Budapest, August 13, 2014

★★ The comings and goings of the sun among the clouds made the difference between oppressive and pleasant humidity. A thrumming pump truck cleared out a portable toilet on a narrow lane, and the smell traveled down the lane in advance of it, on otherwise undetectable air currents. The blue in the sky made the turquoise sky of a mural look garish and implausible against it. Out on the broader street, a full white haze filled the view ahead. Up a lane again, in the courtyard of a bistro, there was full shade. A young man, absorbed in his mobile phone over his beer, allowed his cigarette ash to grow unattended. No sooner had the smoke crept out to fill the space, though, than a breeze through the hallway dispersed it. By the end of a slow plate of duck and beans, the streets outside had cooled as well. The contrast between the shadowed roadway and the bright roadway of sky above was too much for the cameraphone to balance out. A coffee shop was about to close, but had iced coffee still. “Would you like that over ice cream?” Why not. The afternoon grayed over, but a flattering late light came back through. A gibbous moon, through a loose veil of clouds, looked down on the way to the gelato-and-liquor stand.