Tiny debris

January 27, 2015

Like pieces of leaves, dust, grass, papers, and various tiny debris that have been captured into the tumult of a wind funnel, shaped in a ball and left to dwell where it fell, my thoughts lay. The overlying feeling cradling this jumble from various provenances is good, if only with a couple of weary tones in the mix.

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New home: first impressions are so good. The great luxury of being able to relax, breathe, close the door on the world is priceless. The feeling is hopeful, excited. Only one thing causes a feeling of inexorable fate… Cigarette smoke. I could not sleep two nights ago and this morning also, my space filled with second hand smoke. I felt such despair. Tired, feeling thwarted in my own survival. I just want to breathe relatively clean air… Yet it seems the impossible request. this morning, after sleeping only 4 hours being awakened by the same choking reality, I cried. I cried because I cannot seem to escape this, anywhere, I breathe this awful poison, feel its effects, I start to cough, now my lungs are getting irritated with phlegm, my singing voice dries up and narrows… How can I escape this? I look around all my stuff now in this room and feel like running away, feel stuck, feel angry. I just want to breathe… sleep in peace. It had been OK for the first 4,5 days… why now? I dunno. I don’t know how to confront the smokers, since I’m the only one, last to come in non-smoking flat-mate. So that means I have to run away… and that defeats the purpose of paying rent. This smoke gave me headaches for the last two days… I never have headaches… I sigh, I stress.

So that shades the joy I felt. I go out, walk around, feel better, all is well actually… except when I sleep and become victim to this ghostly assailant. Anyone has a way to stop cigarette smoke from coming in? Maybe a thick carpet I could lay over the door? Plastic? Is it worth spending money trying to stop this or totally useless?

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Music. Played a solo performance last night at Atolye. Played the red guitar, enjoyed it. I had a stretch of about 3,4 songs that I really, really enjoyed. Suran Asaduryan, suprisingly showed up at the gig. Maybe you don’t remember, he is a duduk master and had invited me to join him on stage at Karakedi pretty much one year ago. He walked in, we chatted, I told him I have been imagining how I’d love for him to play on a recording with me. No problem he said. We exchanged numbers.

After the performance we communed again at Ekrem’s Atölye. I started to play one of his acoustic guitars… and couldn’t stop. The sparkling sounds rising… Jacob played a hand drum. It went on until the wee hours. I wore everyone out, I had this unstoppable energy… where that energy came from I don’t know, from the guitar, from the Tower, from the moon… I walked back up Galip Dede street guitar on my shoulder, I found it easiest to carry this monster-heavy plywood case by shifting my grasp of it: from holding in my arms, to one shoulder, to the other, to hand carrying it. I have a bit of a long way to walk. I stopped at Chillout. I had promised Ufuk I would come and say hi. While I was there a guy came in, turns out he’s some famous young Turkish actor full of attitude. He goes upstairs we keep chatting for a bit and I head home. On the street, a man coming towards me, Turkish, well dressed, says something from which I only catch the end… Bla, bla, bla, senin için…” (Bla bla bla for you). I have no idea what he said but I’m not about to ask for clarifications on a Sunday night at 4-5 AM to a stranger in Beyoğlu. Down, down, down the hill I walk, my new home is at the bottom of an incredibly steep hill. Inside, Incir meows a hello and insists on hanging out with me.

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Ekrem was talking about putting something together, musically, with my songs. Ekrem is a kind of shaman, man of the earth and stars. He gets many, many things about me. I really enjoy his energy, vision, talks. There are two songs of mine that I would like re-written in Turkish, I wrote them to translate them. One is about wild horses running on the black toprak (earth) they carry the weight of our desires… The other my political criticism of Turkey. I tell him what it’s about, he said that if a Turkish singer was to sing this he\she might be in political trouble. So maybe that one will remain in French…

There is quite a bit of interest into my music here with people from here. But so far it’s part of that ball of debris, nothing is so clear. Many say they want to do this or that, but who will stick it out? The appetite for creative ideas is always big. The desire to take the time to cook the creative loaves on the other hand is often elusive.

