Day 16 - “What a swell party this is”
So, I look around the apartment and feel a mixture of pain and excitement as I listen to the click of the lock. I am leaving again. Alone. The pseudo-morning (as it is still dark) blows some wind and I remember it is as cold as hell. I drag the suitcase by the sidewalks and it makes a loud noise as if I was walking with a small stone crusher. I was even curious how someone would not open the window and throw a vase, some egg or whatever on me. I went faster so that the noise would bother less, but it got stronger. And there was nobody on the streets. I arrived at the bus station and the bus was already there. I checked if I could sit with someone who was alone, but as I had two tickets with me, I had the two seats to lie down and sleep. In the end, I barely took a picture on the way and sleep more than stayed awake. But the sun was shining and it was almost lunchtime when I got off the bus in Vienna soil. It seemed to be less cold there. I went to the subway, crossing the streets and thanked heaven for those elevators.
Soon I would get to the station near where my new host lived and I would be getting to know him.
By the way, a parenthesis. When I was in Prague, something funny happened. I was supposed to stay at a girl’s apartment. She had been so nice and welcoming. It would be the first time I would be hosted by a girl. Two days before leaving Prague, she sent a message in CS and told me she was sick and would not be able to host me. Despair. What could I do? Last minute couch? Probably. I felt helpless and I would have to find a solution fast. Some emails later, about ten minutes of despair, there was an email from a guy I had also requested a couch. He was telling me he would stay in Vienna and I could go there if I wanted. So convenient. As I said before, “God takes, God gives” was a sentence I would keep saying like a mantra when I had this unexpected experiences. So, he would be my host, not her.
I had already told my host I would arrive by lunchtime. So I expected he would go there to the station to pick me up, as he said he would. So I waited. And this was the beginning...
After waiting for half an hour or so, I decided to go upstairs, outside the station and call my host. I had the number. Then, I found a phone booth but it was a fight to enter there with my suitcase. When I managed to do it, I had to put some coins and call him. But no way it would work. After several failed attempts, I decided to look for another booth, checking if he was not there by the exit of the station. Another payphone and nothing. I decided to look for the place as I had the address and I set off. According to him, he lived very close to the station. I went along the big avenue and looked for the street name. Nothing. 20 minutes walking, I was far from the center. Maybe it was the other side. My internal GPS was defective. More 20 minutes to go back to the station and 10 more to the other side and no sign of the street. I panicked. Let’s ask for information? No one knew. A guy with a GPS in his cellphone told me I should go back and I did and still nothing. I was sweating, there was no snow on the sidewalks but a lot of small rocks they throw to prevent people from falling. But when there is no snow and only rocks, they just destroyed one of the wheels of my suitcase. I found one internet place and asked if they had skype. This would not fail. But it did. The call would not be completed. I wanted to go to the toilet, I needed to eat something but I had no food and I could not think of an alternative when I looked for the street in google maps. I drew it in my notebook and I finally found it. It was 4 minutes walking from the station, but the street had two different names each side of the avenue and I was on the other side so I hadn’t seen it. But I made it. Or not. He had given me the name of the street and the number, but it was a building. I felt lost again. What was his apartment? I sat on the curb and was ready to start crying. I wanted to go back to Brazil. Very adventurous guy, right? One who knows just how to solve problems.
I felt some courage coming from another dimension and I stood up and started ringing all the apartments bells and in one I would be lucky to find him. Or else, I would for him to leave or enter till nightfall. I would be camping there on the sidewalk. One, two, three, nothing. Some apartments were empty. No answer. Four, five, six, seven. I guess my idea was not so good. When I got to number 10, there was a man’s voice and he unlocked the door, but I tried pushing it and nothing happened. I gave up. A couple arrived and the newly acquired courage made me ask if they knew my host. I was in the process of describing him and they told me, there is someone coming. It was him, without the long hair and a bit annoyed I hadn’t called him. So I explained what had just happened and he was a bit suspicious. He tried calling himself in his skype and couldn’t. So he realized I was not inventing all that.
We sat and talked. Lorenzo was a nice guy, a real gentleman and very funny. His English was very good and his apartment very cozy. He told me there was a mattress for surfers but as his flatmate was not there, I could take his bed.
I had something to eat, I was starving as it was about 3pm. We talked a bit more about our lives, stories and I felt he was another person I would very likely miss a lot after leaving. He told me he had big plans for that night. First he would visit his father and brother, then we would go together to a dinner at a friend’s house and finally we would go to an international Silvester Party. It was the name they give to the New Year Party. That’s why we have St Silvester race! And nobody had ever told me that.
Then, I was ready for some rest and he got ready to leave. I would wait for him at the apartment while his visited his family.
We were ready to go. And it was the first chance I had of taking a picture of him.
At the first party, there were about 8 people. The hostess was a very friendly girl. She had a frank and wide smile. She seemed one person I would easily get on with soon. The menu started with a seafood soup and after that there were some vegetables and meat for us to put in a kind of grill and we would have them with some and dipping sauces.
But it was not only eating and having fun. The apartment was beautiful and the people seemed to nice but something happened. At a certain point, not long before we had arrived and he had introduced me to people, they started talking in German. I understand a little bit, cannot speak it at all, but they wouldn’t care about introducing me to the talk. They laughed and commented, spoke for one hour or more and I was there, trying to figure out what to do. Even Lorenzo and the other girl who had been cool to me were focused in the conversations and sometimes he would let me know what they were talking. Then I decided to focus on the food and I could not help thinking about my friends, who had arranged to spend New Year together. They would be there speaking Portuguese and laughing, but I decided to relax and enjoy the way I could.
Soon we left and headed for the station to go to the other party. Lorenzo explained to me that he had a friend who spoke French and he was with a group of friends there. Then I started imagining they would be speaking French and I just wanted to speak English to feel at home. And many things happened at this party. But this will be released in the following post.