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Archive for September, 2005

It’s not all bad…

Well…its been a while. Various reasons for this 1) No internet at home, 2) Lysistrata, 3) Lack of decent material…

But
here I am, back in the blogging world! I feel the need to update this
page with everything that I have been doing and thinking over the past
two months but to be frank I wouldn’t know where to begin. So, I’ll
keep it simple.

Here’s a poem about nature:

Sketches from the natural world

The canopy rolls, mirroring the clouds
riding wind currents,
plaiting their way between the tropics.

The moist Arden ground
is patterned with leaves that
layer

upon

layer
build seasonal mosaics, a shifting
kaleidoscope, as

dappled

sunlight

sways

across

the

forest floor.

Dead leaves fallen; damp rot on pruned branches
breeding luminous fungi; autumn
is the season of beautiful decay.

An anorexic tree;
uniform rows of shrivelled leaves curled in on themselves
like paralyzed hands,
rippling veins vacuum-packed beneath their dried skin.
They droop,
like sleepy bats clutching an unlikely perch
beneath the sun.

A weed in half-light
Framed by white-washed bricks
becomes the messy hand-print
of a pre-school child.

Satin river, silent as space,
slips over submerged sand dunes
and distorts them beneath
water’s inconsistent camber –

Shattered
pierced by the whine of a dog.

NB:
‘layer/upon/layer’ and ‘dappled/sunlight/sways/across/the/forest floor’
are supposed to be staggered across the page but this editor won’t let
me do it!

Well, its been a long time since I last posted, mainly because I hae no
internet at home and secondly because the production of Lysistrata has
taken over my lafe for the past 5 weeks. It has been

Writing about web page /tleach/entry/abandon_all_hope/

Writing about an entry you don’t have permission to view

Following up to Timo’s Hell test, here are my own scores…

The Dante’s Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell – Limbo!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Level Score
Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Low
Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) High
Level 2 (Lustful) Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous) Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) Low
Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) Very Low
Level 7 (Violent) Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) Moderate
Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) Low

Take the Dante’s Inferno Test

Just to mention, Limbo sounds pretty boring but check out the blurb on it and you may change your mind:

Charon
ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the
brink of grief’s abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow
without torment. You encounter a seven–walled castle, and within those
walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of
reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans,
the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others
unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar,
Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here,
and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

OK, so its all a bit sad but I am happy to spend eternity with some of the greatest minds in history to keep me company!

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Hamburg

Thanks to Joe here are some photos of the Sziget festival for you to check out…

PHOTOS

~ Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all
too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper ~

Well, a summer of travel has come and gone in a flash and I have
learnt a lot, grown a lot, yet come back just as confused and mentally
frustrated as ever.

Although that isnt quite true. After LA I
felt as though there was nothing in the world that could overcome the
sense of self confidence and will power that I was feeling. If the
world was a bowling ball then I was the strongest damn pinn in its way,
the annoying one which wavers but never topples. I felt like I could
deal with anything and the feeling was so strong thta I thought it
would last forever. How naive.

Europe was amazing in terms
of how much capacity I realised I have. If only I could maintain that
level of strength and determination all the time, I could acheive so
much!

Seeing as some of you didn’t recieve the emails I sent out while I was
away and I also didn’t blog anything while I was out there, I though
I’d post up my emails just incase anyone was interested in reading
about my little wanderings…Enjoy!

Gutentag mein freunden!

One day of my trip down and we have blitzed through Hamburg already. Things
are going well, the only mishap being that as soon as we checked the bags
in, I managed to leave the tent by check-in and thats where it stayed! Mum,
Dad – dont worry, its in lost property for when I get back. Anyways apart
from that we are having a great time. Our hostel is in the student part of
Hamburg – a lively part of town with nice bars, cute restaurants, and great
cafes overflowing into the streets. Took us a while to master the U-bahn
(underground) and went back and forth along the same line about 4 times
because we kept missing our stop. Began to think it was a ghost platform
like the one in Harry Potter but we got there in the end! Our hostel room
mates were two Americans David and Michael. Nice guys doing a road trip
through Europe, one of which sang this song when he woke up – Rise and
shine, rise and shine, let the God light in. Guess it makes a positive start
to the day!

