Tuesday, March 07, 2006

back in madrid (after maastricht, after cologne)

well, for sure you never knew that i left to start with. well, i did, last wednesday. jetted off to Maastricht, and returned yesterday. friday i had the good fortune of hopping along to Cologne /Köln /Colonia, and discovered another urban space.

i like the ambience of Cologne. Though I know a fair number of Germans, I´d never been to Germany before, and the people, por lo general, were not as (uptight) as i had imagined. well, i know i can be particularly uptight myself at times (though Spain is getting me to lighten up), so that statement is relative.

i absolutely must mention that in taking the train from Aachen to Cologne, just as the train left the station I dived into my backpack to nibble the snack i´d gotten on one of the KLM flights, and felt almost guilty when chewing since it felt that i was making a lot of noise masticating, since i´d realised that the train was just so super-quiet.
my thought then: i am so obviously not on a train in Spain (because at least one voice would be audible then).

today i am physically exhausted and feeling mentally tired; doing what´s required, and yet somehow excitedly absorbed in my own world: did laundry early-morning; took forever to unpack my bag but eventually did; was glad to be back and have a long-ish lunch Madrid-style; got my head around the material for the afternoon´s classes; and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the book i´d bought on saturday, titled: Placing words: Symbols, Space, and the City, by William J. Mitchell while on the metro when coming over to the university. the book is peppered with insights on the intersection of digi-life and urban spaces, and a simple thrill to read.

It strikes me now that this visit was a mixture of firsts: On any one trip I always buy at least one book in the airport (I didn´t this time); whenever in the vicinity of a body of water (ocean, river) I take a pebble with me (I didn´t this time); I left my toothbrush behind in Cologne (I haven´t ever in all my life left a toothbrush on a trip); and experienced my first snow storm ever.

The first time I touched snow was in the Boland, outside Cape Town, in August 2003. The first time I experienced snowfall was Canary Wharf, London over Xmas 2005. And my first snow storm whilst walking on the old city defence wall in Maastricht, on Thursday 2 March 2006.

I will write later about the Halfautomatische Troostmachine de Maastricht (in Afr: die half-outomatiese troosmasjien; in Eng: the semi-automatic consolation machine).


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