Saturday, October 31, 2009
Working for Eddie Rockets provides for some interesting conversation and thought, which might not normally occur so that’s a plus. I actually like the job as far as the people goes. Everyone is so friendly that we work with, the food is good and the job isn’t that bad. It is mainly the weather that can make or break a day. Today the weather was nice enough. When we took our break we were asking if we could stop by the Spanish Arch where they were doing a reenactment of Thriller at 4. Mei said it would be fine, and then John himself came in just in from China. He had spent 26 hours in transit with many delayed and rerouted flights. It was crazy. I’ve never heard of such bad luck, but he was just glad to be back. He is actually a really cool boss. He came in with a newly shaved Mohawk and a black jacket with a stud necklace – complete opposite of the camo jacket and orange ball cap he left with. It threw me off guard. He stayed and talked to us about how our weeks of travel had been and described his trip to China. He liked it better the last time he went, but enjoyed it enough. He told us he lost his phone and therefore source of internet since China doesn’t let foreigners use internet very often. He said he was kicked out of an internet café for being foreign since they control dissemination of information in China. He said it was amazing how dependent you become on internet. Zach and I said we knew about that all too well and John told us that we should go over to the other Eddie Rockets and use Wifi there free. He’d tell the staff to serve us while we sit there as long as we want. HAHA – wish I would have known about that two months ago, but it is a 20 minute walk.
The main event of the day had occurred just before taking our break and it happened to me. I was at the end of our route where the pedestrian area forks. I was on one side and Zach the other doing what we always do. I asked a family if they would like a stamp and the man came up to me saying I was a long way from home. I wasn’t sure what he meant by this, but assuming he’d picked up on my American accent I said yes. Then he proceeded to get closer to me and say “No, I mean you’re a long way from home. You need to go back to Eddie Rockets”. I wasn’t sure why he was saying this, or why he cared. It was all very confusing to me at the moment. When I replied that I was allowed to be here and asked why he was saying that, he proceeded to grab my elbow and push me back up the street saying I was a long ways from home. He told me he was going to call the community warden and report me. I broke away from his hand and told him not to touch me and that I had every right to do what I was doing and I am sorry he seemed to dislike me. I walked over to Zach on the other side of the street and told him what was happening. The man had walked back to his family once I had moved up the street, but by this time I was boiling. My mission was to the find the police who were usually walking around. I was half way back up the street before I found a Guarda officer. I explained to him what had happened and asked if I was in the right. He said I was correct and had every right to do what I was doing. He told me the man must be crazy and asked me to take him to the man. I said he was probably gone by now, but I gave his description to the officer. It was time for us to take a break and that’s when I headed back to Eddie Rockets.
When I told John what had happened he said he wished he had been there and he would have given the fellow a piece of his mind for being so racist. I had considered the idea, but I couldn’t really believe it. I had been so confused as to why the man kept saying what he did, but I guess maybe he hates Americans and his “far away from home” had two meanings.
When we went back out to Shop Street I kept looking for the man, but I didn’t see him. We headed to over to watch the Thriller show which was pretty cool. There was a huge crowd gathered by the river. The music started and a crowd of zombies come out and did the Michael Jackson Thriller dance. Zach and I escaped the crowd and headed them off to stamp a few people. After a lap up and down the street I saw the man again in about the same place. I warned Zach and sure enough the man came up to us again. He started off saying “I warned you already. I’m going to report you.” I calmly let him speak his peace then replied “Sir, I am sorry to tell you, but we have every right to be here and I have informed the Guarda about you. They are on alert”. At this he mumbled something and backed off, returning to his wife (who could only be just as crazy to support that). I haven’t seen him since.
I did find the community warden. I would say I am on a good acquaintance basis with him (I’ve talked to him a few times). He sometimes walks around the streets as well, but not everyday. I went up to him and told him about the whole situation. He apologized for us having to run into such a disrespectful Irishman and told me that I could use his name with the man if I ever encountered him again.
