Blocks of time, Saturday Morning

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

Saturday morning. (goto:0936 CEST for the action bit, goto:1116 CEST for the bit about music, goto:1616 CEST to reach the end ;))

0700 CEST: The alarm clock blares. I slap it quiet. I’ve had a mere five-hour sleep. That’s not enough by my standards.
0709 CEST: The alarm clock reminds me I have to get up. I slap it quiet. It *so* deserves it.
0719 CEST: The alarm clock reminds me I really must get up. I slap it quiet and I get up.
0720 CEST: The backup on precious has finished during the night. That was expected but given the four-hour troubles last night w/ backing up, one can never be sure.
0725 CEST: Must. Have. Coffee. While I was at it, I ate breakfast.
0755 CEST: Must. Take. Shower.
0810 CEST: Unpack some clothes, replace with others, fewer.
0820 CEST: Must. Have. Coffee.
0830 CEST: Chill out in front of Precious.
0850 CEST: Put Precious to sleep and get going. My backpack weighs 6.5 kg (Precious inclusive). I’m leaving for nine days.
0907 CEST: I’m in the car, a little behind schedule; I’m 7 minute late.
0917 CEST: I’ve passed the villages and am now on the speedway.
0925 CEST: I’m now on the motorway. Sped as fast as 160 km/h.
0932 CEST: Take the airport exit. If people had not hogged the left lane at frustratingly low speed, I would have been there much quicker.
0934 CEST: Kiss my Dad goodbye.
0935 CEST: Check flight info on screen: NCE-OSL, check-in zone B. Delayed 11:05. Oh good, I’ll have time for shopping and a coffee.
0936 CEST: The desks in zone B are deserted. People are packing themselves *outside*. Somebody has left their luggage unattended. The security people made the travellers clear zones A, B and C (for good measure), secured a perimeter and brought in the “démineur” ;) He asks whether an announcement has been made. None has been made. Meanwhile people have packed tightly as close as to the perimeter lines as physically possible. The démineur decides the perimeter is not big enough. Security people motion travellers to go further away. What a dense crowd. They’re real slow. Also they’re really close to me. Too *close*. I apologise to two old ladies and pass them to make a quick exit. Outside. Air. Space. I’ll notice when people pour back into the Terminal.
1005 CEST: I’m in line for checking in a tent and a backpack. The line is surprisingly short. In front of me are two guys travelling together. One of them wishes to bring his 12 kilo suitcase onboard. He’s told that the weight limit is 8 kilos. So he opens it. It’s almost empty. I see very little clothes and 5 bottles of wine. The guy takes three bottles out, places them on the floor, closes his suitcase again and places it back on the belt. 9 kilos or so. The Sterling attendant asks him whether he’s carrying bottles. He lies “no”. The attendant yields and nods that he may bring his suitcase with him. Both guys leave, suitcases in one hand, bottles in the other. My turn.
1013 CEST: I’m done, headed through security w/ my purse and Precious.
1016 CEST: Security is out of the way. Must. Have. Coffee. Doh! the cafe’ is closed! Am I cursed or what?
1018 CEST: Oh well, may as well sit in the smoking tank.
1032 CEST: Boarding time.
1044 CEST: I’m on board.
1056 CEST: Boarding is finished.
1100 CEST: Security announcement. Ah, must put Precious to sleep for take-off. ttyl.
1116 CEST: The “fasten you seatbelt” sign has been switched off. I read an article about Sigur Ròs in the Sterling inflight Magazine. It made me think of Amy who made me discover them last January. I find their music really enjoyable and beautiful. The band started in Iceland in 1994 on the same day the singer’s sister, Sigurròs, was born. Sigur Ròs means “victory rose”. They sing in Icelandic and sometimes in Hopelandic, a language which is their own creation. Their music has a way of finding its way into the soul of the listeners rather than appealing to their intellectual and rational conception. (last sentence copied from the interview I just read, naturally). The singer, Jönsi, says “it is nice and inspiring when the audience shows that they like our music, but as long as they are moved by it, then we don’t care whether they faint, fall asleep or react negatively.” The article starts with: “Time stands still when you listen to Sigur Ròs. At least it feels that way. you automatically get a desire to close your eyes and disappear into their sound universe which can be both beautiful, raw, sad, funny, dignified, vulnerable, robust, light, dark, quiet and thundering, but never indifferent and always very fervent”. +1! From the same article, I see they’re playing at the Oslo Spektrum on Tuesday (June 27). I *so* wish I could go. But we’re doing OSL-DUB-OSL on 26-29jun. We’ll see a different singer ;), Wendy Rule, not Icelandic, she’s Australian. Her music too find its way to the soul of the listeners, imo.
1141 CEST: I’m done rambling on music. Peeking outside the window, I see clouds below us. Clouds everywhere. They’re white and fluffy. The pilot tells us we’re soon going to fly over Germany.
1200 CEST: Boy are the babies and infants unhappy today. And loud. There’s a particularly obnoxious kid behind me who kicks in my seat every now and then. Zen… /me fishes out earbuds and listens to Sigur Ròs.
1206 CEST: Sigur Ròs’ music is indeed calming.
1209 CEST: I’m bored!
1225 CEST: More clouds. Those are grey and look almost liquid. Still bored.
1312 CEST: &lt:sigh />… Bored. And hungry. We’ll begin our descent in 15 minutes at the latest. Can’t wait till we *have* descended ;)
1320 CEST: Yay, we’re beginning our descent. 17 degrees Celsius at our destination and partly clouded.
1341 CEST: We’ve landed.
1345 CEST: We’ve taxied to gate 36.
1616 CEST: Found network! (in the meantime, I waited an eternity for the luggage to appear on the belt, took a train a bus and took my shoes off).


