"I inhale the dirty road deep into my lungs, and i feel it, i taste it, the new, the strange, the unknown on my lips."
The bus roars cracking and seasick, staggering through narrow urban gorges, shaking like an epileptic bobblehead. It’s filled with people, standing, sitting, pressed together skin on skin, wiggling to the rhythm of endless turns to the right and left.
The people, they stare in the distance, no roaring and cracking and staggering, no wobbling and wiggling capable of interrupting their thoughts. No word, no sound, just stares, the distance ahead, the anticipation of home drowning the boiling evening breeze. In their mind, they are already there, and yet it is far, far away.
I try to breathe but there is nothing left. The air burnt out, the heat dripping down my skin, i escape the thicket of bodies and asphyxia, press my head through the small plastic window, breathe in the heat of the setting sun, the blurred, flickering colours of light. I inhale the dirty road deep into my lungs, and i feel it, i taste it, the new, the strange, the unknown on my lips.
The heat of a long gone day drifts past me with the golden glow of a burnt out sun and the sticky, sweat-soaked sounds of the streets.
An abrupt jolt stops the bus in front of a traffic light in perfect unison with a sea of mopeds, bikes, trucks, pickups and other deformed tin dents, packed together like iron sardines in a love-hate relationship. They all stare, with their tired, empty eyes, into the beaming red of the traffic light, hanging loosely from a rotten thread.
The bus breaks through the jungle of concrete, past giant skyscrapers, standing tall and dark in the sunset, hidden behind walls, crested with barb wire, glass shards and watch towers, closed by heavy gates made of distinctly cold steel.
Two cops race past the bus on a motorbike, the one in the front, driving, the one in the back, carrying the machine gun.
"People walk down the street, carrying the weight of their wealth past those that live here."
Jewellery, expensive clothes and luxurious cars sparkle and shine behind thick display windows, lit in bright lights, framed by flower pots, palm trees and polished, white, completely empty streets.
Down the road, there are the people, crowded at the bus stop, back from work and an hour by bus away from home.
We drive past them without stoping. Nobody yells. There will be another bus, at some point.
Construction site. Giant billboards advertising the newest skyscraper and its life above the clouds, luxurious monster flats in green, red and grey, layered on top of each other like uniform pancakes, higher and bigger and better and already framed by even higher walls and even more barb wire and watch towers, guarding football fields of empty anticipation, protecting it from the world outside.
Turn right. Roaring and cracking. Turn left. The sun slowly melts away on the horizon, between palm trees and concrete bricks, empty, black pillars risen from the ground, a few single lights gleaming in their darkness.
People walk down the streets with gigantic cardboard boxes under their arms and on their shoulders, flat-screens, consoles, computers, they carry the weight of their wealth past those that live here - in the dirt, in front of pharmacies and supermarkets, with or without their children and mostly without shoes, camouflaged in the dust of dirty roads, looking up to those who don’t look at all.