quinta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Eight

The trip to Montréal was quiet. There were those children but they slept soundly and there was no other problem. There was one stop at 4am. I was thirsty I had run out of water. I got some iced tea and went back to the bus. The guy who was sitting next to me was not coming back and when he did, the bus left.
We didn't talk but when it was close to Montréal, I guess I asked him if we were near and we talked for the  half hour until we got to our stop. I can't remember his name but he was a student in Toronto and was from Montréal so he went there to visit his family on the holiday.

When we got off, I started looking for the subway. It was still dark. A woman asked me if she could help me and I told her I was looking for the subway and she told me to follow her. We found the entrance and she waited for me while I was getting the tickets. Her name was Denise and she was from Montréal. We talked for some stations but I had to get off and she wished me good luck in my adventures.

As I got outside it was not so dark anymore. I could look around and see the city. I had informed the people who would be hosting me I would arrive quite early. I found the street I had to go but left or right? I got my compass app and decided I should go east. Part logics, part luck. I was walking alone, the streets of a new city, being welcomed by the first rays of light of that Sunday morning. I arrived. I climbed the stairs directly to the third floor.

As I entered, there was a big room. It had no walls and I could see a dining room, a kitchen and the living room. I found the toilet. The floor was wooden and as I walked it creaked. I wanted to be as silent as I could but the squeaking would continue at every step. I sat on the sofa. There were some people sleeping on the other side of the room. They looked up, I smiled, then I just lay down and tried to have some sleep.

It must have been 1 hour or so, some people started to come into this common area. The couple who was sleeping there changed and the man left. I decided it was time to wake up and introduce myself.

The Coop Généreux. I had found its profile by browsing couchsurfing and one guy to whom I would send a request was living there. I met him but we didn't even talk. One of the girls, Juliette, showed me everything. Here is the open fridge, you can take whatever, this other is private fridge, you should put your name on whatever you put there. She showed me me the toilet, the staircase that gave acess to the second floor where they have the rooms and to the roof.

As soon as the guy who was sleeping in the living room came back, he introduced himself and his wife: Simon and Anne were a couple from France who had plans to buy a truck and travel south, from Canada to Chile, if possible. They wanted to see everything and they were passionate and so sweet. They took me up to show me the roof. From there, we could see all the city and while Simon was smoking I was telling them about me and asking them about their plans. It was funny because Anne didn't speak good English and I didn't speak good French so we spoke something in between.

We got back in and had breakfast. I had some omellete Simon had made and drank some juice and had some fruits.

They had been there for some days so they gave me some suggestions on where I should be going and at this point I met Fink, one of the other residents and the one I interacted more with. He was gentle and showed me around again but I was too shy to say someone else had already told me all the rules of the house. I listened as if I was double checking. Then, he told me the best way to walk around the city was just taking some alley or narrow street and walking them. It was the best way to feel what it was really like. The day was sunny but the wind was cold. I started walking to the opposite direction I had come from.

Indeed, there were some interesting houses and alleys. Some streets looked very cozy. A lot of trees everywhere and the funny thing was that the houses were not so similar. You could see in the same street so different colors and architectures, although they have more or less the same pattern or size.

In no time I reached the Parc La Fontaine. It was a beautiful place, but I was happier when I was under the sun and not in the shade of the trees. I explored the park and even though it was Sunday, there were few people around.

I guess people feed squirrels here because they got so close, asking for food. I was trying to deceive one and it came as close as two steps from me.

There was this lake in the center of the park and this theater of vegetables. I don't know if they had plants acting, because the gate was closed but the name really called my attention.

After that I kept on walking. I had crossed the park and I was not really sure where I was going. There were more beautiful houses and I started approaching wider streets and higher buildings.

At this point I had already decided to go downtown. I was looking for a place to buy stamps. I was afraid the following day, which would be Canadian Thanksgiving, all the places would be closed. It was Sunday and even in Brazil I would not know where to get stamps on a Sunday. All the convenience stores I went to just had local stamps, it would not work for international posting. I had bought some postcards in Toronto and hadn't had the chance to post them there. Dale suggested me I should post them in Montréal. It was still Canada, right? I got to one drugstore and there was a counter to buy stationary and they had international stamps. The funny thing was: I bought five stamps because I had five postcards. It was 9 dollars. Then, I remembered I was going to buy 5 more postcards in Montréal to send to different people and I asked 5 stamps more. 18 dollars, right? No, 19.50. Why, I have no idea. Maybe my mathematician friends could tell me.

