26 Apr 2012

°Brand new°

I feel strangely positively optimistic today. And no, I have no vague idea what's causing it. I may as well just go and say - I'm happy and I have no reason for that, I'm afraid. Sue me, if you wish.

And no, I still don't have a job. And no, I still don't have an exact topic for my thesis. And even though my meeting with my professor is already tomorrow, I am in no position to kick myself hard in a soft place so I could work hard on the topic. It will come. I have my faith in me. Or in my professor.

Still, I'm optimistic and positive. I smile and I laugh and people look at me as if I was some sort of a psycho. But I'm not crazy. My mom had me tested.

I made several new things today. I learned something today. I did one thing that scares me today.

I think I'm good.

The rest will follow [just like a shadow or my invisible friends]

14 Apr 2012

°Never mind°

And since we are officially not travelling anymore [and by we I mean me, Steffany, Batman, all the rest plus all of my invisible friends], the day-to-day entries are officially over as well.

So once back in Kaunas I had a lot of things on my hands. I had my appointments with my dentist and my hair-dresser. I had to make sure the authorities are not going to make me pay the taxes I should not pay, going to other authorities and of course, of course, meeting all of my friends that I want to meet and I don’t have a lot of time for that.

Everything was going pretty smooth and even though I did not have a chance to meet some of my friends that I wanted and needed, I met all the rest. I met Wycka on Tuesday for one-too-many beers in the afternoon, I met Laima for our girly-conversation. I met others too, we crashed several bars, we danced, we enjoyed ourselves. I even managed to meet a friend with whom we have an interesting friendship [started weird, that it is still continued is even weirder] and then later on met for a milk-cocktail and all.

On Friday, or day to be exact, I started early since me and my sister we had this thing we had to take care of. After that – alumni meeting of my university, then meeting two of my friends, then running  into Wycka for several minutes and after a little break back at my mom’s place with warm food and all, once again – first Laima, then Kęstas and before I knew it, it was 1a.m. and I still had to make that promised phone call. So then Batman came out and went out with the boys. And before I knew it the dawn was there and the night was over and a little later I got a message from my mom, something saying `where are you?` at 8a.m. I knew it was time to go home.

The next day I had full 2 hours of sleep before my Houston Madison baby was brought back to me [he was joining me to go to Copenhagen]. Which was great, buy my lack of sleep made me forget that I will need to turn the handlebar and this guy said it was stuck. Well, anyways..

Easter was almost as always, little breakfast in the morning, cemetery after, some trial to turn my damn handlebar, watching some movies and not much else. I gave my Sunday to just my Family.

And on Monday I left for Vilnius. Said goodbye to my mom, got into the car with my sister, came to the train, got in with my bike with no trouble, managed to get to another train that went to the airport. I could not do the `check-in and drop off` thing, but at least I could leave my bike there, so one thing less to worry about the next early [way too early] morning.

On our last night we went to some new bar with Ieva and took Hoegaarden in big fancy perfect Hoegaarden glass. After one beer I visited Paulius for a conversation and glass of vine and finally came back to Ieva’s B&B for pink champagne [yes, yes, yes, Steffany was soooo happy] and finally went to sleep.

She even gave me a lift to the airport, waited for me until the time I was dealing with drop-off and there was a surprise [well, there is always a surprise if I am involved] that they cannot see that I paid for my bike. So I go to SAS to talk to other people and they tell me the same thing. I show them my `receipt` in my e-mail and even though I understand that it was for `extra baggage` and not `bike`, this is what I was told when I called for information to SAS, so I was fairly confident that I was actually right. They did not want to let me go, so at the end I was agreed not to pay any extra and just get on the plane when some guy working there told them – well, if they allowed her to do this on-line, we have to let her go. And so I went.

At the plane I saw finance director of one of my clients and one of my colleagues from debates. It made me wonder – how small the world actually became.

Once in Copenhagen – no troubles whatsoever. I took my bag and by bike, I bought clip-card for metro, but was stopped by the metro workers, since bikes are not available until 9a.m. so I waited for the right time, got in, had two security checks [for tickets, not drugs as I was used already after south America] but finally ended up in the station I needed.

And here – a little dilemma. I have address I need to end up in my head, but no map, so I am just walking one street and hoping it’s the right one. Turns out, it’s the wrong one. Well, happens right.  So I am walking and at some point I realize I need to do something. My bags are not getting lighter and I am in no mood of trying to fix my bike for riding in the rain. So instead I find a bus stop, find a map and check it out. Turns out – I am in  the more or less parallel street and I only need to go to the right.
After some wondering around I came to the right house. I parked my bike, I rang the bell and I was let in by Monika’s friend. She was this crazy, but very nice girl so we ended up drinking tea and talking till the time Monika got back from work. Then we continued talking and then went to the `Black Swan`. The new bar where Mantas is not only a bartender, but also an owner already. So we met, we talked, we had beer [and yes, they do have Švyturys Baltas there]. The next day I took it slow, we made some dinner, had Mantas over and finished with putting Monika’s friend to the train back to Sweden and we watched a movie before the night.