The best and worst part of today was taking a “historic” boatride along the
river. It was all in German so we didnt understand a word of it and the
whole trip pretty much consisted of us floating past huge industrial plants
and ocean liners. It was funny for about 20 mins until we realised that that
was ALL there was to the history of the Hamburg docks – modern, filthy
industry. What a way to waste 8.50 euros. We saw a cool church, a few cool
churches actually, and the shopping central. Hamburg at the end of the day
hasn’t got that much to see apart from places to eat – we had some
BRAT-WURST for lunch – so we are off to Berlin now! Should be more to
explore… hopefully we wont be tricked into any more pseudo-“historic”
tours…

More soon!

Love Sholeh

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Berlin

…has been pretty chilled out. we had planned to rush through museums,
tourist sites and generally go mad but when we arrived, exausted from our
rushed self-guided tour of hamburg, all we had the energy for was
collapsing! we have stayed a day longer than expected because to be frank we
like our hostel and havent felt the urge to move on too fast! while we’ve
been here we’ve seen checkpoint charlie,the museum of which primarily
documentedthevarious elaborate escape attempts that occurred whenthe berlin
wall was in place. my favourite was the homemade aeroplane escape- it was
quite a contraption!

we also blitzed (no pun intended) our way round the brandenburg arch, the
berlin cathedral and other tourist sites. but mainly we havestrolled
thestreets,amused by the various erotica museums that seem to crop up all
over the area that wearestaying in, enjoying the cafe scene and the
neoclassical aritechture that surprises you from behind the bland modern
concrete everywhere. basically we’vetaken it all atavery chilled pace.

i think one ofthe best moments here was a group of breakdancers who were
amazing! the beststreet dancers i have seen in a long time, possibly ever,
who were popping and breaking all over the place for a good long while.
mesmerising. today i also fell in love with a punk. she was beautiful, the
moment passed, whatever 🙂

today weare going to move on but havent decided where. weare oignt o walk
into thetrain station and get on a train that sounds like its going
somewhere good 🙂 we’ll see where we end up 🙂

more soon-

love sholeh

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Czech it out

sorry its been so long since my last update, we have either been
lazy or, more often than not, totally exhausted by the time we have got
to our hostel. this email will be devoid of exclamation marks, question
marks, dashes, colons and speech marks because i cant work out how to
use them on these complex czech keyboards, just wanted to let you know
that its not because i have devoid of emotion right now…

since
i last wrote we have made our last german stop in dresden and moved
onto the czech rep. dresden was nice, our hostel was the best we have
been in so far and we learnt how to cheat the european tram system and
havent paid for a ticket since = naughty i know but easy on the budget
nonetheless…we hung out in the historic centre of dresden mostly which
consisted of a cluster of neoclassical buildings with very over the
top bright gold statues and crosses which clashed badly with the plain
stone of the buildings. but hey maybe im being fussy with my
architecture = get over it sho…we climbed the clock tower to get a 360
degree view of the city and on the way up saw a photography exhibition
of the results of the dresden bombing after the war had officially
ended. it was horrendous the damage that was caused, it was basically a
pile of rubble but it also made me realise what an amazing job they
have done restoring it all because the historic centre still looks so
genuine. the 360 view just highlighted the fact that dresden is a
historic centre of a few hundred square feet and then a perfectly drab
city…still we found on of the coolest bars ive ever been to there with
neon walls and a mesmerising fish tank in which there was a fish which
could body pop. no joke, that little fish has some serious rhythm…

