quinta-feira, 29 de dezembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 30 (the last day)




Day 30
I woke up and sat. My body was aching and I tried to stretch while I was rubbing my eyes and looking for my glasses.
Some of the people that had slept there were also waking up. Others kept on sleeping though the airport started buzzing with life and activity.
It had been very uncomfortable, but anyway I had gone through all night without waking up.
I knew I still had two hours more or less before boarding time and I decided to walk a little bit and see the stores, the people. I then realized I could see a lot more of beautiful people going around and I thought my system of attraction was changing quite a bit. I was admiring a kind of beauty I never had before.
There was an exhibition of maps and I spent some time reading the texts about the map maker of the 15th century whose name I can’t remember. I don’t know why I took no pictures.
**
In the airplane, I tried sleeping but I just couldn’t. I watched about 6 movies and some series. No one was sitting next to me. I wrote some impressions and even a text I published here. I wrote the references to my friends in Couchsurfing and I would just have to type them as I arrived in Brazil. All the movies I watched made me cry, the sad ones for they were sad and the happy ones for they were happy. I was confused, tired, but quite happy I would sleep in my bed again, would unpack and send the bag to my mother’s house so that I didn’t have to see it for quite some time.
**
My family was waiting for me at the airport. At least part of it. My sister was kind enough to bring me home and there I was, back to Brazil, ready to be myself again, and at the same time another me. Ready to start 2011, which, now, as it finishes, I had no idea would be the year when everything started to change.



(to celebrate the next year, soon I will write a text about 2011, the experience of writing the travel log and what I want for 2012)

Travel log - Europe - Day 29




Day 29

This day was fragmented so it will be more or less a list of random things I did.
***
In the early morning I was woken up by the noise the children were doing. Chit-chat, no one was even bothering to whisper or to respect what time it was. They were just laughing and shouting at each other. I tried going back to sleep as soon as all that fuss was over, but I reconsidered and went to the toilet to get ready for my last day in Paris.
No big plans, I had breakfast in the hostel by myself and left. I had a mission, which was to buy all the presents I hadn’t till then.
This would include family and some friends. So I headed to a place where I could find some clothes. As I hadn’t found the game to my mother, I would have to buy her something else. The positive thing was that, as it was the beginning of the year, the stores were on sale everywhere. Everything had to be sold and it was not very difficult to find beautiful and cheaper things. My nephew had asked me to take a ball to him and I went to a sport store and people were very friendly there. The attendant helped me choose the ball and emptied it. As I was leaving one of the stores, the clothes one, the alarms went off. I had been tired of being wrongly mistaken by a shoplifter, and this time was not the jacket. The cashier had been stupid enough to forget one of the security device (and the worst is that I had been paying attention to see she had gone through them).
***
With almost all presents bought, I headed to the Seine and walked along it. I was thinking about life and soon this nightmarish dream trip would be over. I visited some bridges I had never been to and one called my attention because it was all decorated with locks. I remembered the confusion we had when my friend Louis and I were texting each other and I told him he should have a lock for the locker if the gym and he asked me what a lock was, as I used the word in Portuguese. I answered him in French because I guessed I knew the word: cadeau. However, cadeau in French means present, not lock. He got even more confused and explained me afterwards lock in French was cadenas. I had seen a similar word before, I believe in Portugal Portuguese meaning chains.
Anyway, I sat there and observed people passing by, read some of the inscriptions in the locks and carried on.

 

My next point of interest was the Champs-Elysées avenue. I didn’t go near the arch again, the avenue was so crowded, I just walked a bit along the avenue, looking for a subway station where I could take the subway. I hadn’t visited the Bastille square this time and I considered doing it, but I saw the time and I was worried I might lose the train. So I headed back to the hostel.







Back to the hostel, I checked out, thanked the people for the nice stay and asked if I could leave my bag there during lunch. I would get it afterward and go to the airport.
I went to the supermarket because I wanted to buy a present to myself. What would I take from Paris? I went to the dairy section and bought seven different types of cheese. It was almost 2 kilos by less then 20 euros. It was quite a present since I do love cheese. I should have taken a picture of the way I put them in a lot of bags and placed them in my suitcase. If the authorities decided to open it to check, I would be in trouble since they have strict laws about carrying food.
***
So in possession of my dear dear cheeses and all my stuff, it was time to go to the airport. I don’t know how, but I got the wrong ticket, and I had some trouble at the turnstile. I had to go to the machine and buy the correct one. There was a nice lady nearby who helped me then.
***
Something different happened in the security check in Charles de Gaulle. I had never seen anything like that before, and haven’t ever since: everyone had to take their shoes off before going through the metal detector. No problem then, but they gave people some disposable nonwoven fabric bags the person would put on. It was so weird, but thoughtful of them to do that. In the States, they had everyone taking off the shoes, but, for them, who cares about dirty socks?
***
So, airports are not the best places to have adventures. Normally, it is more like running to arrive at the gate or something like that. Well, I have a friend who met a guy in one airport once and... never mind. Anyway, I was there, sitting and waiting before boarding and there was a guy who came and sat near me. I normally try to sit next to people who I would feel some sort of connection, but in this case, he was the one who sat near me. I was reading and kept reading, looking up from time to time. He then asked me the time. His accent was perfect, his English was very good. It turned out that he was a Turkish guy going back home. His name was Omer. His English was so nice because he was living in the States, studying. We talked about our lives and he told me he had learned English because he fell in love with a Russian girl who had visited his village when he was 15. So romantic. 


We boarded the plane and kept talking. He was such a nice guy. I changed seats to sit near him. On the seats just in front of ours was a family, they were Asian but I cold not make out where exactly they were from. Omer was tired and ended up falling asleep but before he had done so, there was a girl, about 2 or 3 years old and she was standing on the seat and Omer played with her. I have to admit I don’t have the knack of dealing with kids. I never know what to do. After he had started sleeping, she still wanted to play, but I started asking her to be quiet and I played with her.
The funny thing happened because she liked playing with me, and I tried to establish some communication. I tried Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. To all those languages she would respond with a face like I don’t understand you. So I started trying to imitate the sounds she was producing, and started inventing some other sounds. It was a completely made up and meaningless language I was using, but to my amazement, she started responding and for about 10 minutes, we talked in a completely meaningless language. She was cute and I tried taking pictures and she even posed for me. It was such a cute experience. I even considered being a father, but that went quick.

