lamy safari (do i need to say more?)
The clouds race with an invisible wind, following an invisible orbit. They look like the impossibly perfect clouds Michelangelo painted. Fluffy and white, with a silver lining right where the sun hits. It’s a deceivingly cold day. The sunlight isn’t warm. Windows are closed and shut tight, but even then, the slightest breeze comes through the cracks. It’s an old house and cracks are as inevitable as the night sky on a sunny day.
Lamy Safari is a much discussed pen. Due to these discussions, it is also a very popular pen. It was the first pen I bought myself. My first pen was a forgotten one, and my second was one of the most popular pens in the world. If you have done a research on “beginner fountain pens” in the past couple of years, you probably came across two major options: Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy Safari. My biggest reason to pick the latter was accessibility. You can find them pretty much anywhere, even in a tiny college town like mine. I didn’t know that specialised fountain pen stores existed back then, and ordering from the internet didn’t feel right for such a big milestone.
The Safari also has a layer of nostalgia for me. I have wanted one as long as I have known how to hold a pen. There was a colourful stand of them in my favourite bookstore, and I would drool over them as a kid. Safaris, in every colour and with that beautiful clip. It’s a simple design, made from simple materials. Iconic. I never got to have one back then, too expensive to consider spending on a pen (joke’s on me now). I didn’t even know what people did with fancy pens.
Turns out, you use them to write. Write everything from a shopping list to a blog post.
Carrying the weight of a lifelong dream, I walked into a regular stationery store. I was giddy with excitement when I saw the candy coloured pens. I got the Bronze AL-Star instead of plastic ones, the smooth aluminium cool in my hands. Then a converter and a bottle of ink. They also had the Lamy inks in the store, and I got the Azurite.
Anyway, my first time inking that pen was quite clean. No inky fingers, no inky sinks. But I loved that pen. It wrote smoothly, and without the need of pressing down to the paper. I watched the ink dry and leave the green sheen of the Azurite behind, shifting colours like magic.
It kickstarted a hobby of fountain pens. Within months, I had a small collection of inks, and orders for Kaweco and TWSBI pens.
Unfortunately, in that couple of months I learned about the old special editions of Safari’s. I made a decision about not hunting them down and trying to “finish” a collection. Therefore, I just admired them from a computer screen. At least I did, until a sale for the Petrol Safari popped up. It was the price of a regular Safari, but well-used and scratched. Before I contacted the seller, I decided to check the internet to see if there is any other Petrol Safari’s, preferably directly from a store, brand new. To my immense luck, there was a tiny office store that still had them in stock. All the way since 2017! There was only two left in stock, one in a fine nib, and the other in medium. Ordering it from this sketchy looking website was a risk. It actually arrived. I was flabbergasted. I opened the box. There it was. A beautiful petrol blue Safari. Petrol was the only one I searched to buy in the previous editions, and hopefully it’ll stay that way. Dark Lilac’s prices are way out of my league. Luckily, I had found the ballpoint of Dark Lilac in a dusty corner of a store, and now it serves as my letter addressing pen.
I have a lot of Safari’s now. The plastic is almost indestructible, and the nibs always write after a quick flush. Right now my most used one is the Vista. I’m a big fan of completely clear demonstrators, and I like the red converter knob a lot. My iron gall inks only get used in this pen, as the nibs are easy to change. The nib on this one still writes, but it hasn’t been the shiny stainless steel colour in a while.
I have been thinking about a way to show off the inks a little, and I found a great way. I’ll write some of “Bee-keeping for the Many; or, The management of the common and Ligurian honey bee, including the selection of hives and a bee-keeper's calendar” by the Horticultural Press from 1870. It’s on Project Gutenberg, so please feel free to take a look at the illustrations as well. I thought about re-writing something normal, but a Victorian beekeeping book is a lot more fun. The paper is 110 gsm beige ivory paper in a Studio Mottos Notebook. It’s not the best with fountain pens, it shows through with wet nibs, but doesn’t feather terribly.
Thank you so much for reading!