Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Lethargic Kind Of Life

"How can you live in a place like this?", a friend visiting me in Lianga once asked me while incredulously shaking his head. "Nothing happens here!" I made no comment because If I told him why he would probably not understand my reasons or worse, not believe them.

The fact is a lot of things happen in Lianga but they happen at a much slower pace than the frenetic and almost manic tempo of life in the cities and more urbanized environments. And that fact, depending on your own particular viewpoint and perspective, can be both a blessing and a curse.

Take Barobo for example. This town just fifteen kilomenters southwest of Lianga is a beehive of activity at almost all hours of the day. The streets are always buzzing with people, both local residents and visitors, rushing about their business. The main street is often choked with all kinds of vehicles and the public market is most often awash with shoppers and bystanders.

Lianga, on the other hand, is almost like a ghost town in comparison. The pictures here were taken in the middle of the day yet the streets look almost deserted. Unnerving and even almost surrealistic if you are not used to it.

Yet it is this desolate and lethargic quality that give the town its own unique charm. For in Lianga, time seems to move at a more sedate pace and the hustle and bustle of the city has no place or relevance. It is a place that encourages rest, meditation and the soothing of souls scarred and wearied by the demands of lives lived in the fast lane.

I have lived in Lianga for more than a decade and in many ways I have come to live with and even appreciate its rural and rustic character. There are those, of course, who may not share the same view.

But Lianga has always been what it is. Like an obnoxious, stubborn and aged crone, it placidly goes on and limps on resolutely and with nary a care or thought for the views and opinions of the outside world.

Come to think of it, why should it care though? It may be slow, old and decrepit but it is also tenacious and stubborn, clinging to life and existence with the dogged persistence of someone who does not know better.

That has always beens its greatest virtue.


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