But maybe the biggest thought provocation was my conversation with Bariş today. I went to the Jarden Cafe and sat with him. That is his haunt. He asks many questions about my choices, wishes, activities. Then he says: “Why don’t you find festivals and tour? You have albums, videos, you can find many places to play. If I was in your shoes I would do that…”

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Yeah.. it would be, it seems, ideal. Why don’t I? Well I’m not sure. I guess my first thought is that I tried, and tried and tried again and hit the wall so many times in so many ways that I don’t believe it can work. At one point the memory alone of the repeated hard contact with the said wall alone elicits enough pain to discourage the boldest thoughts. Then maybe the lack of success is directly related with lack of something valuable to offer, hence the repetitive wall hitting: there is no taker for such material. I also told him that I am the worst sales person when it comes to me. I get shy and cannot close or even get close to any sort of deal.

“Ah you get shy… You need a manager…” Oh yeah… a manager. That too I did. From the lady in Montreal who had me fly over there and prepare all sorts of promotional materials only to fade away with a vague apology… , to the guy in Vancouver who “luuuuuved my music” and had me re-design and manufacture 1000 copies of the Alien Suite only to tell me a few fruitless months later that “I love your music but I don’t know how to sell you” to the agency in France that was going to have me tour my new French album all over France and Europe for 3 months and then dropped the ball and my project saying they didn’t have enough guaranties and left me sitting there with a fresh off the oven album that was quickly cooling, too late in the season to get anything rolling in time after the release in Canada so that album no matter its artistic worth turned out to be still born, thousands of dollars and hours and efforts into making the thing only to have it stalled in the green room with a “best Francophone album” award around its neck but never to hit the stage.

What followed this floundering was a nauseating segue. A well known Montreal promotion’s firm that was paid to provide services with Musicaction’s grant money (a Canadian music business grants agency that is the equivalent of musicians welfare in Canada. Musicaction is the French branch, the English one being FACTOR) When I approached them to get some sort of new strategy going they told me bluntly that I could basically go fuck myself, as they had spent the money on something else and there was no other money for my album project. It was beyond disconcerting… I figured that I should speak to Musicaction, certainly they would object with this blatant break of contract… but no. When I spoke to them they just scoffed at me. I was after all a very minor player in this grand game… So, two concerts and right there it was over for this album.

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And of course there are the countless: I will help you with that… I can get you a gig… I can produce you… I Should I expound more? I’m sure not, everyone gets the picture. The music business is a pretty hopeless proposition and when your project, product is slightly off the mainstream, when it starts sliding to the sides, the underground and the off the main highways, the going gets murkier and one needs everything to coalesce at the right time and place and a good serving of luck with it.

Sooooo…. all this to say what? To ponder giving it another chance? He said to me that I should Google festivals, fill in the forms and see what happens… he would do that if he was in my shoes. And I think it’s not a bad idea. The challenge being for me to not get into a been there done that mentality but to honestly throw the dice and see where they fall. Music is definitely one of the activities that (when done right) is the most uplifting thing I can do. Can I hope to uplift others with my creations? Maybe. My other option is to just be a vagabond that can play guitar and sing songs no one knows. … and that brings to mind…

a few months back, I was at Chillout, sitting outside and playing my guitar as I did countless times. It was night, many people hanging around. Many asking me to play cover songs to which requests I would smile and say no and continue playing… but this one night this one man came to me, he asked me some questions about the guitar, about me… then he asked me to play him a song. “Play me a dark song” he said and that surprised me. I went inwards, feeling there was something important to this moment. I put the question to the Universe: Which song for this man? Because of course there was no way I could refuse this request this time. The answer came: Your Vibe.