 

**
As we arrived in Istambul, Omer waited for me to go through Immigration and said he would not stay there but would go straight to his village. Anyway, he gave me a friend’s cellphone number and asked me to call him in case I was in trouble. I felt a bit afraid because I would have to spend the night at the airport. It started funny when a blond guy, without any uniform showed me his police badge and asked me to put my bags through an X-ray machine in the middle of the terminal. He found nothing and told me I could go. I really thought it was a scam to deceive inattentive tourists. I went upstairs and found a place where some people were reading newspapers, some were even already asleep. There were some families too. I felt no one would come near and say that part of the airport was closing. I lay down and tried to get some sleep, not even trying to read to relax before

quarta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 28

Day 28

The following day was another strange day. I had never imagined I would have the impression Paris was also a city of strangeness, not only a city of sophistication. I could not help feeling there was a kind of energy on the streets, something like a tickling on my skin, a soft whisper, telling me I was in a very special place. I tried being more observant and tried to imagine people running, wars happening there, I was trying to walk forward but into the past. I saw the stonemasons laying bricks at the churches, paving the streets. I was looking for their blood, their sweat there, but they seemed to have evaporated by then. But there was something, unexplainable, that was affecting my senses somehow.
Before having breakfast I was willing to try the shower. I was really in need of one. Jeremy went there and I told him the showers only had cold water. Some minutes after he came back, perfumed and wet and I wondered how brave he had been of taking a cold shower. I went to the bathroom and it was damp and warm. So he had managed to get hot water. I went back there and tried again. Cold and cold. I felt stupid. Then something clicked inside me and I pushed the lever while I was turning it and voilà, hot water. So we had it all along and I was just stupid enough not to realize I had to give it a (really) hard push and turn.
So, I had breakfast early and went straight to the Cité des Science et de l’Industrie. I imagined it would not be very far from my hostel, which was called Cité des Sciences. It was not next to it, but only some subway stations away.

As I arrived there, it was quite a surprise. The place was huge and there were many parts I could visit with my ticket. There were exhibitions about natural phenomena, one about technology, one about pregnancy and I finally got to the floor where the science fiction one was.
I wrote my impressions of the visit for a friend’s science fiction column in Portuguese. But to summarize, any geek would feel in heaven there. I am not that geek, I just study sci-fi as a social expression of contemporary society and never collected toys or went to conventions. I am not a hardcore fan, but I had to take my hat off to the exhibition: they had material in French, English and Spanish. The girls at the counter even let me keep the booklet I was supposed to return after the exhibition. It was quite complete, with mannequins of robots and characters from many movies and books. The sections covered a wide range of images of the genre: one room about trips to the moon, Mars





space travel




my favorite TV series ever, Star Trek








time travels and even to a book world (it resembled so much the feeling I had when I was organizing the piles back home)




and even robots and cyberspace (how would you feel being inside the Matrix?)



After that, I still went to the Géode, one huge silver shining ball which happens to be a movie theater, those you almost lie down and all the ceiling is the screen. There was a movie about the Hubble Telescope, so more about space. It was so real, I left there willing to go to the Moon.
It was very fun and for one afternoon I forgot all the hardships of the trip so far and enjoyed being on my own. I didn’t know if it was possible to take pictures, there was no sign I couldn’t and no one approached me asking to stop taking them. I went to the food court because I was already getting hungry. I bought a sandwich and some soft drink. I just loved two things there: the mustard, Dijon, I guess. So delicious. And the desert was a kind of yoghurt. It did not surpass the Czech apple pie, but it was close to it.
When I was leaving the building, I saw that, across the street, there was a very large toy store. I thought, well, my luck is coming back. They must have the game I am so eager to find.
Of course. No hive there either.
So, I got back to the hostel and it was about time I made dinner. I stopped by the supermarket and got some more cheese and made a sandwich and used the rest of the ingredients I had bought for the salad to make another salad, not as big as the one I had prepared the day before.
**
I went to the room and Jeremy was not there. I guess he was avoiding me. Anyway, I heard a noise and went downstairs with my computer to talk to Brazil and feel less lonely. I had tried to call Martin, one of the French guys I had met in Vienna, but he was busy and couldn’t come and meet me the following day. He was a nice guy but I thought we would not meet anyway. I was without a cellphone there and he had no way to tell me what time or when he could meet me.
I got down and again it was so calm until this calm was broken by an excursion arriving, but of a very different nature of the one I seen the day before. It was about 50 kids and their instructors and although it was really late, they were making so much noise they must have awakened all the people in the hostel. I called them the infantry - both because they were children and because they seemed to be setting up an army camp. (And I would be sure they were as devastating when I entered the restroom the following morning. I felt I had seen the effects of a hurricane!)
I decided I should not stay there that night in all that confusion. I changed and went for a bar. I had no idea where to go or how, so I took the subway and started looking for a bar where I would feel comfortable. I headed to the Place de la Republique, and from there I started walking. It was almost midninght and I had no idea if the subway would close and I would have to walk back to the hostel or get a taxi. I felt free, wandering the streets of Paris, but I could not know for sure how safe it was to do that. Would I be mugged? Maybe murdered? Why did I have to feel so much like I was in São Paulo, so insecure?
I found a bar. Some people in. I entered, some people momentarily noticed me, most of them ignored my presence. I felt like an invisible man. I asked a drink similar to what the other man was drinking. I wanted monaco, as I had learned, but the attendant told me there wasn’t. I tried to sip and observe. One guy started taking interest in me, or so I thought. He would cast curious glances at me and keep talking to his friends. In the end, the group just left and no one approached me. I felt foreign, but I get this feeling every time I go to a bar, even in Brazil. I imagine this happens due to my lack of practice.
I paid, left the bar and walked back to the subway station. A lot of strange people were walking by. Back to the hostel, my roommate had already arrived and was sleeping. Again I had no chance of talking to him and saying everything was OK

domingo, 11 de dezembro de 2011

Cameleon


"At the end of the day all we have is who we are"

Hide all the mirrors,
they serve me to nothing

All pieces of souls
Scattered in a stained glass structure.

I try to see what part of myself is there
And there is only

What I am not.
I change colors again

I am afraid so I try new rues
I try to become the world around me.

It makes me dizzy.
Yet I am not myself anymore.

I am sure I am not sure.
And you see I am

I was and am not.
No longer, then I am green again.

Will I be it again?
So my colors change and adapt (to what?)

Inside, it seems black and white.
A rainbow, in shades of grey.

