More Than Meets The Eye

© 2011 Tiago Marques

“Here is my secret. It is very simple: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ in “Le Petit Prince”, by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Journal, 18 December 2011. Pulau Penang, Malaysia.


Early dawn. I wake up Bruno, the other CSer sleeping on Kelley’s living room. Kelley is giving us a ride on her car this morning so we can get the ferry to Langkawi.

Two other guests – Catherine and Candice – remain asleep on the spare bedroom. Barely any day light outside, the sun is just waking up too.

Outside near the parking lot, Bruno steps onto a giant uncovered drain and hurts himself badly. The cut looks deep, it doesn’t seem to stop bleeding.

We drive out to the hospital. I ask Kelly why those drains don’t have some sort of metal grids covering them so people won’t step into them and get hurt. She explains that when the local authorities do put them, the people steal them to reuse or sell them.

Seriously? That’s crazy.

At the hospital, I ask Bruno how come he didn’t notice the massive gap on the ground.

He tells me that he has this hereditary disease of the eyes – he can’t see anything on low lighting conditions like night time, dawn or dusk, and his peripheral vision is gone already, he can only see what’s right in front of him.

It’s a degenerative condition. In ten years, by the time he’s fourty, he will be completely blind just like his grandfather. There is no cure or treatment for the illness.

That’s why he’s been travelling the world for over six years now. He wants to see everything before it all fades away.

Christ. Now I know why he always looks at me that strange way when we talk, as if gazing the infinity.

8:30 when we finally leave the hospital. The wound was deeper than we thought, Bruno had to get a dozen stitches.

We never made it in time for the ferry.


• Bruno, for my first giant reality check on this trip.
• Being healthy.

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