Archive for the ‘the only-child's guide to backpacking europe.’ Category

I blame Zac Efron

March 11, 2010

2/19/09

in-flight…sometime between noon and 4 P.M. somewhere…

Yesterday I got up and ate my last free hostel breakfast for a while. I put my clothes on and headed to Tate. I ended up going to Tate Britain at first instead of Tate Modern. That one, however, was not free…so I peed and then left. Oh well. I love the tube, and enjoyed the walk anyway. Got to TM and it was awesome. There were a few artists there who I really liked and wrote down some of their work on my pamphlet. I couldn’t get over all of the mixed-media stuff. So inspiring. I was thinking about all of this new stuff I could do. Or would like to do. There were some weird performance-art clips projected on a screen. They overlapped one another to create this really trippy visual. There was one of a man rubbing lip balm on his bare cock for like ten minutes. Then there was a really bloody, gory room that had a disclaimer on the door on the way in. Cool shit. Really fucked up. Overall, I really liked it. Obviously. I definitely fancy TM over the National Gallery.

It’s weird going home. It seemed like an epic journey in a blink. Like the past month is just projected on the back of my eyelids. I left for the trip with the intent to soul-search and find myself. I found that I thought I knew everything about myself, and that I had myself pegged…and now I have no idea of who I really am. I did some things that completely surprised me, and didn’t do others that I thought were a given. I mean, my core values and moral fiber are deeply embedded into my being…but I am always evolving. Always changing. Polishing. Sanding. Polishing again.

What a trip.

What an adventure.

I miss it already. I miss the smell of the tube.

I’m on the plane now…hours and hours…

I gotta go…

High School Musical 3 is coming on.

“The art of life isn’t controlling what happens, which is impossible; it’s using what happens.”

-Gloria Steinem

Advertisements

Six “f*cks” in LDN

March 10, 2010

2/17/09

6-something P.M.

It’s hard to keep my days straight – er, uh, gaily forward – let alone the time.

Saw Wicked last night. A-FUCKING-MAZING. We sat in the 5th or 6th row, but our vision was slightly impeded. It’s alright though, they warned us that may happen. It says “vision may be slightly impeded” on our tickets. Totally worth the 15 Pounds. As soon as it began, my heart was pounding. Nicole was so sick and didn’t talk on the whole tube ride there, but by intermission she was blabbing away! They loved it. I loved it. You could hear their accents in the songs on occasion, but certainly in the speaking parts. The cast was incredible…by far better than the one I saw in Tampa. Glinda, or Ga-linda, changed the word “college” to “uni.” It was awesome.

Got up pretty late today. Went out by myself because the girls were feeling shitty. It was nice to be alone, find things out on my own, be only with my thoughts.

“Be silent unless you have something more important to say than silence.”

Went to the National Gallery. It was FREE! The quote above was from a self-portrait of a prolific painter. Van Eyck, perhaps? Saw a lot more pieces from some Renaissance painters. Quite a lot more. Nothing compared to the Louvre, though. Van Gogh’s Two Crabs was there. I really love his crab stuff. Took a break halfway through for a hot dog. It was the most delicious wiener I’ve ever had. Watched some street performers. People-watched. Was happy. I love LDN.

After the museum, I just went walking. I wanted to get lost and find street art to photograph. No avail. Went to buy some fags at a convenience store SLASH internet cafe. There are a lot of those in Europe. Checked my e-mail…MySpace…found out that Jem and Claire (Aussies that I met in Rome) will be here tomorrow. I really want to see them, but don’t know if I can afford to do anything. I will try my best to see them anyway. I wonder if Katie (the girl who I fucked in an alleyway in Rome) is still with them? Jem told me that Katie fucked a dude on their floor. Whore. Ah, who am I kidding…I’d fuck her again.

Walked around some more…went to Waterstones (a badass bookstore)…took the tube home. Picked up some pitas, falafel and tzatziki sauce for dinner – for under 4 Pounds! Thrifty shopper, eh?