Later my activities started. I went to my school, got involvement letter, went to register myself back to Denmark, went back to school, then back to The Dubs to talk to Edda about maybe some shifts and to Kelvin in the kitchen just to catch up. I got back to Monika’s place, met her roommate, we talked, we had Lithuanian beer, I finally read some book and called it a night. The next day I spent a lot of time looking at what to write for my thesis, met my professor, looked and applied for jobs [I am still very open for suggestions – about the jobs AND about the topics for my thesis].

Somehow it is good to be back. I just hope Copenhagen is not going to disappoint me. Like you almost did.

Thanks. I needed this.

7 Apr 2012

~Off Topic. The rest will follow~

I am still not sure what the hell happened. I just don't get it. And still I have to admit - I kind of knew it. I kind of felt it. It was coming, I just was not sure about the timing. I guess the timing was `now`. And.. Not anymore.

Not that it matters.

But I am not going to allow myself to suffer from moral hangover. Not this time. Even if from all of those times, this one should be the one to regret. Not that it was on the table, but because of what will follow.

Not that it matters.

No regrets. No looking back. No analyzing and no trying to answer questions that are not asked. I'll just take it as it comes and I'll take it from there.

Come to think of it...

I guess it came into the worst possible scenario. Just my guess that is though. But can it ever be the same? Or can it become a best possible or at least satisfactory scenario?

I don't know.

Would you just tell my why that happened? Or why you went for it? Why did you do it? Yes, without being asked and no bullshit attached. Just dumb pure truth. That won't destroy me. I'll punish myself enough. Feed my curiosity. I don't want to say `miaw`.

//The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all //

P.S. Now I can only hope you remember and you are strong enough not to let that ruin what we had [since we almost had it all].


You do not remember a thing and I will just play along. I graduated from the school of liars with best grades anyways. Would not be my first. Or probably last.

//Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turned my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow//

You might wanna ask why I did what I did. I can answer you. I can tell you the truth. The only problem is - I am not sure you would like the answer. It may ruin what we almost had it all. And no, I do not always act this way. It's more of exception on a special moment really than a rule.

1 Apr 2012


Day No 107

So I woke up in the morning and packed all of my stuff. I was leaving for Palomino in the morning. I still had several days of my trip on my hands, a little too much for me in the beach, but where else would I go right? So I was just having breakfast and reading a book when this older couple comes out and tells me they are going to Minca for the day. Minca.. That makes me thinking. I get my computer, check several things and ten minutes later I am changing my mind. Yes man, I’m going to Minca as well. So I re-pack my stuff, taking a day bag and leaving for Minca for several days.

I go to the market, find the same older couple and we all get into the `collectivo` which is basically a really old car that calls itself `taxi` and we move to Minca. After a little ride and a police check [only of locals, not tourists] we come to the place. Swedish couple goes straight to some pools with a little waterfall and I go to find myself a place to stay.

From previous advises I am climbing up the hill for the place that is `really cool and really worth the climb`. It’s a short climb but since it’s day and it’s hot and sunny I can only hope it will be damn worth it. I come up after some time and get myself a hammock for the night [two nights to be exact]. I also find a book exchange, but on a very bad rate [two for one and not to my favor of course], so instead of exchanging it, I am taking `The Beach`, since I have seen the movie, but haven’t read a book and people told me, I HAVE TO read it. So I decided to be nice and listen to people one more time. I take it and get completely sucked in it.

So I spend half of the day just in a some sort of hammocky looking chair reading The Beach. Which is good. People did not lie to me this time. After some time I start feeling guilty of doing nothing for the whole day so instead of keep on reading I am going out and taking a walk along the river till `las piedras`, or in simpler manner – just rocks. Those rocks are huge. Really big ones. I sit down there to have a little rest. And so does a million or two of those damn sunflies that like me for some reason a lot. Close to me there are two local kids, not more than 16 if my guess. But they are looking at me as if they are ready to eat me. Whatever, I am pretending I am seeing nothing. Then, out of nowhere one of them jumps down from one of those rocks. I look in the whole with my big eyes and only partly waiting for the kid to come out. It’s pretty shallow all around those rocks. But to my surprise he comes out and in one piece, still breathing. After the jump I think he feels a little braver and comes to talk to me. All I can think about `you are no more than 16, what can you see in such an older women like me?`. Anyway, they are not that brave to talk to me for long time and after I get enough of those damn sunflies, I leave and they follow me with their eyes.

I get back to the hostel, get into the conversation with a British guy and a Russian girl, then keep on reading my book and after it’s decent time – I am going to my hammock to sleep. There – a surprise. First of all – there is a blanket there to cover me up [and I forgot my sleeping bag this time – how lucky am I?] and there is an old cigarette pack with some money in it. That’s confusing. It’s a found money, since hammock does not belong to anyone. In any case, I keep them on a side just in case someone comes back to claim it. I like found money, I don’t like stolen money.

