It was a long time ago …
Jody and I had been travelling in the United States. We were driving west to Buffalo, an American city on the Canadian border.
Once back “home” I knew the route back to London. I knew that eventually the huge Lake Erie would appear on my left, and then I’d only be two hours from our village of Union.
But then, as I was dehypnotizing myself from the rhythm of the road, I peered ahead. There was a touch of blueness in the distance … on the right.
The touch became a broad expanse. I was shocked. “Huh?! Where the hell am I?” I pulled off onto the shoulder. My brain cells were misfiring. I was close to drooling. I was lost – in the mind and soul.
As you can see from the map, after I crossed the bridge into Canada from Buffalo, I must have missed a turn. I was not heading west. I was heading north! The blueness was Lake Ontario.
Oh my God!
It was yesterday …
I went for a long walk in the rain, exploring unknown parts of Ghent. Here’s a map, something that I refused to use on the journey:
The top-to-bottom body of water on the right is the Handelsdok. I had been walking north along the western shore towards the little bridge near the green balloon.
I looked across the water to see what seemed to be a building under construction. There were bare girders … and on a floor open to the air, way up high, kids were playing football (soccer)! My eyes opened wide.
Actually it was a school – Kinderdagverblijf Melopee. And there was a sports complex in the same building – the Buurtsporthal Melopee.
I roamed some more, past an industrial site, with metal things piled up. I was delightfully lost, and at a dead end. Did I mention I love getting lost? Showing incredible courage for a human being, I left my cell phone in my jeans. No Google Maps!
I found my way back to the school and decided to head east away from the bridge.
On and on I trudged, accompanied by droplets on my face. Warehouse after warehouse. I kept expecting some road to the left would show up, taking me north. But nothing …
“Wow! I’m really far east now. But that’s okay. I have tons of time to wind my way back to the Oudburg.”
Finally, a street showed up on the left and it curved gently more to the left. “This is good. I’m going north and a wee bit west. Piece of cake.”
After taking more steps than any other modern man, I saw something big moving in the distance. It was a tram!
“Huh?! What’s a tram doing way out here?” Was this Lake Ontario all over again?
And then a street sign: “Sint-Salvatorstraat”. “What? That’s just up the street from home!”
I was stopped, stunned, discombobulated. (Sigh)
I hadn’t been going east. I’d been going north. The reason that there weren’t any cross streets on the left was that the water was over there, behind the warehouses.
On the map, the curving street that I eventually found is at the top right, under “Play” in the word “Playground”.
Spun around enough for one day, I retreated to Bar Oswald (new to me) for a beer I’d never heard of (Lola).
I sat at a window table and watched the rain continue to fall