Bulges appeared in the fabric of space-time. Great ugly bulges."Haaaauuurrgghhh..." said Arthur as he felt his body softening and bending in unusual directions. "Southend seems to be melting away... the stars are swirling... a dustbowl... my legs are drifting off into the sunset... my left arm's come off too." A frightening thought struck him: "Hell," he said, "how am I going to operate my digital watch now?" He wound his eyes desperately around in Ford's direction."Ford," he said, "you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."Again came the voice."Two to the power of seventy-five thousand to one against and falling."Ford waddled around his pond in a furious circle."Hey, who are you," he quacked. "Where are you? What's going on and is there any way of stopping it?""Please relax," said the voice pleasantly, like a stewardess in an airliner with only one wing and two engines one of which is on fire, "you are perfectly safe.""But that's not the point!" raged Ford. "The point is that I am now a perfectly safe penguin, and my colleague here is rapidly running out of limbs!""It's alright, I've got them back now," said Arthur."Two to the power of fifty thousand to one against and falling," said the voice."Admittedly," said Arthur, "they're longer than I usually like them, but...""Isn't there anything," squawked Ford in avian fury, "you feel you ought to be telling us?"The voice cleared its throat. A giant petit four lolloped off into the distance."Welcome," the voice said, "to the Starship Heart of Gold."The voice continued."Please do not be alarmed," it said, "by anything you see or hear around you. You are bound to feel some initial ill effects as you have been rescued from certain death at an improbability level of two to the power of two hundred and seventy-six thousand to one against-possibly much higher. We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway. Thank you. Two to the power of twenty thousand to one against and falling."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, September 08, 2007
After trying to get back on German track in February, I eventually thought "Over so soon?" and left. This time for Spain: A friend I had worked with in the orphanage said "Come whenever you want to; you'll have a home, a family and a job here." and so it was. Coming from German society, this Spanish hospitality was quite incredible at the time. So I started working as a waiter, moved into an apartment with other friends from my journey who couldn't or didn't want to fit in at home. And then Joice came and heaven began and hasn't ended ever since, I've just... changed cloud levels up and down over the days ;)
Altea, a little village on the Mediterranean coast between Valencia and Alicante is a beautiful village that has kept more of is "Spanishness" than any other town around: Whitewashed old houses in the center and a beach you can still walk on without circling around busloads of tourists. Working as a waiter was hard, but my Spanish is fluent now and I had my friends to party with, the ocean and my love with me - and a job to keep all of this simple dream afloat; que mas quiero?
During the last two weeks of our summer me and Joice wanted to see more than just our bay and journeyed to Barcelona, Sevilla, Tarifa & Granada; some of the most beautiful and vibrant cities this country (& continent) has to offer... we had a blast, flamenco, tapas, Gaudí, 2 oceans, an Arabic bath, too much drinking for me to remember how much it actually was, a night in my hammock, a night in a fancy-ass hostel filled with rich backpackers (never seen that kind before) and too many more things to list at this hour of the night...
But now all of that is over and I am preparing my life as an ordinary student at the university of Heidelberg... normal life with job, studying, my mountain bike, singin', my girlfriend in January and a teaching diploma of English and Spanish language in half a decade or so.
I walk my village in the evening and wonder what all the people behind the windows have lived through. What experiences have shaken them down, made them happy, brought themback on course. I feel like a song.
In the stick count for the song
of knowing your're gone
Glancing up at where you lived
When you lived here
I see you suddenly alive
And nearly smiling
I stop and hold my breath
And watch the way you used to be
The full moon makes
Our faces shine
Like over ironed polyester
Then dissapears behind the clouds
Leaves me under empty rows
Of night windows.
To all of this... what else could I say but: YEEEHAW!!!