When I saw this I thought of my friend Daniela. She would do something like this. And I wondered what was the story behind the scarf. Who had knitted it? The poster seemed to have been made by a woman. I hope whoever had lost it was able to find the dear lost piece of clothing.

I started getting hungry and I was not sure what my next day would be. I remembered someone had told me during the conference, when I mentioned I was going to Montréal, that there was a place called Schwatz's, where they had smoked meat. I checked my map and it was not that far from where I was. When I got there, dear boy, there was a big line of people, mostly tourists waiting for their turn to enter. There was a guy controlling people's entrance and inside, I sat at the counter, not at the tables. It was quite an experience. It was the only place in Canada I went to where they didn't take debit or credit card or would take American dollars. Fortunately for me, I had  the exact amount I needed in Canadian currency. Now I would have to avoid only-cash places or I would have to exchange more money.

As you can see there is the steak and the pink one was smoked meat. There were also fries and pickles with coleslaw. And bread and juice. A hearty meal. After I had eaten and observed the restaurant - I took my time to eat -, I decided what I was going to do. It would demand some courage but I paid for the meal and left. I started...

to be continued

segunda-feira, 26 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Seven

The next morning I woke up early again. I had planned to watch Wylie's presentation and it was the first session like mine had been but he had discouraged me to do so. I preferred sleeping one hour more and got the following train to Toronto. Although it was Saturday and Dale's mother was not going to work she agreed on giving me a ride to the station. We said goodbyes and I took my bags with me. I would not be returning to Newmarket. The plan was, after the conference, Dale was going to meet me downtown, have dinner with me and take me to the bus station. My bus to Montréal would live at midnight.

On the train I saw someone who was very similar to my cousin.

I got there in time to see the end of the first panel. The following would be the one I would be chairing about The Occupy movement and others. There were three people that were supposed to speak. I waited for them and introduced myself. What happened was each would have 15 minutes to talk, then we would open for questions. One of the presenters did not show up, apparently he was in the hospital, so John, one of the presenters, said they had prepared a workshop and he wanted to take teh other guy's time of presentation. And he asked for a risky thing: he wanted the other presenter to talk, open for questions and after that he would start his part. And as I expected it didn't work. People had questions and kept asking him and we went over the time I had assigned for the questions. The workshop started and some people got frustrated. It was more like case studies and he would ask us our opinions about the situations. Things got spooky when he started comparing grassroots today with biblical metaphors. However, as a discussion it was fine.

After that there would be the business lunch. I hadn't participated last year but I got informed and learned that all members of the society could and should. The enrollment fee included it. So much better I wouldn't have to spend time looking for a place. The food was very good and it was worthy because I started talking to Peter Fitting. He was one of the conference hosts and organizer so I thought it would be almost impossible to talk to him for some time. I wanted him to give me some tips on how to carry out my research, if there could be any way to direct my efforts, still lacking focus of whatever type. Why was I still going so vague?

I sat with him during lunch and we had a chance to talk for a bit. Even in the line before getting the food. He was asking me about everything: what I was reading, what topics would interest me. After lunch, I went to Wylie's room to get my bag he had taken upstairs earlier and when I came downstairs, Peter said we should find a place to sit and talk more. There were some couches and a coffee table in the elevator lobby.

It was quite an experience. We sat there and minutes turned into hours. We talked about books and readings. Then Phil Wegner came around. He asked us what we were doing and we told him we were talking about my research. He said he was the one who was supposed to be doing that. Peter invited him to sit and he also gave his opinion on what should be some nice ways to approach what I wanted to talk about. It was funny because they started debating books, people, some gossip here and there. I was so happy to be there. And Milner came, Joan, whoever passed by Peter tried to involve in our conversation too, always telling people about my research and asking their opinion. The only person I really wanted to be there too, Moylan, didn't pass by. A pity, but one of the most utopian moments in the whole trip.

We ended up with my promise I would go home, organize all the ideas they had given me into a kind of proposal or chapter description. I did so, and sent them (but by the time I wrote this none had answered yet).

