Not every day perhaps, but most; a step by step account of the trip from apartment to Film School:
First important step is remembering to double-lock the apartment door before going down the nine flights of stairs. I forgot once, having rehearsals on my mind, but remembered at the bottom of the stairs… so had to plod back up. Then out through the yard, past the guard-dog on a chain (permanently, I fear.) He’s not scary at all, but goes absolutely bananas whenever a stranger comes in, but has an excellent memory, for after one encounter he just carries on dozing.
Along the dusty track lining the valley, with the concrete drainage pipes stacked up on the side, then around the corner and past the mini-market, before a sharp right turn and up the hill to the main road. It is on this stretch that I nearly always meet the family in the photo above, sitting on the ground in the same spot. I have developed something of a relationship with them, the oadies smiling and waving, while with the little girl we have developed from lots of hellos and bye-byes, to high fives, to dancing, to a hug, to showing me her drawing book. One of the things I like most about them is that none of them have made any indication of wanting money… and as a consequence I gave them a relatively generous donation recently.
Then turn right at Angla Burger on the main road, past my favourite ATM – it always says Good morning or Good afternoon Mr C D Walters, and offers a larger maximum amount – then picking my way along the broken pavement, past the ranks of shoe-shine boys, (and men.) Then past the swanky new News Agency Office, with the beautifully tended flower bed outside, and then the almost derelict old News Agency offices next door, and weaving through the permanent line of cars queuing to get into the petrol station.
A bit of a hike to Arat (Four) Kilo roundabout, to cross the major road coming into it, almost (though not quite) like a natural – wait for the merest gap, then step out and keep moving, rather than playing will he/won’t he with the motorists (while I at least am always keeping a wary eye out for the ones who quite clearly are not going to stop.
And then it is just another couple of hundred yards to the Film School building, entered via an unprepossessing door at the side of a shop selling embroidered cloaks, and up the 89 steps to the top floor. At which point, I regain my breath, then treat myself to a biscott, a delightful plain savoury roll that I dunk in my coffee.