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Citati iz knjige „Travels“ autora Paul Bowles

Why is it called “gay Paree?” I have no idea. If you look you can see the open soul of the city anywhere along the Seine from the Quai de Javel to the Quai Saint-Bernard. It is there, along the banks of the river and among the bridges, that you touch the spirit of Paris, and while that spirit is not a tragic one, surely it has little to do with gaiety. Rather, it bears witness to an essential consciousness of the need in life for beauty, and to an understanding of the use of proportion and harmony in the achievement of beauty. It provides the artist with heartening, ever-present proof that man-made beauty is attainable, and does so in such a natural fashion that when one thinks of the banks of the Seine one thinks simultaneously of artists, for the two belong together.
For Paris is a city whose customs have evolved from a serious application of the theory that life is meant above all to be lived, and not dedicated to some ulterior abstract concept. It is a city designed to be lived in, not to be used as a market or workshop.
I wonder how many thousands of miles I myself must have covered, walking in the streets there, from the Bois de Vincennes to the Buttes-Chaumont, from Auteuil to Charenton, always seeking to penetrate, understand, participate in the sense of mystery that enveloped the city, looking for lost quarters that nobody knew, unearthing strange little alleys that were like nothing I had ever seen before, and many of which still remain intact as images in my mind’s eye. Infinite variety in a harmonious whole, the certainty of discovering something new and poignant each day -such things give the artist who lives in Paris a sense of satisfaction and spiritual well-being. I think it is they, rather than the more tangible benefits Paris provides, that make it the principal gathering place for artists from every part of the world.
Paris is much more than a splendid city of boulevards, cafés, shops, bright night spots, parks, museums and historical monuments. It is a complete continent in itself, every region of which must be explored on foot.
Tangier is a city where everyone lives in a greater or lesser degree of discomfort”
When the tea maker gets an order, he takes a long-handled tin canister and puts in a heaping teaspoonful of green China tea (usually Formosan chun mee). Next he adds four or five tea-spoonfuls of sugar. Another little canister filled with hot water from the samovar is already embedded in the coals. As soon as it is boiling, he pours the water over the mixed tea and sugar. While it is steeping he crushes as many stalks of fresh spearmint as he can into a glass. Then he strains the tea into the glass, often garnishing it with a sprig of verbena, two or three unopened orange blossoms, or a few leaves of rosemary, chiba or some other locally available herb.
Residents are prone to blame everything on the east wind, just as unaccountable behavior in Provence is explained by the mistral – it is even considered to be a mitigating circumstance in a case of murder.
It was a nice, old-fashioned, open bus. Every part of it rattled, and the air from the rice fields blew across us as we pieced together our bits of synthetic conversation.
These are faits accomplis; in the future it will be fascinating to watch the annihilation of the entire structure of Judeo-Christian culture by these ‘underprivileged’ groups which, having had only the most superficial contacts with that culture, nevertheless will have learned enough thereby to do a thorough job of destroying it.
No matter in which direction you look, the landscape at Santana is hard to believe. It is as if a nineteenth century painter with a taste for the baroque had invented a countryside to suit his own personal fantasy.
Also, it has always been felt that visitors who happened to witness the members of a cult in action were given an unfortunate impression of cultural backwardness.
There are several favorites of mine in this group: Flandrau’s Viva Mexico!, Ackerley’s Hindoo Holiday, Dinesen’s Out of Africa, Peter Mayne’s The Alleys of Marrakesh.
but too often the reader is made aware of the fact that they were penned by travelers who also wrote, rather than by writers who also traveled.
One remembers Evelyn Waugh’s indignation in Ethiopia, Graham Greene deadpanning through West Africa, Aldous Huxley letting Mexico get him down, Gide discovering his social conscience in the Congo, long after other equally accurate travel accounts have blurred and vanished.
For imagination is essential for the enjoyment of a place like Tangier, where the details that meet the eye are not what they seem, but so many points of reference for a whole secret system of overlapping but wildly divergent worlds in the complex life of the city.
Security is a false god; begin making sacrifices to it and you are lost.
Djelfa, one of the saddest places in the world – this in spite of the fact that the town is in the mountains of the Ouled Naïl and is the center from which the Berber dancing girls bearing that name set out on their travels to gladden the hearts of men, and to which they return, after having earned their dowries in the brothels of North Africa, on their way back to wed the men of their tribe who are waiting for them.
If a nation wishes, however mistakenly, to Westernize itself, first let it give up hashish. The rest will follow, more or less as a matter of course. Conversely, in a Western country, if a whole segment of the population desires, for reasons of protest (as has happened in the United States), to isolate itself in a radical fashion from the society around it, the quickest and surest way is for it to replace alcohol by cannabis.
The mind has a strange way of selecting a few details from among millions, and presenting them to us as tokens of experience.
THE TREND OF THIS CENTURY is being set by America for the entire world. (Even Lenin on his deathbed is reported to have said, “Americanize yourselves.”)
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