In our hotel is a couple where the wife is blind. We see them at breakfast, by the pool, around town, and in the parks.
I wonder what it is like to travel, blind?
I imagine feeling my feet on smooth ceramic tiles, carved mosaic tiles, cobblestone streets, disintegrating cement walks with drop-offs and high curbs, and rocky dirt paths crossed by thick roots.
I imagine tasting salty cheese, sweet starchy fried plantains, smoky hot sauce with chocolate, refreshing citrus-y passion fruit smoothie cold with ice, woodsmoke-scented grilled chicken, sticky fried beans, chewy thick corn tortillas, coarse spicy chorizo sausages.
I imagine hearing the tic, tic of a ceiling fan slightly off balance, feel it move soft currents of air around me. Hear water splash in a fountain, a turtle slip off a rock. Vendors in the street; “you like? genuine jasper, this jade, this is obsidian.” Children’s school shoes tapping, their owners sipping soda. Wheels of old trucks and buses bouncing on rough roads, then grinding brakes. The smaller sound of three-wheeled tuk tuk taxis whizzing around corners. Smaller sound yet of horse hooves striking stones.
The street dogs are quiet; would I hear them shift in their sleep in the gutter? Pissing on the cobbles? Would I hear the fine boned lizard scaling the wall by my head?
I imagine being startled by the sweet, fresh scent of jasmine as I pass by a hanging pot. Other flowery smells I can’t identify assaulting me as I round certain corners. Coffee bean’s comforting aroma passes through their burlap bags in market stalls. Oranges peeled by the street seller’s machete.
Would I hear the blade release the scent?