So I played. He stood before me, transfixed. I played and I knew something was going on. I gave him every note, nuance of the song. When I finished, it was like a trance that had just ended. He looked at me, and praised me and took my right hand and kissed it and put it to his forehead… a gesture of intense respect in middle eastern tradition. Then he recounted his story… his fiancee had killed herself days before their planned wedding. He had never been able to get over this… that explained to me why he wanted a dark song. I was shocked… the depth of his mourning was so profound… but my little song soothed him. I did my job that day.

Recently I sent him a message with the new song I recorded in France and this was his answer:

Remember the first time we met !? The night @ chill out That night when I heard the sound of your travel guitar ( i love that instrument of yours by the way ) it triggered my feelings & When I heard your voice, it made me cry It was a wonderful night That was when I realized that God has heard my moans & sent me a sign ! I’ve met a Angel that gave me hope & power to keep on in her own way & words !
Thank you for playing the greatest, most effective role in my life !
Don’t you ever change ! My No.1 musician !

So for this, I continue. Where should I play? In front of a hostel anywhere in the world? Or on a stage anywhere in the world? I do not know. I often wonder about the real artistic, intrinsinc value of what I create. I see so many brillant musicians. I see myself as an average player.. I have cool ideas, but technically… there are many much better players… I have something to say… but there are so many well spoken writers, better singers, voices… maybe my biggest quality is my honesty, it does come from my heart.

we will see what will shape up in the next while. I give myself two months in this new place, to see how I fare, to see if I do get productive, creative. Or if I just loop into a set of useless habits? Lets see what happens.

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Magnificence

January 22, 2015

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What is going on? I do not know with words and explanations. It feels like the whole universe has shifted into a new mode.

I can’t find the culprit, some did say that this new moon was fostering very positive vibes, energies,a good time for new projects, etc. But whatever the cause, something very special is going on in my world. As if a freedom is now allowed, a freedom to do and a joy to be.

One of the things that stood out, and felt like a gateway was when I made this video for one of my new songs I recorded recently in France. One night, I went to bed, started to read a book on the laptop, I felt this high energy, couldn’t sleep, I then, for some strange reason started putting together this video out of clips I had taken with my camera over the last while. I worked until 5 AM then woke up at 9:30 and continued until night, until it was done. I was so excited about it.

I am also very excited and deeply happy with the recordings I made in France with Serge Andre. It was so low key, no stress, no pretense, I just sat there in his Carcassonne studio, in the middle of the night and sang and played guitar.

At first I had anxiety. Rarely have I been happy with the recordings I made with other people at other studios than mine. I got to believe that the only reason I sounded good was because the way we worked… so sitting there, no fancy contraptions, no intentions of multi-tracking and make a big production out of this, I was nervous. What if it’s bad? I kept making mistakes… I was thinking too much… then I just gave up worrying and just played with the love of playing. What else could I do?

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Being there and doing this was such a gift. To hear the sound coming so pristine, clear, through high quality equipment. We took a break, went upstairs and suddenly I became so emotional. Tears rolled silently out of my eyes. I felt so blessed. This sort of thing (studios, recroding) used to be just my regular life. But since 2011 I pretty much just make do with whatever the conditions are to play and often they are far from great. You learn to made do. But there I was and at first I was telling myself: “I don’t deserve this” I am just a simple songwriter. My ego about myself and my music has taken quite a different shape since I’ve left North America. Sometimes I wonder why would anyone want to hear the songs I write? Why? really! There are multitudes of songwriters with something to say… But soon I started to feel this huge gratitude, looking beyond my own lack of self confidence, I felt so blessed. Serge was a perfect producer on the other side of the glass, allowing me to be, it is quite a gift you know, to be able to do that, to just let someone express themselves.

