11.24.2012 - 11.24.2012
Caves are warm, moist places. We went to two today: the first an underground water park lit by candles, the second a still, dripping steam bath filled with bats. In Grutas de Lanquin: alone and with nothing to light our way but our dying headlamps. And everywhere a motioness mist clung to our vision. Later, when tour groups came in with their torches, candles, and noise, the place changed character--grand, but in the way of ordinary caves. No longer frightening, mysterious, deserving of fairtyale phrases such as "impenetrable darkness." We stayed to watch the bats come streaming out at twilight, their shadows clotting the cave walls as if all the souls from the underworld were fleeing into the open brisk night air. We stood mouths agape, wondering how they could fly so close that we could feel the wind from their beating flight, and yet not once did we detect the brush of rubbery wing on our skin. We walked home by moonlight, the quilted sky so large it came down to our feet.
The Kan'ba Caves, by contrast, were a thrilling, touristy, manufactured adventure that Chris and I both agreed was our favorite part of the day. Nonetheless, my account would be no different from dozens of others found on the internet. It makes me wonder again, what is traveling for, and life, for that matter? Once more it seems that the best times are not often the most notable times ("Happy families are all alike," etc.).
It was a full day.