So there was one more session I could attend. I had preselected one about biopolitics or biotechnology and the discourses of utopia. It was very interesting to see things from a different perspective not only literature or theory but more practical questions like food (the GMOs), medicine and the body. These are all topics that critical utopia try to cope with.

It was really cold outside, about 4ºC or 5ºC. People were going out to have dinner and some invited me but I had already set an appointment with Dale. It was too early, though, I had to wait for one hour more or less. I found a plug and turned on my computer. I had had some ideas for the interview with Marge Piercy, so I improved the questions I had already written.

When I realized it was time for me to go, I turned off the computer, went downstairs and as I got to the lobby of the hotel, Dale was entering one of the revolving doors. What a timing!

We walked around looking for a drugstore first but some were already closed. I needed to buy something for my sore throat and to prevent it from turning into a cold. We found one and I got some medical supplies for the bus trip as well as some cookies and all.

We went to a very cozy restaurant near the hotel. I was not sure whether I was going to have a meal or a sandwich, so we both started with soups and then I chose a sandwich. Dale also chose a sandwich and he became friends with our server, who was from the Phillipines as he had guessed by her accent. It was so funny to see them talking and she showing the pictures of the kids. (my half-eaten burger and half of Dale's sandwich as well)

Then we went to the bus station. It was still early but it would be the best thing to do in such cold weather. We sat and started talking about the sketchy people who were there. The thing I most liked about Dale and that I was not expecting was the way he observed everything that was happening around him. He knew who would draw my attention, we commented on hair, outfit and attitude. It was so nice to talk to him about the details around us. And after making fun of some of people on the station and talking about some other things, we said goodbyes and he left. I started reading a bit and when it was 11h10 I saw a line forming outside. I was afraid of not going there and missing a seat on the bus (they were not marked) but I knew how cold it would be. Anyway, I went outside and got in line. At midnight, the bus left and I had sat in one window seat and there was nobody with me. A mother with her two kids came in and, as there were no pair seats available anymore, she asked the guy sitting in front of me if he could sit somewhere else. He relunctantly started to move, slowly, and I said, hey, sit here and gave my seat to her and the kids and sat with a guy who was sitting across the aisle. 

quinta-feira, 22 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Six

In the morning I woke up and it would be my first day without Dale. He came downstairs anyway while I ate something and then his mother gave me a ride to the train station. I was worried because I could not afford to be late. My presentation would be the first one in the first panel of the morning. I had to check for the room and when I was there, after looking for it, I found out it was the only room on the other floor, it was a bit far from all the other rooms. When I got there I was on time, but all the other presenters were already on their places.

Professor Andrew Milner greeted me and we waited for some more minutes. While last year there were only me, the other presenter,a guy with a beard and the chair of the panel, this time there was really an audience. It was not that big, just a couple of people but it seemed more than I had expected. The thing is there was none of those big names presenting and I guess this discourages people to go there and see. Anyway, we did not want to waste more time and after waiting for more people for five minutes. I started. I read my paper and I was doing fine, talking about the social movements and about Marge Piercy's works. I had the sheets of paper with the text and I was putting the ones I had already read aside on the table, facing down and I was going okay when I saw I still had a lot of sheets to go through and Andrew showed the five-minute sign. I got nervous and started to skip through some paragraphs. When I got to the last page, I remembered. I had printed not only the text for my presentation but also the bus tickets and some other things and I had a pile and had put them all together in my folder. So, it was a false impression I still had a lot to go through and I just hope my ending did not lack any cohesion, even with my skipping. The chair praised me for ending on time and we proceeded to the next presenter, Claire, who was going to present about a novel I didn't know and the question of disability. After that, Eric Smith also had a presentation about another novel I didn't know and he talked about domesticity and difference. (We talked later and I learned that he had just published a book on science fiction from a post-colonialist perspective)

The people in the room interacted well and the discussion was nice. Even a guy who had arrived when I was halfway through with my presentation asked me some interesting question. The most puzzling one, and I did not give him a proper answer because maybe I hadn't really thought about: why the title of my presentation had "marriage" (of utopia and dystopia) in it. I meant it as a link, as a relationship, but he wanted to know if there was any implication with the institution of marriage.

