Thursday, February 14, 2008

Travel: Egypt

Yesterday I borrowed The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton from a friend and came across this passage, written by Gustav Flaubert, regarding a trip he took to Egypt in late 1849:

“It is like being hurled while still asleep in to the midst of a Beethoven symphony, with the brasses at their most ear-splitting, the basses rumbling, and the flutes sighing away; each detail reaches out to grip you; it pinches you; and the more you concentrate on it the less you grasp the whole…it is such a bewildering chaos of colours that your poor imagination is dazzled as thought by continuous fireworks as you go about staring at minarets thick with white storks, at tired slaces stretched out in the sun on house terraces, at the patterns of sycamore branches against walls, with camel bells ringing in your ears and great herds of black goats bleating in the streets amid the horses and the donkeys and the pedlars.”

The description, minus the slaves and plus a few cars, seems to me still oddly fitting.

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