Monday, 5 July 2010

From when I went to Madrid


It's rather difficult to travel with other people. Everyone is on the lookout for different things. Some people walk faster than others. Some people stop to take pictures of houses or signs or old men buying cigarettes without telling other people. Some people want to see all the great sights, some want to go to clubs, some want to go shopping. What I like best is to walk around in parts of the city that aren't that special, side streets, supermarkets, anythings. Clifford Geertz (I'm a bit impressed by his essays, they just seem so relevant to where I am study-wise right now) of course has something so say about this: "It renders them accesible: setting them in the frame of their own banalities, it dissolves their opacity." Now even though Geertz is talking about Marocco or Indonesia, even Lower Austria can be a strange place to me. And I like to blend it, to see what it would be like to live in a place permanently, to be more than a visitor.
Or maybe it's that "taste for boredom and inaction" which Francis Wyndham - whose work I can't praise enough, do yourself a favour and read The Complete Fiction - writes about so well.

When I was in Ohrid, I couldn't stand the group dynamics any more. Groups don't really work well for me because the decision-making-process just takes way too long to be bearable. So I went to a supermarket and bought some fruit, had an interesting English-Macedonian conversation with the lady in the bakery about what food to buy (I just love bakeries), then sat down at the main square next to an old man. The World Cup was already in full swing and every café had placed its TV on the square. So I watched the game, happily eating my pastries. Most of the men seemed to root for the USA and I was the only one who swore when the English keeper turned out to be incapable of catching a ball. It was one of the best nights of the whole trip.


  1. I like how you perfectly worded my thoughts about grouptravelling. And one day I will read those works you mentioned.
    And I like that photograph.

  2. I agree - often taking the sidestreets and seeing the bizarre shops and people native to the city is so much more memorable than the sightseeing parts of a trip.