I want a fucking tattoo so bad.

I’ve had to poo all day. It’s so hard to get privacy around these parts.

I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow besides try to meet up with Jem and Claire.

And shave. Must prepare for my friend-with-benefits-person. Too bad she’s on her period. I’ll probably fuck her anyway.

Finishing my pint of Whitbread now. Cheap, but not very good.

I guess I’ll go take a shower and then take The Cute Frenchman up on his offer to smoke a J.

It’s incredibly bittersweet that tomorrow is the last day.

Life ends and begins.

Cod vomit, Tube fit, sight-seeing and other sh*t

March 9, 2010

2/16/09

probably around 3-something P.M.

THE THIRD DAY.

Nicole is sick. Again. Cassidy and I decide to go sight-seeing, and head out for the Tower of London. I realize my credit card is fucked up and become stressed out. I enjoy the Tower anyway. Cool shit. This is where Henry VIII beheaded his wives! How awesome?! We see the Crown Jewels…um, wow…and The Ravens…and walk around for a few hours. We eat at a diner, and I suck up my nerve and order fish ‘n’ chips. I get about halfway through it and realize that, indeed, I hate it. I want to vomit deep-friend Cod all over everything. I am still stressed out about money, so we head back. It rains on the way home to match my gloomy mood. I call Chase credit cards and realize (I’ve “realized” a lot this day) that I’ve hit my limit. Fuck. I was going to get a tattoo in London on the last day to commemorate the trip. That’s out the window now. No shopping either. No Tate Modern. I am almost out of cash and am worried. I get a 69P (pence – like cents) cider beer and chug my sorrows down. I talk to my friend-with-benefits person back home, and she makes me feel better. I get back to the hostel from the payphone and tell Cass about my woes. She insists that we should still try to get cheap tickets for Wicked. We think of other free or cheap things to do. She proves herself to be a really nice girl.

I tell her that I want to take a photo at the Warwick Avenue tube stop because of the Duffy song that I love. She says that she wants to come with me to get off her ass. We take the tube down, I get a pic, and we walk around a bit. That part of town is so cute. We head back and our train suddenly stops. The lights go off. The conductor announces that someone has had a “fit” and has fallen onto the tracks. What the fuck?! We wait. And wait. And fucking wait…

An hour goes by before it is announced that we must get off and walk the tracks to the next station. We do. It was so weird! I wanted to take a piss, but thought that maybe it was bad timing. They give us water at the end of our journey as a sort of consolation prize. We get on another train. And another. And inevitably have to walk home. Cass almost has a nervous breakdown, and I try to talk her out of it. We finally get home. I shower. I sleep. What an adventure.

That night I dream of a cat eating and shitting out rats and my Grandma having to clean it up. What the fuck is up with that?!

TODAY.

Get up. Eat breakfast. More instant coffee. Nicole gives me the money that she owes me and I rejoice. I feel less stressed out about my depleting financial status. I talk to Simon a bit. That dude is awesome. I take a glorious shit. Then Cass and I go to try and get tickets to Wicked. We take the tube down to the Victoria Apollo Theatre. We stand in line. We miss getting front-row seats by two people. We get great seats for 15 Pounds anyway.

Cass and I walk to Buckingham Palace. It’s cool, I guess. We miss the changing of the guard. I take photos. We walk to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Take a photo of Ben at 11:11. We go home for lunch and to get Nicole. We go eat cheap burgers and chips at a place called Mr. Fish. After lunch, Cassidy and I went to Harrod’s. Holy shit, that place is insane. We walk around a little bit and get erections at the sight of all the pretty things. Cass starts to feel achy so we leave.

Now I’m doing this and counting down the moments for Wicked tonight. If only Idina Menzel were here…

Running my mouth around London

March 9, 2010

2/16/09

2-something P.M.