Travel log - Europe - Day 27


Day 27 - Paris, je t’aime

The next day I would finally have breakfast at the hotel. I was curious to do that because of what had happened the other time I had been there. If you don’t read Portuguese, to summarize, I was staying at HI Hostel Jules Ferry and there was a lady serving us during breakfast. However, she was not there only to serve. If you wanted to get another slice of bread, fine. One more? You can’t. You could take only one of everything, but if you didn’t like milk and wanted two glasses of juice, so sorry, you couldn’t. And she was so fierce-looking, barking-like talking. Here, at Cité des Sciences, there was no one to control what you wanted. There was just a lady to clean what you dirtied. After eating nicely in Finland, and even staying at hostels like the ones in Amsterdam (the other trip) and Berlin, the breakfast here could be considered weak. One type of cheese, butter and no ham or other things to make a nice sandwich. No cereal. I had to go to the supermarket and buy some other types of cheese to complement the breakfast. But knowing I could get some more of everything made it better than the other. Even though there are the other two HI hostels in Paris, I came to imagine it is a tradition not to have good breakfasts in those hostels.
So, I had few plans for Paris. In fact, I had almost none. Paris was Carol’s dream. I would have déja-vus and miss the summer which was not there. Well, I was there, sad, but it was Paris so I had to do something to enjoy those few days I had left there, in the city of light.
I had some missions and although they were small tasks, I would put all my efforts into trying to find what people had asked me. My friend Sinead wanted some books. My friend Manoel some cosmetic products. Also, I had to buy the game I hadn’t found in Salzburg to take to my mother. So, I understood I was going to spend at least one day walking around visiting many types of stores and taking advantage of whatever I could find on the way.
My number one activity was to walk along the Seine and find a Fnac store. There, I would be able to find the imported books Sinead had asked and also buy the tickets to a museum where, as I had seen in an ad, they were having a science fiction exhibition.

As I was walking there, I decided to look for other bookstores. I ended up getting to the Louvre. I wanted to see the pyramids and the fountains again so I entered the arches. I was curious because my last memories of them were a beautiful sunny place where we (Edgard and I) were able to get some rest after hours of walking and even put our feet in the water. But what I found in that cold and grey day was a deserted fountain.



People were not even sitting on its edges. When I was getting there, there were some Black men approaching people and asking for something. One of them came to talk to me and told me they were raising funds to help some people in Angola. I told them I was Brazilian and he called the others and told them I was a Brazilian brother. I should sign the petition they were holding. I thought, well, only signing a petition? Why not? So I signed and he told me if I signed I should contribute with 10 euros. Was it a scam? I had no way of telling. He was being nice but a little pushy. So I got a 5-euro bill and told him it was all I got, or if they took credit card.
After this I went to one of my favorite spots in the universe: the gardens of Louvre. It was funny to notice how the green I had known there was not that green anymore. People were all in coats walking, few families and almost no one having picnics. This made me feel much more nostalgic toward being in Europe in the summer and not in the winter. Every detail would ensure me I was a person of the sun.
I was getting hungry and I decided to have lunch in the park. I sat on a bench and got my lunch: cheese, dried nuts and juice. Very healthy (sarcastic mode ON). I would look at the people walking and I tried to cheer up, after all, it was Paris. However, from time to time I could not help feeling a bit like this guy who was there with me on the gardens:



Anyway, I resumed my journey to find all the things I wanted to find. I walked in several small bookstores and there was no one I could ask about the books. So I had to look for them myself and I wanted to buy several books I saw, but I thought I would have no time to read them, so why bother? This kind of feeling is always present when I have too many books to read at home and the perspective of increasing the pile is so gloomy that it discourages me of buying any book.
What I got from these bookstores was that in some I activated the alarm on the door. I was not shoplifting, so I had no idea why that was happening.
I saw a supermarket and I decided to enter to get something to eat at dinner time. No restaurant was appealing, I would therefore buy some ingredients and cook myself some dish at the hostel. At that supermarket I saw something quite different from any other supermarket I had been in Europe. The vegetable section was organized according to what I was used to, but in every stall there was the name of the fruit or vegetable, plus the price and the country of origin. It was so funny because almost nothing was from France and showing the origin was so against the logic of the commodity which tries to naturalize itself while erasing its origin. (I know I sound like Vanessa Redgrave in the wonderful movie The Fever)
When I got to the FNAC store, I still couldn’t find someone to help with the books and the moment I did, no way, they didn’t have the books. So I gave up and tried buying the ticket to the museum and getting some information about it. When I was leaving the store, the door alarms went off and a security guy came to me and asked to see my things. He tried my bag, but it didn’t set off the alarm, asked me to go again and the alarms. He asked me to open my jacket and there was nothing there but he saw there was a label and he squeezed the label with his fingers. It was a sensor. They had not taken it in Brazil when Carol bought it (and God knows how she didn’t make the alarm go off there). I would not be Mr Beep Beep anymore.
***
Then, my next destination would be a drugstore in Paris which was recommended by my friend Manoel. He had asked me to buy some products for him there and it was easy because he had given me the address. I took the subway to go to a part of Paris which I hadn’t been to before. The streets were narrow and the houses seemed very fancy. As I got to the corner of the street, looking for the address, I was shocked. It was almost impossible to enter the drugstore, it was crowded. A lot of women and some men, baskets in hand getting everything for very attractive prices indeed. I started trying to move there but the aisles were so narrow and it was very difficult to get by. I started looking for the products and spent a long time looking for one which I thought was a soap bar, but was a liquid one. I figured it out only when I was almost leaving the place without getting it half an hour later. But I thought I would hate not being able to get what I had gone there for. Leaving that place was a relief, people pushing, saying Excusez-moi, all that.
It was getting dark but I still had more things to find. Do you remember the game I had played in Salzburg? The one with insects and all? I wanted to take one as a gift to my mother. I should have looked for it in Finland, but I was sure Paris would have dozens of toy stores and in one of them I would find that. Well, I discovered there was kind of gallery in Paris only with toy stores, a kind of paradise to kids. How could I not find what I was looking for at that place? They even had a Hello Kitty Store.



