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


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).

sábado, 5 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 21

Day 21 Salzburg

So, another day would start in Salzburg and I had many places to go. The night had been full of dreams, I remembered them vividly and wrote some parts. Maybe I was affected by the visit to the Freud Museum and I wanted to interpret the elements and know the answers to life mysteries. Well, at least my own mysterious ways. As I got ready for the day, the family was already gathered around the table having breakfast. It was a delicious breakfast and they asked me about what I would do during the day. I told them I was going to some places. They lent me a map and gave some suggestions. I could take the bus or just walk along the river to get downtown. They told me it would be something like 5 kilometers away. A bit discouraging, we could think, but, I had time and maybe walking would give me ideas to understand those dreams of mine. I would be in movement, going along a beautiful river. As I finished breakfast, Ansuela asked for my help to improve a snow tower she was building on the balcony. It was a one-meter tower made of snow with some holes in it. I am not very good at this and we had made no snow-man in Belgium, but I was eager to learn. We got one bucket and a small cup and I should fill the bucket with ice and put the cup with its border touching the side of the bucket and after I should put some water. It made the snow melt a bit and soon turn to ice . We would then remove it from the bucket and remove the cup, leaving a hole on one of the sides. I had no idea why the holes existed, but we doubled the size of the tower. So, I took the trail through the woods and got to river, turned right and there we go.

The peace and quiet of the walk made me feel lonely and at the same time, it soothed my spirit. I could almost hear the sound of silence (in the city I should be listening to the sound of music). There were some people going by, vagrant like me or exercising. I followed my shadow and I could see from a distance the fortress which would be my first stop.

As I arrived at the center, I was welcomed by very beautiful short buildings. The avenues were large and there was some morning buzz of cars going by. The day was sunny but most of the roofs had snow. I was afraid of walking on the sidewalks because I had heard somewhere (maybe Prague) that when an amount of snow got loose and fell from the edges of roofs, people could get killed. I visited a square and a church, which was closed. I tried following my direction instincts, although I no longer trusted them after the failure in Vienna (and in the previous day at the station). But the fortress was on top of the hill, then I had to find a way to go up, so all the steep streets were very likely to lead me there. Finally, I found a place where I could take a funicular (I didn’t remember that was the name). But I thought it was expensive to do it so I tried the other alternative which was the beautiful set of stairs you can see below:

There were few tourists there when I arrived. Officially, the place is called Hohensalzburg Castle and it was not expensive to enter (maybe 7 euros).
The place was very nice. As it was a bit early, few people were visiting and it was getting more crowded as I was leaving. It was a fortress/castle where the religious leaders who had controlled the city lived and protected themselves. There were museums inside and some balconies where one could have a wonderful view of the city, the surrounding mountains and the beautiful sky.

