Skiing the Swiss Alps: finding God and losing my friends

2/4/09

2:13 P.M.

I am now in Venice. So much has happened since I’ve last written. I’ll do my best to replay.

INTERLAKEN.

Hooters ended up being the place that we frequented most. Fuckin’ Hooters. The girls, well, let’s just say that they were sub-par. So much has happened I’m not sure of the exact order-of-events, but all I know is we skied in The Alps. THE FUCKING ALPS!

GOING OUT.

After much debate, well, argument, between Nicole and I she agreed to go out. I heard about this club called Metro, and had my heart set on going there. I needed to dance, god damn it. We get all gussied up (yeah, I said it) and head out. “You on the guest list? No? You can’t come in.” Fucking bullshit. I run into some American girls and an Aussie guy and ask of their plans. We go on our way to a “rock” bar called High Life. It was kinda dead at first. And a huge sausage-fest. And then, out of the blue, the AGs (American Girls/Aussie Guy) walk in! I was happy ‘cause there was one girl, whose name escapes me at the moment, that I had my eye on. She had nice eyebrows. And glasses. They came and sat down next to us. The AGs, not the eyebrows. The girls were from Boston; in Switzerland on a school trip. The Aussie Guy, Andy, was on vacation with his mom. Cute. Andy and I immediately hit it off. He reminded me a lot of Efren. We talked music (he loves Coltraine), movies, family, spirituality, life…I really felt like he could, under proper circumstances, be a really good friend. He liked ‘Brows too. And she liked him. The girls left, then we left. Andy and I parted ways and had a nice, friendly kiss. He went to fuck ‘Brows. I was jealous.

TO SKI THE ALPS.

The second time I have been skiing my whole life and it was on an Alp. I LOVE LIFE. We bundled up and took a train to the top of the mountain. BEAUTY IS HERE. Began to ski down the alleged “beginner” slope. Bullshit. It was seriously the equivalent of a Black Diamond in the States. It was Nicole’s first time ever skiing and she was rippin’ it up. Cass was moving at a snail’s pace. It was pretty symbolic of the nature of each of our beings. We kept having to stop and wait for her. I fell. And fell again. (I still have bruises.) But did well overall. God, I love skiing. Then the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in, perhaps, my entire life happened…

Nicole and I were way ahead of Cass on the slope. I was in front. I stop to see where Nicole is, turn around at the perfect moment, and watch Nicole literally get eaten by a snow bank. Her skis went in first, followed by her entire body. It was like an old Roadrunner cartoon where the Coyote runs through a brick wall and the outline of his body remains. I laughed for a good fifteen minutes. I laughed ‘til I cried. It felt really good. We finally made our way a little more than halfway down. We stopped to eat. Cass finally caught up. Seriously fantastic hamburger and fries. Or, sorry, “frites.” Cass concluded that she was “done.” Nicole and I pondered re-doing the top half, or continuing down the rest of the massive mountain. The second-half was steeper. She wanted to go back. I wanted to go forth. I won. We had to take some of the hills on our asses – sitting down on our skis. Beginner, my ass. Literally. It was really tough. Then there were obstacles: roads, houses, small children, etc. Tough, indeed. But we made it. At one point I saw a Blackbird in a tree that seemed to be calling to me. I questioned whether or not it was a warning. At the bottom, we were about to leave, and then I suddenly decided that I wanted to try and tackle the opposite side of the mountain. We had an all-day pass and it was only 3:30, and how often am I going to be able to ski in The Alps?! I made the trek alone. Nicole’s shoulder was hurt, and I didn’t mind the solitude.

I reached the top yet again and begun to ski down. The beginning was easy. Not for long. The trail became very narrow and very steep. Death mocked me from four feet away. I stopped frequently to take it all in. The views in The Alps are hard to describe: one can only fathom their power seeing them with her or his own eyes. I truly, literally, felt closer to God.

I did some more ass-skiing and made my way to the stopping point. It was getting late (those trails are HUGE) and I still had to take a train back to the top, only to take another train back to the bottom of the other side. So I waited. Another train wasn’t coming again for 45 minutes. I met a guy at the train stop. His name is Urie and he is from Finland. We chatted. Smoked cigarettes. He had a cool style, and he told me he was in a band. We went inside the little restaurant there and he bought me a café crème [coffee]. We talked. A lot. He was a really nice guy. Finally the train came and we started making our way back down. He got off at the stop before mine to go back to work. I shook his hand. I could tell he wanted a hug. I should’ve hugged him…

I got to the bottom at about 7 P.M. I went searching for Nicole and Cass, as they said they’d wait for me. When I finally realized that they probably left to return the ski equipment by 7, I missed the last train back to where I was staying. I asked the [very rude] info guy about what I could do. “NOTHING! That was the last train! You either walk or sleep here!” Walking was out of the question. I was in ski boots and could feel my swollen shins and ankles bruising as I pondered my predicament. I panned the scene searching for the warmest spot that I could sleep in. There was a hostel about a half-mile down the road, but I had already paid for one in Interlaken, so that was also out of the question. Then, all of the sudden, the man running the train station [not the rude one] asks, “Where are you going?” I tell him. “Only you?” Yes. “OK, my wife will be here in ten minutes and we will give you a ride into town.” I rejoice. “Stay put.” I do.

His wife comes, and they take me to the train station that brings me back to Interlaken. They speak in German about me. I catch a few “Flor-i-da’s” and reaffirm my intuitions that people are inherently good. That man saved me. I never caught his name…

I wait the extra 45 minutes for my train, and rest my achy feet. After the train, I catch a cab back to the hostel. I’m home. I run to my room, change my shoes [heaven], and get some Euros (I didn’t have any Francs) to pay the taxi-man. When I come out, Nicole and Cass are standing there paying for my ride. They rejoice. We go to Hooters. Nicole buys my dinner on account of my being alive, and I recall my day for them over a pitcher of Swiss beer.

What an adventure.

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