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Then there was Barcelona, Porto. The experiences I lived there, I mean… the whole journey from Amsterdam to Porto was filled with more magic, moments, faces, bliss… there were the hard times too, the cold, lack of sleep, physical hurt from the bags and fatigue but somehowthey were just part of it all, not to be avoided but celebrated as much as the joy. My eyes were filled with wonders… so much so, how would I keep all this in my mind, heart for it to become part of me…

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Back in Istanbul. Again, my wondrous, mad gorgeous and filthy city there, arms open, receiving me. I was stinky from wearing the same clothes for days, tired from not sleeping as I had stayed in the airport overnight but I was elated. I felt strong. Strong like I have not been in what seems to me like an eternity. But not just strong physically. Just strong all over. Mind, body, spirit. The bags on my back the guitar, I walked down Istiklal looking around feeling the air. Home… I turned the corner on Balyoz Sokak and outside the hostel was Rebeca, she saw me and took off running and launched into me. It was priceless. So beautiful.

But I feel I am writing these words and just run around the actual thing I’m trying to express… the actual facts that I am trying to share with you and not succeeding.

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Life… the taste of the coffee… the cat on my lap. The hope in the eyes of Nihan and the way she blushes when something matters to her. The way the water of the Bosphorus ripples infinitely in un-explainable tones of blue, green and black. The Seagulls flying right next to the ferry boat, so close you can fly with them, you see them look, search for food… the laughter of Merle last night at her birthday party, the absolute joy of it. The silliness of the guys improvising songs with a djembe and a guitar in the middle of the night. The excitement in the eyes of Alper when I play him Turkish songs on the bağlama. The places on the earth, the Atlantic, the gamut of all emotions, experiences, the wind on the skin… It doesn’t end. Here I am, in this wild universe, witnessing the tides of life, witnessing the journeys of my brothers and sisters and how magnificent it all is. Oh how magnificent.

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Bits of the trip

January 15, 2015

Back home, well home but no home yet. I am awaiting answers I meet friends tonight and maybe before long I’ll have a room-place to call home for a while. My head is still in travels and other worlds… This journey has been good for me. We had all sorts of adventures, we froze, went up and down hills, towns and mountains, walked, saw, talked, thought, shared, met new people we will never forget.

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I came back stronger. For the first time in a long time I feel strong. It is a good feeling. I have images in my mind of so many things. Like the garbage bags in Spain that looked like someone curled into the sidewalk trying to sleep. Like the dog looking out the window of the second floor like a person, like the never ending waves of the Atlantic. The words too, the words of Serge, Albertina, Jean, Natalia, Ricky (his words and his voice!). I can feel the cold of the night in Paris as we tried to hitch a ride unsuccessfully, then the heat of the endless shower I took in the hotel room that looked like a mental hospital ward that I rented for a night. The faces of thousands of French drivers, spinning around a round point, cursing us, ignoring us, fearing us, gesticulating at us from behind their windshields in a so very French way as our thumbs obstinately stayed up and our hopes were going down. The sun in Porto, the art in Barcelona, the woods up the hill in Barcelona, putting our hands in the North sea in La Hague, then into the Mediterranean and finally into the Atlantic. The impossibly cold but and as impossibly magical night in Lyon when we walked the old city ooh and ahwing at the wonders of its buildings and places awaiting for an early morning bus. The taste of a croissant from “Le Péché Mignon” boulangerie, as it expanded in my mouth while in Carcassonne. The sight and feel of the river that flows through Carcassonne. The friendliness of the crepe guy at “La Porte d’Italie” in Paris. The way my body at one point finally just said: “OK, I’ll be strong and stop complaining about all these kilometers…”

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I didn’t write as I normally do… we went non-stop. Had to. But here are some bits and stories:

The Crippled Barcelona Lady

Oh shock… I tried to help, and failed so badly. I was walking down this beautiful Barcelona street when I saw this woman with a marchette, trying to open a building door to get out, the marchette clumsily in the way, so I approached full of good intentions and good will and reached and pushed to open the door for her but too late I realized that within a micro moment, inescapably she was toppling backwards, falling, her head going to hit the ground. I was totally horrified and totally helpless. Noooooooo!!!!!! is what I thought… She fell lightly, with a feathery plop she hit the ground. She was very small, frail, elderly, wearing a green coat, she had dyed brown hair, I was completely petrified in horror at the same time my mind working overtime thinking of law suits, about me killing an old woman, about the helplessness I felt as she fell while and I was stuck between the walker the door and unable to help her. MY good will turning into an evil deed.

