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November 7: Those little treasures

A bright sun wakes me at 8:30, I do some dishes, play some music on my little computer and continue writing about my beautiful experience. I look at the pharmacy receipts they gave me yesterday and they are so valuable for me. My little treasures. Not that I need proof of my being good (do it yourself: please insert hypens if you cannot read this but as a sign of conceit). It just show me the reality of what I’m doing, the reality I am helping to create, perhaps yes, with a humble birdy pride tickling the hairs on my neck. It feels good, ma nouvelle vie. Can I ever persuade other people to treasure a pharmacy receipt from a Palestinian refugee camp for medications of the poorest families that are forced to live there higher than a bar of gold or truffle oil?

Some would with disdain in their shivering nostrils frown upon me and say “eeh, he’s playing Jesus again” meaning he’s playing hookey from life and that is not good. Others would say “wait a minute, maybe he IS…” (just kidding, no offence). Anyway, I am having the time of my life here, and even I with my sesquipadalian pretentiousness (thanks, Maddy) can’t find words for it.

In Ibrahims room there is a continuous recitation going on, of which I don’t understand a thing. I don’t judge rite and religion, I smile mildly at them and always try to uncover the human face. When I look inside Ibrahims room there is nobody except Ibrahim. It was he was has been saying the loud prayers all morning. I almost cry. I have seen the hole in his throat.

I say goodbye and hold Ibrahim’s hand. After seeing some more of the camp it is time to leave. Ibrahim’s brother takes me to the bus station with his three decades old mercedes. We understand each other, even if we don’t share a common language. A taxi to Damascus is arranged and I dream away during that long ride. Border formalities take up some time as usual and I have to buy a new visa for Syria.
“But they told me it was double entry! So they lied to me! They are not such good muslims then…” some little idiot inside me feels inclined to say. I remember the rugged unshaved Russian man smiling at me and telling me I shouldn’t take these things too seriously. I pay for a new visa and realize that he is right. Easy does it.

In Damascus, I miss my couchsurfer but the friendly staff of the internet café brings me to an affordable hostel. I have a sandwich nearby, take a hot shower, wash my clothes, and I sleep well in the four-person dormitory.

November 7: Those little treasures

A bright sun wakes me at 8:30, I do some dishes, play some music on my little computer and continue writing about my beautiful experience. I look at the pharmacy receipts they gave me yesterday and they are so valuable for me. My little treasures. Not that I need proof of my being good (do it yourself: please insert hypens if you cannot read this but as a sign of conceit). It just show me the reality of what I’m doing, the reality I am helping to create, perhaps yes, with a humble birdy pride tickling the hairs on my neck. It feels good, ma nouvelle vie. Can I ever persuade other people to treasure a pharmacy receipt from a Palestinian refugee camp for medications of the poorest families that are forced to live there higher than a bar of gold or truffle oil?

Some would with disdain in their shivering nostrils frown upon me and say “eeh, he’s playing Jesus again” meaning he’s playing hookey from life and that is not good. Others would say “wait a minute, maybe he IS…” (just kidding, no offence). Anyway, I am having the time of my life here, and even I with my sesquipadalian pretentiousness (thanks, Maddy) can’t find words for it.

In Ibrahims room there is a continuous recitation going on, of which I don’t understand a thing. I don’t judge rite and religion, I smile mildly at them and always try to uncover the human face. When I look inside Ibrahims room there is nobody except Ibrahim. It was he was has been saying the loud prayers all morning. I almost cry. I have seen the hole in his throat.

I say goodbye and hold Ibrahim’s hand. After seeing some more of the camp it is time to leave. Ibrahim’s brother takes me to the bus station with his three decades old mercedes. We understand each other, even if we don’t share a common language. A taxi to Damascus is arranged and I dream away during that long ride. Border formalities take up some time as usual and I have to buy a new visa for Syria.
“But they told me it was double entry! So they lied to me! They are not such good muslims then…” some little idiot inside me feels inclined to say. I remember the rugged unshaved Russian man smiling at me and telling me I shouldn’t take these things too seriously. I pay for a new visa and realize that he is right. Easy does it.

