Sunday, March 8, 2015

17: De Salazar Ruins, Drum Cape, Newport

The railway passes by only a few houses as it follows Route 2.
Some time later, just after his ticket was punched, Alan's seatmate informed him that they had just passed the De Salazar ruins, built by the mysterious Old People. Alan thought he saw a stone tower off toward the bluff, but he wasn't sure. The guy continued chatting, "Those Old People built towns and towers and roads all over the island, even a harbor way up north, all out of  hewn stone. We have no idea what happened to them, they seem to have simply vanished some 800 years ago."  Alan tried his best to listen, but he also wanted to look at whatever passed by.

Near Drum Cape, the train continued toward Newport. Alan noticed the emptiness of this coast. A narrow blacktop road connected a house or two over miles of sandy but mostly green landscape. He wanted to read his book, but his seatmate carried on...

"I should probably tell you my name is Jeremy," the man said.
"Well, hi, I'm Alan. Pleased to meet you."
"And I gather you're not from around here, am I right?"
"Ahh, yes, I mean, no, I'm not - I'm from the States, er, the United States..."
"Ahhh." Jeremy sat back. "I don't believe I've spoken to an actual American before. This is quite extraordinary. You see, we hardly ever see tourists from further away than Australia, though I've talked to a few Russians and Japanese travelers, who are usually related to our locals who came from those places. Do you have anyone here?"

"Uh, no, I'm just here on a sketching assignment...I'm doing a series of pictures for a guidebook. It's for the Ministry of Trade. And what do you do, may I ask?" (Alan remembers to initiate...)

"Oh, I'm going to visit an old friend in Irian, an annual trip. We've known each other for years, and I have found it best to visit only occasionally, if you know what I mean. Your assignment sounds interesting, by the way!"
"Oh, yes," says Alan.

Jeremy finally goes quiet, for now, and Alan resumes his reading.