so
that was dresden. we hoped on the train, slightly sad that we hadnt
left the time to colditz castle = we had no luck in finding a bus that
would take us there from dresden = we hoped onto a prague headed train
and instead ended up in a beautiful bohemian spa town called karovy
vary. there was a storm brewing as we hurtled through the amazing czech
countryside, rolling green mountains and wonderful mountain villages
tucked away in the valleys…by the time we got to karlovy it was pouring
down, turrential even and by the time we found a hotel we were
drenched. our dramatic drowned rat entrance was not appreciated but
they ot over it and we splashed a bit after realising that karlovy
doesnt have hostels for the budget traveler. while there we went to the
spas and treated ourselves to massage, mineral water baths and jacuzzi
and then spent most of our time lazing about in the sun and wandering
the cobbled streets in awe of the elaborate buildings, all laced with
ornate carvings and pastel colours trimmed with gold. bit like a huge
terrace of dolls houses really. on the last night there we felt like
some shisha and happened to come upon a really nice middle eastern
restaurant which served good food and a rather soapy tasting shisha.
the only problem was the FAT arabs sat next
to us = it was plain that they spent their entire time sat in that
restaurant eating, smoking shisha, playing cards and EATING MORE. ok thats out of my system now…

now
we are just coming to the end of our first full day in prague. our
hostel is actually a primary school which is a hostel in summer to make
money which means there are cute kids pictures and pieces of art all
over the place. bit surreal but different and fun. today we wandered
around until we stumbled into the old town square. we got ripped off
over lunch, paying about the equivalent of 15 euros each for a piddly
hamburger and salad. it almost made me cry handing over the money but
its a lesson learnt = dont eat out in pragues old town centre. simple
really. it really is a beautiful city, not as over the top as karlovy
in its bohemian arcitechture, but magestic. we saw the astrological
clock and the charles bridge where we climbed the watch tower to get a
grander view of the city. unlike dresden, prague is a historic and
magestic whole, not just a cluster of beautiful buildings.

tomoro
we go to prague castle and in the evening we hope to catch a show at
the black image theatre = a company which make very visually
stimulating physical theatre with glow in the dark costumes, video
effects etc in a pitch black space. sounds great, we shall see.

now i must have tea…and maybe eat some watermelon…mmmmm

more soon…lots of LOVE

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Bratislava

…is a grey brown colour. we came here from prague yesterday evening
and we are moving on to the slovakian countryside in about half an
hour.

prague was beautiful and we went to the
castle on our second day there. from its high perch, we got a
phenomenal panoramic view of the city and by chance we got to see the
changing of the guards. not quite the same as the buckingham palace
guards, they wore blue, carried guns that from afar looked more like
flutes, and shifted their eyes nervously whenever anyone went near them
to have photos taken. we also discovered the legend of the prague GOLEM,
a man/monster made out of clay by a certain rabbi Loeb to save the jews
from being accused of a new ritual murder in the year
1580…mysterious……..we also passed by the ‘golden lane’ which was the
prague centre for alchemy in the dark ages.

our
evening entertainment was the famous Black Light Theatre which was
recommended to me by various people. it looked amazing from the
advertisment images- UV illuminated actors and dancers set against a
pitch black background and UV patterns. we ran into a few of these
black light theatres, an alice in wonderland show, a Faust production
and the random show called ‘Fiction’ that we found first. we decided to
go with our first find and sadly it turned out to be a complete
mistake…the show consisted of two astronauts travelling through space
who were a mime act which was a chuckle brothers/ mr bean rip off. it
was embarrassing to watch. in between their little sketches there would
be UV performances by dancers to represent the aliens that they ran
into. some of the dances were good but it was sad that they had to
justify the bizzare shapes andf costumes of the UV performance by
making them into a story about aliens. it would have been great for 7
year olds but not us! we had managed to get front row seats before we
realised that it was audience participation and i got pulled up onto
stage in order to pretend to ‘make children’ with one of the astronauts
behind a curtain! embarassing! it was for them to show an alien what
happens when humans make love. nice. i am sure alice in wonderland
would have been a safer bet…