Well, there I went, asked for, in one, two, five stores and nothing. I had no idea how to say Hive in French, no one knew what Hive was and even the names of the animals. I just remembered butterfly but there was no butterfly in the game. I learned how to say bee, ants and all, but they never had the game. I tried other stores, outside the gallery, but no luck there either. So, the score of the day had been the products on the drugstore and that was that. Nothing else. So I should go back to the hostel and prepare a salad. I had bought all the ingredients and I was sure it would be a great dinner.
**
I was tired from walking all day long so the first thing I wanted to do was to take a shower. I got all my stuff and went to the bathroom. There were two stalls with showers and none of them were in use. I tried the first, only cold water. Well, wait a minute and it will warm up. Nothing. Try turning the lever to the other side. Nothing. Cold and even colder. There must be a secret. I put one the clothes again and ask downstairs. Well, they said, the guy was here to fix and everything is fine, you should try the other stall. I went back, tried the second stall and the same, no way. I thought I deserved better, talked to the woman on the reception, she said they would call the guy again but he would only come in the morning. No problem, let’s pretend I took a shower and be happy.
**
I went downstairs to try some contact with people in Brazil and to prepare dinner. I prepared a salad which, by the quantity, three people could eat. I was alone. No one else was having dinner and I offered the nice lady who worked there some, but she politely said she had already had dinner. Then, I got to the common room, some tables away from the kitchen, and while I was there an excursion of people, around 30, all speaking Spanish and in their early middle-age arrived. It was an alavanche of laughter, people babbling, shouting orders to each other. Nothing resembling the peace and quiet I had been immersed in 20 minutes before, during dinner.
One of the ladies in the party came to talk to me because there were no plugs available and she wanted to charge her camera in my USB door. We started talking in Spanish, and I was also talking to my sister in Portuguese and there was some background music in French. I stopped talking to my sister because I was already mixing up every language. The woman was a French teacher and she said my Spanish was good. We became friends, though I gave her my facebook contact but she never added me. They were from Costa Rica, and she even invited me to visit the country and stay at her house, but as we never developed this friendship of ours, I guess I will depend on Couchsurfing if I ever go there.
**
So, after such a frustrating day, I imagined nothing worse could happen. I went to the room and my “roommate” was there. I was in my friendly mood and tried establishing a conversation. he told me he had to do a work for the next day so he could not give me a lot of attention. He was sleeping down on the bunker so was I, but soon after I arrived he went to the upper one next to the one I was (there were two bunkers in the room). Our linguistic barriers were not as serious as they had been on the first night, I guess my French was improving after some time and he was more open to talking in English as well. I let him be but I heard he was not typing anything. In fact, I was only listening to the mouse clicks. As I looked at him because the light was on his left, projecting his shadow on the wall, I realized he was not really doing his journalist job for the next day but was in fact in the middle of a hand job. I started paying attention to the noises and I was sure he was. I didn’t know what to do. I asked him if he was okay. I guess then he realized. So I just turned to the side, trying to pretend nothing was going on and slept.

quinta-feira, 24 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 26



Day 26 - Finland and Paris again

I forgot to tell you that I had the problem of clothes. I had some in my hand luggage, and the boys lent me a few as well. I wanted to call the hostel in order to check if the airline had delivered my suitcase there but at the same time I was afraid they would answer, no, nothing had been delivered there. And if it had been, what could I do? The best would be to wait and see when I arrived back there. I managed to do it till the last night in Finland.On Sunday night I called the hostel via skype and they informed me the bag was there. What a relief!
**
Jarkko came to Sheela’s house for breakfast and to pick me up. The other time I had been to Finland, I had spent more time with him than with Sheela. The reason for that was simple: although I had known her for over a decade, she hadn’t been very present while I was preparing the trip. He always answered my emails, giving ideas and helping plan. I guess she could not really believe I was going there, and she would only really believe it when I was there. Skeptic girl, I thought. Well, that’s what I assumed. When I got there, she was eager to make plans, but the plans had already been made. We would go to Estonia, we would visit Jarkko’s parents in East Finland. She surely felt disappointed. But how could I know? Anyway, this time she told me I would have to spend more time with her and that’s what happened. After almost three nights and two days together, I had the afternoon with Jarkko.
We had no plans. It was winter, I was not really thinking about going to any museums, most of the sights in the capital I had already seen in the summer. We headed to his house and stayed there, talking and playing. We watched a movie, in fact we tried to watch, because he went to the kitchen to prepare lunch and I dozed off several times. I insisted I should help him cook, but he did not let me. By the way, the movie was Robert Altman’s Prarie Home Companion. After lunch, we took a picture, the only one of us together and we went downtown as I had some gifts to buy.


I had a magnet I had bought the other time and a very special friend wanted one, so I would take the chance of being in Finland again and buy. I also needed some hood or cap and some clothes to go back. It would not be nice to borrow clothes and take them with me to Paris.
***
Lunch was delicious, I just don’t remember what it was, why I didn’t take a picture, as I normally did with food. I guess I was still sleepy.
***
The funny thing about the part of the trip I was in Finland is that my notes, my pictures and my memories of what happened there were somewhat fragmentary. I guess I was trying to take a break of the big trip and feel at home again. Also, by thinking I was not in a tourist trip, I felt more comforted. I guess this is what they call a selective memory.
Anyway, in the afternoon Jake and I went to a supermarket in order to meet Sheela and her friend Jufelius for some coffee. It was funny because he was one of her best friends there and she had already talked a bunch about him on our letters and he had already heard a lot about me. At least that’s what she told me and then he wanted to meet me. It was a nice talk over coffee although Sheela was not so happy with him because he had been a bit misbehaved the day before. She told him off a little bit, but she did it as a friend, one who is willing to see the best from the others, not their worst.
So, we went to Sheela’s house, I said goodbye to Jarkko, unable to guess where we would meet again and when but sure we would. He didn’t want to or couldn’t go to the airport with us. I just wrote in my notes that before I went to the airport I gave someone a feet massage, but I don’t remember who had it, so if they can help me with this, it would be nice...
Sheela and Sampo drove me to the airport and said goodbye. I had been so happy those days and now I would be on the road again. I went straight to Paris and had no time or desire to make any new friend.
***
As soon as I landed in Paris I went to the station to get the train. If I remember well, it was almost midnight and I had no idea what time the trains stopped. The thing was, there was no train and the station was dark. A taxi to the center would probably cost a fortune, so another night at the airport? No. They were announcing the trains were being repaired so if one wanted to go to the center, we should go to another terminal and take a bus. I went there, got the bus, without paying, I was a bit confused and trying to get back to French. The bus would take us half the way and we had to take the train and go to Gare du Nord anyway, so that I could take the subway and get to the hostel. Lucky me I knew the way, since I would feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea of getting lost in Paris at 1 am. However, I also reminded myself that the neighborhood I was going to was full of immigrants, what could make the violence increase, but I tried to cast aside any xenophobic or racist prejudice I might have carried. So, I got to the hostel and they informed me I was in a new room. When I got there there were fewer beds, 4, and there was a guy reading. I introduced myself, his name was Jeremy. He was from a city called Toulousse, in the South of France. He was a journalist and was attending a course in Paris. We tried establishing a conversation, we tried English, his English was shitty, it took some time for him to build a sentence, then we shifted to French, but I guess he thought my French was just as shitty. Then we tried some Spanish, but I guess I was tired. It didn’t work. The following day, after some time getting back to a mind pattern in French, we would be more successful in establishing a conversation.

sexta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2011

No olho do furacão

Hoje, tinha um furacão.
O profeta do hoje e o raio de sol
Acabaram comigo.
Mas do outro lado do mundo,
Veio o contraponto.

