up life – the joys and the pain, and the beauty. Much like this city. There has been pain, but there is joy too.
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NEW ORLEANS : DAY 10…

NEW ORLEANS : DAY 10…

For corresponding photos click here.

It’d occurred to me that whilst here, and for all the amazing local foods I’d eaten, in so many casual, varied places I’d not yet been to a traditional American diner / breakfast grill. So my first stop yesterday was…The Grill!

It was rated as the best of its kind in the city, and is something of a local legend, located right in the heart of the French quarter, just over from Jackson Square. The place was a true American Breakfast joint, hectic, fast moving, and like stepping into the 1960’s – but without the chintzy chrome and vinyl seating.
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