It was a summer day, my friend was wearing shorts, I turned the airco of the car on and we crossed the canal to the UK. Traveling makes my heart feel light and my brains feel bubbly. The beautiful houses of Royal Tunbridge Wells and the comfortable feeling of being a stranger. I love the childlike surprising view on the world that Im allowed to have when Im the odd one out. The questions you're allowed to ask, the extra time you can afford in a cafe, just sitting there enjoying things passing by.
I took a windy road south, every time I came across a corner and a car my way came my heart jumped a little. Not out of a happy travel surprise but we drive on the other side of the road as they do in England.
I past Alfriston, a quaint little town with teashops run by old ladies (I presume, I never went in one). In every valley it drizzled and every time i was back on a hill the sun was shining in my face. Until I made it to last hill, and there she was: the sea. Shining at me. The color of a blue/ green see through soda bottle.
Seaford, a little town with lots of barbers, coffee shops and secondhand stores. The old caravan by the side of the road, with a NOT FOR SALE sign, made me smile. The 5 year old who was reading her Floppy is not well- book out loud. Wuuuh Aah nnnnn tuuuuh sssss. Wants. Made me cry, out of happiness.
I walked on the cliffs and looked at all the old couples, holding hands, some of them. Or arguing. Some others. ('You are sooo stupid sometimes')
On my way back I had tea at Jo's cafe, a crooked old building with a grassy car park. I walked in and the smell of old grease just hit me in the face. Jo's brought me some tea, and politely asked; is this too strong for you? (Jo must know; the dutch don't drink their tea as strong as the english do) She told me, we had a great summer, lots of guests. But the winters are difficult. We don't have heating, so it gets very cold in here. And yes, sometimes people drive up, see this old building and turn around again. But people love our food. And we are kind to every one. A few weeks ago, this transvestite walked in. Big guy, big legs, but all dressed up. Yeah we get all sorts of people in here. '
I left, but the stench of the grease stayed with me the rest of the way.
I made to the boat, ordered coffee and struck up a conversation with the Portugeuse guy behind the coffee bar. He used to be a director of a company, worked in Italy, Portugal and Angola. Working on 5 million euro road plans. The crisis struck and now he was selling coffee on the boat. 12 hour shifts, 15 days in a row. Living and working on the vessel. Evening time, daytime. ' It is a good job' he said 'But you sort of think you life will get better, you go up and up. But now everything went down in my country. No pension for the elderly and the first minister told the young people; 'Get out, if you can, go somewhere else'
I drank my coffee and had an amazing view on the sea and the black clouds. Halfway the ferry and home it started raining, I turned on the heating of the car and by the time I was home autumn had started. My favorite season.