Monday, February 12, 2007
I apologize for not writing earlier... as you can see throughout my blog, I can never spend enough time on the web for every little detail... I have met "travelers", who spend half the day "experiencing" (traveling, seeing & doing things etc.) and then it the other half in front of the computer to blog about every tiny bug they've seen or how cool it was that that lady gave them a smile. Not for me. I like to see, while I still can. Now I am at home, in the same place everyday; now I can write. The only downside is: This results in few, but laaarge posts here... Sorry for that. I'll put a few pics to lighten things up ;)
|From Lago de Atitlan.|
In Guatemala, I once asked a friend out of the blue: "David, why do you travel, by the way?" He looked at me strange and said "'Cause I prefer this to working, what do you think?! So why do YOU travel, then?" At first, I was stunned. Here I was, already travelling for months and I still could come up with a clear answer. So I sat down and made a list of why I travel...
- For the sensation tingling down my body with anticipation of the unknown after my homedoor has fallen shut.
- For finding and exploring my limits in all directions possible... in thin air, in the jungle, in love, on the streets, in everchanging crowds and in the solitude of standing alone beside the road, following it without all the things and people I love/loved.
- For the freedom of traveling on the back of a pick up truck with the wind and the sun in my face and a 360view.
- For all the beautiful, crazy people from all over the world that are seeing this with me.
- For mastering my guitar play & expanding my music collection (got about 350 new CDs now)
- For all the moments of sheer silent beauty that make me say: "Que hermoso es el mundo!"
- For my version of true luxury: Having the time to stand, stare and settle in.
- For the feeling that then follows after a while: That, and if only for an instant, you are part of the place you live in.
- For a change of personality so intense you can feel it.
- For the simple privilege of being able to travel. I met many people who want to but never could.
- For learning how friendly the world actually is. It's not as scary as CNN tells.
- For playing with my kids, all speaking the same language.
- "Because I was unhapp where I was before." (from a friend & me)To lead a life more simple.
- To rid myself of all the bullshit from home, like TV, ringtones, arrogance and the cold in people & weather.
- To have a story to tell my children one day.
- For the sand in my pockets.
- For the sand between my toes.
- For returning home.
But of course I didn't fly straight back from Oaxaca, my last post location... to keep it short (anyone who wants a longer account on my travels shoud e-mail me, Tins! ;) :
In Oaxaca I then went to the beach, because I had heard about a tiny, original pacific village called Mazunte. Hidden inbetween the rocks of the wild shores, I found it: A handful of fishermen, some huts for the tourists where I simply slung my hammock and watched the waves of the ocean crash. I wondered why there were hardly any swimmers until I tried it myself... I don't think I've ever experienced being triple-looped by force of water. In the night, we made a fire, which attracted some "firedancers" (see photo) and I also met some guys who were from a place close tothe capital... After introducing them to CouchSurfing (Imanti & Heitor), they were true Mexicans by taking me all the way up to their city, from which it was a cat's jump to the capital.
The way from the heart of Mexico to Texas went so quickly I can barely remember: The Mexican truck drivers are so friendly that I covered 1100 miles to the to Laredo, TX in 24 hours. When I told them, what I was doing, most were like "Nice idea, here's a few hundred pesos, you need them more than I do." They kept insisting until I accepted. Like I said, incredible.
Hitchhiking in the States was completely different. I have yet to find out what it is that the people are so afraid of. I got kicked out of gas stations, a few hundred people refused my questions quicker than I could pose them every day and I never covered more than a few miles. The country had changed a lot since my last visit. But I eventually got to where I wanted to get to: Berea, Kentucky, a place I hand't seen in half a decade. But right now it's 2 in the morning once again and if I go on like this, I'll never get my body readjusted after the jetlag. So to speed things up a bit (sorry, Tins, more to follow later): It was wonderful seeing my host family again and having fun with old & newfound friends... I fell in love, I fell over drunk, I fell for Pabst Blue Ribbon, I felt great. Good times.
But then all of a sudden my mom decided to visit me and I just said: "But not here! Let's go to Guatemala" - which we then did, rushing through 2000miles, 5 border crossings and seeing more than most backpackers in 3 months down there.
