Even though I only met you once, I’ve thought about you a lot. I love that to reach your beauty you have to ride a small train past fields of sunflowers and jungles of temples. You don’t bombard with your wonder. You’re subtle and you make people work a little to discover your secrets. And what secrets they are! I had forgotten how content one could feel. The feeling lingered along your dusty tracks long after having departed. I wasn’t scared of you, even when I got lost. At times I felt frustrated because you seem to be very underrated and you deserve a lot more recognition.
When I arrived, you made me feel ever so welcome. I just wandered on in and you didn’t even question my being there. It was as if you’d been expecting me. Your people are also extremely kind. I immediately sought out my ride for the day, in the fashion of a white beauty of a bicycle. She had a perfect basket and quite the melodic bell. A one of a kind. We meshed well together and she was a great companion. She may have had some kind of special power as she led me down roads I might have thought better of. Oh, but what treats I was presented with.
We began our journey downhill. I took control of that one and just let her go. I couldn’t resist. But it soon became apparent that we were lurking in dangerous territory. I’d taken her off the pleasant paths onto the monstrous motorway. Dust and dirt and fumes flew into our view and she made me turn back. We found the most stunning little back road. This was where my heart began to lighten and I stopped to admire your flower fields. Pinks and crimsons and buttercup yellows. Everywhere. And your bluer than blue sky, with palm trees touching the tips of your fluffy clouds. It was calming. You had me under your spell from that moment.
And as the sun got stronger and the sky got bluer, we rode. Along your bridges and banks and brooks, passing curious cafes made out of tree trunks, not quite ready for the visitors to this land. When I became peckish I didn’t know where to turn. I twisted around your small streets and eventually settled on a local-looking joint. I think I chose wisely. Your banana fried-rice was smack-lipingly delicious. I never would have combined those two simple snacks, but you did this so well. It was a meal fit for a king, and it helped carry me further into your jungles.
On I wound, through your tropical forests and along your perfectly created cycle path. Thank you for being so accommodating to the more adventurous of souls. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I found your temples. They were eccentric and dilapidated, but the fact that an earthquake shook them into ruins, somehow made them even more beautiful. They stood wise and proud, and despite being slightly squashed and shattered, they maintained their elegance and I really respect them for that. You have strong soldiers in that little gem of a town of yours. Nothing will crush them completely. It’s admirable. And I can only thank you for being so caring. They may have slipped into the pool of pessimism if you hadn’t been there to give them a little shake and reinforce to them that there are still people out there who want to admire them. They DO have a purpose, just like every other being on this earth.
Ji Ji, you really are a gem. I’m sure you’re only going to keep on flourishing, but please promise me one thing. Please keep that unique feel you’ve got going on. It’s as if, once you step off the train, you pour an aura of calm over your people and allow them to slide on into your jungle at their own free will. No time restraints, no pressure, just a chance to do a bit of exploring, a bit of searching, for whatever it is the hungry traveler is after at the time. Be it banana fried rice, a jungle or two, a temple that’s been through trauma and still stands, or even just a friendly face to chat away the little hours with.
You’re special Ji Ji. I haven’t met many a place like you and I hope you realise how wonderful you are. I hope the sun always shines for you and that you never lose that positive power you emanate from all your exciting edges.
p.s i really like your love-heart shaped leaves. They charmed me.