The following session I went to was taking place in that same room. It would be Tom Moylan and Ruth Levitas, two important authors of books I had read, and Peter Stillman, whom I had never heard of. They were talking about Aldous Huxley's The Island. I had not read the novel but knew about it and as Huxley is an important author, I wanted to see what they were going to talk about. Having a panel only for that novel was somewhat curious. I have it now in my novel pile "to be read".

After the second session, it was time to have lunch. I had talked to Wylie, who was a student from university of Florida and the one who has helped me most and included me in all activities of the Marxist Reading Group I started going to.

He, all the UF group and I, were herded by Phil Wegner himself to a restaurant. It was in fact a food court and we spent some time deciding where we were going to have lunch. I chose a Chinese one: pasta or rice, two sides and a desert. The meal was good and after looking for places to sit together, I sat at a table with Wylie and we talked about Gainesville, Toronto and other things.

After lunch, the big group split: Wylie and some others went back to the hotel and some of us went to the art gallery. It was the chance, or my golden chance, of spending some quality time with Wegner and talking more about my research. I was still looking for ideas on how to focus my research and I thought he would enlighten me. We had a nice time, talking about my period in Gainesville, and he told me about Sweden. We talked about art and I just asked him if we would have some time to discuss my work because I felt that was not the place or time. He said the next day there would be a football game and we could talk on the breaks.

Back to the hotel, I had time to see part of the 3:00pm session. There was another scholar I had read in my studies and used in my masters, Vincent Geoghegan, so I was curious to hear the bibliography speaking. He was talking about post-human and his presentation was a bit more than I could cognitively digest. After that, a guy named Kyle was talking about Sloterdijk. He is a contemporary philosopher I had briefly heard about.

The final panel was one I was very interested in. It would be about crytical dystopia, a concept which is going to be very important in my studies. It was coined by Tom Moylan and he would be there as a panel discussant. This was the first time I saw that. They explained it was a person invited to comment on the speakers before there were the questions. Two of the speakers were not famous and the third was Kathi Weeks. I had never heard of her before coming to the US but she is going to be one of the keynote speakers at a conference I am going to participate and I had read one chapter of her book The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism and Postowrok Imaginaries. It is indeed a very interesting book, so I was curious to hear more about what she had to say. Tha panel was thought-provoking but I saw the intention of the speakers in transforming Moylan's historicized concept of crytycal dystopia that he had used for a certain body of works into a method. He argued against that.

After that there would be a guided visit to a science fiction collection in the library near the hotel. It would start one hour after the end of this last panel. I was tired. My body and my sould thought it should be better if I just went home. It would be my last night with Dale, so I wanted to talk more with him. Also, I would be waking up early the following day as I would chair a panel. By the way, during the course of that Friday, from the moment I was answering questions about my presentation, my voice starting failing until I got really hoarse.

I was not sure if there would still be trains. I saw some leaving but I preferred getting the bus. It was funny because there were many many people in line. They were like those travel buses, not the traditional city ones. What happened was that the driver kept asking people to board and a lot just had to stand. Some teenagers started making fun of the situation, saying that it was Canada and they shouldn't be doing that, that it looked like a third world country bus. I slept and only woke up when everybody who was standing had to get off so that people who were sitting could get off in Aurora, a city before Newmarket.

At home, I don't remember what happened. I packed and remember Dale and I talked. I don't know why I had got so tired and I still had a week before going home.

quarta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2012

Jornada para Utopia: Dia 5 (versão de LVA)

Novo dia. Café da manhã, saímos de casa e lá estávamos nós de novo no Royal Ontario Museum. Não queríamos ficar no escuro de novo. E também, tínhamos uma hora e meia para ver a exposição e alguma outra parte do museu que não pudemos ver, já que logo na sequência eu iria para a conferência. A primeira atividade começaria ao meio-dia.

Quando chegamos no andar, havia essa projeção animada do mundo desde a Pangeia até os dias de hoje.

A exposição era muito interessante. Nós aprendemos sobre como os cientistas reconstruíram esses grandes dinossauros (ou os pequenos também) a partir de apenas 20% dos seus ossos. Às vezes, eles tinham quase o fóssil completo, mas isso não era comum. Alguns eram da América do Sul, outros da Africa.

