17 April, 2019
Old Town #AtoZChallenge
Ruth was walking through the historic "Old Town" district. The tour group she was traveling with was off on some other jaunt, bumping along in the large, air-conditioned tour bus, but Ruth wanted to really experience the ancient culture she was in. Tours were great for getting a trip organized, but since they would be two nights in this city, she made her own plans for this day. She'd rejoin them tomorrow when they headed up the coast to the next place.
She had taken a taxi from the hotel into the heart of Old Town, planning to spend the day on foot, visiting the old fort, the ancient port and its attendant shopping district. The architecture, the history, the smell of the salty air - Ruth much preferred seeing these things at her own pace, rather than follow a guide who would decide what they saw and for how long.
First stop, the Fort. She walked along the cobblestone streets of Old Town, down to the waterfront. The ancient building showed its age, along with some obviously modern renovations to keep the structure standing.
Ruth admired the crenelations atop the fortress in the center of the complex, taking several pictures as she walked past the entrance to the wall at the edge of the complex. Reaching the wall, she looked down to the waves crashing against the rip-rap at the base.
She breathed deep the luscious ocean breeze and exhaled an audible sigh. Heaven. One quick selfie with ocean and fortress in her background, and then she headed inside.
Inside the fort, Ruth took the obligatory photos of the museum pieces and historical placards, but found herself marveling more at the beauty of how age shows itself in stone and wood.
The smooth-worn wooden beams.
Efflorescence whitening masonry all over the outer walls.
Ancient footprints preserved in the stonework of the floor.
Age was beauty. It was a different kind of beauty, but the patterns of wear and tear made their marks as if Father Time was an artist creating a masterpiece that only he could make. Some of the younger members of the tour group tried to talk her out of going solo today. They thought an "old woman" shouldn't wander on her own. If they could see the beauty of this old fort, maybe they would recognize how mistaken they were.
Outside the fort, walking toward the port and shops, Ruth stopped for another selfie, this one with no scenic background, just an aging, efflorescent wall behind her. Age and beauty are not mutually exclusive.
Thank you for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! My theme is "Audience Participation" (read about it, here) and now it is your turn. Each day will be a new story based on suggestions from your comments. Suggest anything: a word, scenario, character, location... I will be keeping a list of suggestions, so if yours isn't used tomorrow, it may show up later.
Today's post was inspired by the prompt "efflorescence", suggested by Nilanjana Bose (of Madly-in-Verse), given in comments on my M post (here).