Thanks for reading.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Sorry, no touristy news this time. What is happening in this "democratic country" right now, deserves without doubt the title of this post.
On the 2nd of July the presidential elections were held in Mexico; the left-of-center candidate Andrés Obrador was here on top of the list against Felipe Calderon (currently in charge PAN Party). But around 11pm strange things started to occur - the vote counting machines crashed mysteriously & bang all the computer forecasts for the formerly losing Calderon rocketed upwards. Shouts of fraud and a necessity for re-election from the people and the senate were met by the governments comment that a new election would put shame on the whole election commission. The court of justice (controlled by: PAN) simply stated that "everything seems quite alright".
At the same time, in one of the poorest states of the country, Oaxaca, peaceful protests began: Teachers demanded for better conditions in the schools and better pay (something more than $180). Pacifist demonstrations and sit-ins on the main plaza were part of the city from there on. During all this time of protest not a single shot was heard, not a window was broken. The mayor of Oaxaca then decided to move towards the demonstrators - at 4AM with teargas and the plan to remove the "vagabonds". Thereupon the teachers informed their students what happened, these told their parents and they in return called their friends... Result: Within 5 hours a whole city was on its feet. When the local police saw that this time they would have to cope with a bit more than just 4000 sleepy professors, they suddenly took flight.
Meanwhile, the two public television stations (both controlled by government) began to report about "vandals out of control, who are terrorizing the city center"; according to the official news, they were mostly unemployed & junkies, who wanted to vent their frustrations. But the actual participants included doctors, lawyers, housewives and even children (students of the protesting teachers). Shortly thereafter the police began their work undercover. And this is how I first heard about the beginning civil war: The shooting of IndyMedia-reporter Brad Will - done by the local cops in plain clothing. They wanted to deliver proof and reason to the federal government (in Mexico City), that the situation is now spinning out of control and that people are getting killed (by them, the police!). Thus they legitimized the sending of the National Guard (PFP, Policia Federal Preventiva).
On the secod of November a street battle erupted between the whole population of the city and the national police, armed with teargas, water cannons, firearms, armored trucks and helicopters. And it was only until now, after months of peaceful protest, that people got killed out in the open. Shops got razed. Women raped. Hundreds and hundred of demonstrators disappeared. And it were not the teachers or their sympathizers who made mischief; the police itself in plain clothes created terror in between the people, not to get acquainted with the protesters.
With success. When I arrived in the city in December, I met heavily armed police (which were of course all deaf & dumb) everywhere. But the people were now afraid of losing even more friends and family; I assume it is hard to keep on fighting when your son is held captive without accusation and your husband has simply disappeared. I stayed a weekend with one of the protestants who told me all of this and showed me the videos you see here.
I am not making this up. Let us welcome the Mexican fascism.
You can find more information at IndyMedia (English & Spanish), YouTube & Google.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Then on to Merida, a typically mexican city: Every night there's Mariachis (you know the ones with the bigbig hats and even bigger guitars that come wailing from every mexican movie) playing on every major plaza and on the weekend they just shut down the whole innner town, cafes put their tables out and we strolled through the colonial cobblestone streets, looking for a hammock (which is part of life down here) - then on I went to Uxmal. No words:
The ruins of palenque, surrounded by hundreds of miles of dense, damp, evergreen forest. The same magic overcame me once more, just as it was the fist time I saw a Mayan city: The strange feeling that they are still here. That they are watching with serious and calm determination over their lands from the temple pyramids. They know nothing else, this is their home and they are connected to it like the bromelias to the trees. And I?
I momentarily am in Oaxaca, but the things that are going on here, are -as stupid as that might sound after having made such cheesy rhetorical pictures in past entries- still beyond my abilities to describe them.
But see for yourself.
