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of Triadna

There is no way grand enough to enter Triadna. Even when you approach her from the curvy road crossing the Ridge Mountain and see her spread below in the misty valley, with the Yunosha mountain rising on the other side, even then you descend into the plains and travel on for long enough to forget that one sight or attribute it to dreams. No other road is high enough, or picturesque enough, and a flight flattens the ground so that the most beautiful of views looks like a fly upon a rotten carpet. Not even Kingcity road, with its long wide lanes and even lampposts, descending softly into the city, does Triadna justice. Nothing can prepare you, entering her for the first time, for the treasure of her heart.

No matter how you approach her, it would be the gray or yellowish neighborhoods of socialism you will see first, with their endless apartment buildings, each like the one before, designated only by numbers; you will pass by labyrinths of uneven streets and wayward buildings, built not for people to live in but for people to get lost in. Yet, you will see, the walls there have turned colors, like a quilt sewn together of many pieces: a different color for every apartment owner who decided to isolate his home, not merely from the cold, but also from the gray. You will find graffiti livening the walls no one owns; there will be balconies covered with flowers, balconies turned into storage, and balconies glazed to enlarge a kitchen. The shops will be beaming colorful and new in place of the empty dusty window that might have been there years ago. The girls walking by their grandmothers seated on the benches in front of each entrance would be dressed according to latest fashion.

That is Triadna, true, but not the heart of Triadna. Perhaps if you pay close attention to the paint on the walls and the shirts of the girls, you might foresee those sights of your unfinished journey that would otherwise have taken you by surprise. For Triadna is slow to reveal her secrets.

Inevitably now, no matter how you approach, you will hit traffic, as if the city is trying its best to hinder your progress, but by now you would have seen the outskirts of its older core. No more ten-storied apartment blocks, no more grayness and carpet walls - welcome to the city of charming old houses and orderly streets, and hidden treasures. If you have been traveling from the West, you will come upon Lion Bridge; if you are approaching from the East by Kingsroad, it will be Eagle Bridge; and in both cases you will know you're there.

You may wonder in the old neighborhoods and to you, stranger, they will seem all the same - all pretty old houses, all criss-crossing streets, an occasional boulevard with trams and trees, and several parks. You will not know anything of the shops, you will not recognize the names on the signs, no memories will flood each street, every corner, every sidewalk - every step. So you may not stop there. For you it is just another layer you must strip down to get deeper into the heart, in search of the hidden gold, wherever it might be.

Keep on walking. You will soon see the yellow brick road.

Here is your golden Triadna, visitor: the King's Palace, the Galleries, the National Theatre, the Banks, the Parliament, the Presidency, the huge cathedral, all on streets and boulevards paved in yellow. The paving stones are slippery, be warned - many a foot has twisted an ankle while looking up the Palace's staircase, or that one balcony framed by trees in the garden.

Go deeper now. Descend into the central subways and peer into the basement of the Closed Market, drink a cocktail in the lowest level of the luxurious cafè behind the Archaeological Museum.  Here is the lost Triadna of ages long past, the ruins of a city ancient and divine. Here is the beginning, stranger.

But you have yet to see Triadna's heart, and you never will, for you are just a traveler and you are leaving. Triadna's heart is in those streets you'll never find, in the ruins they discovered under major crossings and buried again, in the shops you'll never visit and the restaurants that will hold no memories for you. You cannot know the heart of Triadna, stranger, because your very search for it proves you aren't meant to find it.

  1. Apr 05, 2009

    Wow, I feel like a tour guide now...