Uit: Roads to Santiago (Vertaald door Ina Rilke)
“The television screen in the lounge is showing blurred, shadowy images from the real world, but hardly anyone is watching. The passengers are postponing the moment of going to sleep, they hang around on the decks, drink until the bars shut. Then the very last, carousing song dies away and all you can hear is the slap of the waves against the hull.
The lone traveller goes to his cabin and lies down on the small iron bunk. He wakes up a few times in the night and looks out through the porthole. The vast surface of water sways in a slow, glistening dance. There is mystery and danger in the immense and silent element as it lies there with only the sluggish undertow disclosing that so much goes on hidden in the deep. The ivory chip of moon appears and disappears in the satin waves, it is at the same time sensual and frightening. The traveller is a city-dweller, unaccustomed to that vast and speechless sea of which his world now suddenly consists. He draws the skimpy curtain across the porthole and switches on a toy lamp by the bed. A wardrobe, a chair, a table. A water carafe in a nickel bracket attached to the steel bulkhead, a glass upturned over the neck. A towel marked Compania Mediterranea which he will take with him tomorrow, along with the tumbler decorated with the flag of the shipping company. He already has quite a number of these towels and glasses, for he has made many such crossings.
Gradually he surrenders to the roll of the ship, pitching in her mighty mother’s dance and he knows what it will be like. In the course of the night he will really fall asleep at last, then the first light of day will stream in through the unavailing curtain, he will go up on deck and stand with the other bleary-eyed passengers to see the city slowly approaching–looking improbably lovely in the early sun which will cast a light, golden, impressionistic veil over the horror of gasworks and smog, so that it will seem for a moment as if we are heading towards a hazy, gilded paradise instead of the uncharitable buffers of an industrial metropolis.
The ship glides into the stone welcome of the harbour. She is dwarfed by the towering cranes. The swell has ceased, this water is no longer part of the sea, and on board too the communal spirit has gone. Everyone is wrapped up in his own affairs, in the expectation of what is to come. Down in the cabins the stewards are stripping the bunks and counting the number of towels missing. On the dockside it is already hot.“
Lees verder “Cees Nooteboom, Wouter Godijn, Grand Corps Malade, Joanne Rowling, Alain Nadaud, Primo Levi, Daniel Bielenstein”