Trip Start Feb 15, 2007
29Trip End Jul 17, 2007
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The first night was spent in València, where the party felt a lot like carnaval in Brazil, much more than the actual carnaval party that I had in Guimarães, mostly for two reasons: it was a lot hotter in Valencia this time than it had been in Guimarães for the carnaval (so people could go to the streets) and there were some parades. Of course a lot different from the traditional carnaval parades in Brazil, but the overall feel was the same. I loved to watch people pass by in various costumes, to the sound of various kinds of music (Spanish and non-Spanish). I especially liked the bagpipers and later some pirates that came dancing with flaming swords to the sound of a superb song (which, as later I learned from one of them, was performed by a traditional basque group that I like - and I had thought I would never hear that song again). After seeing a parade, we walked around the town to se the fallas, (huge sculptures that they erect all around the towns and in the last day of party are burned) but it was impossible to keep up with the people. I was talking to Betuca and, as he stopped for a moment to take a picture, we got lost and only met the people again in our sleeping place, a gym in Algemesí. The two subsequent days went at about the same pace, one in Algemesí and the other in Alzira.
Then I had to leave, before the end of the party because I didn't know it would last until Monday and scheduled my flight to Portugal accordingly, and it was very hard to part with the people. Some of my happiest moments in the past 12 months have been due to the hospitality club, and it is quite easy to explain why - in parties like these there are so many people from so many different parts of the world that they become a huge exercise in understanding other peoples, places, languages and cultures. What is there in Guatemala? People in Brazil don't ever think about Central America. And what about Indonesia? Its language has many words that were borrowed from Portuguese. Who knows it? And who cares? These meetings have a heavy potential as eye-openers and, as my favourite quote goes (thanks a lot to Phoebe for unwillingly introducing me to it), to live means to be aware - I feel definitely much more alive after a meeting like this. And then there comes the backlash - when traveling and meeting are over, what is there to do? After even as much as a glimpse of sunlight, it seems impossible to go back to the cave and watch the shadows again.
Such a time reminds me a lot of Nadiya, the Ukrainian girl who hosted me in Oslo after I was forgotten by my Norwegian host. I vividly remember her saying at our farewell that rather than being sad at the parting, people should be happy for the (however little) time they had to enjoy. It is such a cliché, yet said by the right person at the right time it did have an effect. The net result is that I am very much confused about my future possibilities, new plans sprout from nowhere at every turn. I kind of like to keep my future in that state, though.