I love London. I really love London.

THE FIRST DAY.

We get in. We get off the Tube at the Lambeth North stop and head to our hostel. I am immediately flushed with excitement and energy which, for the most part, takes away the remorse I feel about the ridiculously long train ride and the 230 Euros (Jesus Christ) I had to pay for the Eurostar (“Chunnel”).

We get to our hostel – “The Bestplace in Waterloo” – and are greeted by a cute blond named Jenny. She shows us to our room. There are twelve people in it. Wow. Hostel life gets back to its true meaning on the last leg of our journey. I trade bunks with a cool Canadian named Simon. He said he didn’t mind taking the very, very, bottom bunk that was like a dungeon. I appreciate it, as I didn’t want to sleep with a stranger’s head in my crotch. We set our stuff down and head down to the pub for a pint. Yes, there’s a pub attached to our hostel. Yes, indeed.

I order a cider and talk to Jenny. She’s off work at this point, so I ask her to play some pool with me. She does. I am doing very well, certainly kicking her ass, until the end when I shoot the eight-ball in. Jeez.

Cassidy, Nicole and I leave our hostel and go down the street to a “Sophisticated” pub. No, really, the pub was called “Sophisticated.” We see someone in the street who may or may not have been hit by a car. Which is kind of ironic seeing as how there are arrows painted in the street indicating which way to look for oncoming traffic.

“Sophisticated” is a little too, well, sophisticated for our nappy backpacking selves at that point, so we head back to our hostel. I flirt with Jenny and drink more. We go out to smoke a cigarette and I start running my mouth as usual. I talk to Jenny about the possibility of her being gay. She isn’t. She becomes visibly turned-off. I feel like a douche.

I meet a couple more people – an Australian guy named Chris, and a cute French guy who lets me smoke weed with him. Then I sleep.

THE SECOND DAY.

We wake up and eat breakfast. Bread with jam, cereal, and instant coffee. Sick. I really do not like instant coffee. Cassidy and I go to do some much-needed laundry. We read trashy magazines while we wait for our clothes to get clean. We get back to the hostel and meet up with some new Canadian friends named Joe and Audrey (or is it Aubrey?). We all decide to go walking, and make our way to Piccadilly Circus. It’s fucking awesome. The Times Square of London. We eat bangers and mash (sausage and potatoes) at a really cool pub. Delicious. We watch some rugby. Then we go walk more.

We walk by the National Gallery and around the city. We are supposed to be going on a pub crawl later that evening, so we go back to get gussied up. I shower and change clothes. We meet up with a bro/sis duo from North Carolina. We all go to the meeting place where the pub crawl was supposed to depart from, but when we get there no one knows what I’m talking about. It sucks.

We head over to another pub for another pint. It is boring and lame. I am disappointed. I want to dance. We finish up there and then head to Soho. We end up at a place called Digress. It’s a really cool place with really cool decor and a really cool vibe. We drink more. I smash my finger in a chair and it bleeds profusely. I flirt with the average-looking American bartender. I dance. I notice a beautiful girl on the dance floor and smile at her. I see her later when I go back up to the bar for a drink. “What’s so funny?” she asks. “Huh?” I question profoundly. “You were laughing…” she says. “Oh no, I was just smiling,” I retort. We talk a bit more. We dance, sort of. I can’t remember her name, but I know that she’s from some sort of Slavic country. I can tell that she’s into me, but she’s too shy to act on it in front of her friends. Apparently her friends are homophobic. Great. I don’t understand why people can’t just be who they are.

I try to strike a deal with her that if I can get all her friends to kiss me then she has to kiss me. She agrees, but assures me that it won’t happen. She was right. I get frustrated. I don’t like not getting what I want. We go home on the tube. I sleep. Alone.

Hand-rolled cigarettes, ham facials and Heidelberg

March 3, 2010

2/11/09

11-something P.M.