Este sou eu tentando fingir que estava prestes a ser atacado. Má atuação.

Aqui na Florida aprendi a ser gentil com os crocodilos, então eu estava acariciando este. Eles não são tão assustadores, sabe?

Depois dos dinossauros, ainda tínhamos algum tempo então decidimos ir para a parte africana do museu e as partes do Pacífico e dos canadenses nativos também.

Depois, fomos para a exposição egípcia e completamos a romana e chegamos na grega.

Quando estávamos indo embora fomos para a loja do museu, mas eu não vi nada interessante lá. Havia apenas essas poltronas pós-modernas e eu tive que sentar lá e fazer uma pose.

Depois disso, já era quase 11:30 e eu tinha que pegar o metrô para ir pro hotel onde estava acontecendo a conferência. Dale já tinha me mostrado onde era no dia anterior. No caminho, comprei alguns tacos no Taco Bell e comi um enquanto andava até lá, como almoço. Eu ia guardar o outro para mais tarde. Eu já estava atrasado.
Inscrever-me foi bem fácil, mas a estrutura era um pouco diferente da do ano passado. Os crachás, por exemplo, não eram impressos e já prontos, o rapaz pegava o plástico e copiava o nome num pedaço de papel, escrevia à mão ou te deixava fazer isso.

Cheguei um pouco atrasado para a primeira atividade da conferência. O Professor Lyman Sargent estava ministrando um seminário sobre apresentação de falas, pesquisa, publicação e construção de carreira. Algumas dicas que ele deu eram muito específicas ao contexto americano e outras foram bastante úteis. Algumas óbvias, algumas interessantes. Depois disso, eu fui à mesa chamada “Ficção Científica”. Havia duas pessoas falando sobre Ursula LeGuin, uma de uma perspective literária, mas ela passou bastante tempo falando sobre a teoria da utopia. A outra pessoa falou a partir de uma perspectiva filosófica, contrastando o livro Os despossuídos de LeGuin, com o livro A Política de Aristóteles. O terceiro a se apresentar foi Andrew Milner e ele falou sobre os programas de rádio de ficção científica e foi algo interessante porque é algo sobre o qual dificilmente as pessoas falam (ou escrevem).

Havia outra mesa na sequência e eu estava nessa para ouvir as pessoas falando sobre a “teoria utópica”. A  primeira a falar foi Ruth Levitas, que escreveu The Concept of Utopia e ela estava falando sobre utopia como graça, então, ela misturou um pouco de teologia à sua abordagem filosófica. Ela era um dos grandes nomes presentes na conferência. Depois disso, Nancy falou sobre empatia, um conceito muito interessante. E então, Zac Zimmer, com quem em havia dividido o quarto no hotel no ano anterior, falou sobre as relações entre a conquista da América e o livro de More, Utopia.

A última atividade acadêmica foi a plenária na qual 4 ou 5 pessoas, membros antigos da Sociedade de Estudos Utópicos falaram sobre a história dos estudos utópicos, sua relação com isso e um pouco de ideias que eles tinham de para onde deveríamos estar nos encaminhando. Foi quando eu ouvi que o Brasil começará sua sociedade e que os estudos feministas estavam enfraquecendo nos últimos anos. Isso me fez pensar.

Depois disso, eles estavam organizando um coquetel. Isso significava, no mínimo, alguma comida e uma bebida de graça. Mais importante, era a hora de eu conversar com as pessoas que eu conheci ano passado e de eu conhecer novas pessoas. Eu não pude deixar de me aproximar de Tom Moylan, cujo trabalho eu simplesmente amo e me apresentei. Até porque, já tínhamos conversado por e-mails. Conversamos por volta de 5 minutos e ele foi muito amigável. Eu disse a ele que eu entrevistaria a Marge Piercy e ele ficou muito animado por isso. Pedi algumas ideias para a entrevista e ele me disse que pensaria em algo. Então, eu encontrei meu orientador Phillip Wegner, e ele me apresentou ao grupo da “Universidade da Florida”: algumas pessoas que foram alunos na Universidade da Flórida, mas estão atualmente dando aulas em outros lugares dos EUA.

