Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Body Builders

It seems a strange fact, with the exception of a certain international frontier, I've not managed to misplace the significant other; that is until we’re within the last kilometre of another adoptive home. I get caught behind some traffic and a driver who asks if I’m going far?…no, just home. The Navigator escapes. For some reason she reverts to ‘Brit think’, a condition epitomised by orderly queuing, a defence of personal space and an adherence to San Isidro’s one-way traffic system. I, on the other hand, am inappropriate, forgetful, don’t see, couldn’t care less, nobody ever does. Contrarily, I rat run the wrong way, and as a consequence I arrive back at the flat first. There to wait, there to watch a minor vignette. The preening ‘cock sparrow’.

Adonis in a fig leaf of green Speedos. A polished, sculpted exhibition of summer’s body tanning, an egotistical product of weights and pills, a narcissus that’s escaped from the iron pumping room from across the street. Into his wind-down stretches in the cool of the later afternoon, a glistening display that the aristocratic matriarchs and elegant grand-dams who frequent the cobbled and leafy suburb, studiously ignore. The white-smocked schoolgirls just giggle.

My outer eye amuses to this immodesty of stranded beach porn, whilst my brain eye, involuntarily superimposes another mental image, an overlaid transparency that lies behind me, up on an Andean highland. It’s of a dark, weather-wrinkled Qechuan farmer, shouldering the burden of a wooden plough, his ancient wife leading a brace of oxen out to their potato patch. Both men are labourers; one for personal pleasure the other for subsistence necessity. A dichotomy of images. An apt summation for our journey: One continent. Two worlds.