Amongst all this I brought up the conversation of currency. It is crazy to think that people exchange paper for goods that actually have value. Currency only has value because we believe it has value. If you had no currency then you would have to try to barter with what materials you have. If you need bread but the baker doesn’t want anything you have then you must exchange elsewhere and hope to go back with something valuable to the baker in order to get food. The Chinese came up with the system of paper money I think. Before then it was just gold, which actually has value. If we ever decided to stop believing in currency then the economy would come to a halt. In this day and age when it would nearly be impossible for each individual to be self-sustainable we would all die if the economy collapsed. Think about it. If we had to go back to the barter system, we couldn’t do it. With only approximately 3 percent of the population actually being able to grow their own food we couldn’t actually support our needs. Even if we try to grow food, most people don’t have enough land to sustain enough food needed for a whole family.
After Eddie Rockets, I went home to prepare the apartment for company. Zach and I were hosting everyone else for a Halloween party. I mixed up a halved recipe of pumpkin bread and rearranged while Zach fixed the rice and veggies. We went over to Marta’s to get our faces painted before going out for the parade. We were short on time and all I got was the white base of my face before we needed to leave to make it to the parade.
The parade was small, but unique. It had a transportable stereo system, flame juggler on stilts, tall gray faced stone people, goulish drums and sax, and a gang of dancing dead following behind. The rest of the crowd paraded behind the performers following them down to St. Nicholas Church for the finale. At the front of the massive stone church were belly dancers, more flame jugglers, loud creepy music and a flaming tree. They shot off sparklers and some fireworks despite a small shower of rain towards the end of the show.
Everyone then went back to our apartment for food and continued face painting till about 11 when we left to meet up with another girl and start walking around. It was really fun being in a different country (that still celebrates Halloween). They have more of a festive atmosphere and not as much commercialism; the costumes are more creative and homemade. Don’t get me wrong, there were still plenty of slutty men and women walking around, but the numbers were not as high as at Chapel Hill. So, it was fun to still have so many people walking around, but with a larger percentage of resourceful ones. I’m sure the temperature factored into many people’s costume ideas.
The pubs were so crowded that we mostly walked around taking pictures with people. We finally found a table and stayed there most of the night. When it was time to leave, it had started pouring. Unwilling for the night to end everyone wanted to see if other places were still open. I regretfully informed them that I was going back to my apartment, so I got the key from Zach and had every intention of making a run for it. In my reluctance to get soaked I waited around with them till they picked a direction. In the mean time I got talked into joining them and everyone started chanting “Ole, ole ole ole”. Jordi and I shared a vampire cap to protect our faces from melting in the rain while we ran walked to the other side of the river. Turned out everywhere was closed and we rerouted back to the apartment with the addition of three new girls who were friends of Paula’s and also au pairs.
I stayed up till 5am hosting an apartment of people that seemed like a UN conference with Austria, France, Slovakia, US, Spain, Italy represented. I didn’t want to be rude, but I wasn’t up to talking much. I washed all the dishes from earlier so I could stay in the kitchen without having to be engaging. I did offer tea and a few accepted. Clara, Julie, Johanna were the three new ones and we were down a Monica who had gone home so she could get up early to meet her parents. We had almost enough seats, but Marta, Paula and I sat in the floor and chatted for a bit. Marta asked me the word for someone who is living in someone else’s house while they are away and unknown to them. I was trying to figure out a word, but all I could think of was bum. Vagrant or squatter would have worked better. It got me wondering and I think the English language is only one with a widely used Thesaurus.
After awhile someone suggested a group photo then everyone packed up to head home around 4. I cleaned up a little more then started the task or removing all the makeup I had on.
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I was a black widow. The spider Marta painted on my face was AMAZING!!! It was exactly what I wanted. It took up one side of my face with its legs extending to my nose and eyes. The web was opposite taking up my cheek, chin and neck. My eyebrows were raised and the eye opposite the spider dropped down into a point. My chest was also white and I had a plastic spider resting on it. My hair was teased and tossed around and put half way up. I wore a black dress with black tights and shoes. I also still had the tattoos on my hands and wrists from the day before. I had been careful to draw back what had washed off. Marta really is an amazing artist who is able to use pretty much anything as her canvass.
Marta's handy work