And I drift to sleep.

Day No 108

I wake up in the morning pretty early, since the sun is up so you cannot sleep that long in the hammock and just in time to see the Russian girl walking out to the same spot where I was going. Oh well, so I will go by myself, no big deal, I actually prefer it this way.

I get out of the hammock and go to the table to make myself some breakfast. A girl who is working or volunteering there asks me if I need anything, coffee or tea maybe and I ask for mint tea. She brings me a glass [very nice glass by the way] or fresh mint tea. Honestly – this is one of the best teas I have ever had. I thank her for the tea and she wishes me good luck and I leave.

What I leave for is the place called `Los Pinos`. It’s supposed to be some panoramic view point where you can can find some pine trees and some view. So I went. Do I need to mention I did not get there, since I lost the way? Well, that happens more than often to me, right? Why would you even be surprised. I’m taking that more normal as you could imagine anyways.

So I have started my walk very optimistically and having different, but all happy thoughts in my head. It was not too hard, but up-hill walk, so at some point I got a little tired. I was told in the hostel that I should just follow that one rode and I will get to the place. Plus, I was more than sure that there’s got to be some arrows directing you to the place. Turns out – it was not the main road, just a little almost invisible road and there are no arrows whatsoever. So I kept on following that main path for as long as I could physically and emotionally. I had no map with me so I wasn’t sure if I am on the right track. Also, I had no watch, so I wasn’t sure if I am going too long already or still in time. On my way I met several crazy – some dog who wanted to bit me, but only bit my pocket. Some guys who were whistling and shouting that they love me and all the other of `macho` shit. At some point I got tired of walking and everything, so I asked some older and normally looking guy if this was the way back to Minca [I was supposed to do the loop]. Oh no, he said, not here, this one goes far from Minca, you have to go back. After he asked me how I got there and from there and since I told him I came from Minca and on foot he looked at me if I was some kind of a stranger to walk THAT far. I know, right? I thought of myself as a stranger too.

Anyways, I had no other choice but to turn back. I was cursing and going back. Suddenly I started to love all the up-hill part I had before, because this time it meant down-hill. Too bad, that I had a lot of down-hill parts before as well. Well, you win some, you loose some. I have been walking and I already got tired of walking. I have been walking the whole day and I did a lot of kilometers, I have been walking through the forests, clouds [literally], under the sun, hearing some crazy animals around and so on and so forth.

As I was walking, I have been thinking – all of those macho guys. They only whistle, make harassing comments, but none of them asks me if I need a lift. And there two guys asked me if I needed a moto. Of course, they meant as in a motor-taxi, but I only had a little money on me and all I could dream about was beer after that long walk. So I said no to both of them. Then, out of nowhere, some older guy stopped, asked me where I am going and told me he is going to different place, but we have a little road together – so I can hop on if I feel like it. I took it. I was so tired, I could hardly move my body, so I said yes. It wasn’t a very long ride, but at least something, so I was extremely grateful for a guy. And he did not even ask for money or anything. He was just doing it because he was a nice guy. Got to love some of those people.

Once he dropped me off, I still have maybe 1.5 hours if not more of walk. I picked up a second stick [I had to throw away the first one when I was getting on a bike] and kept on entertaining my already boring walk down-hill with doing stupid things with the stick. That was until I hurt myself. Well, shitty-handed as I am, it’s not really surprising. Once I reach the village, I was so happy I could shit rainbows. I went to the shop, bought two beers and got up back to the hostel. There I met the Russian girl who explained me where I was supposed to go, but that the view was nothing special really and I went on reading my book with beer. Cold beer after cold shower was the best reward together with a nice sunset there.

And then I went to my hammock.

Day No 109

Once again, I woke up in the morning pretty early and kept on reading the book. I wasn’t allowed to take The Beach out of the hostel, so I needed to finish it. And I did. Now I keep on thinking how did that happened in the movie, since I don’t recall half of the things from the book. But I guess it’s true once again – book is always better than a movie.

After I was done with the book Russian girl came back, decided to go to Santa Marta with me, so I was packing and waiting for her to finish. Here some guy, who was staying at the hostel asked me if I was an accountant. Well that gave me a shock. I answered positively, but still could not believe he would guess. How? But seriously – how? His friend gave me a hint, that this is because of my Ernst&Young string on my neck. The mystery was solved. We said goodbyes and went to Santa Marta.

Pick up dropped us off at the market so we walked to the same old good Noctambulo hostel, took beds and settled there. I saw that the same Swedish guy who ditched me in Taganga was also in the room. Well, that’s interesting.

I went to the shop, bought some stuff and got back to the hostel to do a little cooking. There I met the Swedish guy. I said hello only because it is polite thing to do, but him seeing me was a complete shock. I kept on ignoring him for the rest of the time being there. Well, he was an asshole, I can be one too. No skills required for that kind of a job.

With a Russian girl we went for a walk, saw the sunset and got back to the hostel for the usual – tea, book, internet.

