Friday, July 24, 2009

The Past Months: Part 5: There and back again or "Attack of the flaming crotch"

Now, I know you're all begging to find out what this whole "flaming crotch" thing is about, or even where I went and back again, but first I need to relay how I made it back from Poland. I stepped out of my second's host house somewhere around ten in the morning, only to be confused by the bus that would get me to the good gas station, which was next to a big mall by the name of "Auchan", apparently big in various countries, of which my native country, The Netherlands, is not one.

Here I bought a marker and a notebook for writing musical compositions in. This because it's very broad and so perfect for using each 2 pages as one hitchhiking sign! From Wroclaw I originally planned to go to Paris, so my sign said "Zgorzelec" when I left. However, halfway I to the border I met a Dutch driver who figured he could drive me to Deventer, which was not unhandy for me at all, so I decided to abandon the Paris-idea and go pay my rent first, which I was quite a bit behind on.

This is where things got a bit weird, as at the Polish border my driver stopped. I said that actually I could buy a polish banknote here for my wall. He agreed to wait for me as I did that, however when I got back two minutes later he had tossed all my stuff out of the car, and driven off. I can only guess as to his motives as he had seemed like he had had no problem with having me in his car, but all I could do was make a new sign. At this point I was still cool with going in the direction of Paris, aswell as Leiden, so I used the next two pages on my musical notebook to simply spell out "W E S T". About two cars later a lovely couple who were on their way from Moldava, back to Kassel took me about halfway through Germany. A couple of rides later I was near the German/Dutch border when it was getting quite late, when a really friendly young driver offered to put me up for the night and drive me back to the highway next morning. I made it home easily with a few more rides.

So "there and back again", you wonder? It's actually not entirely accurate, it's more like "There, back again, there and back again again." and it refers to Paris. I had hitchhiked to Paris once before, and this had been for my friend Jordan's big goodbye party in the countryside. I met Jordan through CouchSurfing when he organized meetings here in Leiden, because he did some study-related activities at the nearby European Space Agency in Noordwijk, and we've been good friends eversince.

This time a friend from Brazil was going to be in Europe for a few weeks and during one of the Netherlands' biggest CouchSurfing meetings, aswell: The Midsummernight meeting in Utrecht. So I went to pick her up, which of course meant bringing her back aswell.

My friend Natalia with some of her fellow brazilians

Not only her, but also a young lady by the name of Mailys travelled with me back to Utrecht. I had met Mailys at Berlin Beach Camp and found out that by a great coincidence she was hitchhiking here the same day I was.

Midsummernight meeting was absolutely amazing, for us it started with the Midsummernight murder mystery, where teams of "Vatican Detectives" were sent through the city to investigate "witnesses" of which I happened to have been one, on the murder of Pope Adrian, the only in the history of the church to come from Utrecht.

The witnesses: Jonas as the drunk student, Francois as the Bohemian poet, Isa as The drug store assistant, Francien as Corelia Drakenburch, Myself as the fool, Jasper as the priest, and Robbert as Frederic van Oudaen.

You're still thinking about that flaming crotch, aren't you? Soon, my friend, soon all will be revealed, first let's move on to the next part of the meeting, the workshops. The (late) afternoon featured a series of workshops in the giftpark (the usual setting for midsummernight) the only one of which I took part in was the Acrobatics workshop run by Wessel (we'll see him again later in relation to the title of this post). It was great fun climbing on eachother's shoulders and the like.

The Acrobatics workshop

After the workshops it was time for dinner, but since the weather wasn't looking too good we vacated to our bad-weather location by the name of Kangadoor. The team had cooked up amazing and tasty food once again and had spent moor than a day cooking up food for around 80 people. After having my share of this amazing food I helped out with cleaning the kitchen of local bar "Averechts" where the cooking had been done and we managed to get back to the park well in time for... the ceremony.

Just like last year the big concrete circle was the scene of the our hailing the longest day of the year, and again there were all sorts of fire related things, and people playing music, but all went quiet when:

Dingo and his whiteclad group of men and women appeared

Chanting and lighting the fire, they came up, went around in a circle a few times when suddenly, apparently according to ancient tradition Wessel disrobed and jumped over the fire completely naked. There was a lot of cheering and laughing and then it was all over. But wait, it wasn't. There was also the lighting of Wessel's famous lanterns that go high into the sky! The rest of the night consisted of beer, talking laughing and music.

'ells yeah

The next day was a brunch for those who hadn't quite had enough yet, and again it was good food and good atmosphere. This is where "Sean Connery: The Card Game" was born, a yet to be released card game featuring Sean Connery in many roles, and many laughs were had. When it started raining a few of us went back to Jasper & Liza's where we had a good dinner, and Natalia and I met up with my good friend Jonas.

Mmm... Brunch

Now the second there and back again was even crazier, whereas last time I was alone one way, and with three back, now on the way to Paris there were four of us, and two of us back. At the last moment both Jonas, and a lovely Romanian girl, whom by now is my girlfriend, both decided they wanted to Join us to Paris. Of course this meant we had to split up. Gabi and Jonas arrived a few hours before us (among other reasons because we gave them the first ride) and we finally met back up in Paris. There we met some amazingly fun people, and spent the night there, and made it back the next day.

These have been the amazing stories of the past months, and another month or so has passed since these tales, and I will update you on these aswell as soon as possible!

A set of links to people's pictures of Midsummernight

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