Monday, 29 August 2016

that wonderful sorcery

Have you seen nature?


Neither have I.

Its all around us but its impossible to see. We just can't see it. We can see parts of it.

Part, part here and a part, part there.

And all these parts are so fascinating, exciting, interesting. Pure sorcery.

Why sorcery? Because we can understand them, but never completely. They all come together and we know how, but never fully. The pieces of puzzle fit and we know how, but never smoothly.

Exhibit 1

The amazing light show created by a combination of lake, trees, sun and wind. The colours, green, yellow, brown, grey, blue. They all align in such a way that you could stare for hours. I personally would like to strap myself to one of the tree branches and have the amazing light show

A perfect place to spend an evening reading a book or just catching on some sleep.

Louis says it much better than I ever would.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

with a little help

I wasn't sure if I would be able to find my way to the centre. I was new in the city (and the country). I didn't speak or understand Polish. I did not have any cash. A well planned trip all in all.

I came out of the house and somehow managed to find the bus stop. But there were two bus stop, one on either side of the road. I had no idea which one would take me towards the city and which away. I sure did't want to go further away from the city.

A grandma (babunia) was waiting on a bench with her grandson.

A women was passing by. She had a child in a pram. I asked her (in English) if she knew English. She said, a little. I asked her if the bus to the centre left from there. She said this was the stop and went on to check the bus number for me. I told her, I knew the number (Google God) but wasn't sure about the direction. She confirmed that I was headed in the right direction.
Wonderful! Level 1 cleared!

5 minutes later a long two part bus with one of those flexible connector things arrived. Number 127. Middle doors opened and many people entered. Babunia followed them. I went up to the driver's door. What an unusual thing to do? The driver didn't know how to react. This had never happened before. After few seconds, he opened the doors. I asked him for a ticket. He didn't speak or understand English. I didn't speak or understand Polish. What an unusual situation to be in?

But I think ticket is a more or less universal word. You enter a bus clueless and say tickets 5-6 times with a question mark on your face. People know what you want. You enter a bus looking clueless, make vague square gestures with your hands. You think they look like a ticket or some sort of a slip. People generally understand.

The driver said something in Polish and made a gesture towards the back of the bus. I walked to the back of the bus. A young woman and another fellow traveller pointed towards a machine attached to one of the hand rails. There it was, the ticket machine.

Everything was in Polish, of course. I was thinking of asking the young woman for help. Suddenly I saw a little British flag in one corner of the screen. Thank god for those general knowledge lessons. I touched the flag and everything turned to English. God bless the Poles! Level 2 cleared!

I choose a day ticket, touched my bank card to the machine and just like magic, a ticket came out, 2 minutes later. Level 3 cleared!

I looked around for a seat to settle down for the journey. Thats when the babunia looked at me, said something in Polish and pointed to another machine opposite to the first one. I guessed I was supposed to validate my ticket. I put the ticket in a little slot in the machine. It made a creaking noise. The ticket was punched and I was set for the journey. Thanks babunia! Level 4 cleared!

Several stops and some co-passengers later I was in Plac Jana Pawła II. I could see the city centre in front of me. Minutes later I was sitting under a tree in the centre with some really cool Polish music played by some buskers. I found out what ticket was in Polish - Bilety.

Billet machine on the left (grey) and validation machine on the right (yellow) on another bus

For the next few days I kept travelling to Plac Jana Pawła II. It was a massive plaza. I kept wondering who this woman Jana Pawła was. She must be some queen or something to have a plaza named after her. How wonderful? I asked my friends. It was Pope John Paul II. We all had a good laugh!


Its amazing how we can communicate with each other. We speak but we don't understand. But we want to help each other. We find ways. We don't need to speak. People on bus 127 proved that. With a little help from random strangers and Google, I made my way across a strange city safely and successfully. On that note, its time to enjoy a song that is very close to me. The beautiful music of Joe.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Part of the froth, part of the painting

It was a lovely morning. Chilly but bright. The night had been cold but the crackling fire had kept him warm. The long trek and cold night had affected many members of the party. Back aches, leg pains and head aches were all around.

But the morning made everything better. The clear sky, thick green forest around them and the river water frothing when it hit the rocks. They created a perfect picture worthy of a water colour painting. Such are the Himalayas. Only if he could paint.

A thin fog hung over the river creating a tunnel through which you could cross to another universe. It called him. Their camp was on the river bank, deep in the forest. Last evening he had walked up to the river. It was very shallow. He was tall. Could he walk across it? This should not be difficult. But he had never crossed a river. But there's always a first time.

Everyone was busy having breakfast, gathering cloths, making a trip to the toilets. This was a good opportunity to attempt the crossing. No one was looking. Attention makes him conscious. Performance anxieties.

He pocketed his camera and phone and approached the river. The water was really shallow. He kept walking. The bed was flat, full of pebbles. He had to be careful, walk in small steps, try not to slip.