Archive of February 2011


After a month taking in the merchant district, I decided it was time to move on. Now, certainly there was more to see, but I figured that if each district held a hostel similar to the one in which I was staying, I may as well spend some time in each of the districts.

The two districts bordering urbs serpentum to the south are two mountain peaks, part of the mountain range separating the unnamed city from the rest of the world. Much lower than that wall of rock, they're really more large hills than anything else. They are mons solis, the district of Apollo, whose temple overlooks all the rest of the city, and mons accipitris, devoted to Ra, the smaller of the two hills, but whose temple by no means less impressive. To the north are the imposing glass skyscrapers that surround Thoth's temple, urbs speculorum.

I opt for the south, figuring I can make my way around the city in a clockwise motion, which would put Apollo next on my list.

Checking in at the new hostel. It's much less crowded than the last.

The room here is nicer, as well. Still very spartan, no more than a bed and a desk, but it's neater and the two pieces of furniture are in better condition. Also, the view from my window is fantastic. There's even a porch. I can watch the sunrise, if I bother to wake up that early. The temple of Apollo is behind me, further up the mountain.

I'll check out the temple tomorrow. For now, I spend the rest of the day wandering around the streets, enjoying the scenery. Mons solis is far less busy than where I came from. The majority of people living here seem to be artist, poets and musicians. I stop in a coffeeshop and sit for a while, listining to a couple performers recite some of their poems. None of them are very good, to be honest, but they do seem more honest, less affected than I'm used to in the setting. It's nice.

At night, I sit out on my porch and review my stay so far. I can't believe it's already the first week of February. This last month went by far too fast, and I still have so much to see. But at the same time, I'm here. I never imagined I would actually make it here, but here I am. It's real. It's beautiful.


Urbs serpentum is no place for a poor traveller on a strict budget. Were I a tourist looking for trinkets to bring back to my family and friends, there would be no better place. Around every corner is a merchant hawking his wares, from the extravagant to the disposable. The smell of exotic spices is inescapable. I make it a point to only bring enough money for food for the day, not only to avoid temptation, but to foil thieves. What I don't carry can't be stolen.

Hand in hand with sights and smells from every corner of the world goes language. It seems to me, wandering around the forum and commercial district that each merchant is speaking a different language. Some I recognize, some spark an inkling of familiarity that I can't quite place, and still others barely sound like words at all.

And internet cafes! At first I was surprised by them, if only because free internet access seemed at odds with the mercantile nature of the district, but of course Hermes is not only the god of merchants, but also messengers. Many of these cafes also offered courier services to deliver physical packages or would hold them for pickup by one of the various such services available in the area.

Rather than lose influence as the need for personal delivery of messages waned throughout history, here the followers of Hermes embraced the changing times. Their innate entrepreneurship allowed them to offer all sorts of services to facilitate communication using the technology of the times. Many of the shops showed signs of going through many iterations, some changing with the times so frequently I got the sense that I'd have to wrestle remodelers as soon as the next fad gained traction.