In Damascus, I miss my couchsurfer but the friendly staff of the internet café brings me to an affordable hostel. I have a sandwich nearby, take a hot shower, wash my clothes, and I sleep well in the four-person dormitory.

August 14. A piece of Autobahn.

Another Lituanian truck driver takes me almost all the way through Poland, and I have dinner in a roadside restaurant that accepts visa. A group of friendly English-speaking Poles offers me a ride to Poznan. One of them has just come back from a ten day hike in Spitzbergen, of which he narrates with excitement. There’s something else! Tough terrain, guns for protection against polar bears are obligatory, at least eight hours a day walking. I smile and feel confronted with my own laziness, as you would call it. The guy also tells me about a 14-month Asia trip and I am aware again of this thing that hunts me: that I have never traveled.
I can persuate a Russian guy to take me with him to Berlin. He is on his way to Nürnberg and I am right about my idea that he could use some company. He tells me he has been laid off at some factory as a result of the financial crisis. He has been working as a technical controller or something. He also tells me he has met a girl in Moscow and asks me what I would do. Do you really want to know friendly man in your big German car? It depends on how much I am convinced of that love. I would move to Moscow to be with her. Here I take pride in saying such reckless things. Half the world is governed by the principle of love that doesn’t want to be consumed, couples that deem it wise not to live together, couples that let their career go first. It’s okay for me, but I value a harsh kind of honesty here. I would admit my human weakness and my wish to put something else above my love instead of telling stories about how impossible it is for love to conquer things. I mean, I think a lot of bullshit like I’m on speed, but this one i got right. I can’t stand the way people are bullshittin’ piles of reeking arguments of why something wouldn’t work BUT they keep calling that something the thing they most desire. Because it’s convenient and they want to preserve face or somethin’. They refuse to openly treat their love as part of their knapsack of pragmata, their order of things, it is rather something that has absolute priority, a notion that is so abstract just because it is carefully kept out of the order of things, that it is not convertible and hence everything will do to make up an excuse to procrastinate following the voice of love. It is a convenient language game solution and I think every individual should critically address it in him- or herself. That is what I tell my driver. We get out at a gas station to have a cup of coffee just before the border. And then… German Autobahn! One hour I enjoy the Autobahn with him then I wish him good luck above all in love because compared to love controlling the way metal pins and shanks, wegs, stems, coils, rotors, levers, sockets are assembled is one big pile of bullshit.

August 14. A piece of Autobahn.

Another Lituanian truck driver takes me almost all the way through Poland, and I have dinner in a roadside restaurant that accepts visa. A group of friendly English-speaking Poles offers me a ride to Poznan. One of them has just come back from a ten day hike in Spitzbergen, of which he narrates with excitement. There’s something else! Tough terrain, guns for protection against polar bears are obligatory, at least eight hours a day walking. I smile and feel confronted with my own laziness, as you would call it. The guy also tells me about a 14-month Asia trip and I am aware again of this thing that hunts me: that I have never traveled.
I can persuate a Russian guy to take me with him to Berlin. He is on his way to Nürnberg and I am right about my idea that he could use some company. He tells me he has been laid off at some factory as a result of the financial crisis. He has been working as a technical controller or something. He also tells me he has met a girl in Moscow and asks me what I would do. Do you really want to know friendly man in your big German car? It depends on how much I am convinced of that love. I would move to Moscow to be with her. Here I take pride in saying such reckless things. Half the world is governed by the principle of love that doesn’t want to be consumed, couples that deem it wise not to live together, couples that let their career go first. It’s okay for me, but I value a harsh kind of honesty here. I would admit my human weakness and my wish to put something else above my love instead of telling stories about how impossible it is for love to conquer things. I mean, I think a lot of bullshit like I’m on speed, but this one i got right. I can’t stand the way people are bullshittin’ piles of reeking arguments of why something wouldn’t work BUT they keep calling that something the thing they most desire. Because it’s convenient and they want to preserve face or somethin’. They refuse to openly treat their love as part of their knapsack of pragmata, their order of things, it is rather something that has absolute priority, a notion that is so abstract just because it is carefully kept out of the order of things, that it is not convertible and hence everything will do to make up an excuse to procrastinate following the voice of love. It is a convenient language game solution and I think every individual should critically address it in him- or herself. That is what I tell my driver. We get out at a gas station to have a cup of coffee just before the border. And then… German Autobahn! One hour I enjoy the Autobahn with him then I wish him good luck above all in love because compared to love controlling the way metal pins and shanks, wegs, stems, coils, rotors, levers, sockets are assembled is one big pile of bullshit.

