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The travel blog begins…

21 December 2009

06:47 am

Frankfurt (airport)

Weather: Snowy airport runways, freezing air, everyone is bundled up like the Michelin Man, except for a few daring/bionic people who are waltzing around in sandals and Tshirts. Proof that aliens exist much?

So it seems now is a good point to start my travel blog. I’m typing it up now but will probably only upload it a few days from now. In an attempt to ramble less and clarify more, I am using footnotes! Marked by asterisks, which are these cute things: ***

I’m pretty shattered. Four hours of sleep don’t really agree with my system, especially when they are combined with crossing over continents and seasons. Seems weird that 24h ago I was in Cape Town, about to go watch Pieter Toerien’s version of Cats, the musical originally put together by Andrew Lloyd Webber (to the poetry of the GREAT T.S.Eliot, Modernist poet, playwright, and general human embodiment of awesome).

Cats was pretty great, though being the snob that I am, I am fortunate enough to be able to compare it with another musical I saw, The Phantom of the Opera, shown in December 2008 in London, at Her Majesty’s Theatre. While Cats was definitely talent-filled, and masterfully crafted and directed, it battled to follow through – it’s a long, long musical, and by the time the interval came around, I was ready to go home. All of the songs were beautifully staged and orchestrated, yet often they dragged on for too long. The narrative was often hard to follow, and if I hadn’t read up on Eliot’s poems before seeing the show, I think I would have been even more lost.

Having said that, the costumes, set and choreography were absolutely breathtaking. To give the appearance of the world through cats’ eyes, the set, which is meant to replicate an old junkyard with everyday objects, had to be built to special scale. For example, an oven, a tennis racket, and a shoe were all specially made to look much bigger than the human-sized cats. I think that’s pretty neat 😀

My Cape Town adventure continued on Sunday when, after a mostly sleepless night thanks to the drunken texts of a misbehaving foo’ of a friend of mine, I met up with two other mates of mine. They’re in a really great band which I’ve had the fun honour of bringing down to Gtown, and so I was pretty stoked (slang: happy, excited) that they let me listen to one of their newly-recorded tracks. So excited for when their album comes out!

They took me to the Observatory Hall where there was an arts n crafts market, and some pretty great ‘Hari Krishna food’, as the boys call it. We met up there briefly with a friend of mine from uni, which was amazing to my mind because there I was, in her hometown, and there we were, with two dudes we’d met when they had toured our university town.

Well, it seems pretty cool to me 😛

After a quick stop at one of the boys’ house to stash up on rugby shorts and a soccer ball, the three of us hit up Newlands Forest! Which is one of my new favourite places in the world 😀

It was so fresh and cool there, with beautiful rays of light stretching out over the trees and shrub… The guys kicked a ball around, while I succeeded mostly in being ‘piggy in the middle’ or whacking the ball into piles of dog poo…

We found a little stream to dip our feet into, again, a really simple thing, but it made me super happy 🙂 We just sat there chatting, tossing this ball among us, because according to one of the guys, that’s what they make insane people in asylums do, as part of their therapy, and yeah, it was soothing 🙂

After that came the smoothies on Long Street, which were amazing! What would I do without food…nom nom nom.  Strawberry and yoghurt smoothie, you rocked my wee world.

And after that it was time to close the suitcases, sit in a taxi, and begin the long-ass journey to Bologna, Italy.  What an amazing lil trip 😀

At time of writing, I’m still not in Italy, in fact we’ve flown right over it and into Germany, because there’s no direct flight from South Africa to Italy. So we are now taking a third flight to go back South (I think? We all know directions are not my strength…) into Northern Italy. It is freezing balls. I mean just look at the picture. I know I’m supposed to oooh and aah. I know. But my balls, metaphorical, Christmas tree ones, whatever, they are gonna freeze.

21 December


Still in Frankfucking Airport

How to piss off the little Italian nomad in her first DAY of travelling:

  1. Let there be snow and ice. Let there be below zero temperatures.
  2. Seat her for 12 hours on a plane, in a stuffy seat for which all the entertainment functions (touch screen, remote, headphones) are half broken
  3. On her next and final flight, delay the plane for two hours.
  4. When you finally allow her to board, park the plane so fucking far from the airport that taking a bus there feels like a small Eurotrip on its own
  5. Only once she is finally seated in the airplane, regret to inform her that the flight has been cancelled due to the airport at the destination not having de-icing fluid for the plane once it’s landed
  6. Wish her Merry Christmas with a German accent
  7. Cancel all other flights to the destination for the day
  8. Delay the bus which is supposed to pick up the passengers, her included, from the airplane
  9. When the bus finally arrives and brings passengers back to the airport, lose communication with the airport controlmen who have keys to open the airport doors
  10. Lock her inside the bus
  11. When you finally unlock the bus doors, leave her stranded in the cold outside locked airport doors
  12. When you eventually find some idiot with airport door keys, disappear and give no further instructions
  13. Stick her parents in a queue for over an hour, in which they stand and wait to be told what the fuck happens next

