Wednesday, April 10, 2013


It's time to head west.

A long time has passed since I have been living in Euskaña*. A long time has passed and I have done a lot of thinking. Maybe too much. I have realized a lot of things about myself, things both good and bad. I've also come to terms with a lot of things that are neither good nor bad, but that occupy more of a gray area, a place that is more human than petty adjectives of qualification can reach to classify.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that there are a lot of thoughts to be had, and maybe there ain't enough time to have all of 'em. You need to choose wisely, or maybe you don't need to choose at all. Just jump right in and let the stream of life take you where it see fit.

Whatever the case, today I've been sitting here in my pink room thinking. As the Basque children go on yelling outside my window, and their parents (or maybe grandparents) go on honking their car horns in protest of the day's newest traffic-related injustice, I've been thinking. After deliberation both careful and reckless, I've decided it's time for me to head west. As so many yanquis have done before me, it's time to pack up the proverbial hobo bindle and hop the next train towards the setting sun. Times have been good here in Iberia, and times have been shit as well. There's been a little of both.

Un poquito de oro y un poquito de mierda. Ya sabéis cómo es.

But after a long and wayward sojourn, it's time to head home, or at least to a place like it. It's been a long while here on the other side of the sea, and perhaps living right next to it - the mighty Atlantic, whatever it might be called here, in whatever language - has only made me want to be back across it even more.

There have been a few times where I've gone and sat our by the water and wondered whether any of the molecules that have washed up passed me were the same molecules that bathed the sands of the homeland back in la USA. I'm no expert man of science, but I'd be willing to bet that a few of those same molecules of H2O and I have crossed paths before. Maybe, right? The world is a great and grand place, but at the same time we inhabit an infinitesimally small part of the physical coil, so I'd be willing to throw a few poker chips down to bet on it. Can't risk losing much, can I?

Some things are tougher to explain than others. When people ask me why I want to go back, it's hard to answer them. I'm not sure there's a real reason for it, although there are a few very mundane, "adult-y responsibility" objectives I could throw out there as a justification. But in the end, I think it's more that I want to find those water molecules that I've been wondering about. And the ones that make up the air, the trees, and sand, and the earth - the one's I've been looking for and have been doing without for the past however-long.

There are particles that I'm missing, parts of me. I want to find them.

It's time to head west.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kraków: sickness and Nowa Huta

I took one too many walking tours outside in the freezing cold in Budapest and Kraków and now I'm lying in my hostel bed with a pretty nasty cold. You know what all grandmas say: let your feet get too cold for too long and you'll end up sick. I should have listened to them. But you know, there are worse fates than feeling a little bit under the weather. Which in this case is a ton of snow and freezing temperatures.

Not cool, man.

It's a cold world.

Maybe this is why I don't feel good: snow and nuclear waste
Today I went and explored the "real" Kraków a little bit: a place called Nowa Huta, or "New Steel Mill" in Polish. This neighborhood was built by the communist regime in Poland after World War II and was supposed to represent the ideal communist neighborhood. That nuclear power plant in the above picture looms over Nowa Huta in the distance. Apparently there used to be lots of statues of Lenin and Stalin, and the central square was called something to do with the Cuban Revolution. However, since the fall of the USSR everything has been renamed.

What's the central square called now?

Yes, it seems that in the former Eastern Bloc Ronald Reagan is seen as a pretty radical dude. And by radical I mean completely non-radical and communism crushing. I saw a big statue of Reagan in Hungary and now this.

Stalin's idea of architectural perfection

Yeah, so while it's not the most gorgeous neighborhood I've ever seen, it's good to see this and learn about how things were back then in the 1950s. It is incredible to realize all of the things we never had to go through, but also to see that those who did have to go through it are pretty much the same as us.

Crazy world.