so now we are in
bratislava…a gruel-coloured city which looked even gloomier under the
thick grey clouds that were blanketing the sky yesterday. the first
thing that happened was that i was shortchanged by a guy selling
chocolate at the station. i gave him a 500 sk note (about a tenner) and
was so tired that i didnt realise him giving me 20 sk change instead of
400! oh well, another lesson learned! im sure he makes a fortune out of
oblivious travellers straight off the train…

we got picket up at the station by people from the ORANGE HOSTEL
and got a free cab over here. the orange hostel is a strange and eerie
place. it is a bit glum despite the bright orange common room and the
free oranges in a basket next to a juicer which miraculously serves
fanta…slovakia- the only country in which fizzy fanta is made from 100%
real oranges…the rest of the building is worryingly similar to a mental
institution…sterile tiled corridors, blank white rooms with paint
peeling, beds held together with string and mysterious lockes fence
gates at the ends of the corridors….but we had a good nights sleep
without being woken by strange wailing noises from forgotten ghosts so
no complaints!

the funniest part of yeatserday was
eating dinner in a chinese restaurant with hilarious menu
translations…the best one we found was for ‘chicken of strange
taste’…mmm tempting…

today we saw bratislava
castle which was simple and showed us a spectacularly strange view of
the city. being a bland city we didnt expect much of a view but it was
actually pretty ok and very distinctly divided up into residential,
commercial and industrial sectors – the commerical sector was actually
amazing to see from high up. it was a sea of high rises that looked
like one large stretch of lego blocks lining the danube river.

a note to sziget people – be bought a tent today in tescos for a bargain equivalent of 20 pounds so no worries.

i have also realised how to use my warwick account again so people can mail me there as well.

moving
onto kosice now from where we can explore some of slovakias stunning
national parks and maybe get to see some cool caves.

more soon…

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Sziget festival YEAH!

hello friends!

sorry i havent written in a while but i have
either been wandering the slovakian countryside or trying to get my
bearings in this huge festival island!

this is also the third time ive written this email – the internet keeps crashing and wiping it out so i may be a bit brief!

slovakia
was wonderful as soon as we left bratislava..but not before we were
fined 35 euros forcheating the tram system…yes its bad but being the
budget travellers that we are we could resist not validating our
tickets and getting away with a few free rides, one free ride too many
though!

we took a train to kosice but never made it there
because a couple we got talking to on the train recommended us getting
off at a place called liptovski mikolas due to our enthusiasm to use
our bargain tesco tent. we found a campsite in a village called
liptovski trnovec and arrived to find that friday night in trnovec is PARTY NIGHT so we didnt sleep too much due to the booming techno trance that was echoing through the campsite…

while
camping we visited the ice caves near trnovec. they were simply
amazing. the caves themselves were an drangy colour and were formed and
moulded into weird and wonderful shapes, holes, stalegtites and
stalegmites. there was a wall with signatures from explorers dating
back to about 1800s and bones that when first discovered were thought
to be dragon bones! but the real forte was the ice…suddenly the walls
around us became ice and huge ice pillars stretched from floor to
celing, looming over us. the largest one was about as tall as a house!
sadly we didnt understand any of the tour because they didnt think it
worth it to give us a private tour for such a small group. aw well…

our
second evening in trnovec was funny and bizzare…funny because we found
some live slivak 80s classics being performed in a local restaurant and
bizzare because the place we went to eat at in the end, the only place
the served food past 10pm, was very posh and we were the only customers
which meant we were being privately serenaded by a fiddle and
accordion. it was great! we also got a private run-down of the menu in
english by the manager veronike and a posh meal for really cheap prices
compared to england! a fat meat platter and gypsy music…the night
couldnt have been better…

arriving in budapest left us with a
mixture of excitement, anticipation and exhaustion. we were too tired
to see the city properly but we did climb to the top of the citadella,
a hill fort in the city, for an amazing view of budapest from above. it
was just stunning. we took a stroll through the shopping central and
finally visited hero square – full of green majestic statues of
hungarian heros – and stumbled upon the hungarian baths.

