Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Thailand post is all in my head. Ask me about it sometime. Putting it down on paper, am sure will help me digest it better, but it is apparently not that time yet.

Instead. Let's get back to Okinawa.

Last Friday, for a brief instant, in the middle of Okinawa I experienced an alternate reality experience. I would recommend it, but it's certainly not for the faint of heart. This experience took place in Chatan, a place in itself a bit surreal, where Okinawan and American cultures merge and create a unique spot, a place where for the last few years the Okinawa JET book club has met to discuss books and life.
I arrived with a friend at 6:45pm, a full 15min early, which in itself is a bit trippy, considering that I have never even arrived exactly on time. So after parking at a pretty good spot near a burger joint on the beach, we leisurely made our way to the cafe, chatting about this and that along the way, not paying attention to our surroundings because once you know where you're going and you have gone there nearly every month for the last 2 years, you don't expect to look for it, it'll just arrive at your feet and you'll walk up the stairs, across the rickety wooden bridge and into the open space of one of the coolest cafes on the island. As we walked, an uncomfortable nagging feeling started creeping under my skin. Something was amiss. We stopped at an area of long wooden tables. Where's the stairs? The bridge? The cafe? None of those things were in front of us. Instead the long tables stretched out towards the park behind them and a tiny little bar blared its music at us from the far right corner. Ahead of us along the street, the bright pink sign of a "relaxing house" seemed a bit too close and we turned back. The cafe should have been behind us, before the stretch of wooden tables. But where was it? We walked back. And there it was. Set in between the two apartment buildings, the walkway and all underlying, shack-like structures gone, the stairs now an open space with no sign of them ever existing, and the cafe! Its front ripped open, it stood exposed, its innards open for all to see, if there was anything left to see that is. All that remained were crisscrossing wooden boards and one panel that separated what used to be a cozy, warm room filled with low coaches and uncomfortable bar stools, and an open area that offered beautiful sunset views over the sea. Friend and I stood in disbelief. Welcome to an alternate reality! Hope you enjoy your stay!

Yep. Sad, but true. Celluiloid Cafe is no longer. That night we went to the burger place by the seaside. Its burgers are tasty and it has plenty of room for us, but it's lacking the atmosphere conducive to book discussions and so we are now out hunting for a new location. Hopefully, one will be deemed suitable by all so that we don't have to move for the rest of the year. I suppose, before we settle in, we should ask whether they plan on selling their property anytime soon. I don't think I could handle another heartbreak of losing a favorite coffee shop in the near future.


1 comment:

Kevin Thomas Hurley said...

The tides of change.