As I was driving today I was listening to an NPR podcast about the creation of the song, “California Dreamin’.” In the report Susan Stamberg, who has a way with words, says it’s, “A song that came from a dream and from longing – the wistful wish to be someplace else.”
Whenever I hear “California Dreamin'” I’m reminded of one of those surreal moments that only seem to happen when you’re traveling.
We had flown into La Ceiba, Honduras, and began negotiating a price with taxi drivers. Unhappy with the prices, we took off walking toward the main highway a couple of blocks away. We were wearing our backpacks and we each took a handle of the big bag into which we had combined the rest of our things. I could imagine how we looked and even at the time I knew it was one of those moments that will stay with you.
Taxi drivers are much the same around the world, and started coming after us yelling that they would take us into town for the price we wanted. By that time we were both disgusted with them and shooed them away with our hands.
We walked down to the main road and it wasn’t 30 seconds until a taxi stopped and took us into downtown for half what we had suggested to the drivers at the airport. He even got out and loaded our luggage into the trunk.
The two of us settled into the back seat – it had been a very long travel day involving multiple flights on a variety of planes in various states of repair. Playing on the radio when we got in was “California Dreamin’.” We looked at each other and smiled and agreed that we would never again hear that song without thinking about being in a speeding taxi cab in La Ceiba Honduras.
Sometimes the surreal moments are clear even when they’re occurring.
When I heard Stamberg’s comment today about it being a song about longing, I was right there again, in that cab, wondering what was next, lamenting that the days of travel were waning, and wishing it could go on and on. Longing for more travel even when I was traveling.
Our time in La Ceiba was very brief – we were just passing through – but that stop-over left us with an indelible memory.
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