I spent some hours there and after the visit I headed for the center of the city. I was getting hungry so I started to look for a place to eat. As it would be my first lunch in Salzburg, I should try some traditional Austrian food, something I hadn’t eaten in Vienna. However, I ended up going to a restaurant which had an Indian name and an elephant on the sign.
This experience was not as cool as one may think. As soon as I entered the place I realized the restaurant was a small room, with about 6 or 7 tables. There were almost all taken by couples and some friends having lunch. There was no one to serve, and I even felt like I had entered someone’s house and should leave as soon as possible. After some minutes thinking, I sat at the empty table, I guess it was the only one available, and waited. Suddenly, by the same door I had entered, a guy entered and I realized he was the waiter just because he was carrying the tray. No apron, no special uniform. I stayed there sitting and looking around, and the guys from the nearby table kept staring at me. I felt awkward and wanted to leave so badly. And although I was there, feeling naked, the waiter guy did not approach me. He did some other things and then he seemed to have paid attention to me. At that point, I had managed to calm myself down and started observing people near there, talking and all. He handed me a menu and I chose the food I wanted. Then he left again, by the door and didn’t come back for about minutes. Imagine if someone would leave, because they could have. Anyway, he came back and started serving me and, at the same time, he was cleaning some of the tables. Some of the people, specially the staring neighbors left and by the time I was finishing my meal, there were only a couple and I left. I had some rice and chicken, plus some naan bread as entrée.
After that, I resumed my walk around the narrow , now alley-like streets. The city was not so crowded although it was one day before a holiday. The 06 of January is a very important day, as the children were dressed in the 3 wise men clothes and they go from house to house asking for donations to a certain world cause. I had thought it strange that some houses had some numbers and symbols on their doors, written with chalk and afterwards Ansuela told me what that meant: the children would write that that house had already contributed. I could witness this cultural event that same night while were were having dinner, but I’ll get to this later.
I saw some interesting stores, and one that really called my attention was a movie theater called Kino, where one could watch cult movies and all. The building was very interesting and I felt like watching a movie, but I still had some parts of the city to see.
My next stop was Schloss Mirabel or Mirabell Gardens.
I don’t know if I have already told you that there is a museum of Mozart in Salzburg because he was born there. Although he spent most of his life in Vienna and we visited his museum there, he is a kind of attraction to Salzburg. All the gift shops you go you have something related to his music and his photos. One of the most striking symbols of Salzburg are the Mirabell chocolates, which have Mozart pictures and are called “Mozart’s balls” (pun intended, I guess). I brought some to my friends and almost lost them, but this story should also come in the future.
The gardens were beautiful, but there was a kind of sense it would be way better in the summer. Most parts were locked and under snow. But the statues served as an example of the kind of spectacle we could have had, provided it was summer.
After the gardens, I decided to go home. It was a bit after four and soon the sun would be setting. I headed home but I was freezing already, I knew I would have to walk about 7 or something kilometers and I started, already freezing and willing to go to the toilet. As I walked I started not feeling my hands anymore, and instead of entering any place in order to get warmer, I felt it would be wiser to keep going, to arrive soon. I got there with half my arms purple from the cold. Ansuela saw it and prepared me some hot tea and we talked about what I had done that day. She informed me a friend of hers wanted us to go to a dinner at her house. So we did.
The house was not very far. It was about a 5 minute walk. Her husband went by bicycle and we went walking. The dinner was very nice and I had the opportunity to witness one of the kids dressed as the wise men, coming and asking for some donations, and he wrote the numbers with chalk on their door. After they told me everything about that tradition. The dinner with Cristina was very nice and after drinking a bit of wine and getting some chocolate as gift, we decided to go home. Again, Herman went first with his bike and we stayed behind, but that was so nice, us walking home remembering songs and singing, our way, forgetting parts of the lyrics and just inventing some.
As we got home, I calculated I had walked about 20 km that day. One thing I was sure: I could eat junk food and all, but I was definitely doing quite a lot of exercise. I wrote the postcards I had bought that day and the following day I had to post them. There was a post box in front of the hostel in Berlin and I had just kept the postcards to hand in to my friends, I didn’t want to do that again with the other cities. And to bed I went, that nice and comfy bed. And the night came, enveloping me in its stillness.

sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 20

Day 20 - Salzburg

A new step of the trip starts. Leaving Joy and Lorenzo to their dreams, a city like Vienna behind, I went to the station trying to calculate if I would make it on time. I could not afford missing another train. The subway was fast and as I had seen the day before, I had to carry my luggage stairs up. I got to the platform 5 minutes before the departing time and I felt so proud I was early and not late.
The train was a bit different from the others I had taken till then. It was not so expensive but it seemed fancier. In all wagons you had a screen, showing you where you were in the map, the speed of the train, and some other details. I followed it as much as I could but as soon as the train started moving, the cradling movement lulled me into a dozing state. After all, I had slept 4 hours or something. I had planned a train trip so that I could cross Austria and see the fields, see whatever I could. So I did that every 5 seconds I could keep my eyes open. I had impressions like the following ones, but for sure I was partly unconscious when I took them.