What did I just do?!!? I rushed to her side. Her motions were slow, her eyes fixedly staring ahead, then she focused on me, said something that I could not understand. All I could say was “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I was trying to help…” I brought her to a seated position, she asked something, her hand going to the back of her head … sangre.. she asked. No, no there is no blood… “no sangre” I said lamely. Then her eyes took a malignant expression, mean, angry, bitter, Her eyes like daggers…she laid into me with Spanish curses. I know. Some things don`t need dictionaries to be understood. she was just going on about how stupid I am. She said: “loco” making the unmistakable angular circular motion of the hand by the side of the head that means crazy. I was mortified. I so wished I could communicate but no. I was glad she could speak but also mortified about the result of my actions. I tried to help her up, she shooed me away angrily, her tone like a knife. Since I could not do anything I left hurriedly, shamed, guilty. I turned the next corner tears rolling down my face. OMG, OMG, OMG… Doesn’t matter how good your intentions are. You can really turn your fate and another`s in an instant.

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The Atlantic

Porto’s memories could be summed up in Albertina and the Atlantic. I went back to the Atlantic, everyday. Wild child crashing on the rocks, its racing waves rushing as if trying to reach some finish line, the spray lifting, the white froth like mad lace weaving and undoing itself. I could not pull myself away from this spectacular show, feeling restless and sad when I did. Oh the sound, the smell, the air… We took our shoes off, yes it’s January but it had to be done, we had to feel the bite of the ice water on our bare skins. Oh to become a molecule of water and celebrate life like this. Smash and spray up, like in a dance all of us water molecules. Oh to return to a primal form. Exist as this infinitely minimalist expression of life, floating, being one with this massive entity. Being everything all at once… the infinitesimally tiny and the impossibly huge.

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After that, when I begrudgingly come back to the street, the cement, the humanity, I feel almost angry. All that noise and human useless complexities that mean nothing, things that are there just to make us think we`re important, that our daily doings mean so much in the scheme of the universe. Busy. Necessary. But we’re not. We’re unimportant multi-cellular structures in a dog eat dog system, where one must eat another in order to survive, and we survive, but why? Because we feel we must? Because we were born? I walk and tears come up, the body feels tight, uncomfortable, useless, and every person around; the women in their noisy heels, stupid make-up, like animals in a mating ritual, attempting to achieve the societally dictated prettiness, acceptability, wearing poisonous perfumes… and the males full of this primal pride and chest pounding instinct, strutting around importantly no matter what demographic they belong to… it all seems so pointless. Stupid. I feel a huge sadness, a longing for a bare placeless place where all the artifices and lies have gone. I feel a need to be erased from this mad world. To be back Home… But I catch myself. Wipe the tear. No one could possibly understand and it’s not fair to my travel companion for me to dwell in these shadowy rememberings of things that no one accepts as real.

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***

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Porte D’Italie

We never got a ride. We spent 4, 5 hours the first night, frozen solid, with a sign saying “Sud” (South) we were trying to head to Carcassonne in the South of France for a concert I was to play on Friday night. We walked around some and I lost my courage and walked in a “Ibis Budget Hotel” lobby at this point not caring anymore about spending the very little money I have for this trip.

We walk inside and a strange sensation grabs us both
“This looks like it was a hospital…”

“It sure does.”

We walk up the red tile stairs and face the lobby, but it’s not a lobby it’s a hospital reception desk. Unmistakably.