:::all photos from Chichen Itza, Palenque, Uxmal & waterfalls, I found on the way:::
Sunday, November 26, 2006
One Year. Can't believe it.
The waves break metallic blue out on the reef, the foam being ripped away by the wind. Until they reach the shore, their color will have changed around 40 times, from turquoise to aquamarine to the color of the sky.
When I wake up outside in the morning to the sounds of the sea in my cozy sleeping bag, I first see the sun as a ruby through the clouds. Then the water, which seems to break at the same moment on the whole beach. I look up to the flawless blue and the palms with dozens of coconuts on them. This is what beachlife should be. Wild and natural, soft talking and my guitar are the only things that come from the outside. The sand smoothes everything. The light, the voices, the sleep. Cool and finer than powder.
Here in Tulum, Ruins from which the Mayas of Yucatan probably for the first time ever saw the Galeons of the Spaniards in 1516, I "had to" stay for 6 days until my sprained foot (with 35kg-backpack + Guitar on me, my ankle hit a rock) wasn't as thick as my calf anymore. I slept right on the beach, opened a few coconuts every day, swam a bit, played some guitar with friends... no electricity or warm water, but I could really imagine worse places to get stuck at ;)
Friday, November 03, 2006
After lunch (which for the 54 riders consisted of more beer being passed up to them) we went back and found a cloud covering the whole site... the foreboding screams of the riders that then dashed out of the fog and disappeared into it again to the other side... by now they could barely hold themselves in the saddle. When they started falling off, they simply got trampled under hoof by the rest dragged off. To the indigenous people, a death at the races is a welcome tribute that will do good to the whole community. Some were taken down by crashing into another horse, some fell asleep and then slowly slipped off. At 5PM the whole thing had dissolved into one big mess, the crowd out of their minds, the riders out of their comatose bodies, the few tourists unable to comprehend. They say it goes back to an ancient legend were the Mayans wanted to prove the Spanish Conquistadors that they too could master a horse - and got themselves completely wasted in order to do so. Every man that participates spends the savings of a whole year (around 15000 Quetzales or $2000) on this one day. It is the greatest honor and they know they might die, so they drink the whole night before.
It's experiences and places like these that I travel for. But I can only list the impressions through photos and words here... the experience of the things I encounter is most of the times, well, indescribable. So this blog shall just be that - a record of where I've been, what I've seen and what I've done there. Can't be more than that. Hope you're havin' fun...
:::all 71 pictures from Todos Santos Cuchumatan:::
Friday, October 20, 2006
After I left Flores I hitchhiked down to the 2-3(no one knows)million monster of a City called Guatemala Ciudad... the journey was a typical one: Stick my thumb out and 5 minutes later I find myself riding along the banana groves inside a pickup truck. The driver was friendly (as always) and invited me, when we stopped to eat - the first time I tried to pay my own meal, he humbly refused my offer - when I wanted to do so again a few ours later, I tried a little harder. The result was him speaking firmly: "Look, if you don't let me pay for this, I'm gonna have to kick you out of the car." Every time, the people here are just like that.
I wrote my CouchSurfing-Friend Pampa if I could stay a day or two, seeing what there is to see... even being the biggest metropolis in Central America, it's not much... a few museums, some skyscrapers and that's it - people come here to work, for nothing else. But of course it should all turn out differently...
CouchSurfing being what it is, we all got together right the next day for a night out in Antigua (here are the photos), the former Capital of Guatemala - to party. So there was no sitting on a hotel bed, thinking "Hmm, I am in a city where I know nobody and nothing, what to do now?" - nope, with CouchSurfing it's all straight to the fun =) After having found a bunch of new friends -once again- I started exploring Guatemala City in an a bit unusual way...
The rest of the week I spent with my new friends - fiestas, guitar & everything I have not had in the past 10 months in the jungle: TV, damn good food, nerds, clean streets, ice and rolling down 8-lane streets in a Smart, listening to Emo & the Weakerthans (since 3 years best band in the world for me)...