The last night in Munich, I go to the pub in the hostel. I play pool with Chris the Swiss and Peter (“Peetah”) the Aussie. Talk to the beautiful bartender, Steffi. She seems happy to see me. The South African girl, Natalie, throws her pussy and hand-rolled cigarettes in my face. I take the cigarettes.

We all go to a pub a few meters down the street. We meet up with Australian Jack Black, who’s gay but won’t admit it. AJB becomes mildly obsessed with me. I talk to Stef some more. Flirt. She tells me she’s not into women, but gives me her e-mail address anyway. We drink. I get drunk. We walk home and witness an almost-fight taking place between Peetah and another guy. Apparently Peetah told this guy that he couldn’t speak German well, and this caused the guy to go all schizo. The guy threw ham in Peetah’s face. Ham. Like lunchmeat. It was awesome. I’ve never seen a hamming before. I think more people should express their frustrations with deli products.

I get home. Send some e-mails. Pass out.

HEIDELBERG.

Get in yesterday. Really cute place. Not much to do. Hostel is scary. Like scary movie scary. There’s only one toilet. And only one shower. Gross. But all the buildings are so quaint and old and gingerbready. Eat a fantastic meal. Drink beer. Interweb. Walk around a little by myself. Masturbate in the room with five other people sleeping there. Cum hard. Sleep hard.

Get up the next day. Shower. Already don’t feel well, and go outside with wet hair anyway. Walk up a steep-ass path to some castle ruins. Take photos. Tell the girls I would wait while they pay to go in to the new part of the castle. My cash is out, and apparently Germany does not except major credit cards. Think I will be waiting about twenty minutes. End up waiting two hours. Freeze my ass off. Fight off hypothermia.

The girls finally return, and we all go to eat. Finally have a doner kebab. Not exactly what I want, but delicious nonetheless. Nap time.

Have more bad dreams. I feel like there’s a lot of negative energy in this place. All the dreams that I’ve had here have been bad: zombies, stabbing people, breaking little kids’ legs because I accidentally fall on them, fighting with Nicole and Cass about London…weird shit.

I wake up from my crappy nap and take a walk to Philosopher’s Bridge. Take some more photos. Come back and eat potato soup.

Now I have gas. Can’t wait for London.

Work will set you free to rock the mic

February 19, 2010

2/9/09

The re-cap began at around 7 P.M.

DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP.

“Work will set you free.” That’s what it said in German on the big iron gate that led into the camp. “Hate will strip you of your identity, rip your family apart, work you to death, starve you, beat you, kill you,” sounds more appropriate. It was a seriously heavy morning.

Gorden enlightened all of us with his genius, slightly long-winded ways. But really – how could one condense such subject-matter into a four-hour tour? Fuck Hugo Boss, BMW, and Henry Ford, by the way. Boss designed the god damn Nazi uniforms. And apparently those men were like fucking rock stars. It makes me ill.

Then there were the Extermination, excuse me, “Disinfection” showers. 150 men willingly enter a shower to unknowingly get gassed to death. There wasn’t even working plumbing. It was all a front. The heaviness was palpable in there. One man posed while his wife took a photo of him in the shower. He was doing the “thumbs-up.” I wanted to punch both of them in the face.

It snowed that day. Just as Nicole hoped. It was eerie. And depressing. And informative. And fascinating. And hopeful. We saw a statue at the end of the tour of the “anyone” prisoner – not Jewish, or Catholic, or gay – none, and all, at once. The plaque at the end read “This is to honor the dead, and to warn the living” in German.

What a day.

Nicole thought she found her “soulmate” in Gordon. He was gonna meet us up for a drink. When he came, she ran and hid. It was probably for the best. It was also hilarious.

GERMAN/AUSTRALIAN/IRISH KARAOKE.

