Lin Page 4
plan. It would be possible to travel to a certain town and even while away a few hours there, as long as a connection was kept and he was spirited away by a certain hour. His passport had been stamped with a special seal, the only one of its kind, explaining his condition and the necessity of allowing him to enter any country without need of a visa. Another person in the same position might have used this to devious advantage, but he was simply glad to step on solid ground, note the differences between the gun-metal skies of the northern cities and the drowsy, amber mornings of the southern towns. This was his destiny, to be an eternal traveler, and he accepted without fuss or ceremony.


There is a particular northeast city that is contained, bowl-like, inside a circular mountain range. Nothing

escapes here, not heat or smog or rain. The city's one saving grace is that at 1:41 p.m. every day, precisely, thunderstorms rage down, washing away the filth and dust and the heavy air, leaving an almost genteel sense of calm in their wake. Whenever he visits he schedules his arrival time at 2:30 p.m., the train shuddering to a halt in the station just as the last misty drops of the afternoon thunderstorm are falling. He then has what little luggage he has redirected to his next train, scheduled for three hours later, and in the interim he walks around the city.

These are not aimless walks: his knapsack is filled with maps and notebooks. Each time he comes back to the city he decides on a new district to explore, and scribbles overrun his notebook - points of interest, a moment of enjoyment experienced at a particular street intersection. On one visit a district may be a letdown, a faceless slab of office buildings, industrial brickyards, and empty