Kirkenes. Writing and a Do-it-yourself Crashcourse Russian.

I started to realize that getting to Russia from here was too easy to let the opportunity pass, and I got the necessary documents. The travel agency provided an “invitation”. So I was invited without knowing anybody in Russia. Well, they knew me, or they knew all they wanted to know about me, and that was of course that I have money. The invitation was slightly under 70€, thanks more to the strong euro than to the Russian hospitality. The embassy sold me a visa, I left my id there and was told to wait until Wednesday.

So I had five more days in the quiet little town of Kirkenes, which I spent writing and learning Russian. Yes, I got hold of a penguin complete course for beginners, which was pretty good because it had the right pace of repetition. Isn´t it amazing that I could just walk in the community library and issue a card? I found so. All free of charge, no strings attached. So I picked up some literature too, to improve my not so vivid English you know from this blog. Actually, I picked Virginia Woolf, Henry Miller and James Joyce, so you know what you can expect here, language-wise. The library also offered internet free of charge, and I finally got my blog up to date (even a little bit ahead of me, since the Ullyses copy still resides on the library shelf (it has on own shelf) as I write.

I write this account in the local cinema by the way, a metropolitan-style big theater with comfy red chairs with cup holders, popcorn, cola, a well-paid employee, and a 50.000€ surround sound system. You just can´t believe it! We are talking about a 3.500 people town in a 10.000 people community here, and they have a (state owned, as you already guessed) movie theater that easily surpassed the standards in Berlin, Paris, London. This reminds me of another nice anecdote about Norway. When Michael Moore shot his documentary “Sicko“, he also produced some footage on Norway, but did not dare to include it in his film because it was just too unbelievable! (if you don´t believe me, go check it out on YouTube). The Norwegians get a full year paid pregnancy leave, everything is provided for, it has the strongest social security system, in short it is the world´s wealthiest country, first on the WHO-list, where the US has a lousy 66th place.
So here I sit in this incredible cinema complex, which includes a small stage and bowling lanes as well, and two brand new apple computers (one of which I am staring at as I write). I met the employee and convinced him of the Cause, that is, of Couch-surfing and I stayed in his really nice apartment. To make myself popular, I said “I am the best pet you ever gonna get”.
My novel grew as well. I write on paper, with a pen (a lengthy stick with blue or black ink flowing out of it´s tip by an ingenious process which makes use of capillary forces that you hold between your index finger and thumb and let travel over a sheet of paper in a suitable angle and towards undiscovered territory of your mind). I am so grateful I can do this right now, and I hope the result of my scribbling will rejoice – you, yes you, dear reader.
On a few nights we went out to a bar. There are four bars in Kirkenes, and they are frequented by the locals, who enjoy each other´s company. It was what I expected here in the North. I remember accidentally putting that black ball in the neighboring hole at the end of a billiard game with Thomas (the new friend I made in the cinema), thereby letting him win and saving my honor.
Thomas could also hook me up with a ticket for the new James Bond movie which they played, so I will go in as some kind of special guest tonight, which will make me feel like Bond himself, the exceptional One, the guy with a big heart, the guy above the law. I will write a review on the movie, and tell you whether or not it gave me the Quantum of Solace it declares in it´s title.