domingo, 4 de noviembre de 2007

Hoppipolla Part II

I really shouldn't be here tonight, because it's already 1.51 am.
So yalla, I'm giving myself nine minutes.
Just a little something to unload the frenzy. The thrill. The good vibe.
Quick recap of a series of a fortunate events.
I decided in a last-minute decision to accommodate a couple of travelling Israelis.
One must help his people, and all that...
Anyway things started on saturday.

I woke up, later than I aimed for, with more homework than I felt like, and visitors on the way. Sat my ass down to the desk and tried to get my creative mind running.
Got a poster to make for Graphic Design and it's a first for me so bear with yours truly. Sun has been shiny like crazy lately, though it gotten cold. Sunny cold, I can live with that. The whole Spain-weather tactic is starting to pay off. Weather used to be crazy, schizofrenic, as I used to say. One night it rained so hard like it was trying to drown us all, and the next day was such an infinite blue, like a maniac in complete denial. So of course I tend to look at the sky with a suspicious eye now. Anyway, I'm not here to talk about the weather. My guests arrived at 16.00 or so and I hadn't gotten any much work done by then. Just before leaving, I put laundry in the machine, to force myself to just pick them up, say hi, explain that I really can't play 'local guide' today (as much as I want to), and hit back home to hang laundry and more importantly, to get some work done. This Graphic Design project is looming over my head like a dark cloud. I took put on a t-shirt and slippers and hit the street like an australian that won't admit it's time to get the warm coat out the closet. For my defense, the weather looked warmer from the inside of my room. It wasn't. But good enough. I arrive at the station and there they are. I had read a bit about my guests.

Another Tal. Previous hosts wrote eloquently about this fellow. Warm Karma and stuff. We clicked quite immediately and after dropping our bags at the stations locker (almost part of my couchsurfing routine by now), we went to get a little bite at a place called '100 montaditos'. See I haven't explored that much of the city, so this is the one cool place I have to show :) It's a bar where you get a list of 100 mini sandwiches, and you just put a few crosses on the list before handing it back to the waitress. A few minutes later, you're served with a big plate of everyone's choices, plus chips. Extra chips, as I asked for this time, feeling regular customer enough to start making insider's demands to the waitress :) Tal really liked the concept of the bar, while his girlfriend Efrat and I discovered we had a common acquaintance called Hagar. Quite a random coincidence right? Well maybe not as much. There's this theory (it's time I'd check it on wikipedia...), saying that in between two random persons on earth, you only need 6 other people to connect them. That person knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who etc..., and there you go, connecting two random people. So the key number is 6. Except for jews around the world. For which the number is 3. Sounds incredible right? I know, I'll check on it. But still, there you had it, me, this random traveler, we connected. And we didn't even have to look for it. She said 'I knew a girl from belgium... Hagar...'. There you go.
Wow, all whole story already and I'm not even at the first of the last 24 hour's highlights.
So let's move on.

By the third of my montaditos, I realized that I was not going to go home. So we we got and walked further into old town. To the Towers of Valencia. It's a little fort that stands at the top of the old city, overlooking the Turia river now turned parc. I passed by it a few times. The first time, it was with Pascalle and Anna, just discovering town a bit, taking a picture en-passant, maybe. Since then, I passed it a few times, usually using it as a point of reference when entering town. After that, it became a regular on my showing-the-couchsurfer-around tour. Again, first only from outside, then discovering a little room inside is open for visit, then discovering you can actually go up (though it was closed back then). And yesterday, lo and behold, it was open. A sign said 'tickets ->' but as we walked up the stairs, we realized no tickets were to be bought for visiting. So we did. My, the view. Beautiful. That little fort, with higher and higher levels, we reached the top and we overlooked the city's roof. The parc/river on one side. The city on the other. Beautiful. Ok I realize at this point that pictures would be nice. I'll work on it.

