01 Balam Acab :: welcome 00:00 02 Birdlips :: paper palms 05:02 03 How To Dress Well :: suicide dream 2 (holy other remix) 07:16 04 Grouper :: moving machine 11:50 05 Delia Derbyshire :: nightwalker 16:33 06 Grimes :: beast infection 18:18 07 Asobi Seksu :: trails (holy other remix) 20:32 08 Panda Bear :: scheherezade 24:37 09 Massive Attack vs. Burial :: four walls 28:14 10 Nicolas Jaar :: almost fell (excerpt) 39:46 11 Burial :: stolen dog 40:18 12 Colin Stetson :: fear of the unknown and the blazing sun 46:22 13 Nicolas Jaar :: sunflower 48:50 14 Chromatics :: house of models 49:33 15 Nosaj Thing :: fog (jamie xx remix) 51:30 16 Sun Araw :: heavy deeds (dem hunger cassette shit version) 55:59 17 Mary Kate + Ashley :: halloween song (slowed) 57:57 18 Oneohtrix Point Never :: replica 59:25 19 Sleep ∞ Over :: porcelain hands 1:03:48 20 How I Quit Crack :: wicked game 1:05:30
I took the slow train to somewhere unfamiliar at noon on a Saturday on the first day of October - the seventh month of my stay in Berlin.
Nothing much had changed. My German was still terrible, but the sun was shining. It had cruelly kept itself hidden away during the summer months. The sunshine in Berlin was reclusive and sporadic from June to August - it teased me and taunted me and made me miserable when it would go. The summer in Berlin had been dark and wet. Now I was glad to see the sun shining and I was happy to feel my arms burning as we rolled along the train tracks quickly towards the South.
I was looking out the window — my blurred reflection starred back and I made an awkward exaggerated face. The guy in front of me caught me in the act apparently and returned a frown toward me. I couldn’t understand why but I was used to Germany’s frowns by then and didn’t question them much anymore. These frowny faced Germans I lovingly refer to as Deutsch bags — the German version of a Douche Bag - something you never really strive to be in America.
As I starred out the window, I watched miles upon miles of flat farm land disappear in the distance as we hurled passed. Farm land that seemed like nothingness — never-ending to the casual observer, but to me so full. Little houses and tractors and green fields sprawling across the East German countryside. Green tufts of skinny trees dotted the horizon packed together like mini forests in between great expanses. The mini forests offered an oasis amongst the vast fields that almost seemed like a great sea of barley and wheat or maybe even just weeds.
I was wearing my flower printed dress that Jess left me when she went back to San Diego after being in Berlin for the summer and my hair was in a messy bun plopped a top my head. Looking around, I was on a train with mostly businessmen and families — everyone looked so serious and I felt self conscious for a moment and then like always I talked myself out of it, because what is the point of caring. A few moms and middle aged business men directed frowns at me, but I pretended not to notice and continued to stare out the window. I was getting lost in the fields.
I wondered who lived in those houses beyond the train tracks and beyond the little green mini forests. What kind of people chose to live out there so far from the city? I wanted to know more about them. I imagined they were completely content to be away from the big buildings, fast cars and stuffy cigarette smoke of the city — totally content without the constant tick of the clock. For a moment I was envious of them. I wanted to push open the window and jump out, running towards a new life somewhere beyond my seat on that train — somewhere away from all the chaos and maybe away from myself too but then I remembered that I had run away from the country before and there was a reason I lived in the city.
I was on my way to Prague - a city that always caught my interest but a city that was more of an escape than somewhere I really wanted to be a tourist. I was leaving to leave and there was no real reason except the fact that there was a cheap train there and it left at noon. So I had gotten on it with a bag packed with one change of clothing and two of my favorite books and I left Berlin behind and plummeted south towards the Czech Republic with the promise of cheaper beer, Bohemian nights and time alone to explore in a new place.
Past the open fields of rye and weeds the earth opened up drastically and mountains started sprouting up around us and we continued on towards the Czech border along a beautiful blue river. The ticket man came by and asked me in German to see my ticket, — “Die Fahrkarte bitte” - I showed him and he stamped it stone-faced and serious moving on quickly towards the next row. I pressed my face up to the window and starred at awe at everything we passed by. Everything was so beautiful. I had not enjoyed just sitting and thinking for a long time. It was nice and it was needed.
Around sunset we arrived in Prague and I collected all my things to leave the train. I was alone. I was okay. I took a minute to think about that as I looked once again in the mirror at my reflection — someone entirely different from even a year ago. Someone more grown up. Someone more brave in a way.
I had been alone for seven months in a new country completely different from America and I had made it. I was proud of that. Walking towards the subway that would take me to my hostel I couldn’t help but smile.
“Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”—Helen Keller
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
On my second day in Portugal, it rained; lightly and unenthusiastically at first. I waited for Alberto to pick me up under the shelter of a bus stop overhang near Cais do Sodre on the left bank of the River Tagus that was usually the deepest blue but was grey and foreboding on that day because of the weather.
A few worn out looking, tanned older men were fishing by the shore and didn’t even seem to notice the rain. They were speaking fast tongued tied Portuguese to each other and laughing infectiously. They continued to cast their lines out to the sea.
A cloud quickly swallowed us up and the rain started coming down faster and in buckets. The air was warm and tropical and I felt completely comfortable wearing next to no clothing as my shorts and tiny tank top still clung to my skin and I was sweating despite the rain storm.
A dark and beautiful cocoa kissed woman in high heels rushed by the bus stop along the cobblestone sidewalk that lead to the train station. She slipped dramatically and landed straight onto her elbow as she fell to the ground next to an old cement bird-feeder — she swore in Portuguese and a little blonde girl of 10, with the help of her grandpa, picked her up off of the wet ground.
As the rain fell harder, the fishermen finally pulled in their line and left slowly, drenched from head to toe. One remained — he seemed to be the oldest and most tanned — he looked like a character from an Ernest Hemingway novel come to life. I liked watching him fish because he looked so powerful and everything he did seemed so effortless. He looked so sure of what he was doing because it was so clear that fishing was in his blood. He could have been half fish for all I knew.
A white pigeon landed in the middle of a group of regular pigeons that had congregated around a knocked over trash can by the old bird-feeder where the woman fell. It was almost beautiful, this lone white pigeon — as beautiful as a pigeon can be. All white feathers, unmarred by a lifetime of scavenging. This pigeon strutted past the others and delicately picked at the soggy bread that spilled out the side of the garbage bin.
My stomach growled, I had not eaten since 8:30 am and it was now 1:30 in the afternoon. My breakfast consisted of toast, jelly, butter and two cups of stale coffee — devoured in 5 minutes. I had slept for a sporadic at best four hours the night before due to a snoring dorm mate at my hostel and because of a late night of wandering the streets of Lisbon with Alberto. I was tired and hungry but I was not even that bothered because of how relaxed I was feeling. My life seemed slowed down in Lisbon; the brakes were on and they came screeching to a halt when I landed the day before, but it was needed and it felt good to be totally at ease. I didn’t even mind that it was raining.
The rain finally let up and I noticed Alberto’s car in the distance, he was late but I expected it and anyway he was doing me a big favor by driving me to the beach across the bridge so I had no reason to complain. He smiled and I hopped in the car and we drove to the other side of the Tagus quickly leaving the old man fishing behind as I began my ten day day-dream in Portugal.