“How much for a room?”

“90 Euros plus 8 Euros fee…”

“Ah Merci, it’s too much for us. Can we sit and use the internet for a little bit?”

“Oui, oui, allez-y…” But a few moments later he asks: “Combien êtes vous prêts à payer? Je pourrais vous faire le special internet a 65 Euros.”

“Uh non merci, c’est plus que ce qu’on peut faire.”

I had had thought that my maximum amount would be 50 Euros, he’s offering the room for 65, but 15 Euros for us means 1.5 day of food… In all truth, 50 is insanely expensive for my budget, not affordable. so I said no and asked if we could use the internet to try to figure out what to do next. We barely sat down on the black couch that the receptionist offers:

“I’ll do it for 50 Euros, but you have to leave before noon.”

“D’accord.”

“Chambre 406”

“Merci” He hands me the plastic card key that has a little bit of paper with 406 written on it taped to the card.

We find the stainless steel elevator that still says `hospital’ and we go up. I’m so cold. There is a point where all reluctance to spend money disappears. That point can vary greatly depending on fatigue, hunger, mood, length of day, amount of KM covered in the last 24 hours. I guess I could have waited longer but I didn’t want to could not. We get to the 4th floor and find our door, fumble with the key card then get the green light and enter.

Wow. There were spirits in there, there were energies of the ills and diseases in there, you could almost hear a heart rate monitor beep. It was spartan, not a hint of character. The white bed, everything immaculate, the size of the room, the little counter imbeded in the wall, the high set TV rack hung up high near the ceiling, the sad rectangular window, i had not realized until now how the design of a hospital room is so typical. In the bathroom, completely tiled, there is a hospital chair of white plastic and round tubing, you know the ones with the middle of the seat cut out for people who cannot get up to shit… all white. All immaculate. All sterilized looking and absolutely creepy. But there was HOT water, endless hot water and with it we increased our carbon footprint greatly by taking this double digit time shower. And there was a bed with crisp sheets and blankets and we promised to get up early and raise our thumbs up again tomorrow and vowed that we would conquer the frigidity of Parisian drivers and get a ride to Lyon.

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After trying another spot and watching hundreds of French cars and drivers drive by determinedly ignoring us, we went for plan be. Stopped in a Quick restaurant, something like the French version of Mc Donalds with Obelix as their mascot, we used their free wi-fi to try to get a ride with Bla bla cars. We did find a ride to Beziers. The guy showed up and picked us up.. then dropped us off in the middle of nowhere on the freeway… after a toll both, there was an area for cars to pull out and he dropped us off there. At that point we had 20 minutes to make it to the train station for my show in Carcassonne, yeah I was supposed to play that night… we got out of the car, I felt the cold wind, looked around, nothing but fields and city lights in the far distance… There was a man there loading luggage in his car, I asked him:
“how can we get to the train station from here?”

He looked at me and my friend and said: “I’ll take you.” the stress evaporated… an angel… I told him so… After lavishly thanking him we ran for tickets, then the train, 5 minutes to departure. We rode the TGV… I wasn’t going to because it’s too expensive… but I had to make it to Carcassonne, didn’t want to let my friend down there…

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we made it, Serge picked us up. It was amazing to meet him, something that was 12 years or so in the making… at the venue we had a great steak dinner and crème brulee, and wine… a warm house and shower, a bed after 40 some hours on the roads… all is well.

Carcassone is amazing. The Cite, the oldest complete medieval fort in the world was magical. We walked and walked, had croissants, I played an open mic at “The Celt” then when we got home, Serge offered to record some songs on the guitar. In the end we had 3 songs. It was a great experience.