Then we walked inside old town again, and I mentioned, en-passant, that a movie by Sigur Ros was shown at the Fnac that evening. I had read it in the god-blessed Guia Urbano. Also, we had talked quite a bit by then. Tal loves music. Like me. And his iPod was recently stolen. Like me. We understood each other. The importance of music. What an iPod can mean, especially while travelling. And we both understood Sigur Ros. So yeah, he was up for it. Awesome, cuz I had read it, thought about checking it out, and then mentally crossed off the idea, when I decided to have guests. But oh what guests! So we walked towards the Fnac, arrived 30 minutes late, and sat down. It was a little room, a few rows of chairs, a projector and a display. And then: a surround system put on 'loud'. Not too loud. But just a bit. Enough for the music to turn into vibration at the right moments. Enough to let the music penetrate you the way only sound waves can. And now, from all sides. Flowing. Sigur Ros. I'm not a huge fan. I am one at moments. And that was definitely one of those moments. I sat down and wondered if I had missed Hoppipolla. In these settings, I had only one prayer, entitled Hoppipolla. The guy behind me did speak english, but did not know what hoppipolla was. So I turned around and hoped for the best. The movie was great, the sound was awesome, I figured you can't have everything. Especially when coming to late. I wondered if Tal's girlfriend was enjoying any of it. Sigur Ros can be a make or break deal. But Sigur Ros on just a bit too loud enough... Every one cries, just for different reasons. And then, I just let go.

And when everything was already so amazing, here came, Hoppi-fucking-(pardon)-Polla. At full speed. And the visuals... a documentary following Sigur Ros as they toured through Iceland, playing for their own people in remote locations. Iceland is one pearl of an island... Oh it was all perfect. For those of you unfamiliar with Hoppipolla, I suggest you do. Also, I'm gonna indulge myself in a recent favourite activity of mine; I'm gonna quote myself. So here goes, taken from a previous blog entitled

Sigur Rós

What is there to say when you're wasting words trying to mean your feelings? When inside it's melody, barely rhythm but unmistakably a will, a force moving outwards not of expression but of being, so powerful that it is, whether spoken or not. You get that in the lower bass spectrum of your lungs and vibration is just another sentence. If you're still hearing music that's just because the volume is not loud enough. Take it up another notch and you might just hear it. No not hear it, sense it through each little hair on your skin. Now you have it. That energy, originally a message but we already threw out the words. Now add the hymn. The hum. The melody. But no words. Not real ones anyways. They'd only be misunderstood. So make up new sounds. Something like a string of light floating and curling, twisting beyond note lines and key chords. The first word of a baby never is 'mama'. It's something else and just because you didn't understand it... well that doesn't mean anything. The sound however meant something. Right before you misinterpreted it in your brain. It meant something, right there in your ear. It was pure. It had hope. You could answer too, if you'd speak hopelandic. The language everyone could speak and no one would understand. Because we forgot there was just sound at first. Unmistakably. Luckily for you, a few guys up in Iceland recorded it as is. It's called Njosnavelin. Star Alfur. And Hoppipolla. And if you think you understood anything, that's just because you didn't turn the volume up loud enough, to deafen your brains and unplug your ears. I hope you hear it too.

Ok, moving on with the story. I realize it's long already. It's also long past 2 am. But here goes.
We went home after the movie and made pasta around midnight. Tal who had worked at Wok2Walk in Amsterdam gently took the lead and cooked a favourite classic of mine: pasta with onion-mushroom-creme sauce. Delicious. I used up my old baguette with some mozarella and tomotoes in the oven for great appetizers as we discussed more music. Then went to sleep.
Woke up the next day with their help (I had already thrown my alarm across the room) and we had breakfast together before them hitting town again, and me back to the start: my desk and homework. They went to the IVAM, the museum of modern art I recommended them. Not that I had really visited it yet, but I had a quick glance, as I walked up its stairs to the conference room where Czech animation films were projected and we had to comment one for the Animation class. I'll skip the pourly productive hours behind my desk and fast forward to their coming back. In between then and the day before, I had already downloaded another hundreds megabytes of Sigur Ros. That band comes to me in temporal frenzies, it seems. In fact, I started getting devoted to finding a live version of Hoppipolla in which the singer ends the song by singing incomprehensible lyrics which sound like his other song's incomprehensible lyrics. Incomprehensibly beautiful. My guests came home and told me they spent the entire day at the IVAM, who turned to be even more amazing than I had guessed by the first look of it. So I'll definitely check it out soon. And then they made Shakshukka, a couchsurfing routine they had developped, of cooking it for their hosts. Except I was Israeli, so I knew it, but that shouldn't stop one from eating it, should it? It's actually the same meal I had made for that Erasmus party where everyone had to (guess...) cook a meal from his home country. And after that great meal (again), we decided to rent a movie. Because Tal also very much liked movies. And we did. Rent Paprika, the japanese animation I had had my eyes on for a while now. The magnificent animation about dreams and reality mixing up in ways only japanese could think of. And create visually. And here I am now. Listening to Sigur Ros. It's 2.30am. Life's good.



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