Rijeka, Croatia (Hrvatska)

Rijeka - a place of ships, buses, trains, life and death May 23, 2002

Now they are holding her up, slapping her wrists, starting to panic, holding open her eyes. I go back to the pizza place and they find some who speaks English.

"The woman across the street needs help."
"We have no phone. I will go next door."
Now the girl at the pizza is looking out the window and the English speaker comes back. "I've called an ambulance." I give the girl a thumbs up sign and from the other side of the street finish my pizza and try to get inside the heads of the two people who shared what seems to be the last moments of the old woman's life across the street. They seemed like relatives talking. The old woman looked like she fell asleep and they ignored her until she started slouching.

It's the second time I've seen a life slip away while waiting from a train in my travels. That's not the point in itself though. The fact is out here there are so many things that would be missed by staying home. It's a simple thing to point out, but one I feel necessary to note, if nothing else as a dash on the list of one of the reasons I'm out here in the first place. Quite frankly, I love being around people. Anonymously. It's strange, but I've found that's what I love about being in the city and getting aboard a train. It comes from my mother telling me when I was little, "I think airports are interesting. All these people, coming and going, must have some interesting reasons why they are here." I suppose I like thinking I might be one of those people with an interesting reason to be.

Don't get me wrong, I treasure the more intimate contact, but being surrounded by people - all aware and unaware of each other at the same time, let's me make up stories in my head about them, and myself. I'm fascinated by people's stories that only their faces can tell. They have distinction. I am just an observer, perhaps even alien.

Rijeka serves only as a transport center and a thought collecting depot for me, but significant enough to note. There was an amazingly beautiful village perched on a hillside that the bus stopped in on the way here. There are people… there are places… damn the clock.

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