Day No 110

The next day I woke up pretty early, got myself packed and ready, said goodbye to the older Swedish couple, ignored Swedish guy once again [yes, I have a high quality of a bitch attitude], said goodbye to the Russian girl and went to the same market, so almost the same crossing to catch a bus to finally Palomino. It worked. I just got there, found a bus, the driver said it was going to the Palomino, so I got in an just read a book while going there. They dropped me off on the street and from there I had to walk.

It was not a very long 10-15 minutes walk towards the beach, but it was hard, since I had all of my stuff on my back and sun above my head. I came to the place `La Casa de Rosa` - a very really truly basic place where they do not even have electricity. I got a hammock and went for a beach.

I finally decided to give in and spend couple of day doing completely nothing as a reward for myself for the end of the trip. So this is what I did the whole day – swam in the sea, took walks, read book and just enjoyed myself. Palomino can be called my next paradise. Yes, true, the sand is not white and the water is not that clear plus wavy and when those big black birds come it starts to stink really badly, but it’s still great because there are coconut palms all along the beach and almost no people. Just several ones just like me, but no tourist boom. It was a great doing nothing day.

Day No 111
 The same doing nothing continued on the next day. Although in the morning this guy, I have no idea what his name was came to me and asked me to help him putting on some leaves on his hands. I had no idea why, but after when I saw him climbing the palm tree and taking some coconuts I understood that he did not want to hurt himself. I called him a monkey-man. He was a really attractive strong looking guy with an amazing smile. He asked me if I liked coco and after my positive response he told me he would bring me some once he is done with it. I smiled back.

So my day was just swimming, laying and reading. He came with coco, so that made my day a little more interesting, but all the rest – I did absolutely nothing. You need those days sometimes as well.

Day No 112

Waking up early in the morning became a part of my schedule recently. I packed my stuff, went to put my feet in the water for the last time, took a very basic shower with a bucket and left. I came to the same street I got off the last time, found a bakery, bought myself some breakfast and went to the other side of the street to wait for the bus. After about half an hour later the bus came and I got in. I was going to Maicao, the border city and then Venezuela.

Once in the bus I decided to check if I’ve got my passport. Yes, I agree, very smart move to check it once I’m on a move. Even smarter was realizing that I do not have my passport with me. It wasn’t in my bag, it wasn’t in the pocket of my jacket. It was gone. I got a shock, a cold sweat on my body and a little panic [ok, a huge panic to be exact]. I was going like this trying to persuade me that it is alright after all. I could only leave my passport in Santa Marta or in my big bag. And I could not leave it in Santa Marta, because they would have found it and gave it back to me. But it did not help me to relax, I was going there and feeling how I am going to miss my flight, because I don’t already have time [or money for that matter] to go back and pick it up. So it has to be in my big bag. It simply has to.

My panic and freaking out reaches the top once we stop in Riochaca, where I try to get out and check it in my bag. One of the drivers tell me that we have to go and I tell him I need to find my passport, so he lets me to my bag. I check the main places where my passport could be and it’s not there. I’m totally freaking out at that time already. He lets me to take my bag inside the bus and I keep on looking. And then I find it. I feel like it is Christmas and my birthday on the same day. I am so happy, I could kiss anyone around. Good there is no one who could read my mind in there. Although the same driver keeps on talking to me. He asks me if I have a boyfriend and I tell him I have a husband [I have used my husband card for so many times here in S. America that I don’t have a clue what is the number. But a lot, if you count that as a number], but he still insists on wanting my phone number. Well that goes off well, since I don’t even need to lie to tell him that my phone was stolen. But anyway, how would you ask a phone number of a married woman? Then he tells me he wants to give me his number and I am too lazy argue or make up lie why not, so I let him write me down his number. He asks me to call him from Caracas and I only tell, I will do my best. Which is only partly lie.

I finally get off the bus in Maicao, where some guy gets to me with an offer of a taxi to Maracaibo in Venezuela [the only way to get there by the way] and keeps on being on my side while I exchange money and buy what I need. I finally get to the cab and need to wait for the rest of the people to fill it in. some other drivers talk there to me telling me how beautiful I am [oh no, really?], then cars, then my country, which, by the way, almost all of them heard for the first time [that phrase I’ve heard so many times also in this trip]. Finally we get more people to the car, so in the front seat – driver me and a guy. On the back seat – pregnant woman with a kid and another older woman with another kid. We start moving out of Colombia to Venezuela.

On the way to the border there are several tanks on the both sides of the road and army guys with machine guns that are no less powerful than M-16s. Colombia became much more dangerous in my eyes right that moment. Although passing through the border was a piece of cake. I got this flirty guy on Colombian side. He asked me where I was from, if I spoke Spanish, when did I arrive to Colombia, if I liked it, if I liked Colombian and finally if I liked him. The guy is holding my passport, what else do you say to him except for `of course`? he lets me go in several seconds. Venezuelan part is also a piece of cake, except that the guy is clearly suffering from some sort of `I’m hate my life or my work` thing. No hello, no goodbye, he just took my passport, did what he had to do and threw it back to me. Welcome to Venezuela, I thought to myself. But then of course, only to myself.

