Lost (Found?) in TranslationSeptember 9, 2016 at 9:44 am | Posted in Malaysia, Me, Photo Tuesday | 4 Comments
“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” — Ray Bradbury
I still spend my days in Penang feeling a little (sometimes a lot) lost — geographically, culturally, emotionally. Don’t even get me started on the seven-story mall, where I stare at the directory, willing the winding corridors and bizarre numbering system to make sense in my brain, while more spatially inclined people whiz up and down the escalators around me, off to the bookstore on Level 3 or the udon kiosk on Level G. I’m slowly figuring it out … which store might sell ice packs or sunglasses or alarm clocks, where I can sit quietly with a cafe mocha and hide for a while, what route home has an honest-to-goodness crosswalk and occasional stretches of, gasp, sidewalk.
On one of my daily walks — the one from the kids’ school to the aforementioned maze of a mall on mostly residential roads with a dearth of scooters (hooray!) and, alas, pavement — I got to thinking about what has made this experience so different from Romania, which I don’t remember hating or crying over or feeling near-constant malaise about. I realized something. I think it’s the pictures. At least partly. In Romania, I was always looking through my camera lens, even if it was only the imaginary one in my brain. I was constantly looking for colorful, different, beautiful, bizarre things to capture. Here, I just see trash, grime, apathy.
So I’m going to start looking through that imaginary lens again. Looking for photographs. Looking for beauty. Looking for something to endear this place to me. I still expect to feel disoriented. But Ray Bradbury says that’s okay, fun even, so I’ll try to embrace the lostness. I’ll turn toward it. I’ll look for it and capture it.
Here’s my first attempt.
When do you feel most disoriented? Can you navigate a mall like a champ? And what did the lens in your brain capture today?