O furacão não passou todo, nuvens negras no céu.
Me equilibro precariamente.
Logo vem a bonança.

Travel log - Europe - Day 25



Day 25 - Finland

Another day started and no big plans ahead. I was feeling I had been taken back to Brazil, since I didn’t have to worry about anything like airports and which restaurant I should have my meals. The weather was surprisingly not cold. OK, -1oC is not that hot, but I was expecting -25oC, -30oC and I couldn’t believe the forecast was telling us we would even have positive temperatures in the next days. It had been colder in Prague! Anyway, we had some things to do that day. First we would visit Sheela’s parents. They were traveling the other time I was there and this time I would have the opportunity of meeting them. Next, we would visit some kids she was looking after.
**
We drove for about 40 minutes to get to where her parents were living. The first person we met was her mother and we started talking right away. She was a very nice lady and we had no problems breaking the ice. I gave her one of the gifts I had taken from Brazil.




Her father was walking the dog and we had to wait for him to come home. The lunch was very tasty and I remember we had lemon pie as dessert and it was delicious. One of my top desserts.



We talked about Brazil and Finland and many other things. We left as the day was getting darker, which was about 3pm. I still couldn’t believe we had so much of the day ahead and it was already dark.
We drove some more and went to a house where we would visit some kids Sheela had a connection with. Let me try to explain what I understood of it: Sheela works as a school counselor or something like that, she is responsible for following a group of students’ academic performance and she has meetings with them to talk about school and family and everything else. One of her protégés (in lack of a better term to define it), in fact two kids, a boy and his sister, had gone through a bad time at home. They were taken from their home to a shelter and Sheela was trying to take them to her house so that they wouldn’t suffer so much in a strange place and all. She was doing whatever she could but paperwork was getting on the way. She told me all the case and I felt a bit disappointed because I somehow expected Finland to be less buroucratic and more humane than Brazil, since it has the best education level of the world. However, paperwork and abuse seem to be something universal, and why should we make things easier if we can complicate them? These stories put me in contact with sorrow and hopelessness, something I had never associated with Finland. Naivité of mine? Maybe. But I had hoped people would be happier there than here, since they would have more means to emotionally cope with the problems (despite the fact they are one of the top 10 countries with more suicides in the world). I opened my eyes and understood a little bit that being educated and having intelligence don’t mean people are emotionally prepared to deal with the contradictions and craziness of our modern existence. And I remembered what I had read in Herbert Marcuse when he said that: “the revolutionizing of the instinctual structure is a prerequisite for a change in the systems of needs” (in his The Aesthetic Dimension). Plainly speaking, we have to change the way we feel to be able to live in a different society where suffering would be minimized and we would work for the common good and in the development of a just society.
So, we visited the kids and I talked to the boy. We went for a walk in a half-lit road, you could see the lights of a house or two in the distance. He was a bit suspicious of my presence but Sheela’s warmth succeeded in breaking any barrier he might be putting up. We ended up playing together, trying to hit a snowball on Sampo’s head with other snowballs.
After that, we headed home and while Sampo stayed there, Sheela and I visited a house of two very strange people who had bought some of the products Sheela was selling and she needed to collect. Finally, we arrived home but before we bought some pizzas in a pizzaria near the apartment. The pizza was very different from the ones we have here, but I took no picture of it.
Again, Jussi came and the boys went to the football while Sheela and I went to her bedroom to talk and she showed me the cosmetic products she was representing. She gave me a facial treatment. I bought some products, to bring as a gift. We spent hours talking about the kids, about how unfair life could be and how people were sad, wherever they lived.
I hoped then I didn’t have any dreams for fear of imagining a world so bare, so illogical, so cruel, and so much as ours. In a certain way, I was sad by that but I was also happy. Hadn’t I had the chance of traveling, of being foreign, totally stranger? However, I was supported in every way by people who loved me and made everything to make my short stay a comforting experience. With these mixed feelings of gratitude and sorrow (for those whose lives seemed to be falling apart) I closed my eyes and dove into the darkness.

segunda-feira, 14 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 24


Day 24 - or the shortest post I have written about the trip

The funny thing about waking up in Finland was that it was so unlikely I would be in Finland at that moment. It seemed I was still dreaming, it was not a real waking up. It was not part of the plan. I had already seen everything I wanted during my first time there. So, why I was not in another Scadinavian country, doing some sightseeing, why I was there? Well, I had pushed myself into going there, besides the logic idea that I could visit some people I really loved, my dear distant friends, I would feel more or less at home. I was a bit tired of having to decide about everything with nobody for me to ask anything like “where should we eat?” “Where should we go and what to do there?” Finland would be a chance to avoid all such questions, as I would put myself, very conveniently for me, in their hands. I would again go with the flow, without having to row.
The morning was easy, breakfast ready, delicious and a visitor was coming. As I was at Sheela’s, Jarkko came to visit us and have breakfast together. He was so different, yet he was just the same. It seemed time had done little to change him, but his eyes, they were more responsible, more mature.
After breakfast we visited a park which was just across the street from her apartment. The four of us had fun playing with the snow, spoiling nordic ski tracks, having fun. Sampo even built a snowman and Jarkko a snow-woman, or so we assumed by her “hairstyle”.



Then we had lunch together, again the four of us and Jarkko left. We decided I would spend one day with him, which would be my last day there. Then we did something in the afternoon I can’t remember what as there are no notes or pictures of it, and at night we received a visitor, Jussi, Sampo’s cousin and Sheela’s ex-boyfriend. Because we had been friends so many years, I had followed all the story from the time she started going out with Jussi (in her early teens) and they engaged in a relationship which at a certain point started going wrong. They broke up. Later, she would meet Sampo who would become her husband.