And then we kept on moving to Venezuela. The city we were going to was Maracaibo, the second biggest city of Venezuela which is around 100 kilometers away from the border. But the road is crappy almost all of the time [and when I say crappy, I mean really crappy, not usual Bolivian kind of crappy] and we hit at least 4 migration checks. Which is fine with me, but the guy in front of me keeps on giving those police guys money. Bribe in other words. I knew it is common to travel there Colombia-Venezuela without a passport and giving money for people who checks it, but it was the first I have seen. Apparently he had a passport, but his wife didn’t. the kid had some sort of birth certificate. I wanted to ask why she would not have a passport, but decided against it. He already seemed pretty pissed of because he had to deal with those police guys all of the time and give them money. And his wife did not seem a very talkative kind of a person. So that is still a question to me – why would she have no passport? And where would she be from? Because from what it looked like – she was going to give birth in Venezuela. Anyways, what I learned there is that it is so easy to bribe those migration officers [only one showed some resistance and I am pretty sure that was just an act] that passport is not that important there as long as you have enough money [or if you are pregnant – they tend to let you go with much less money and much shorter period of time].

Finally we come to the Maracaibo bus station and some guys hops on me with his suggestion for Caracas bus. Of course. But he tells me it costs 110 000 Bolivaros, which is around 11 EUR, which is a very cheap for 12 hours bus ride and I get interested. I do, however, go into the terminal, ask in other companies, but since they have the same price and the guy was nice, I go back to him.

I ask him what time is it and learn that it is already 6p.m. well, here goes my day. I took the bus at 6.30p.m. and had to ride it overnight. I had a very front seat in the bus and a friend next to me. He was a friendly looking nice local guy with whom we would look at each other when something happened [like checking the tickets for 4th time in 3 minutes] and laughed. He also shared some bubble gum with me. And till we got to Caracas we had 3 police checks, one full [passport, body and bags] and a very big traffic jam once we entered Caracas. Instead of coming at 5a.m. we arrived after 9a.m.

Day No 113

So I get off the bus and get a taxi driver offering me his services. I politely say no to him and tell him I will try the metro, so instead of going away, he explains me how to get there. Then another one comes after him and offers taxi services which I again refuse and the first guy is shaking his head telling me I should no go with this guy. Well, I am not going with any of them. And then the bus boy is shaking his head as if saying `do not listen to any of them`. That makes me smile and almost laugh. At the end the bus boy comes to talk to me a little, but in a nice, not macho persistent kind of a way, tells me that Caracas really is dangerous and I should be careful, wishes me good luck and leaves.

I get to the station and head for the information. There I get direction to the metro which is 2.5 blocks away. Ok, 2.5 blocks in the day light in the streets full of people and policemen and statistics of 53 dead bodies per week and over 300 dead bodies over the long Christmas weekend holding city I can handle. So I head off. All alone, but my backpacks I am heading to the metro as a brave soldier. Somehow that is amusing. I guess I haven’t had adrenalin for a while.

I get to the station and try to read the signs, since `airport` is kind of an international thing and usually in every metro map is signed with a little plane. Well, there’s nothing there. So I asks this lady who buys a ticket if she could tell me where to go and how to get to airport. She is not sure, but pretty certain and she takes her time to explain everything to me and even consults another guy next to us, if she is giving me right directions. Such a sweetheart. The only down side of the thing – I had to take metro, then get out and take something else [that something else I did not get, but I thought it’s going to be some airport shuttle or train or something].

I get to the place and get out at the station `Parque central`. I walk all around the building and inside the building and find nothing even close to what I am looking for. After getting a little disappointed and tired I am heading to the security guy, an older black guy, and ask where do I go, if I need to get to the airport. He asks me if I am going to Guaria [or whatever] airport, I nod and tell him yes and says – here. But he does not give me directions, he is actually going there with me. I try to keep on a conversation, so I ask him if there are more airports in Caracas and to my relief he says no. so I am definitely going to the one he told me. Then I joke that it is complicated to get there [since we are going like through some labyrinth in that building] and he tells me that it’s not complicated, it’s just dangerous to go a white outstanding person like me ESPECIALLY alone  outside the building and around it. Basically just in the place I have just been walking not 3 minutes ago. He guides me to the street, shows me the office on the other side, waits for me to cross the street and after I thank him he goes away. Unbelievably sweet guy.

I buy the ticket and wait for my bus. Not surprisingly there are only locals and me in the bus. No tourist, no one who could say `non-Venezuelan`. I start to wonder that maybe it is true and Caracas is actually dangerous and people are afraid of being killed there. But then I do not get, why all of the tourists would take taxis. I mean, if you are going by taxi, those guys who want to attack you, they will find you, but they would never think to look in the local airport shuttle bus for the `gringos`. Anyways, on my way to the airport I have been thinking that I have done everything people told me not to do in Venezuela or Caracas. I took an overnight bus, which even my crazy fearless Swedish friend told me not to take [and he’s been to Lebanon after 1 month after the war was ended]. I did not take a taxi from the station to the airport, but instead I walked in the street [which was strictly `forbidden`] and took a metro. And I also walked around in the city [even if for a little bit] on my own with my bag that clearly marks me as a tourist and I took a local public bus to the airport. Man, some of a rules-breaker I am.