Fuck Europe, and as for that stereotype of Germans being timeous and organised, what a load of poo! Wilkommen to the land that loves you so much, it fucks you over so you can’t ever leave! Jaa! Jaa, bitchez!

My feet are still a little grassy from running around in the forest with the boys on Sunday morning.

No comment on the lack of clean underwear, or showering facilities.

It’s snowing, it’s cold, and the highlight of my day has been that I found a plug and I can now charge my electronic toys.

My mom has sworn this is the last time we are Eurotripping in winter, I’m keen to agree with her.

I don’t know how it will work to travel in July, which is summer for Italy, and worktime for my dad, but all this schlepping because of the weather is ridiculous, and is only made worse by the inefficiency of the Frankfurt and Bologna airports.

It’s not your fault it’s snowing, but it is your damn fault that you ran out of de-icing liquid for the planes, and that you didn’t know what the fuck to do with a plane-full of passengers!

I have no idea where I’m spending the night – which is cool usually, and can lead to kinky extravaganzas… But not when you’re starting to pass out from decent lack of sleep, and you’re in a foreign country (Now look, I’m cool, but I don’t do German. It could strain my vocal chords and kill my singing voice).

My dad’s got this crazy idea that we’ll fly to wherever in Italy the Germanz can take us, and then he’ll rent a car and drive the rest of the way to my gran’s house.

Note: it is snowing. My dad hasn’t driven European roads in a year. And it is snowing.

In other news, since I have spent the day people-spotting at this airport, I spied on some interesting peoplez.

There was a priest in one of the bookshops, all decked out in his long, black robe thing. He was looking at spiritual books, much to my surprise. I was so tempted to ask Father a couple of questions. But I refrained.

Then earlier today I saw a group of guys dressed in black, with a ton of piercings and studded belts, and metal band T-shirts. For some reason I decided it might be possible that I bump into my friend’s boyfriend, who is a sweet metal-head currently on tour with his band.

So I stared at this bunch of hairy dudes with mad intensity trying to see if I remembered the one photo I’ve seen of this guy.

Unfortunately, no such luck. Though, what I would have done had it actually been him, I don’t know…

Me: Dude! You don’t know me, but I’ve heard all about you! Could I…um… take a photo with you?

The Boyfriend: Erm…

Yeah anyways, it could have been good material for the blog I reckon 😛

And finally I’ve been seeing a ton of tall young lads with freckles, causing me to do some serious double-takes, thinking the summer lovah really did sneak into my suitcase after all 😉

Apart from that, airport life is pretty stale…Babies cry, people fart, even more people hog the coffee machine*, and everyone sits or stands waiting…in this non-place, as De Certeau would call it.

*I have realised that The Second Coming is in Frankfurt, despite all my angsty rants above. They have placed not one but MANY, FREE coffee-serving machines, in the airport. I will make them mine and they shall be called Jesuchinoites.

I’m talking a proper espresso, cappuccino, or even a hot chocolate. For. FREE. GRATUITO. They also have teabags and wasser, which I discovered is German for  water (yes, I actually had to ask someone. Hey. It could have been German wine. Don’t want to mix that with my green tea…). I’ve had about 3 cups of coffee and one of tea thus far. I will soon sell my stomach because I doubt it consists of much more than espresso dregs at this point.

Snow fact:

Well, since it’s everywhere, I may as well tell you guys a bit about it.

Snow is gloriously white up in the mountains, and in the far off untouched parts of the airport runways. However, the snow that is repeatedly run over by cars and people quickly turns grey or brown, and looks like a dirty sludge. The difference between dirty snow and mud is that your toes usually don’t turn blue and fall off when you step into a puddle of mud.

My snow boots are in my suitcase, which is fucknowswhere!

To digress, and on the awesome upside, during the 12 hour plane trip from Cape Town to here, I watched some amazing movies!