So, another character from that epistolary novel revealed himself. It was nice, he was friendly and all, but we didn’t talk much. The boys started watching American football in the living room and the “girls” (Sheela and I) went to the bedroom to gossip, talk about life, and talk like two people who had only that night to do all the talking they had left in their lives. =)
(Yawn) Good night.

sexta-feira, 11 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 23


Day 23 - Paris and Helsinki

I had some junk food just after I landed in Germany. I hadn’t eaten anything in Salzburg, and they gave nothing on the flight. I wondered again where this sudden love for junk food had come from. It was funny how eating those burgers and fries would make my dear friend Carol so close to me. I could almost feel her presence. So eating that kind of food was soothing and I just hoped that when I came back to Brazil this habit would vanish.
I loved the comfy chairs that there was in that diner. I opened my book and ate very slowly as I would have all night long ahead of me. It would be wonderful to sleep there. Anyway, some time later they closed the restaurant. It was fine for me because the chairs were in the middle of the terminal, so I could just stay there until the gates opened. Well, the guy of the cleaning didn’t think so. He told me the restaurant had closed and I had to leave the place. I thought it strange and he told me I had to walk ten steps and sit on the airport bench, which was way too uncomfortable if compared to the other. I made a face at him, but as an obedient person I agreed and moved across the hall to the benches. I resumed my reading when about half an hour later a guy, some sort of security man came to me and told me something in German. I don’t know what kind of face I must have made, but I hated him coming to me and addressing me in German. After weeks listening to that language, I had grown accustomed to that but it would be a relief to arrive in Paris and hear French. He told me in English I had to leave the terminal because it was closing. My flight was at six, it was not even 1 and I looked at him puzzled: an airport closes at night? How come? The he told me if I wanted to stay at the airport I had to go to terminal A. I was at terminal D, so no problem there, right? Well, I couldn’t get there through the airport because terminal C and B had also closed so I had to go outside and get to the terminal. I didn’t like the idea of getting outside, in the snow and all, but I was happy I hadn’t kept my suitcase. I walked and I don’t know if it was my sense of loneliness but it was much colder than I expected. Also, there were some parts of the airport under repair, so I had to go zigzagging instead of walking straight. When I finally got there, what a surprise: terminal A was 3 times smaller than D, and I guess everybody else who, like me, preferred the airport to a hotel, were there. No seats available, all of them taken by people lying or sitting. Some families, people chatting. I felt it couldn’t get worse. I sat near a wall and tried to read. When it was about 2am I couldn’t read anything at all, so I used my bag as (hard) pillow and just lay down, on the floor, I had no sleeping bag or sheet to put there to protect me from the cold, but luckily I was wearing my best coat. I kept dozing and waking with the white ceiling light on my face or someone laughing or talking loud. Well, weren’t you the adventurer? Where was your sense of adventure then? Who had bought that flight, with a stop instead of one direct? Only because of 20 or even 40 euros? Living and learning. I got up at 5, a bit before the alarm I had set and went to terminal D, now through the airport. I got there, went to the gates but before I had breakfast in an expensive stall. I felt so tired. In about 1 hour I would be landing in Paris. It was so strange because I had landed at Orly and it was the first time I had been there. But the subway, everything seemed a bit familiar.
But of course, before leaving the airport, remember I said nothing could get worse than sleeping on the ground? My suitcase would never come: it was either stolen or it was probably going to China. I wanted to cry, to scream. I thought about the presents I had bought, my clothes, everything else. I had the insurance, but when would I be able to buy new clothes, a new bag and where? I went to the service of baggage claim and tried talking to a very rude guy. I filled in a form and he told me they would look for my bag, as it would probably have stayed in Berlin. Where was I staying? Good question? Remember I hadn’t wanted to stay one week alone in Paris when I was in Prague and bought a ticket to Finland? So I had a flight that same night, without my clothes or anything. If they sent my suitcase, in case they found it, to the hostel, would they receive it? Well, let’s hope so. It was a rainy day in Paris. Of course I had taken an umbrella, which I hadn’t used till that point of the trip and it was in my suitcase. So, to the hostel under the rain. I just couldn’t get lost. It was not difficult to find the hostel, but guess what? I was tired and wanted to sleep and relax, but I could only use the rooms, closed to cleaning and all after 2. It was about 10am, and I would have to wait four hours to sleep only one hour because my flight to Finland was at 5pm and I would have to be back to the airport 2 hours in advance (with my luck, missing the flight was just the topping of the cake).
The attendant of the hostel (I will talk more about it, putting link and description when I continue the adventures in Paris) was kind enough to let me take my things to the room. As I hadn’t cancelled my days there, she charged me the first day and told me she could cancel the others I would be in Finland. I checked and saw I should not go back to Orly. My flight was departing from Charles de Gaulle Airport. Lucky me I checked because knowing myself I would have gone back to Orly. I was so pissed that only when I got to the airport again I felt hungry. So I had lunch there, can’t remember what and there were lots of lines to check in. Would I be late? No, after some exercise of patience, there I was, by the gate, waiting for the flight.
When I entered the plane, I decided to sit near someone I would feel like approaching. I was feeling lonely and I thought trying to make a friend would do me just fine. I sat by a guy who had already called my attention at the waiting room. He was reading some material in Russian, and that was the hook I used to start a conversation. He was Paul from France, but we talked in English. He was an International Relations student in St Petersburg and was visiting family on the holidays. We had a nice time talking during the flight, he was very kind and I felt happy for the first time since I had left my hosts’ house in Salzburg.



As I arrived in Helsinki, my friend Sheela was supposed to be there waiting for me, to pick me up. But she wasn’t. I waited and waited and nothing. Maybe she had sent me a text message, but of course I would only be able to see it as I arrived back in Brazil. I had my other friend Jarkko’s phone written somewhere and with some euros I could find a pay phone and cry for help.
As I was just managing to make the call, I saw Sheela’s husband, Sampo, walking into the terminal looking around and I made myself visible. He apologized and said Sheela had had to go somewhere to solve a problem and he had to come pick me by taxi. So we got another one to go to their house. Soon after we had arrived, Sheela came and we had some dinner she had prepared (or was it Sampo who did?) I summarized to them the whole story of the trip, the accident, the highlights and the missing suitcase. He told me he could lend me some clothes in case I needed some and I had no other idea but to sleep in a soft and warm bed.

segunda-feira, 7 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 22


Day 22 - Salzburg

The next morning, I had breakfast with the family again. It was pretty nice as Olivia’s sister was there. We talked a bit and Ansuela asked me what plans I had. I wanted to buy Hive to take it to my mother, but she told me it would be difficult to find stores open as it was January 6, that is, an important holiday there. So it was not only the kids would dress up as the wise men, their day was a holiday too.
As we finished breakfast, we started getting ready for the first activity of the day: Ansuela would take me to practice nordic skiing. It is not as exciting as slope skiing, but to a person who had never skied it was the right way to start. If you don’t know what nordic skiing is, just imagine you have the skis and the sticks, but you walk in a park or any plain track. You don’t go down the hill (some short ones, maybe, as I would discover). You use the sticks to give you some impulse and inertia does a little helping. I remember how anxious I was as I was putting on the boots and attaching them to the skis. Would it be very different from ice-skating? I hadn’t fallen then, would I fall now? All these questions were going through my mind. So we started. It was a park and it took some minutes but I was getting the way to move. Ansuela had more practice so she was always ahead and would stop and wait for me. In some small hills, she told me I should bend forward and it was a bit of an excitement. But the worst was to climb the hill. You had to bend your feet in a way you would not slide back to the base. Of course it took me about 5 minutes to get on the top of the small hill, about 8 steps, and I really sweated. But my friend was very patient and tried to teach me how I should move and all. Some people were not as patient and they complained in German that I was slowing them down, but I didn’t understand the offenses, whatever they were and I was having so much fun.