Eu também me apresentei para o Andrew Milner. Eu tinha lido alguns dos textos dele e ouvido minha orientadora do Brasil falar sobre ele, ele também estudava o Raymond Williams (como ela). Ele foi realmente simpático e estaríamos juntos novamente no dia seguinte porque ele seria o mediador da mesa da qual eu fazia parte.

Depois de algum tempo, as pessoas começaram a ir embora e eu pensei em ir embora também. O dia havia sido longo e eu ainda tinha que passar um certo tempo voltando para casa (que era como eu me sentia na casa do Dale). Meus planos iniciais eram sair do congresso e visitar a CN Tower aquela noite. Não deu certo. Estava tão cansado e ansioso também com a minha apresentação logo cedo no dia seguinte, que preferi desistir e ir embora.

sexta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Five

New day. Breakfast, commute and there we were again at the Royal Ontario Museum. We didn't want to take any chances of being in the dark again. Also, we had one hour and a half to see the exhibition and any other part the museum we hadn't been able to visit because I would be going to the conference. The first activity would start at noon.

As we arrived at the floor, there was this animated projection of the world from Pangeia to the modern days.

The exhibition was very interesting. We learned about what the scientists made to reconstruct those big dinosaurs (or the small ones too) out of maybe 20% of their bones. Sometimes they almost had the complete fossil, but it was not the rule. Some were from South America, others from Africa.

This is me trying to pretend I was about to be attacked. Bad acting.

Here in Florida I learned we should be nice to the alligators, so I was patting this one. They are not so scary, you know.

After the dinosaurs, we still had some time so we decided to go to the African part of the museum and the Pacific and the Native Canadian parts as well.

Then, we went to the Egyptian exhibition and completed the Roman and reached the Greek.

As we were leaving we went to the museum shop but I saw nothing interesting there. There were only these very postmodern chairs and I had to sit there and strike a pose.

After that, it was almost 11:30 and I would have to get the subway to go to the hotel where they were holding the conference. Dale had already showed me where it was the day before. On the way, I grabbed some tacos at a Taco Bell and had one while walking there, as lunch. I would save the other one for later. I was already late.

Signing in was pretty easy but the structure was a little bit different from last year. The name tags, for example, were not printed and done but the guy would get the plastic and copy your name, handwritten or let you do that.

I got in late to the first activity of the conference. Professor Lyman Sargent was giving a seminar about Paper presentation, Research, Publication, and Building a career. Some of the hints he gave were very localized for the American context and others were very useful. Some obvious, some interesting.
Then from that, I went to a Panel called "Science Fiction". There were two people talking about Ursula LeGuin, one from a literary perspective, but  she spent too long talking about the Utopian theory. The other talked from a philosophical perspective, contrasting Le Guin's The Dispossessed with Aristotle's Politics. The third speaker was Andrew Milner and he talked about the radio programs of science fiction and it was something interesting because it is something people hardly ever talk (or write) about.

There was another panel in the sequence and there I was to see three people talk about "Utopian theory". The first to talk was Ruth Levitas, who wrote The Concept of Utopia and she was talking about Utopia as Grace, so she mingled some theology with her philosophical approach. She was one of the big names taking part of the conference. After that, Nancy talked about empathy, a very interesting concept. After that, Zac Zimmer, who had shared the room with me the previous year, talked about the relations between the conquest of America and More's book, Utopia.

The last academic activity was a plenary in which 4 or 5 people, long-term members of the Society of Utopian Studies talked about a history of the Utopian studies, their relationship with it and some ideas they had of where we should be going. It was then that I heard Brazil is going to start their society and that feminist studies have been thinning the last years. These made me wonder.

After this, they were organizing a reception. That meant, at least, some free food and one free drink. More importantly,  it was time to talk to the people I had met the year before and to meet new people. I could not refrain from approaching Tom Moylan, whose work I just love and introduce myself. After all, we had already talked by email. We talked for 5 minutes and he was very friendly. I told him I was going to interview Marge Piercy and he was very excited about it. I asked for some ideas for the interview and he told me he would think about something. Then, I met my supervisor Phillip Wegner, and he introduced me to the "University of Florida" group: some people who had been his students at University of Florida but are currently teaching elsewhere in the States.

