Monday, 16 March 2015 17:58

On the way to Ithaca

I had parts of this poem by C.P. Cavafy on my apartment door in Almaty, Kazakhstan: The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes, savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them unless you carry them within your soul, unless your soul sets them up before you. 

I had put it there to keep those Cyclopes away that all my friends warned me about. In fact they’d insist they were out to get me. 'It is very dangerous, you really must stop taking those taxis on your own late at night'. 

Perfect means of transport Just like so many others, I used to take ‘those taxis’ to get around Almaty all day long as I went to the various private students I was teaching English to. Basically they are personal cars and their drivers are available to take others along for a small fee - some do it on their way to/from work, others drive all day. Works perfectly! However, I also used to take them (very) late at night to go out dancing, usually to an outrageously fun place hidden away in the suburbs, and then early in the morning to get home. 

In safe hands I even had one ‘taxi driver friend’ who’d always be there around 5, 6:00 a.m. waiting to take me home and if he was busy he’d assign one of his ‘colleagues’ to take me. We’d do a bit of casual chatting - as much as my pretty basic Russian would allow - and that was the end of that each time till the following Saturday. I always felt safe. 

Expelling the Cyclopes  Until the insistent warnings of my friends started to get to me and I began having second thoughts about my ‘dubious’ late night rides - which is when I put up this poem. It must have helped. Nothing ever ‘happened’ to me and when I am now inclined to worry about something, I remember that I we must not carry any Cyclopes within us.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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