My parents gave us a movie camera for Christmas one year, one of those "open-me-first" gifts so that we were all prepped to witness the children's gift fervour. But when we saw them in action, we put down the camera by mutual agreement and just watched, depositing their delight into our memory bank.
I have heard camera enthusiasts on this trip ruefully but briefly wonder if they have wasted their time taking pictures and not savouring the moments. But then they decide, and others agree, that it's better to have the photograph when they get home, a permanent reminder of the trip that was. I am so inept at taking pictures that an entire experience would be lost to me.
Before I wrote my play The Pact, about Isaak Dinesen's last great relationship with a poet half her age, still to be produced (I live in hope), I wrote a ten-part radio drama about a woman similar to Blixen, name and details changed to avoid copyright infringement, that was broadcast on Peter Gzowksi's Morningside. (Does anyone remember that?) In one scene she wakes up in a tent in Africa on safari. I needed to reproduce her ambience. I had no photographs but I had my diary. The morning sounds heard in a tent in Kenya are the grunts and calls of the baboons. I nailed it. On that same trip the guide on our jeep took us to watch a cheetah play with her cub. People took pictures; I watched. The guide said "Listen!" We listened. He said, "In all my time in Africa I never heard a cheetah purr until now." You can't take a picture of purring.
Yes, you can, people have argued when I tell that story now. With video cameras you get everything: movement, colour, sound. I concede.
I have just read some blog entries of a fellow traveller and I am so impressed. She knows what day it is. She knows exactly where we are. She takes pictures along the way, and puts them into her blog casually and easily. I keep blogging down in thoughts and layered memories. I have no business writing a blog, and I apologize to you.
Yesterday was a cruising day. I wrote a few letters and caught up with my diary, sort of. I ate, I slept, I talked to people and worked very hard at remembering names. I played Trivial Pursuit (an organized activity on board) with some women I dined with, one of whom sent me her blog (see above.) Oh, and I booked another cruise: Easter Island.
I have always wanted to see the behemoths of Easter Island, not to take pictures, just to see them.
I'll get to that smiling Buddha soon.