I also introduced myself to Andrew Milner. I had read some texts by him and heard my Brazilian advisor mention him, he also studied Raymond Williams. He was indeed a friendly person and we would be together the next morning as he would chair the panel I was in.

After some time, people started to go and I thought it was time for me to go too. The day had been very long and I still had to spend some time commuting before getting home (at least this is how I felt at Dale's house). And my plans had originally been to visit the CN Tower that night. It didn't work. I was so tired, I just wanted to take a shower and sleep. So, no CN Tower. Maybe the next night. I was too anxious as well, since my presentation would be early the next morning.

Jornada para Utopia: Dia 4

Estava uma manhã nublada e fria. Garoava, mas isso não seria um problema já que nossas atividades cedo seriam basicamente em lugares fechados. De manhã, iríamos ao Museu Real de Ontário, que não é um museu do tamanho do Louvre, mas impressionava já do lado de fora por sua pirâmide de vidro incrustada na fachada.

O museu estava dividido em várias alas diferentes e tinha exposições da artefatos asiáticos (especialmente, mas não apenas, chineses). Depois dessa parte fomos ver a area dos minerais. Havia algumas projeções, podia-se ler mais sobre a origem das rochas através das telas interativas. O ponto alto foi a estante de minerais fluorescente, brilhando num canto escuro. Também, tinha uma seção de pedras preciosas e mais ou menos umas 30 câmeras.

Depois das rochas fomos para a parte de História Natural do museu. Vimos todo tipo de animal e selecionei os mais bonitinhos pra ilustrar.

E claro, tinha uma simulação de caverna, escura e aterrorizante, cheia de morcegos. Não sei porque eu sempre lembro da minha irmã mais nova em lugares como esses.

E de repente, enquanto estávamos visitando o setor romano, aprendendo um pouco sobre o império e aquelas coisas todas, as luzes apagaram. I tinha acabado de tocar num daqueles monitores interativos, e assim que o toquei, escureceu tudo. Eu pensei, nossa, esse daqui é bem interativo mesmo. As luzes de emergência se acenderam. E em menos de um minuto se apagaram e lá estávamos nós de novo no escuro. Começamos a pensar o que poderia estar acontecendo. Uma segurança do museu, que falava (mal) inglês com um sotaque muito forte começou a falar pra gente que não era pra andarmos pra que não começássemos a dar encontrões contra as peças da exposição. O Dale achou que estavam roubando o museu. Ás onze da manhã numa quarta? Ele tinha certeza que estavam roubando a tumba chinesa que devia pesar umas 3 toneladas. Eu duvidava um pouco da possibilidade. (meu joelho e o pessoal no escuro no fundo).

Andamos até um sofá que tinha perto de onde estávamos esperando. Não quisemos ficar andando porque outras pessoas estavam e a segurança ia sair do meio das sombras e dar uma bronca neles: “senta no chão e não se movam!”. No chão, não, amiguinha. A gente é fino. Luzes de emergência, 30 segundos, já era. Essa era a visão que tínhamos do saguão de entrada a partir do nosso andar.


30 segundos e pronto. =\
Esperamos e esperamos e nada acontecia. O que se podia fazer no escuro, num museu, na ala romana? Fazer como os romanos? Por que não uma entrevista e um pseudo-documentário sobre como, depois de 20 minutos, eles finalmente decidiram evacuar as pessoas, primeiro fazendo a gente andar em círculos e nos levando afinal ao saguão de entrada onde tinha mais funcionários do museu que não tinham a menor ideia do que tava acontecendo e por que a energia tava demorando tanto pra voltar. (Não é defeito do arquivo: a maior parte do “documentário” foi gravado no escuro, para dar a impressão real das condições que tivemos pra conversar)

Finalmente, depois de uma hora, alguém chegou pra gente e falou: estamos fechando o museu e dando um cupom para vocês voltarem até o final do mês. A coisa é que, e eu tinha esquecido de mencionar isso antes, tínhamos comprado os ingressos pra exibição especial dos dinossauros, e tínhamos deixado pro final. Sem reembolso, eu pensei, teríamos que pensar num esquema pra poder voltar no museu naquela semana. E o congresso começaria no dia seguinte.

