Monday, January 18, 2010

The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. This might be because your phone is made by Fisher-price / Home Sick

For those of you born after 1995, this is called a "rotary dial phone"

What? Who? Where? It's 2010, the rotary dial patent was filed on August 20, 1896, and they stopped making these in 2006, 110 years later.

Wait did someone say 2010? I better rewind, and you can read all about Arnhem Calling at the bottom of this post. Last you saw I was in Ukraine, on my way to Budapest. So here is what happened, get ready to have your worlds rocked:
I arrived safely and was dropped right outside the camp !
TUN-TUN-TUUUUN!

Budapest Winter Camp

What followed was well, Wintercamp. However, since I'd already seen Budapest it was generally just fun to see a lot of familiar faces from all over Europe, like david, whom I'd met in Bucharest, Henri, Linda, Maikel, Trevor (Berlin), Carel, Gijs, and of course my favorite mommy and daddy: Mailys and Ulf!
I also got to meet the famous floh fish, which was quite the experience.

Now the highlight of this meeting would have been the new year's party, which they had planned at the exclusive Citadella, a prime location from which you could see all of Budapest (and it's fireworks!) on a clear night. Except... it was a foggy night, so you couldn't see anything. But that's ok.
The next highlight would have been the labyrinth of Buda.
Mommy and Daddy in the Buda labyrinths

I mean it was pretty cool, though it was only a labyrinth in the metaphorical sense, with a bunch of hallways that reflected the different time periods of Hungary's history, and also a fountain of wine.

Nadia digs it

But man, even that couldn't compete with the amazing extremely special very first snert meeting organized by Maikel at the apartment he was renting. Oh yeah, this is Snert:

You want this shit, man.

Ok, I know I've lied to you guys a lot of times, only to contradict myself two lines later. I promise I'll never do that again.
Expect for now. Maikel's Snert meeting was awesome. It really was, a small group of people just eating something Dutch in the middle of all this cultural activity. Which is exactly why it wasn't the highlight of Budapest Winter Camp. It wasn't part of the Wintercamp as far as I'm concerned. It was just what it was, a great opportunity to have a little island of friends.

So what was really the best thing at Wintercamp? For me it was this moment:
This is what wintercamp really was for me
I don't think, indeed I hope I will never forget this moment. patricio passing around the matte, while a russian woman whose name I do not recall played a song about hitchhiking (in russian). Telling "horror" stories of CouchSurfing. (CouchSurfing stories told on the rhythm of the guitar like a horror story with a (usually positive) twist )

I wish I could give people an idea of what this was really like, but all I can say is: Experience it yourself sometime.

More pictures of Wintercamp


Home sick

A few weeks ago I was reading one of the final chapters of my book "Spraakreisa", a book about the history of the Norwegian language. The chapter was entitled "Roeyk fritt" which translated to "Smoke freely" and dealt with how this is not the same as "Roeykfritt" which means "smokefree" and was the intentional message the bar owner was trying to send. So when I say that I was home sick, please dear readers, make no mistake. This message brought to you by the association for the overcorrection of errors in language. You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled blogpost

After wintercamp I hitchhiked to Prague with Henri, who was very happy when we arrived, since he'd never really put his fate in hitch-hiking before, but once we got our first rides (as it always is) things looked a lot better. at about 9 pm that night we were in our subway to our respective hosts.

Pinar, my host in Prague

After two nights of being quite sick, I decided to take to the road again and head home. I had an easy hitch-hike ahead of me. I was at the gas station at about 9 in the morning so experience had taught me I'd be home before 10 pm. Unfortunately none of my experience had been in winter and at 10 pm I was freezing my ass off at a gas station neat Hannover. It wasn't until 8 in the morning that I was dropped in Zoetermeer, where I could safely get on the bus to Leiden, where my internet had been disconnected because of cash-flow issues. (Damnit!)

Plans once again fluctuated. I was to get the plain to Spain, but the rain in Spain falls mainly on the planes, so when I missed it because I was convinced there would be more trains from Antwerpen ( I can't even stay in the country for 4 days!) to Eindhoven, I had to rethink my schedule.
This is an accurate portrayal of everyday Antwerpen life (Like, fo' reals, yo.)

I had a flight from Barcelona to Madrid I could catch if I hitchhiked there, and initally I considered this. Next day I realized I was hella tired from all the roadside thumbing (yes, I just used the non-word "hella" and I do not care) so that was not happening. Then I considered going to Stockholm for a moment, but after a long discussion with Carel, realized I would potentially not make it back in time for my trip to Berlin.

And this is how I got to attend:

Arnhem Calling

Ring fucking ring, this is Arnhem Calling

I'd met the main organizer and all-round awesome person Sytse (Ben to anyone who is erotically interested in him - or can not pronounce his real name) before at assorted meetings, but he did an exceptional job hosting the majority of people together with his housemate Niels. I missed some of the good stuff (city trip, dinner at his place) but got an awesome Loesje workshop and neat conversation at a semi-crappy Italian place instead.

The part I was most looking forward to was canceled cause of bad weather, but again, people saved the day, in the sense that, since so many great people were there it was totally worth it. (Am I repeating myself guys)

After two days of fun and food, it was time for SERIOUS BUSINESS!

An image from the Ambassador meeting
Oh, oops.

Correction, An image from the ambassador meeting