But I also could not help but feeling how I fell in love with people from Caracas and how I will have to come back. Starting with the bus boy, they were all very nice. this lady who explained me where to go in the metro told me I can follow her to one part of my trip, since she is going there anyways. Then once we were in the metro and it was the last stop [I did not realize that because I miscalculated] some girl stopped and said `chica, this is the last stop`. No one in Argentina told me that when I made this kind of a stupid thing and did not get out of metro on the last station. The security guy who guided me to the shuttle – I have simply no words, he took his time and his own life into `danger` by guiding me to the bus I needed. I became somewhat sentimental on my way to airport. I started realizing that I am actually leaving South America with no return ticket and no return plan. Not yet so far anyways.

Since I still had plenty of time at the airport, I read a book, fell asleep and finally went to check-in. OF COURSE, I had to pay some additional tax, how without some additional taxes in South America. The only good thing – it wasn’t that big, so my Euros that I had were enough to exchange. This left me with almost no cash for Europe, but hey, cards function in Europe, right?

So after I paid my taxes and got into the waiting lounge, I got a wi-fi password and went on-line to let Rick know I am still coming in one piece [if nothing goes wrong in Madrid] and my mom that I am still alive. Boarding was slow as always, but even slower if you can imagine. I got first pissed, because they were putting girls and guys into different rows and guys were going first. Well, that’s some discrimination some feminist ladies would have to say something about, but later I learned that it was not like that – there was yet another drug search and girls has to be searched by a female officer. So once again, I got a full body check [it’s funny, since girls are usually making their boobs look bigger by putting drugs in their bras, and poor officer has to touch every single girls’ breasts] and a very flirty guy who checked my bag. Of course, as always, he only checked half of it [probably if you do not have several kilos of cocaine, you could get away. Although with this guy – I was sure I could get away with a tone of anything I wanted. He looked at me, asked me where I was from and kept on flirting with me. Well, again, the guy is having my passport. You do flirt bag at best effort FOR SURE. He asks me if I am alone here and asks me if I am single and gets really surprised when I say yes. So he flirts a bit more forgetting about my things in my bag and I am finally let to go to my seat.

And here comes the nightmare. I am excited and tired and having a lot of strange feelings in my lungs and I cannot sleep. I want to, but I can’t. so I watch a movie, then another movie, then I get some food and some beer [damn I thought, I deserve a beer and maybe it would let me sleep better], some more movie and finally drift to sleep a little.

The feeling that I am actually literally leaving South America kicks in. I’m really going to miss it. Never would I have thought that it would change my life so much and so rapidly. I still feel the effect.

Day No 114

The miserable day of just flying and waiting began in the first plane, that was going to the direction of Madrid. I had `breakfast` if you can call two little rolls a decent breakfast in the plane, watched some TV series and finally got off the plane and was officially in Europe. Madrid. I only had two hours of waiting in Madrid, so no possibility of going out and exploring the city, so I just stayed the airport looking for the sockets to plug in my computer and do something more exciting than just existing. Once in the plane, I tried to sleep, but at some point I just gave up – there is something happening with me and maybe I can call that insomnia. I am tired, but I cannot sleep. So I gave up trying and was just waiting for my arrival to Amsterdam.

My plane was late, so once I got out of it I was sure Rick was already waiting for me and then, but of course I may add, the luggage was taking ages to come to us. Well, could always be worse right, at least it came. I grabbed my bag and went out. I have already seen Rick through the glass wall, so I knew which direction to go. We met, we hugged and started walking toward the trains. It’s amazing how we haven’t seen each other for more than a year and still it did not feel awkward. Just as always or in e-mails we laughed, made fun of each other and played some football with Pol’s ball [long story]. Once we got to the train we waited several minutes and got an announcement that there are no functioning trains between the city and airport. Well, I just laughed, because I am used to that, but Rick was more serious. It takes 6 minutes to go to his place with a train and he does not know which bus to take and it will take much more time. Yet, we had no other choice, so we went for the bus. Just like all of the people who wanted to take the train. We got the number of the bus, waited for it, finally got on and kept on going.

That would seem like problems are solved right. But if you are me, you know it is too soon to be satisfied. And it was. After going a little round about the airport we got another announcement from the driver of the bus. I do not recall the exact words, but the message was more or less this `I’m very sorry, but I forgot that I have to go to the other direction. So now I will go back to the airport and you all will have to get off the bus and take another one`. Well, that made me laugh even more and Rick said he wasn’t sure if he wants to laugh or to cry. Always laugh, I said and we got back to the airport.