By the end of the day I was exhausted and had a splitting headache on account of the wicked hangover. I tried to take a nap when I got home, but I was woken up by Brian. Who’s name is Sean. The weird alien guy. His name is both Sean and Brian. Maybe Brian Sean or Sean Brian. Whatever. After I came in from booking a flight and getting an e-mail from “Heidi” – whose name is really Sandra – BriSean told me he wanted to go to karaoke. Well, what sane person can resist that?! I got up and got my ass in the shower. We all walk to the Australian/Irish pub. We get a great seat before it gets packed. After two drinks my headache is gone and I feel great. I sing “Beat It” and it was so-so, and then sing “Valerie” and fucking rock. It was so much fun. I meet a beautiful girl named Lullu who won’t kiss me on the “first date.” I like her more for that. We go home. I sleep. Hard.

Today has just been a chill out day. And a good hair day. And an “Oh fuck, I got my period” day. And then an “Oh, phew, at least I won’t have it when I get home to see my friend-with-benefits person” day. Ate some glorious Thai food. Couldn’t handle any more kraut today. It briefly snowed again. I was on the Interweb a lot. Saw a tagged photo from MySpace of my friend-with-benefits person and some dude was full-on grabbing her tits. It made me burn a little inside. Talked to another friend on Gmail chat. Told her that I’m famous in Germany now, and that she should be honored that I’m even speaking to a common person like herself.

Heidelberg tomorrow. It’s a swishy-pants day.

Sexy salt, sexy time, and sexy boots

February 19, 2010

2/9/09

7-ish P.M.

AUSTRIA.

Salzburg. We stayed in a really nice hostel. The first night, we went out to dinner and I had my first wienershnitzel. Battered and fried turkey. Not great. Gave me gas. Drank a beer that tasted like acetone. It was a cool restaurant, though. It was in a big, performance hall-type place. Cool decor. The next day we went on The Sound of Music Tour and to the Salt Mines. The SOMT was cool. Met a nice girl. Ate a nice pastry. Nothing overwhelmingly exciting. The Salt Mines tour was much more happenin’. Had to cover our clothes with this KKK-like ensemble. We took a ride on a little mine-kart-train-thing into the deep underground. Learned about the history and importance of salt from the Celts and on. Pretty fascinating shit. Slid down a fun slide. Thought I got a splinter in my ass. Rode a boat through the 10 cm deep “Salt River.” They played this weird ethereal music and there were lights everywhere. Who knew salt was so erotic? That place is definitely haunted. Took pics. Orbs everywhere. After the tour, our driver took us to this place that was completely flat, surrounded by huge snow-covered mountains. I felt very small. Saw Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. Met a girl, Paulina, in our hostel and went to a beer hall with her. Taught her the Area Code Game*. Drank huge beers and ate dumplings. Delicious. Took the train to Germany the next day.

DEUTSCHLAND.

First of all, I love Munich. When we first arrived, we met this weirdo alien-lookin’ guy named Sean. He wanted to drive us to a castle. We declined. Then we met our roommate, Noah, a hot Jew from NY. Cool dude. I really wanted to go to a gay bar. Apparently Sean overheard this and came to our room…he’s gay. I suppose that explains some of his eccentricity. We end up going with him to this big Carnival party at a gay club. We can’t get in ’cause it’s too crowded. I hear “It’s Raining Men” bumping inside and become jealous of the club-goers. Sometimes a girl just needs to high-kick. After standing in line for a LONG time in the cold, we say fuck it. We go to another lil’ underground place, Carmen’s Room. At first it was kinda dead. I drink beer and eat delicious peanut butter puff snacks. The crowd would soon roll in.

They do.

I drink.

And dance.

And drink. And dance. I go to the WC and meet a hot 32-year-old woman  named Heidi. I go back and talk to her. And drink. And dance. Her older, Stone Butch Blues-esque friend encourages us to kiss. We do. She was a little too uptight to be “alley-worthy.” This discourages and disinterests me.

