As night fell, I returned to my hotel, exhausted. But my curiosity was greater than my fatigue: after another bath, I went out again into the city. I found many white bundles lying on the sidewalks: men and women who had no home. I took a taxi and drove through deserted districts and lively neighborhoods, streets animated by the twin fevers of vice and money. I strolled through infamous alleyways and stared at the bordellos and little shops: painted prostitutes and transvestites with glass beads and loud skirts. I wandered toward Malabar Hill and its serene gardens. I walked down a quiet street and found a dizzying vision: there, below, the black sea beat against the rocks of the coast and covered them with a rippling shawl of foam.
I sat at the foot of a huge tree, a statue of the night, and tried to make an inventory of all I had seen, heard, smelled and felt: dizziness, horror, stupor, astonishment, joy, nausea and inescapable attraction. What had attracted me? It was difficult to say: Humankind cannot bear much reality. Yes, the excess of reality became an unreality, but that unreality had turned suddenly into a balcony from which I had peered into--what? Into that which is beyond and still has no name.