On the road to Tanger

At the table in the darkest corner sat three americans: two young men and a girl. They conversed quietly, in the manner of people who have all the time in the world for everything. One of the men, the thin one slightly wry, distraught face, was folding up some large multicoloured maps he had spread out on the table a moment ago. His wife watched the meticulous mouvements he made with amusement and exasperation.; maps bored her, and he was always consulting them. Even during the short periods were their lives were stationnary, which has been few enough since their marriage, twelve years ago, he had only to see a map to begin studying it passionnately, and then, often as not, he would begin to plan some new, impossible trip which sometimes eventually became a reality. He did not think of himself as a tourist, he was a traveller. The difference is partly one of time, he would explain. Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveller, belonging no more to one plan than to the next, moves slowly, over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Paul Bowles – Sheltering sky