I eye-fuck another girl as I’m walking out of the club. I’m almost out the door when I feel someone tug on my arm. It was eye-fuck girl. We drink. And dance. I ask her if she wants to “go somewhere…” We do. Alley #2. Well, it was more like behind a building. I make her cum. God, I love to fuck.

Eye-fuck girl, whose name I also thought was Heidi, had to catch a train at 5:30 A.M. We try to catch a cab back to my place and end up at the train station because no one, including myself, knew where Wombat’s Hostel was (awesome hostel – definite favorite so far). After asking for help for like an hour, drunkenly eating pizza, and having “Heidi” translate German for me, I finally find out that the hostel is literally a block away. Actually less. I feel like a big drunk buffoon. “Heidi” walks back with me and decides to nap with me in my top bunk for 20 minutes until it’s time for her to board her train. “Hey baby, wanna climb up on my bunk?” Classy.

She ends up blowing off her train and sleeps with me until I have to wake up to take a tour of Dachau. At this point, I’ve had less than seven hours of sleep in two days: there was a laundry fiasco the night before in Salzburg that kept me up, and then the alley situation. I am exhausted, but am in no way gonna miss Dachau. “Heidi” gets up and walks to the station with us. She has to wait45 minutes for the train. I feel bad, but gotta go. I kiss her goodbye.

We meet up with our tour guide, Gordon, and embark on the tour. Even within the first ten minutes on the train, you could tell he was brilliant. And he had on “sexy boots.” That’s what he called them.

*Area Code Game: a rating system where the first number, 0-9, would rate the face of the person whom one is rating. The second number – 0 for no; 1 for yes – determines whether or not one would bang the person whom she or he is rating. The third number, again, 0-9, rates the body of the person whom one is rating. So, in all actuality, a 919 is the best area code one may get.

Crawlin’ to Italian pubs and sexin’ in Italian alleys

January 16, 2010

2/4/09

It began at 2:13 P.M. Again, it’s probably much later by now.

SPANISH STEPS PUB CRAWL.

We – me, Nicole, Cassidy, and Alex, a guy we met in Interlaken that came back to visit – met at the Spanish Steps with the rest of the crawlers. I immediately notice two girls doing a little foot-tapping dance that I decide I must learn right away. “Teach me that!” I say.

They do.

Jem (short for Jemima) and Claire. Aussies. Nurses. Best friends. We immediately click and begin the crawl. In the first bar, everyone is getting comfortable with one another. I hang out with my new BFFs and also meet another Aussie girl named Katie. She approaches me. We talk. She tells me of her twin sister who has been on her death-bed for four years; I tell her of my dead mother. We bond. I ask her if there are any gay girls on her trip (all the Aussies came together) and she says no. We go to the next bar. Drink. Dance. I stand in line behind Katie in the bathroom. She touches my hands and rubs my arms. We kiss. Men take pics of us. I don’t really care. She’s adorable, but not the greatest kiss I’ve ever had. I go back and dance with Jem and Claire. They warn me against Katie. I don’t listen. A Canadian guy tries to trade me a lame T-shirt for my awesome hoodie. I laugh in his face.

Katie and I decide that we should have some alone time and find a romantic place in a Roman alleyway. I fuck her. I lay my Pub Crawl shirt down on the ground for her to lie on. We stand anyway. I fuck her some more. My shirt now smells like bum piss for no reason. I ask her to come home with me. She wants to. I flag a cab and the driver didn’t know where my hostel was. Katie changes her mind. I go inside and Jem and Claire write their e-mail addresses on my arms. I try to elicit a triple-kiss. They opt against it “’cause you’re a playa!” as Jem says. I love Jem. She looks like Lily Allen. I don’t want to fuck her, but I like her. I think I’ll see them in London. I hope.

I take a drunken cab ride home alone and the driver gives me cigarettes. I appreciate it, as I’ve chain-smoked all of mine throughout the night. I find my way up to the room where Nicole and Cass are. I exclaim “I LOVE LIFE!”, and pass the fuck out.