Finally, the morning was advancing, the day was cold and the snow was abundant again. Vienna had been a kind of break since it didn’t snow so much and there was no snow on the streets like all the other places I had already been to. I arrived at Salzburg central station and I felt a bit daunted. I bought a ticket to go to the South Station where I was supposed to get off to go to my Couchsurfing base in the area. Buying the ticket was not difficult. But I asked for direction to where I should take the train and the attendant didn’t give me very precise information. I headed for the platforms, but there was no number of platform in the ticket and there was no escalators, only regular stairs and one had to go down a staircase and up another one to arrive at the platforms. Accessibility zero. There was no voice announcing the trains, not even in German. The trains came and they had no indication that it was the one I should take. There was nobody on the platform for me to ask for information. I tried a couple and they barely spoke English.
I went back to the ticket counter in order to understand better how I should proceed. It took 15 minutes dragging my suitcase to go and come back and I learned I could take any of the red trains (but why she had not told me that before I don’t know). I have to admit part of this confusion at the station was because it was under repair, but anyway, I was a bit sleepy and the loneliness (I had just made so special friends who I had to leave behind again), so I could not have a good first impression of the city.
I was also a bit anxious because the direction to get to my hosts’ house were not so clear. And because, differently from all my other CS experiences I would not be at a young person’s house. I would be staying with a family, two daughters and the parents. As I had it in my mind, the girls would be couchsurfers and the parents kind of accepted this lifestyle and had agreed to host people.
But I will come back to that later. I got off at the right station and looked around. No street names in signs, I had to look for a public phone. Finally I could reach them home and told I had arrived. As she was explaining to me which way to take, my one euro expired and I had to call again. Guess what? I couldn’t make the call. The phone had just decided not to work anymore. Probably it went on strike. So I made up my mind to walk towards the direction my sense was telling me (after the fiasco in Vienna I still insisted in relying on my inner GPS - silly me) to go. I walked and walked past some bus stops, no taxis around. Suddenly, from another direction a girl comes. There was nobody around for me to ask for direction so I stopped and to my surprise she asked: “are you Elton?”. She was Olivia, one of the daughters, one angel who had come to save me at the station. She told me we should walk the opposite way and so we did, across the meadows, which was a kind of shortcut.
The house was near a forest and the river. It was a two storey house, very well decorated and full of windows. The mother, Ansuela, was waiting for me. She took me to a room where I would be staying, and commented how big my suitcase was. All of them thought so, just like Joy and Lorenzo had already made fun of me because of its size. Well, never go to a backpack trip, like an adventure, with a big suitcase. (To defend myself: it was winter, I had never experience such cold so I had no idea how many things of each to take).
They took me for a tour in the house and asked questions about my trip till then. Of course I told them with details the sad story of Carol and we had lunch.
After lunch, one friend of the family actually came to catch us, plus some equipment - that is, some sledges - and headed towards one of the nearby mountains. She parked the car and we started going uphill. It took us more than half an hour to get to a good point. We had to stop at the middle to catch some breath, I remember looking at all that snow and freezing at the same time I was sweating from the exercise.
When we got to a certain point, no at the top, but high enough, Ansuela and her friend took their wood sledges and Olivia and I got the plastic ones. It would be the first time I would go tobogganing down the hill. This were some of the views we had going up.

I had to say it was quite an experience. It took some time for me to realize I had to control my body swing because I would go to the opposite side I had put my weight, so I had to swing left if I wanted to go right. Also, there was no space for the feet, so I had to keep them up and be careful not to let them change the delicate balance. So I would zigzag down the mountain, and once I even thought I would fall outside the path, because I could not stop. It would be very funny (and tragic) to see me rolling down the very steep hill. Adventure, you might say. Close to the bottom of the mountain, Olivia took a shortcut through one steeper hill beside the path, and this was a time I was afraid, for you had to be careful with the rocks not to get hurt or damage the sledge. It was my luck the way up took so long, because I was not so sure I would have liked to go up and down (like a drunk person). But I can’t deny it was a lot of fun.
We were a bit wet from the snow, so we headed home to warm up. As we got there, I met Herman, the father and we had a substantial five o’clock tea. The table was set at a part of the house full of windows in all sides so you could eat while observing the sunset and the mountains around.
After that, Ansuela invited me to go to the river bank and then we would be able to better watch the sunset. We had to get to the river by the middle of some trees, the woods. Not so distant, she told me, and it was less than 100 meters. As we got there the sun had already hidden behind the houses on the other side of the river.