Julie & Julia

I loved this movie – it’s about two women’s passion for cooking, and their use of cooking to get them through awkward and difficult times. Meryl Streep is absolutely fabulous in her rendition of the real-life cook Julia Childs.  Amy Adams plays the role of Julie Powell, who dedicates a year of her life in a new city to cooking the recipes of Julia Childs, and blogging her way through this adventure. The play jumps back and forth between the early 50’s and 2002, between the two women’s lives… SO worth watching, and it’s not a chick flick 🙂

Imagine That

This one I watched at about midnight when my brain was starting to dissolve into samp and beans…Actually, it really creeped me out. It’s the one with Eddie Murphy who is a high-power exec divorced man in America, all about the money and status, and he’s got a cute little daughter whom he pretty much discredits or uses. She’s got a supposedly imaginary world which she contacts through her googa, a security blanket.

The story is supposed to show how he shuns her, and is a dismal father, and eventually he begins to interact with her and all is hunky-dory. However, he only begins to pay her attention when he discovers that this imaginary world she accesses is able to provide him with statistics and information which raises his status at his company.

Now all of a sudden they’re chummy and he’s super cute, but at the basis of this is his need to rise in his company, become the top dog, beat his competitor (Mr Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church) and his doped-up-on-Red-Bull 9-year-old son are hilarious. I lolled off my seat and down the plane aisles.) and so on.

So it doesn’t really seem genuine. Even right at the end, this competitiveness doesn’t really disappear. Which I suppose is realistic. But creepy. Ínteresting movie 🙂

(500) Days of Summer

I should not have watched this movie when I did. It was past 2am, my brain had further devolved into pap, I was pining to go back home, and I really did not need smoochy smoochers on a screen 30cm from my face.

But since when have I listened to any advice?

I mean I was even tempted to press the red button on the airplane wall last night, as I queued outside the loo. You know, that big ass dangerous button you are supposed to press when you see terrorists or failing engines.

Actually for all I know it could be a light switch.

How did I get to this?

Right – the movie. Despite my hesitations, I watched it. It was really interestingly made. Is that a word? Now it is, booya.

It had very lovely arty qualities to it, such as starting out with this title of 500 days, and then jumping back and forth between some of these days.

The male protagonist, who has a passion for architecture, lets us explore through his eyes the idea of the cityscape. This theme is developed really well in my opinion, as rough sketches of the cityscape start out in a small notebook, and then make their way onto the architect’s lover’s arm, and finally onto a huge chalkboard wall.

I want me some of that.

The chalkboard wall I mean.

It isn’t your typical boy-meets-girl story, because the boy here actually seems to know what he wants – love –  (so it’s definitely a bit of a fantasy film), and the girl does not believe in lasting love (which makes it a contemporary and interesting film). I won’t spoil the story, but I recommend it if you want to see something a little out of the ordinary but still light hearted.

Also, Regina Spektor is on the soundtrack for this movie! I nearly ululated when I heard “Us” through the opening credits. Ahh yeah, I sang that song as part of my end of year Music recital! **

If I ever make it back to South Africa, I’m hoping the trip back will have great films too. I started watching the Time Traveler’s Wife at 4.30am but it got cut off because we were landing… All 20mins which I watched were pretty cool, though heart-wrenching. I am not in the mood for movies with couples who defy all sorts of challenges. Is there a movie about a woman with lots of cats?

I’m going to go on a little adventure now because I’m tired of sitting. It’s time to go see the bathroom!

Yeah, that’s what we do for fun, us losers stuck in this airport.

It is now 02:22pm and it has stopped snowing, and my parents are still in the queue.

Interwebz is pay as you go, and I cannot pay so I will not go, so I’m afraid I will only be touching base with my interwebz people tomorrow. Who knows. If only I was married to a millionaire with a private jet…

Listening to: The Raconteurs (they are rad! Don’t know how I’d never heard of them before, but a few of their songs sound vaguely familiar)

** Which reminds me, I finally got my Rhodes marks! 3 firsts (above 75%), for Drama,English and French. 67% for Instrumental Music Studies (which includes my Aural Theory mark, for which I probably got -5%) This means a lot of good things! I’m accepted into Third Year (Drama and English only), my parents get a fee discount, and I have beaten my own expectations by getting high marks in such a low time of my life!

Huzzah to the friends, the music, the meds and the coffee that got me through. And no, no thanks to Jesus. I don’t know who that is. More on that when I get a chance to shower and sleep and think peacefully.

One last thought for now – I have seven long nails. My anxiety meds have been packed away in my suitcase since Sunday morning. Keep on keeping on 🙂


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