We waited some more and got into another bus. Still full of people who wanted to take train and all not sure about the directions, numbers and all of the rest of the things there. We do a lot of circling around the airport but finally we get on some road and, what is according to Rick, right direction. Finally. After maybe 20 minutes of riding a bus we come to the stop connected with metro and change immediately. Apparently they have almost perfect infrastructure in The Netherlands and Amsterdam but the buses, so much better is the metro. We get on and finally we arrive to the place we needed.

Rick, as a normal person from this country, of course, has a bike. I do not, but he does not want to cycle so slow so I can keep up with him with my bag, so he `rents` the bike for me. Not sure how that works, but I get this girly type of bike which only misses the basket in front and flowers all around. Do I need to mention I am not sure how to handle those bikes? I’m used to the different ones. But it’s not really a rocket science, so we go to his place. It’s cold and freezing there especially for me after the whole South America heat.

We get to his place in a nice neighborhood and very nice apartment that he rents after 2.5 hours of traveling in spite of what could have been 6 minutes in a train and 15 minutes more of cycling. Rick was supposed to go to some party at 8p.m. and it was already 8.30 when we got in, so I could only feel guilty for him not making to the party. We talk some more, have a beer, take a shower and go out. We still wanted to make it to that party.

We get to the place and there is a queue there. We stand in line, meet his friend and when see a girl coming out of the party place telling people that the place is full and so basically – you can get a hell out of there, because you are not getting in. well, I’m really hard to get shocked since I am so used to these things, but I really feel bad that Rick has to be stuck with my `luck` or bad karma or anything that is dragging us in Amsterdam not in the best possible way. We end up going to another place where some other of his friends are, I meet some nice people, we have several beers, but since Rick has a football game in the morning, we leave not too late to catch some sleep.

Day No 115

Hearing the alarm clock in the morning makes me want to rip my head off. I had two almost sleepless nights in the bus and plane before and this one, consisted of 6 hours is way not enough to get myself some strength. But apparently B&B @ Rick’s is offering coffee [strong real espresso I haven’t had for over 8 months because the countries of coffee apparently have no decent coffee] and breakfast in bed. Well that cheered me up right away.

So in total I had three of those espresso and we got on our bikes and went for football. Rick – to play, I to `cheer`. On the way to the field I start having this strange ache in my stomach. It took me a while to understand that it was probably because of those espressos. Damn, that hurt pretty badly. But we managed to get to the place, I met some more of Rick’s friends and they started to play. Yes, that amazing game where 20 guys are running after one ball for 90 minutes and at the end you have this 0:0 result. Who could not find it absolutely amazing?

The first half was just like that and ended up with 0:0. It was also cold, cloudy and windy, so for me, after all heat from S.America it was freezingly cold in there. But at least the second half was more exciting. 7 goals in total, 5 of `my` team. Well, Rick’s team, but I was cheering for it. Guys from the team were very pleased that I was there. They said I brought them good luck and they won and since they usually have no people to cheer, they asked me if I am coming to other games as well. Of course, I am, if they are willing to fly me into Amsterdam every single time they are having a match.

Rick went for some more football or something and I got on the bike and moved towards the center. The BIG date was there because I was meeting Inga. After more than a year of a break. There were million things to discuss, plenty of things to gossip and .. well, some perfection was definitely waiting for me.

I came to the station with no troubles at all, came to the meeting point – Starbucks and there she was. My girl. Fast `hi’s`, a few hug, meeting another friend of Inga’s and we hit Amsterdam streets. I can tell you for now that even though I haven’t explored this city properly and all, I can already say – I liked it. It’s very nice, old nice looking houses, a lot of canals and, well, basically I could easily imagine myself living there. Maybe one day I will. Who knows.

So we walked those little streets with not straight houses for two hours talking non-stop [actually I was talking almost non-stop] and when ended up in one of the popular meeting points in Amsterdam to meet Vaida. Once again – quick hi’s and we went for some meal. We got into one `self-service` kind of the place and had amazing food there. All included – soup, second, dessert. It was like a fantasy to come true. Even though Vaida and Inga do not know each other it was going pretty smoothly. Well, maybe there is no surprise in there, they are both awesome, so it’s easy to get along. While we were there Rick came to join us as well [a Dutch guy and three Lithuanian accountants – fun] and quickly enough wee decided to go to some nice beer place that our local guide knows.

It was a very basic, but very cozy place. We stayed there for couple of hours just talking and laughing and enjoying different beers. It was really fun day. It was me and three people that I know from different places, but we all talked as if we knew each other for ages. Fun fun fun.

Before we knew it became late already, so we took Vaida to the train station, put her to the train and since Inga still had several hours before her train we got into another cozy little nice beer place and had some more beers. But that time passed quickly as well, so we got back to the station, put Inga on a train after saying all of the goodbyes and hit the road with Rick. We ended up in some bar close to his place for the last what he said `they have good white beer here` pint and ended up back at his place after midnight already.