De qualquer forma, de volta às ruas, estava frio, mas não garoava mais. Andamos por uma rua bem chique e uma câmera escondida me pegou saindo de fininho de uma loja de marca em promoção (de mãos vazias, se você é um bom observador). Só espero que isso não afete minha fama de não gostar de roupa de marca.

E começamos o nosso passeio caminhando pelo centro da cidade. Andamos tanto quanto havíamos andado no dia anterior, talvez uns 5 km. Atrás da rua chique havia uma menorzinha, mas muito bonita, e uma praça com um design bem fora do comum.

Mais prédios bonitos e diferentes estilos de arquitetura. (Nessas horas eu queria ter o poder dos meus amigos da arquitetura de dizer que isso é rococó e aquilo é estilo qualquer-coisa-moderno)

E chegamos no Village. Trata-se de uns quarteirões de bares, lojas e prédios de apartamento dedicados à comunidade gay. Bandeiras de arco-íris por todos os lados, e todos os estereótipos passando por você. Uma experiência maravilhosa. A única que eu vi lá e não pude explorar melhor foi um restaurante onde você é servido por pessoas cegas (se entendi direito) e no escuro total. Deve ser muito interessante. Na próxima vez, quero comer lá.

As placas das ruas são decoradas de acordo com a parte da cidade que você está. Não tem como não notar.

As próximas fotos são: a esquina mais famosa (e gay) de Toronto – Church St com Wellesley St. Não parece assim na foto, mas meu super guia e amigo me disse e até a Wikipédia confirma. A segunda é a foto de um bar onde foi gravado algumas cenas da versão americana de uma série que eu costumava acompanhar quando eu era pequeno – Queer as Folk.

Aqui estou do lado da placa indicando Younge St. Por que ela é especial? Só porque ela costumava ser a “rua mais longa do mundo”. Aparentemente aqui meu guia estava desatualizado. De acordo com as fontes de costume (WIKIPEDIA, 2012), o Guinness considerou ela a rua mais longa até descobrirem que a Highwya 11, que deveria ser a mesma rua, não era.

Aqui é Dundas, a Maddison Square de Toronto. (OK, ela é mais impressionante que parece na foto. Ângulo ruim.)

Nossa próxima parada exigia pegarmos o ônibus e o metrô. Não dava pra ir andando. Eu estava afim de ir num lugar onde o Dale não tinha ido antes. Ele não tinha ideia do que íamos encontrar lá. E fomos para o Bazaar Indiano. Eu estava esperando um grande supermercado ou um galpão cheio de lojas e os cheiros da Índia e alguma música indiana de fundo. Errado. Assim como Kesington, o Bazaar não era um centro, mas uma rua cheia de lojas e restaurantes. Andamos três quarteirões e pronto. Pelo menos conseguimos tirar umas fotos de um ciclo-riquixá. O pneu furado é uma boa evidência que esse era mais pra turista ver do que pra usar.

E mais placas customizadas. Saindo das terras indianas, suponho que estávamos andando pra oeste, pois acabamos chegando nas praias mediterrâneas, nós ulissesmente chegamos na Greektown (Cidade Grega). OK, nosso dia não tinha sido uma grande odisseia, mas podemos imaginar que foi. De novo, podíamos dizer pelos narizes e pelas sobrancelhas e pelas placas em grego e as bandeiras gregas que realmente estávamos numa pequena versão de um lugar onde virando a esquina encontraríamos uma acrópole ou algum templo qualquer.

Não encontramos nenhum templo, mas estávamos famintos e nosso plano era mesmo comer comida mediterrânea. O Dale me levou pra um restaurante onde ele já tinha estado. Parecia meio caro, mas os preços até que estavam razoáveis. O banheiro era bem interessante, a decoração, mas tinha deixado a câmera na mesa e tinha que descer umas escadas. Os pratos estavam deliciosos e até tive que desabotoar a calça (e não teve quebra de pratos, exceto quanto um garçom derrubou um sem querer).

Então, estávamos bem cansados quando voltamos pra casa. Tínhamos que planejar o dia seguinte e não íamos mais pro Forte York, desde que o ingresso ia ser exatamente o preço da exposição dos dinossauros e nós já tínhamos pagado aquela. Nosso missão era então aproveitar a manhã livre, antes do congresso começar, para ir ver os dinos.