Three years ago my progress was pretty stately. Osyters in Whitsable, a night in my father’s cottage near Dover, a Channel crossing; Calais in the rain. This morning was a blur of home-printed plane tickets, no check in, an Orange store at Zurich airport selling (very reasonable) pay as you go SIM cards for the IPad. In London it is a contract affair with a 30 day credit rating wait. Here the SIM costs 10 francs and comes with three free days unlimited 3G access. I’m checking my emails and sending Facebook messages from the platform of Zurich aiport’s railway station in minutes.
As the succession of on time trains take me back towards the mountains and Thusis I can at any time click on my wikihood app and a google map based service tells me not only where I am, but what the nearby buildings are that I can’t see. The idea of a paper guide book seems suddenly absurd. The downside, of course, is that there is more screen time than sightseeing as we cruise towards Chur. The far away hills, the nearby lake, the plains, all merge into a backdrop for my emailing and posting. I’m having a dose of empathy-lack.It is as though I’ve caught ADD.
`I sit at a cafe on Thusis high street, pretty much the sum of Thusis, and read Tom using my new Ton Coryat link app. I have to slow down, the rest of the day must be a process of slowing. “Alles gut” the waitresses asks the assembled groups of women taking coffee and ciggies. It is, they say, as one. This isn’t the start, it’s the prelude.