An Adventure of the Senses (2. Exodus)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
'Exodus' is pt 2 of 'An Adventure of the Senses'. The original Word document includes photos & other images linked to the journal.

Submitted: April 15, 2016

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Submitted: April 15, 2016

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2. Exodus

 

I got up at 3 am on 7th of July 2001.  Even though my parents had continued to voice their reservations in the weeks leading up to this day, nothing was going to stop me.  They drove me to the airport in Dublin. 

As the plane prepared for takeoff, I was nervous and excited.  It was my first time on a plane.  My blue notebook and pen were in the seat back pocket ahead.  As the plane took off, I held onto the arms of the chair.  My ears popped and everything went dull.  Having a conversation with my neighbor, or telling the stewardess what I wanted for breakfast, was difficult because what I thought was speaking was actually mumbling.  I looked out of my window, watching Dublin fade further and further from view. 

As I walked through Heathrow airport, the crowds were overwhelming and intoxicating.  My second breakfast in a cafe at Heathrow was the first of many small meals during that long day en route to Ocean City.  When the time came for me to find the departure gate for my flight, I felt energized and acutely aware of what I was about to do. 

 

 

 

On the plane I welcomed anything free, especially alcohol.  As we crossed over Wales, which looked wafer-like from this distance, I poured a Coors.  I felt like a child again, especially with the novelty of a small TV, which charted our progress, in front of me.  The in-flight movie ‘What Women Want’ passed the time with its mildly funny jokes. 

 

 

When it ended I started reading Haruki Murakami’s ‘Norwegian Wood’. 

Hearing a cover of the classic Beatles’ song, Toru Watanabe is overwhelmed by memories of losing a college friend and the death of a romance.  Inspired by what I read, and the journey I was on, I wrote inside its covers. 

The long flight made me restless.  I imagined that the plane had entered ‘The Atlantic triangle’.  Our families would never hear of us again.  American authorities denied the existence of the Bermuda Triangle, just as they would soon deny the existence of The Atlantic Triangle.  My thoughts drifted back to the mess that was supposed to be dinner before me.  My nose and tongue said ‘No way José’ but my stomach said ‘Yes’.  British Airways conveniently provided me with a bag if I felt like being sick. 

As I caught my first glimpse of America, a mixture of emotions overtook me, mostly fear and excitement.  I want to make friends, grow personally and leave myself open to exploring what was in front of me.  While we encircled Philadelphia waiting to land, the scenery, the houses and the other surroundings were different to anything I had seen before.  My eyes were open almost every second from that point onwards until I slept that night, trying to take everything in. 

Outside Philadelphia airport I took the first taxi I found.  Abrahim, the Israeli taxi driver, was great company.  He told me how much he missed his children who were in Israel.  Even so, he knew that America was the best place to earn money to send home.  I’m sure it took great courage to do what he did.  I imagined other people doing similar things. 

 

Inside the Greyhound bus station in central Philadelphia I waited for my bus to Ocean City.  To my amazement there was a small TV on every other seat broadcasting pay-per-view chat shows.  I knew Americans liked TV, but this was taking a chocolate biscuit and dunking all of it into a cup of tea.  A Black-American guy sat down 5 yards in front of me, paid to watch Ricki Lake and started talking out loud as he watched it.  Not knowing what he was saying, but thinking he was getting into it like you see Americans doing on TV, I smiled because he was funny and nodded at me when I looked in his direction.  He left his seat for a few minutes, returning to find a girl sitting there.  He started waving his arms like you see on Jerry Springer and shouted:

‘Girl, you’re in my seat.  I love God and I love people, but you’re in my goddamn seat’. 

Disgusted and not willing to encourage him more, she rose and moved to another seat.  Still incensed he continued to rant in her face, swinging his body aggressively at her.  When she eventually moved, he spat on the seat to the disgust of everyone.  After he left the girls returned to take their seats.  Seeing the saliva they shook their heads in disbelief and walked away.  Most people avoided the seat, except a middle-aged woman acting like she was not to be messed with. 

Looking at the map I had, Ocean City was a long outstretched ‘finger’ of land off the East Coast of Maryland.  My eyes were wide open as the bus took its route (route 54) to Ocean City, through places like Dover and Milford. 

‘Last stop Ocean City’, the driver said. 

I had seen bright lights, beachwear shops, tacky gift shops and hotels.  I was stunned to realize that this was Ocean City.  We had crossed a short bridge, with Lighthouse Cove on the left, then driven parallel to the 6 mile beach, which started at the aforementioned bridge.  The bus journey had taken almost 4 hours. 

Despite being awake for almost 24 hours, adrenaline kicked in and I felt excited.  Stopping at a petrol station, I asked for places to stay nearby.  I walked up and down a few side streets.  With my backpack and guitar becoming heavier, and being in a strange place, I went back to ‘The Ambassador’, the brightly-lit hotel beside where I had got off the bus, and paid $63.50 for one night.  Though it cost more than I planned to spend, any bed would have been welcome at that moment. 

It was senior week.  Many college students in their late teens were partying in Ocean City.  Alcohol and hormones were everywhere in the hotel.  I felt like going out for a drink on my first night but fell onto the hotel bed and slept instantly. 


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