That could only have meant that I am not going to have too much sleep after all AGAIN. My early flight was way too early.

Day No 116

Alarm clock was killing both of us in the morning. I was already suffering from lack of sleep from before and Rick is actually pretty good with sleeping, especially on Sundays. And I ruined that for him this time.

For one last [or almost last] time – pack, wake him up, getting on the bike and going to the station. It was still cold, but very nice and quiet morning – no people in the streets. Well of course, who would be stupid enough to get up that early?

We got to the station, Rick was not going to make sure I get into the right plane [who can blame him?], so we goodbye each other in front of the train and I was left alone again. Getting on a plane again. Going to another place again, getting closer to the country where I grew up.

Once at the airport, I got checked-in with no problems, had some breakfast, waited a bit for the plane and got in. This ride was a complete reminder how I do not miss people from my side of the world. We are landing in Tallinn and the plane is on the ground, but still going pretty fast. One `new-russian` style blond Lithuanian chick get up to get her stuff out. Sure, there is no way she could wait. Then, once she is seated by the crew, another Russian chick get out of her seat without letting the plane to stop. And then a bunch of Russians are following her lead. It’s like being in a farm of uncontrollable animals. Welcome to eastern Europe.

I got out of the plane, went through the exit and found Liina already waiting for me. A big huge hug and a lot of loud `aaaa.. que rico verte` from both of us and we got out of the airport. We went to some mall that is close to it, went to some place to sit down, I took a beer, she took cider and we talked and talked and talked. All in Spanish, all about all of the things that have been happening in her and my life. It’s been awesome several hours that passed as if it was just couple of minutes. We also went to Rimi, I bought some good Estonian chocolate and she went to gym and I went back to the airport, since I had to take my plane pretty soon.

Well, if it wasn’t me. I come to the board to see that the only flight that’s been canceled is mine. I cursed a little in my head, laughed out loud, because in such cases I am in no perspective to cry and go to the desk to see what’s there. The lady there informs me that the flight has been canceled and that I can get a seat in the next one, almost at midnight. I curse some more in my head and laugh some more on my face, we talk a little and I take that seat. She calls for my bag [I am still not sure I am going to get it though in one piece] and lets me to check-in. she also lets me use computer in her office so I can give Ieva `good` news and we agree that in spite that, she will still come to pick me up. Yes, I DO have friends. Good ones indeed.

After that I sit down on the floor with my computer on my laps and try to get internet. There is such a great thing here in Tallinn – free wi-fi. That cheered me up right away. At least I will have something to do and won’t asleep and won’t oversleep my plane. And while sitting there I look up and see it’s snowing. Somebody must really love me that even with all of the stuff they made me go through in here, they at least give me what I did not expect once I’m back in Europe – snow.

The day No 116 is still technically not over yet, but I will give it a try for my positive thinking and take it that my second flight will not get canceled. I will go outside to enjoy snow for one last time, I will go through security and hopefully they will not take my Kalev away. I will go to some `restaurant` and will use two coupons for the snacks as if `sorry we made you wait` and I will wait for my plane which will arrive, I will get into it, hopefully I will get some sleep there and once someone will wake me up I will be in Vilnius airport on time, not late, my bag will arrive fast and full, Ieva will be there waiting for me, we will go to get some kebabs and some beers and we will talk half of the night not caring about that we have to wake up early in the morning and she will have to pretend to be accountant and I will have to pretend to be alive. It will be an awesome reunion and great `welkommen tilbakke`. See, Ieva, I did not forget all of the Danish.

Day No 116 – second shot.

Even if I had a positive attitude, I could not expect my arrival to be that good. My plane took off a little late, but it still took off, so I was more than happy. And I left Tallinn while it was still snowing in there. Snow.. And I did not even expect any snow once I’m back. I thought winter was over.

I came to Vilnius, came to pick up my bag, got out to the arrivals hall and there was no one. I could not see Ieva and it wasn’t even that many people there. Maybe she is waiting at the other side I thought, so I moved to my left. To my surprise there she was. And not just her, together with Jurga and Kristijonas, camera, a green balloon that makes your heart dance and soap bubbles. We talked and laughed and they made fun of my tan, we hugged and went out. Kristijonas was a driver there, so we got into his car and went towards the city.

We went for kebab, kept on laughing like crazy people, when went to Ieva’s place and ended the night eating kebabs, talking about all of the things that’s been happening. It felt as if I almost never left. After a little while Kristijonas went back home, then Jurga went home and it was just me and Ieva at the very end at this amazing B&B @Ieva’s. And it started snowing in there as well.

We woke up in the morning a little broken after only couple of hours of sleep and the streets were covered in snow. I went to the office with her, met other people, we talked about her trip, my trip, what’s been happening in people’s lives. It really felt as if I never actually left. Then a took a little walk through the center towards the train station, bought a discounted ticket with my expired student ID [shhhh… don’t tell them I did that] and got on to the train back to Kaunas. Me, my army style backpack and my little green balloon. Going back to the place where I grew up.