After we did all the circuit, we took off the skis and went for a walk on the park. Ansuela told me the yellow building was a monastery and we visited a castle in which some scenes of The Sound of Music were shot. It was very nice. But I was a bit disappointed to have all that snow covering the greeneries. Then, we were getting a bit tired and the clock was ticking fast.

We went back home and Ansuela told me about some ice sculptures she had done and needed some help fixing them. I was so surprised to see how she could think of something so simple to do and at the same time, so beautiful and it was a pleasure to help her hang them on the portal over the gate of the house.



Then, I spent some time checking emails and looking for some places to go after lunch. It would be my last lunch in Austria, because that same night I would be flying to Paris. I talked to Carol and wondered how different things would be if she was there. Would we have gone skiing? I was sure Ansuela would like her as much as she enjoyed my company. But what can we do but wonder?

As soon as I had helped cleaning the table, I set foot to another journey downtown and again the bus didn’t appeal to me and I took the silent and calm path along the river. They had recommend I should take a different way back so that I go could through a beautiful neighborhood with old houses in the middle of a park. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was a nice way to say goodbye to that city which had been so welcoming to me, represented by that friendly and easygoing family. I walked again about 20 kilometers in the day. I was feeling so nice because although I was eating a lot and not running every two days, the amount of walking was just more than I imagined I could handle. Three days and more than 50 kilometers? No pain in the knees or blisters? A miracle. No toy store open, I headed home to finish packing and get ready to go to the airport.

The family was waiting for me with a hot mug of tea and some delicious cookies. We had a snack and I gave them some of the presents we had brought from Brazil. They seemed very simple in face of all they had provided me, but when we bought them, we had no idea what kind people we would eventually find. It was a blind guess, but I relied they would understand the symbolic value implicit in the gift. A piece of Brazil, small, but full of gratitude.

So, Verena’s boyfriend gave a me a ride to the bus stop and I got the bus which was heading to the airport. I was afraid I would not be able to see where I should get off as it was dark, but after half an hour, I saw the airport and its peculiar lights.

Soon I was boarding. However, as I was checking-in something happened. The flight was not direct to Paris, my next destination. I would have to spend some hours in Berlin to get the flight only the next morning. If Charles de Gaulle had improved its conditions for sleeping, I imagined Berlin would have even more comfort as Germany is known by its organization. The agent told me I would have to get my suitcase in Berlin and check it in again. I didn’t feel very happy about walking around the airport with that big suitcase, a burden indeed and asked her if she could dispatch the baggage straight to Paris and I saw her print the tags and put them on the bag. It was going to Paris. And the night would be very peaceful. I wish I hadn’t thought so to be in the least prepared for what was to come...

