Friday, January 04, 2008


The flight to London from Bombay was over 9 hours long. The 777 didn't have video-on-demand which was a bummer (they are getting it in February). I watched a formulaic Terence Howard/Jodie Foster vehicle, then ploughed on with McCarthy's The Road. What an portentous novel! I felt nauseous reading it - an existential sickness a la Sartre's eponymous text, rather than a purely physical sensation. You have to read it.

One other thing that made the minutes speed: I like staring at the map on the screen on long haul flights. Its a moving mandala meditation on place and the significance of elsewhere. The exotic pixellating itself past the rim of the imagination. We flew over Herat in Afghanistan (I stared out at the continuation of the Western Himalayan ridge below - endless snowy peaks), and later, above cities with names like Lvov and Dnepropetrovsk. I thought of Sfax (which Georges Perec mentions in one my favourite passages of literature in Espece d'Espace). What is it about place names that begin with two consonants?

And then I thought of Sebastopol again. I'm not sure why I continue to find this place-name utterly poetic. It makes me think of Paris (the subway station). I also think of endless rubble and concrete (it sounds like an Eastern bloc odyssey on concrete), as well as revolutionary activity in the 19th century, with a bit of Chekhov thrown in. Sebastopol makes me think of Joy Division and Bauhaus and other post-punk noises.

But now its London, and its coooolllld.


Anengiyefa 2:04 pm  

Your thoughts about the place-name Sebastopol invoked thoughts of "endless rubble and concrete", as well as revolutionary activity and Chekov. So presumably your thoughts were about the Sebastopol in Ukraine, since of course you were in an aeroplane flying over that part of the world at the time.

Just to say that there are other Sebastopols too. There are two in Australia, two in the United States and one in Wales, United Kingdom.

Nkem 5:25 pm  

When I "eventually" update on Nepal, I'll tell a story about flying from Doha to London. Interesting route it took...

Moni 8:16 pm  

This is the Sebastopol I'm most familiar with:,_California


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