There was a walkway along the river, and some people were passing by on their sweatsuits. There were some benches and I can’t remember if we sat there or if we just stood, but we started talking about life and about what we had in common. It was so nice, we discovered we loved singing. I told her about the story on the karaoke in Vienna and the time I sang on the karaoke going to Estonia, on the ship. Then, we got to Abba and we just started trying to remember the most we could of the lyrics. No song was completely sung, since we would always forget a line or two, so humming we went back home and she promised to show me some things on youtbube.
She introduced me to a couple who plays the acoustic guitar as percursion along with its string functions and she showed me a video of a singer who would from then on be part of my life: Katie Melua.
After that I took a shower and Ansuela told me they were waiting for a guy from Syria to come. he was from Couchsurfing and I was not sure whether he was going to sleep over as well or not. In the end, it turned out he was already living in the city, so he just wanted to make some new friends. He was a little slow in getting things and although he was not a strictly religious person, he had some behaviors very foreign to me. But we got some music sheets, he got an acoustic guitar, we found some other instruments and we sat at the table, Ansuela, Olivia, me and the guy, whose name I don’t remember, to have a good time singing and playing. I took a picture of the guy’s performance.
After having some fun, we had dinner. It was a delicious pumpkin soup or cream with some pumpkin oil. We talked a bit more and I ate heartily.
After dinner the guy left. I had wondered if he was going to stay there, but he lived downtown and was only getting to know some people from the city, other couchsurfers. Then, after taking everything to the kitchen, Ansuela suggested we should have some game time. She and I engaged in many activities: there was a board game with animals, which I loved called Hive. There was another, with some dark and light beads and we should create a sequence, preventing our opponent from creating one first. Finally, we had some billiard and table tennis in the basement. I felt so happy as it had been ages I hadn’t play anything. She had so much energy, she was overflowing with it and it was kind of contagious. She had told me she suffered from Parkinson disease. So she could not fully be what she had always loved being, an artisan, an artist. Even the guitar she could no longer play without some pain. Nevertheless, she was so active, she had so many nice ideas of what we could do to spend our time that all you had to do was to go with the flow, it was laughter and fun guaranteed. So, after playing and talking about life and all, we headed to bed. I knew I would be able to cover most of the tourist attractions in the two days I would be there, but I planned to wake up early.

quarta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 19

Vienna farewell

So, it was our last day in Vienna. I wanted to take advantage of every minute I still had there and I decided we should wake up early in order to see more places. We left the house, went to the bakery to buy some cookies and some milk with chocolate that we had while we walked towards the center.
Joy wanted to see the famous watch. I had already seen one in Prague, so I was happy about watches. As I knew it was not a Big Ben, I just went for it because she had been so nice to go to the places I had suggested the day before. We got a little lost and ended up walking by an avenue with a lot of fancy stores. We asked for some information and managed to get to the cathedral. The clock, however, was never there. We did follow the directions but never reached it. We decided to walk to a museum, and Joy saw on a guide we were close to the Mozart House. On our way, we saw a stall and as I was a bit hungry, we stopped to have a snack. Lorenzo had mentioned the day before that there were some sausages with cheese inside and they were a kind of food symbol of Vienna. So, I had to eat one before leaving.

We got to the Mozart House. We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but the audioguide was included in the ticket. After so many museums, it was the first time I was going to use one. Let me tell you it was very nice to go from picture to picture with that cellphone and listening to the stories of people who were part of Mozart’s life and how the decor of that house had been reconstituted. The funny thing is, with the guide, you spend much more time than you would in the museum, and you interact much less than you should, talking about the works and the details. When we left there, it was more than one o’clock, all the morning had gone by and we had visited only the cathedral and one museum. Another thing which had been decided was that at night we were going to watch a concert or an opera. I had had the chance to go to classical music concerts in Prague and in Vienna but I had not felt so interested (maybe it was because I hadn’t felt like going on my own).