domingo, 6 de novembro de 2011

Enxurro

Abro os olhos e começo a escrever um ensaio sobre a minha cegueira. Andando pelas ruas desta cidade, domingo de noite, um vazio e o concreto, vidas nos bares de esquina, pessoas rindo e pessoas ali, vivendo, num mundo sujo e feio (pra mim) e meu mundo também. (por que eu deixo meu mundo ser sujo e feio?) caminho em direção ao teatro e sinto a minha pele meio que reagir com o ar poluído e fétido e o cheiro de cimento e mijo. Sou parte desta bagunça. Eu ando por ruas que nunca havia andado antes, e parece que eu estou num outro planeta, numa outra dimensão. Para onde vão todos os seres humanos num domingo ao cair do sol? Vejo poucos num cenário de muitos, já ouço os mil passos que caminharão por aqui em algumas horas. Sinto medo, mas eu sou fã de ficção científica, por isso a aventura me excita a continuar. Rumo ao teatro, sozinho. Ali, encontro outras almas sedentas de alguma coisa. Provavelmente a mesma coisa que eu. O que eu estou fazendo ali mesmo sozinho, em vez de estar em casa, em comunhão virtual, em companhias conhecidas? Não tem nada ali para eu conhecer. Vou ter que me bastar a mim mesmo. Olhos nos olhos é o que eles cantam. Posso te encarar então? Posso te enxergar? Pensar em você como um personagem em meio a esse cenário desolado? Vou vendo a progressão da peça que parece não levar a lugar algum. Eu não entendo nada. Entendo fragmentos. Olho em volta. Parece que eles foram longe demais desta vez. Por que eu me sinto tão burro? Seria só eu, ali no meio daqueles corpos que compartiam o mesmo espaço que meu corpo? Quantas mentes havia ali de verdade? As palavras e os sons e as luzes, eu quero devorar tudo aquilo. Eu entendo o futuro e o passado e vejo a mensagem anunciada do jeito que eu esperava. Não não do jeito que eu esperava, mas a mensagem é aquela. Essa sim, clara. Quando eu percebia que eu não entendia nada, daí eu percebi o que era pra entender. Eu ficava lembrando do livro, que eu já deveria ter lido, que eu deveria ter escrito. As vinhas da minha ira não são tão amargas quanto eu pensava. Eu me envergonho de mim mesmo. Vejo aqueles rostos conhecidos, quase amigos, que não me reconhecem, posto que sou só mais um, lembro das suas frases, dos seus movimentos. Quero agarrar aqueles corpos em movimento e cantar com eles as suas canções. Vejo o apelo em seus olhos. Eles acham que estamos entendendo. Estamos entendendo? Quem somos nós. Eu olho em volta e só tem eu, no meio de uma selva de pessoas que não existem, só ali. O espetáculo, por assim dizer, acaba. Eles abrem a porta e eu não consigo ficar mais nenhum minuto ali. Eu preciso sair do sonho, dessa realidade alternativa e voltar para a minha realidade brilhante, onde eu posso viver de verdade, onde eu posso ter em mãos a ferramenta que me une aos outros, que me traz conforto, que vibra sobre meus dedos finos e delicados, dedos de artista. Não quero ouvir nenhum comentário, porque não quero que roubem de mim a minha compreensão do que eu tinha acabado de ver. Eu entendi tudo, quando não entendia nada. Fui o primeiro a sair, meio fugido, pensando nas coisas que tinha sido ditas e cantadas, que força! Desci a rua, voltando por um caminho que não tinha sido o caminho da vinda. Tive medo de me encontrar vindo, e mandar que eu voltasse, antes mesmo de chegar. Olho na esquina e me vejo ali agachado, fuçando o lixo que se espalha sobre a calçada. Quanto lixo. Eu deixo que minha cidade seja assim suja, eu sou aquele lixo, eu não o recolho, então sou parte do que o espalha. Mais adiante, tentando esquecer o lixo, eu me fixo nos corpos que se oferecem, nos corpos que sentem fome e precisam ser comidos para poderem comer. Eu tento esboçar um boa-noite, mas talvez eles não entendam a minha língua. Eu tenho medo. Medo da sereia, e eu aperto o passo. Ouço risos mas não sinto a alegria. Outro que passa por mim em olha com desejo e eu sinto o cheiro da decrepitude. Eu peguei a rua diferente para fugir do meu passado e encontro o meu futuro. Ele olha com desejo e seu olhar grita: me ame, e eu tento responder que eu o amo, mas só consigo embaraçar num soluço e começar a chorar. Eu não quero ser assim. Mas ele me diz, eu não olho pra trás, ele me grita o nome e diz, assim será, assim será. Continuo andando e quase tropeço em uns farrapos que me pedem dez centavos. Eu agarro a minha nota de dez reais, que é tudo que tenho no bolso, ela me faz cócegas na mão e me conta em dez segundos uma longa história de um filme com um sul africano que me fez perder um pouco a esperança no mundo. Ele me mostrou que confiar significar perder, mas de novo, ele me mostrou que se há no mundo pessoas como eu, ele não se está de total perdido. Não que eu tenha agido com o melhor dos propósitos, nem que eu tenha sido o mais sensato dos intelectuais, muito pelo contrário. Mas eu vi. Tateando de novo os dez reais, lembrei de toda minha fortuna, do meu império, da minha espoliação. Sou um vendido. Mas quem não é? Justifico minhas fraquezas pela carne e pelo vinho, escuso minha casa própria, ou não tão propriamente assim, e respondo meio baixinho, não tenho dez centavos aqui comigo. A tristeza vai se tornando maior que eu e já não sinto medo nem nada. Ela já passa da altura dos olhos. Me afoga. Tento focar no chão e no céu, mas um tem muito lixo, o outro poucas estrelas. Tudo me aborrece e eu tento formular na minha cabeça uma música bonita, uma forma de entender tudo o que eu tou sentindo e vou tentando matar cada frase que se forma, um tanto quanto poesia, diriam, pra tentar entender o que está acontecendo. O passeio prossegue, mas eu já não tenho forças pra manter o passo forte, pra correr pra minha tenda, meu eldorado no sétimo andar, quente e macio, regado a creme de leite e memórias européias. Me lembro que em menos de um mês estarei desempregado. Ou semi. Que estarei livre, mas ao mesmo tempo, mais preso do que nunca às preocupações mundanas. Não consigo sentir medo, mas vejo rotas de fuga. Será que vou ter que perguntar pra alguém se ela tem dez centavos? Provavelmente não. Será que eu deveria agora, nesse momento abismado, pular no abismo e não voltar? Uma semana talvez, sumir e ficar aqui, fuçando o lixo e passando fome? Me senti com fome, mas percebi que comida nenhuma vai aplacar esse vazio. Tentei pensar no meu amor e ele servia como uma base, na qual eu sentia uma segurança, mas eu também usava essa base para me erguer acima da altura das cabeças da multidão e via lá longe um profeta nu, segurando o pinto entre as mãos e gritando: é tudo ilusão, é tudo ilusão. E essa pareceu a maior verdade, e ao ver que ela era assim, toda verdade, percebi que toda ilusão é toda a verdade, e vice-versa. Fui andando e ao chegar perto de casa a segurança foi se instalando, eu comecei a dizer boa-noite, porque as pessoas pareciam estar tendo uma noite melhor do que aquelas daquele deserto que eu tinha atravessado. Apertei o botãozinho e o clác das grades me assustou e eu pensei duas vezes se eu deveria mesmo entrar. Como um sinal daqueles e um olhar poderia me permiti ir a lugares que poucos poderiam ir? Você aí na sua cabine fumê não vê que eu sou outra pessoa? Quem era eu pra poder estar ali? Pura sorte. E oportunismo. Passei pelo porteiro e senti sua irritação que emanava como brasas de um vulcão ativo. Quase pedi desculpas a ele de tê-lo colocado ali. Não que eu tenha mesmo, mas pra ele deveria ser tudo igual. Eu lembrava agora do sonho do teatro, da linguagem que era a minha, mas não era. Das palavras inteligíveis cuja organização eu não entendia, dos movimentos dos corpos, chutando cadeiras e derrubando areia. Eu pensei em rezar, mas minha religiosidade tem sido meramente retórica. Queria abraçar um livro agora, mas minhas mãos estão nuas. Chego ao elevador e tento esboçar um sorriso, todo de plástico, e digo boa noite, quando na verdade vejo que é só mais gente que não sabe quem eu sou e não quer ver. São todos cegos, e ao vê-los assim, me sinto menos como eles, mas a cada andar que subo, me vejo menos no espelho. Giro rápido a chave e entro na casa de bonecas e eu já sou plástico e já sou rico e já estou de novo no meu mundo de verdade, na minha realidade que agora parece postiça como a peruca que querem que um dia eu use e que eu nunca jamais ousarei usar. Aperto o botão e sinto a luz invadindo meu olho e meus dedos nervosos querendo regurgitar estas palavras, eu me sinto morrendo e vejo que a morte é verdade, mas só ilusão. Vejo que me perdi pelo caminho, pelas ruas sujas e feias desta minha cidade, num domingo a noite, uma semana que morre, uma outra que começa. Morre a semana do dia dos mortos e eu aqui, meio vivo meio morto, tentando viver uma vida de plástico, pensando que amanhã toda a realidade será sonho e meu sonho será realidade. (Apesar de parecer, não, isso não é o fim).