Friday, April 8, 2011

Colours under the sun

It is pouring as only it can in a sub-tropical paradise. People are huddled under umbrellas as they stand in bus shelters. They straggle onto the bus, hair and trousers plastered to them in dripping testament to the inadequacies of such protection against the onslaught. As they pass by, a trail of drip marks and wet foot prints make the floor increasingly slick.

Outside the sky is a uniform luminous grey that is tinged with yellow. Any colour comes from the verdant gardens and median strips that we pass. Even the lawns which are normally more yellow than green are heading towards a richer shade of green than one has seen in a long time. See here nothing is really green. Usually things are a yellow green, a brown green and at times an almost reddish green. The climate is harsh and it produces an equally harsh colour palette of orange, red and ochre yellows. All of this delivered under an almost aggressively bright blue sky.

For years the colours produced a mute feeling of homesickness. Not for the places, but the more gentle colours of emerald greens, greys and soft blues. And grass... real grass that you can patter across with bare feet, unlike the stuff here that feels like walking on a coir mat. Of course that gentleness belied the reality. There you can get so badly burnt without even knowing it because it is done in a balmy 21 (69.8F) degrees. It is not until later as you start to turn an unpleasantly painful shade of scarlet that you realise the trouble to come.

In some ways here is a lot more brutally honest. You are as hot as hell and sizzle as you fry. There is no artful pretence of gentleness to lull you into a false sense of security. And you can offset the feelings of homesickness with a blue tint to your glasses... It makes everything look like the right shade of green.

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