Grazie Signore Poggi

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

Italy, Bologna, Hotel Holiday near via dell’Indipendenza. It’s well after midnight. I’m at the window. I light a cigarette and as I place the lighter back in the pack, both escape my clumsy hands –dumb me!– and fall noisily in the corner of the inner courtyard, a few stories below.

This is a roof, really. And it seems there are only windows around it; only one is lit. Alerted by the noise, somebody downstairs looks out their window; I see an arm pushing a shutter wide open.

I have more cigarettes in my backpack. But no spare lighter. I’d prefer to act now. I hope the people in the room downstairs will open their door when I knock. It’s almost 1 am.

“Buona sera, ” I announce when a man opens the door enough to show his face and let the TV sound flow out of the room. “Sono nella camera al terzo piano e le mie sigarette sono cadutte dalla finestra.”

I’m in the room on the third floor and I dropped my cigarettes through the window. He raises his eyebrows and remains quiet.

“E possibile che vado fuori dalla vostra finestra?” I ask while my hand is pointing at myself first and then in the general direction of beyond those walls.

Is it possible for me to go outside through your window? The man remains silent as he nods.

“Grazie!” I thank him as he opens the door to let me in. As I pass him I notice he’s wearing boxer shorts and that’s it.

The room is smaller than mine. There is a woman on the bed. I smile apologetically at her. She looks very perplexed as I cross the room. Below the waist she’s wearing panties, and above, she’s wearing… an open book…

I dash to the window that is already open, sit on the window sill, pivot outside, walk a few steps, pick up my pack of cigarettes and soon I pivot again inside the room. I make sure they see the cigarettes as I re-enter their room.

Not much has changed in the minute it took me. The man is now on the bed, lying next to the woman who hasn’t moved at all. The door is closed.

“Grazie milla, e scusa.” Thanks a lot, and sorry.

One last embarassed smile and I’m out of here.

As I was reliving the event in my own room, I thought of Mister Poggi. He was my Italian teacher at school some fifteen years ago. And I imagined writing him a letter to describe how his lessons had just been useful to me.

visited 15 countries (6%)

[This post originally appeared in Dullicious, where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years.]

map of countries, the one I visited coloured in red

I saw this when I was looking at Chaals’ blog and decided to make my own map. 15 countries visited, 6%.
I am very fortunate to be able to travel.

I should be honest with regard to the map above as there is lots of red in it for very little I have seen. It seems by looking at it that I’ve seen all of the USA, all of China and all of France (and the rest).

Being French I am a little ashamed of the small amount of places I’ve visited. On the other hand, I’ve lived in 10 towns in France (6 over the last 6 years).

I’ve travelled 3 times to Spain, 4 times to Italy, 4 times to Germany, twice to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, once to Geneva, Switzerland, once to Budapest, Hungary (well twice in fact, I went in a scouting mission before the real time ;), I’ve been 6 or 7 times in the UK and I lived a year in Edinburgh when I was 21.

I’ve travelled once to Toronto and twice to Montreal, Canada, to Boston (a few times) and around, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose in the USA. I travelled once to Tokyo, Japan, once to Hong-Kong, China. I travelled once to New-Zealand, last year, for a pretty pretty enjoyable 3-week vacation. We covered about 4800 kilometers from Auckland in the North Island to Wanaka in the South Island and back.