Traveling makes writers of us all. We make memories and commit them to mind, if only to retell them on a postcard.
Even a short 45 minute flight to a neighbouring Gulf state is inspiring, making me a bit more wide eyed once more.
This was certainly the case when I popped over to Bahrain recently.
Apart from the usual pre-race nerves that makes my mind noisy with advice on everything from my morning routine to my self-doubt for the run, there was the welcome noise from outside; the sounds of night crickets flirting with one another.
I no longer felt like I was in the sandpit. Not my sandpit anyway.
I used to write about the African night, that brought the outdoors in (this is always a bit more intense on safari...like in Tsavo!). The screeching of the hyraxes, or Coco, 'my' guard dog, barking after a wild cat in the tree, or the chatter from the askari hut.
Now, the sounds that I fall to sleep to are of the local boys (who seem to be on a year-long holiday from school) playing football late into the night on a piece of dirt-sand that is used as a car-park. This, thankfully, is no longer punctuated by the fireworks or air-gun rifles that were available at Eid and lingered long after the holiday! Construction is always taking place. Through the night the sound of cranes, trucks and hammering...somewhere. Rubbish is being collected. Trucks are reversing. Horns beep. Bikes and cars race. Brakes screech. Oh, and then it is prayer time again. The mosque, that I can see through my window reminds my neighbours that it time to worship Allah (this is not a gentle reminder, more of a bucket of water poured on your head,with the drill sergeant shouting, "GET OUT OF BED!!!"), to me, it is a sign that a new day is here...but not just yet...5 more minutes or so.
It is not a peaceful place to drift off to sleep, but after a while, the noise that keeps you awake becomes familiar...like everything in the place that you live. My writing seems to reflect this recently, at a loss of how to report on the unusual, tending to recount the mundane.
I have such talented friends, who write about the region with more of a flair. If you are interested, check out these blogs.
Life in a Dust Storm - a great story teller (I actually want to retell some from dinner the other night), everything from being a POW to good old rants about low-cost airlines.
Sand in my Teacup - if we all gang-up on her, we may get her to write more!
Yalla Bo - an athletic idol of mine writes too!