now
we are at sziget, we randomly met all of our friends within the first
20 minutes of queueing for our tickets and we are camped together is a
great spot not too far from the main stage, theatre tent and various
other amusements like the circus tent! the bands have been wonderful so
far, my favourites being underworld and Daau. more amazing stuff to
come! last night we went to the drum and bass night in the djuice dance
tent and danced ourselves silly, it felt great. tonight i think we will
chill out in the gypsie tent…

ok computer time is running out, but i will keep in contact…

lots of love

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Hello all!

Well, once again its taken me a while
to update you all, but sadly (or maybe you’re relieved lol) this is the
last email you will recieve about Sho’s European summer of 2005! Yes,
I’m back at home now enjoying the luxuries of a sofa to laze about on,
no 9am check-out times and kitchen full of FREE food and the fuss that one generally recieves from parents after being away for a while. Its just great.

Well,
Sziget festival was certainly the higlight of the past month. The long
mornings/afternoons with no pressure to see bands, the time to play
chess/GO, the time to learn how to juggle or do poy or balance on a big
ball at the circus tent, the time to shop and chill out and maybe take
an arabic dance lesson…then came the evenings of brilliant music. The
highlights for me were seeing a crazy Spanish Ska band called SKA-P,
Youssou N’Dour, Underworld, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tinariwen
(check them out, I lovelovelove them) and possibly the happiest music
ever – Mory Kante from Guinea. Oh and dancing wildly to Hungarian Gypsy
music! Basically I’m telling you all that next your GO TO SZIGET 🙂 if you want…

It
only rained on the last night and it rained so bad that our poor tesco
bargain tent got completely drenched and ruined so we just threw it
out. Maybe a tramp will pick it out of the bin and make a comfy home
out of it. Or maybe it will be processed into a baby’s pram…or maybe
not…whatever. We trudged our way off the island and took the subway
striaght to the station. I’d like to say that it was a problem free
journey but the traffic police seemed to be following us around Europe
suspiciously because we were caught again with unvalidated tickets.
This time, I might add, we had bought them intending to validate them
and had simply missed the machines so after a long debate of very
accentuated English and sign language, and two policemen and two random
travellers having their respective arguments with us/the ticket man, we
eventually broke free and jumped on the subway.

The
plan was to train it all the way down to Split, a town on the Croatian
coast, but by the time we arrived at Zagreb, the capital city, I had
developed a nasty flu and we had to get off and find a hostel. I spent
the next day and a half in a lovely hotel room in Zagreb. It had light
green walls and Beech furniture and a grey brown carpet. The next day I
managed to grit my teeth and get to the station, determined to get on
the train to Split, but after a day of waiting around in the station
for the night train, we decided that in all honesty I was too ill/tired
to go and that realistically we didnt have the money to make it through
another ten days on the coast. So that will be another trip another
year. The only adventure we had in Zagreb was trying to find a
laundrette. They seem to be mysterious things for the Croatians because
people either had no idea where to find one, or gave us terribly
misguided directions to it. The Croatians were either very precise in
their directions down to the nearest metre, or so relaxed at it was
impossible to tell where we were supposed to go. So we never did wash
our clothes and the unwashed situation became so bad that at the
airport we actually had a host of flies circling us. Oh dear dear me…

So,
anyway, after a few flight changes and some random nights in various
austrian towns, we eventually flew out of Linz airport yesterday and
touched down in old blighlty very glad to be back…a bit strange to have
everyone speaking English around us…evesdropping was suddenly not about
listening to an incomprehensible language and trying to hear words that
I may recognise…

I feel like I’ve learned a lot,
its the typical thing you hear about one’s travelling experience but I
guess its inevitable when you are adjusting to a new
environment/language/currency almost every day!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the updates and hopefully I’ll see you all in some place or another soon so we can catch up…

Ciao for now…Lots of Love

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