So we headed for the place to buy some tickets for the opera at night. I told her there was a station called Volkstheater and that this should be the place where we could buy the tickets. So we went there and it was a beautiful building near the center of the city. Nevertheless, as soon as we tried to buy some tickets for the opera, we learned from the attendant that we should go to Volksopera, on the other side of town, because we wanted to watch an OPERA. It made some sense and I had seen in small print there was an Opera House near a subway station. So we got the subway again and there we went to the opera house.
With the tickets in hand, we decided we should split and Joy would meet a guy from Couchsurfing who would give her a ride from Vienna to Budapest, her next destination. I had no plans or places to go, so I decided I would try to visit Katrin, the girl who would have been my host there and could not receive me. I took the subway and went to a neighborhood I had not been, Pilgramgrasse. I walked around and tried to call her. Again, problems with public phones. Would I leave Europe without being able to use a public phone properly? No way I could talk to her. Having her address, I decided to do something very impolite and unlike me: I would just drop by and say hello. I went to her building, rang the bell and nothing. Again, nothing. So I gave up. (Afterwards I wrote her an email telling her of my visit and she would tell me she was there, having a nap and it would be lovely to have me visiting) She lost the gift I had taken her and I lost the chance of meeting a nice person (she had helped me with the preparations of the trip).
With no other place to go, the cold afternoon made me want to go home and I went to Lorenzo’s and it would be a guess, for he could be there or not, I was not sure. With my luck of the afternoon, I took the subway and I tried. He was out. Again, nowhere to go and I would still have 2 hours before the meeting time for us to watch the opera. So I decided to go to the train station, just to see where it was and simulate what I would have to do the next morning, very very early.
Before going there, I decided to take the subway, get off in any strange station and walk around. I entered streets, shops, walked without a destination. A flâneur. It was interesting. I had a lot to think about and then that was the chance to look back on what had been happening in this crazy trip of mine. Far from friends, from home, from everything I cared about. Except from myself. When I could not handle it anymore, I went to the station. It was no secret getting there. However, I noticed the escalators were not working as they were making some repairs there and I would have to calculate some minutes more to carry the heavy suitcase all the way up. I bought some postcards and magnets in a shop. They were cheaper than at the stalls downtown.
It was already dark as we met at the station. Joy was pissed because the guy she had gone to meet was a dork. He had tried to hit on her and even open minded people like us felt a bit embarrassed by what he had said. I told her about how my afternoon had been boring and we went for the show. By the way, when we had got there in order to buy the tickets, the woman had informed us we would have different pricing according to where we chose to sit. There were some seats for 50 euros and there was a ticket, I guess it was about 2 euros and the person would have to keep standing behind the seat rows. We bought this one because Joy was one of my kind: let’s grab all the discounts we can. At the end, we stood there till 5 minutes before the show started and the lady who was organizing the seats told us we could sit on the chairs of the last row, as they would remain empty. If we had paid 19 euros, instead of 2, for the seats in the last row I would have been very angry. But thanks to our wit we paid almost nothing and we had all the comfort. The opera was in German, but the story was known, Hansel and Gretel.
We had a nice time, there was a break and we could check out the people in the audience. It was fun.

As we left the opera, we went straight to Lorenzo’s because we were cold and tired. Guess what? He was not there. But Joy sent him a text message and he told us he would arive home, in what, 40 minutes or so? It was time to go to Magistrat again and have some more food and drinks while we waited for him. I guess then we were already considered part of the club as we had been there the day before. The mafia atmosphere had disappeared or we had already got used to it. As we were finishing our snacks Lorenzo arrived and we went upstairs for the warmth of his place and to some deserved rest. I would be leaving pretty early in the morning, as my train was to depart at 7h30 or something. Joy would leave after lunch and she was taking the train as the ride with the freak was no longer an option. So we sat on the bed I was sleeping on and Lorenzo asked us about what we would take of Vienna, as impressions and all. We kept talking and although we had not drunk anything, I remember only some fragments of what we talked about. I remember we talked about so many things like threesomes, and gayness and I gave them a gift I had brought from Brazil. The sad thing is that when we bought the gifts before going, we had no idea who we were meeting. Joy for example was a total surprise and one of the best ones of the trip. We talked for hours, until about 2 am. We had some fun at the computer, as Lorenzo showed us a funny website called Chatroullette. It consists of a webcam chat in which the site connects you to random users in the world. Mostly there are people (men) in few clothes and low lights, but I remember we three laughed out loud as we tried to have a chat and people would disconnect on us and then we had to start again (or we would do that).
It was a bit before 3am when we turned off the lights and I knew very soon the alarm would go off and Vienna would be gone, but the memories... oh sweet memories would linger