VENICE.

The scenery on the train ride from Rome to Venice was incredible. During the ride, I read Into the Wild from cover to cover. Really good book. Changes one’s thinking. There was a guy on one of the train rides that kept walking up and down the aisles offering sandwiches and water – “Panini/aqua” he would say, almost in the form of a question. Anyway, he was back. I was happy to see him.

The hostel in Venice is nice. Not the one that we booked, but nice nonetheless. I want to put Venice in my pocket. It’s so cute. And quaint. And there are dogs everywhere. And canals. And I love it.

I’ve had the day to myself today. It’s been really nice. Wrote a lot of this outside at a restaurant – drinking strong Italian beer. I walked around, people-watched, took photos, and ended up inside a different restaurant because I got cold. Meeting the girls at 5 for dinner. Great trip. Great day. Smoking Salems.

Can’t wait for a Marlboro Smooth.

Viva Italia.

Rome: history, history, homosexuality

January 16, 2010

2/4/09

It began at 2:13 P.M. Again, it’s probably much later by now.

ROME.

Rome is magnificent. The buildings look fake. They’re so old and historic and have such architectural detail. We arrive and make our way to our next hostel. On the walk, I immediately notice the style that Italians emanate. Every single person looks like they could’ve stepped out of a magazine centerfold. Everyone also smokes. Thank God. And although everyone smokes, it’s surprisingly hard to find cigarettes. Follow the booze, I learned. They sell ‘em in bars. Our hostel is beautiful. Just us three in a room – bathroom, TV, fabulous view – I realize I’m getting spoiled. We eat the most amazing meal, drink the most amazing wine, I get fat, and call it a night.

The next day we go to the Colosseum, see some Roman ruins, Caesar’s Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. The city, in itself, is a historical site. There are ancient ruins next to trendy cafés, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine where I stood thousands of years ago. It really is beautiful. The Colosseum is quite a sight of a site. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the happenings of that place. But really, B.C. B-fucking-C. Wow. It makes American history look incredibly insignificant. We eat paninis. Nicole eats three. I establish my addiction. That night we go to a gay bar. We research one that looks promising and take a taxi. Turns out to be a “men’s club,” but the guy at the door is American, and superbly sweet, and tells us of one where the girlies reside.

Coming Out. We make the ten-minute walk and my heart warms at the sight of rainbow flags. We get a few drinks and get comfy at a table. No dance floor, which sucked; but girl-loving girls, which didn’t. I drink gin & tonic, play “Never Have I Ever” with my friends, and people-watch. A cute dyke on a bike makes googley-eyes at me ‘til I finally approach her an hour later. She speaks Italian. I speak English. She calls her friend over to interpret and we exchange e-mail addresses. She still speaks Italian. I still speak English. I realize it’s a lost cause. We go home.

ROME II.

We go to Vatican City. Again, I struggle to keep my flesh attached to my bones. St. Peter’s Basilica is something else. There were, literally, dead Popes out for viewing pleasure. Nicole informs me that in the Catholic faith, it is determined whether or not one is a saint depending on if the flesh decays post-mortem. There were many-a shriveled grey dude, but no skeletons. I conclude that they’ve been pumped with massive amounts of chemicals and formaldehyde, and have brilliant make-up jobs. I further conclude that it’s a conspiracy to keep the Church in power, and the common-person down. I take pictures anyway.

SISTINE CHAPEL.

Wow. There are no words to describe. I looked up for what seemed like days. It’s beautiful, yet even when you’re looking directly at it, you feel like you’re not. I stared at the ceiling tile of  “God” touching Adam for a good twenty minutes. Beauty and bullshit in one. My soul was in a juxta-position. Nothing that alcohol couldn’t fix. The Pub Crawl awaits…

Skiing the Swiss Alps: finding God and losing my friends

January 12, 2010

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.