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After 4 days we hit the road again. Bla bla cars ride to Toulouse, we walked around for a couple hours, were harrassed by street bums but made it to the bus station…

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…We gave up on hitchhiking in France in the winter, I couldn’t see one more stressed out French driver staring at us with either fear or annoyance while clutching their steering wheel and driving too fast. …the bus ride to Barcelona was overnight this way we could save ourselves one night of accommodations or trying to find a roof for that night.

Barcelona, so much walking again, first day I forgot to put the memory card in the camera so no photos. We went up to the Cathedral by way of trails and woods, it was great. On the second day we went to the Mediterranean sea. Walked some more. Thanks to friends we had a bed and a place to cook. Barcelona is mind exploding. So much art, so beautiful, not an inch of the environment is neglected. It was so inspiring, too much to see, I wonder how I can ever remember and use these sights in my art.

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Early morning Friday, we have to get to the airport and head to Porto Portugal. We make it. We only slept a few hours so we take a nap when we arrive at our host’s home then go out and walk around. Porto’s high points: easy going, great food and pastries, 60cents espresso, but mostly: Albertina our host and the Atlantic ocean.

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Now I sit at the Porto airport. My flight is at 6:30 AM tomorrow and the first metro is at 6:00 AM. I have 8 hours until the 5:30 to check in to think of all the amazing stuff that took place since December 22nd. Strange to be sitting still with time to waste after 3 weeks of non-stop going. Istanbul awaits me and the journey goes on.

December 22 I left Istanbul for a journey that had been decided on a whim caused by a dare by a friend who said:”Would you buy a ticket to Amsterdam?” On Ryanair it was 100 lira, $50 bucks… I said yes. I had friends in Amsterdam… I had been in Istanbul for a while, thought that by December I would be ready to head out… I had no idea at that point that I would go to California, Montreal, Poznan, Berlin in the mean time…

Amsterdam…
What I remember most: Joris and Natalia and Christmas with their Polish family in Genk, Belgium.

on the way back from there, Natalia realized she had forgotten her phone in Genk, so they dropped us off to see Antwerp…

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Next day we went to the North Sea

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later that day we started on the hitchiking journey, full of glee and Christmas food and confidence

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But somehow, hours later we were still not getting any rides and walking into strange cities and places… magical nonetheless near midnight, Ricky picked us up… and we arrived in Amsterdam cold to the bone but safe and sound. in the morning we went to see the city. we stayed 3 days.

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There was much more… we stayed with Jean at Sandrine’s house, shared meals and it was so great. then it was time to head South. I had a show in Carcassonne in 3 days… we figured we could get there no problems…

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so in the dark Amsterdam morning we headed out.

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we stayed at Porte d’Italie in Paris for countless hours, freezing, no rides to be had… we went through the gamut of emotions, walking up and down the streets, trying one spot then the others. The French drivers looked harried, stressed, aggressive and even scared. late in the night, as the cold was seeping to my bones I decided to pay for a hotel room, to warm up, regroup and not fall apart.

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the next day, same corner, same lack of luck. After 4,5 hours we decided to try Bla Bla cars. We got a ride to Lyon, it was new years’s eve. There, Fazil, a friend from Istanbul hosted us. we had leftover New Year’s party food, warmth, laughter, a hot shower and a glass of whiskey. all is well.

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On January first, we headed out confident we’d get a ride… we didn’t, we spent 6, 7 hours out, walking all over the place trying this spot or that one… This was the last place of the day… hopeless… but still, a girl in a boulangerie gave us 2 pains au chocolat… they came handy. it was still magical

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finally we decided to spend a white night. We walked around Lyon all night long, stopped for an espresso around 2 AM then found one bar open and stayed until 4 buying one beer that we slowly, slowly sipped. then walked up the hill to the cathedral there. I got so cold, there was no heat left in my body it seemed. But we made it to the morning and hopped on a bus to Montpellier.
in Montpellier we still hoped to get picked up… no luck. this corner was the ultimate desolation as no cars would come by

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then this was in front of it… weird. Grim Passion…

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… To be continued 🙂