Due to a delayed flight I spent an unexpected overnight stop in pitch darkness at Palermo. I was not alone, the route to the city was jammed.
There was plenty of time to take photos. Looking at them now it feels like I visited two different places though my heart sees one. Half my photographs are shadow the other half dazzling sunshine. The traffic had come to a stop.
As I sat outside the Villa Julia, it felt like nothing would move. No one knew the problem. My heart sank, wanting to see more of Palermo. Frustrations abound and a watch a drama unfold as a woman tries to catch a bus that flies by.
She puts the money into the slot for a travel ticket and it says no.
She asks the guard to help.
‘You get someone to look at this now. I’m not paying twice.’
Guard shakes his head.
‘Someone can take the front off this pay machine I’ve seen it done before.’
She hands him the money.
He has been standing there a while as he doesn’t have the answers he would like to give.
Who are you looking for?
I’m looking for a wife. Anyone’s wife.
Although I worry about you I won’t agree with you.
I won’t let you go on the bus. You have no ticket.
She tries to give cash.
Don’t pay me your bus fare into Palermo. They don’t trust me with money. I had a touch of the drinking problem.
There is a crash. All the large plates in the kitchen are smashed. There is nothing for dinner. The cook shows us the bottom of the empty saucepan. Soup has burnt to black.
This city I follow at my own pace.
I can be cool. I can feel chilled now I have found some liberty and see nobody cares if I do or if I don’t. Like Palermo I am my own person.
The cook rests. Bless her. The restaurant doesn’t open for another five hours. And then it will be breakfast again. Let her enjoy her sleep.
I get a signal I use my phone.
Hello it’s me. Then I lose it again. Systems crash.
At reception there is a girl with a suitcase looking to check in early.
As soon as she realises it’s a confidence thing she asks for something more than she has paid for but the systems are down. She feels certain the bill will never find her.
‘Is your insurance covering this? I would ask if they supply hotels because of delayed flights first because this place is not cheap.’ Says the receptionist.
In the day light it is a ruinous palace.
‘So you Australian?’
No American she says and then she gives the address of the Statue of Liberty.
Where are you going next? She asks the bus driver.
No Spain. I drive a bus.
She looks at the rocks.
She will be there in a moment
Palermo I see you she feels it.
It takes a fortnight to move here completely that’s all and then I will be here body and soul she thinks.
It’s my treat and I’m taking it out of my winnings.
All for fabulous afternoons.
He is resentful of her good fortune.
He’s at work and it’s a Saturday. It is an ample opportunity to collect money. He could play the lotto, she thinks.
Don’t come here again he gives her boundaries.
It’s ok I’m here now. I want to wake up and see this garden in daylight.
I’m going to transfer you. I have a bus I’m going to use it. When I wake up I want to see Villa Julia. My favourite garden in Palermo.
This is the Villa Julia in day time. I last saw it in the pitch black. Check out the same view just before midnight above and find out what a difference a day makes. Read more about Villa Julia in my free ebook here
Discover more photographs inspired by half and half here