Leaving

Jan. 23rd, 2014 06:46 pm
commonpeople1: (Avatar)
I'll be inside a plane exactly 24 hours from now, about to depart London.  I'll try my best not to cry...

Suitcase

Oct. 22nd, 2011 09:25 am
commonpeople1: (Default)
The piece of black fluff hanging in the air which I grabbed with my left hand turned out to be a tiny spider.  Luckily, it didn't get squashed; I gently placed it on the dresser table beside my bed.

I'm packing my suitcase and catching a bus to the airport in 4 hours.  21 hours of traveling to London, door to door; not so bad.  I have books, I have laptop, I have an iPhone.  I don't have a job back in London so maybe I should join #OccupyLSX.

A gay couple arrived at the guesthouse last night: one is American and the other is Colombian.  The surprising thing was that they had heard of the guesthouse from a listing I placed in AirB&B two days before.  I think this is a sign.  Thank you [livejournal.com profile] yearning for the tip!  A very sweet way to bring closure to this trip and hope for what can be done here (marketing does work, you know.)

In 2014, Brasil is hosting the World Cup and some of the games will take place in a city near my guesthouse.  I want to organise a group trip from England to the guesthouse, see some of the games and then spend a week by the sea.  Who's interested?
commonpeople1: (TV)
Via [livejournal.com profile] peteyoung : The ash cloud that shut down British airspace, stranding thousands of people has produced an unlikely creative connection; a collaborative magazine (zine). Full story here. What a great idea!

Via [livejournal.com profile] pixxers :



I better start looking for work soon. The days are going by fast and I'll soon be back in London. I'm considering a flatshare with more people (will have to see what [livejournal.com profile] wink_martindale thinks of this) so I can pay less rent, pay off my credit card and lend my mom some money. When you are safe and sound, you are untouchable.

End Mile

Apr. 11th, 2009 02:47 pm
commonpeople1: (Bobby)

Mile End.
Originally uploaded by tommygunatkins
Our tower block is below the airplane routes from London City Airport and Heathrow. Sometimes, when I'm washing dishes and looking at Canary Wharf, I can see planes slamming into one of the financial skyscrappers. I think about my digital camera and whether I can reach it in time, if it has enough battery, if my photos will end up on a broadsheet front page. Or I imagine those planes heading for me as soapy water drips down my hands. Or Kevin, alone in the apartment as I watch the disaster from Victoria Park. Most of the time, though, I'm very proud of our view. We can see the changing seasons in London so beautifully. We've bought some hardy plants to populate our varanda and keep us busy this summer.

Sissy Jen is spending the weekend with us. We went to the Rich Mix yesterday and saw Religulous. It was an atheist's call-to-arms through humour, which is always the best sort. Afterwards, I asked myself if Bill Maher (who goes around interviewing religious figures and generally bursting their arguments) was guilty of entrapment, ala Borat. I don't think he was. His approach was open and friendly - intelligent - when interviewing people from all faiths, across the world. He gave them a chance to explain their beliefs. Some of them had never met in their life a person willing to challenge their views, and that's the film's ultimate success. Sure, there was some choppy editing for cheap laughs, and the film is more TV special than cinema material, but it's far less belligerent then anything by Michael Moore or Sacha Baron Cohen. So yeah, go see it.

I've also bought the Yeah Yeah Yeah's new brilliant album, "It's a Blitz!", and the Pet Shop Boys' best of compilation "PopArt". It's party time chez Ollie.
commonpeople1: (Julia)

Regent's Canal, Islington
Originally uploaded by mitch54
When the day reaches 6 o'clock and the sky is still blue, you know the worst of winter is over and we now only have warm days (and rain - perhaps) to look forward to. From where I sit in my new office, I look into an apartment building courtyard (a modern version of Hitchcock's Rear Window - including half-naked men who like to talk on the phone by their curtains) with a good chunk of the heavens.

As my last colleague was leaving today, I pointed out to her the spacecraft that was rising into the sky beyond the courtyard, much like a rocket, its cloud tail a bright pink colour. It wasn't heading towards us, it wasn't flying away - it simply moved up, joining other speeding crafts that left their own tails. A little bit like that Twilight Zone episode where the housewife stops time with her magic necklace once she sees nuclear rockets crossing the sky.

I take the Regent's Canal path home. It's dark by then and I've been notified by my colleague's txt message that the moon is magnificent. And it really is, shining over the canal and guiding my path. There are hardly any bikers or joggers so I can enjoy my loneliness a little - Suede followed by The Smiths in my ears ("Cemetery Gates" reminds me of the scene in Watchmen where they bury the Comedian by a tomb angel with very sad eyes.) In the mornings, this path is filled with bikers rushing to work. I hear stories of people who've been pushed into the canal after confrontations, including a mother with a baby. These bikers aren't as gutsy at night - they probably take well lit roads, the cowardly bastards. And you never see any women here at night, I think to myself just before one profusely apologises on a wobbly bike as we cross paths under a narrow bridge.
commonpeople1: (Zack)
On my flight back to London I had a stopover in Frankfurt. As I was getting off the airport bus, a dishelved man standing by the arrival gate walked over to me and started talking in hushed tones. I told him I spoke English and he looked a little flustered. He hadn't shaved for a few days, his eyes were nervous. He wore a trainspotter winter coat. He showed me a badge and said in his broken German accent that he was a customs officer.

"We are doing a training exercise today. Could you help us by carrying this bag?"

It was early in the morning, Frankfurt was covered in snow and I was still half asleep.

"We are training one of our sniffer dogs. It's over there," he said, pointing in the direction the other passengers were heading to. "You need to carry this bag past the dog."

You hear stories of innocent people made into drug mules, rotting away in some prison because they accepted this kind of request. The guy laughed nervously and explained that I only had to carry it with my left hand and wait to see what the officer with the dog (indeterminate, large breed) would say. Other passengers walked past us, some looking curiously at me as if I was an illegal immigrant that had just been busted.

I took the plastic bag with my left hand and joined the queue. Up ahead stood a female officer with the dog, sniffing everyone that walked past her. I looked back but the man was nowhere to be seen. Other passengers gave me some space, probably because they had witnessed what had happened and thought I was about to be arrested.

It came my turn to go past the dog. It sniffed the bag and immediately moved in front of me then shoved its snout in my crotch. The woman took the bag from me and fished a test tube from it with some kind of clear liquid. She threw it on the ground and the dog leapt on it. She laughed and said thank you for participating in the exercise.
commonpeople1: (Yumi)
If I didn't have Kevin waiting for me in London, I wouldn't fly back tonight. I have some wonderful friends in Britain, and a job I enjoy, but I have my family here - uncles and aunts that are loving substitutes for parents, and cousins that are like favourite siblings. I'd miss my friends in London, and all the wonderful things the city has to offer, but being in Brasil makes me realize how much I'm missing out by not being with my family.

Then there's my mom's guesthouse, growing each day, needing my help, with an orchard to work in, trees heavy with fruit, birds singing their little throats raw, the mountains in the distance, vigilant dachshunds at our feet and the paragliders over our heads. We are building cottages on our mountain, a swimming pool, a SPA (sauna, massage room and weights room), and a house for my brother and his family. There's a lot of work to be done and I feel like I'm needed. But there's also a much slower pace of life, good organic food that we grow ourselves, our library, brasilian soap operas on TV at night, and that promise of a U.F.O. landing any minute now.

Then I think of bringing Kevin to Brasil; everyone in my family asks how he's doing. I've never said anything, but they all know about us. They like him (he was here in 2000 for three months). We could build a studio for him to work in and dedicate himself to his illustration work, and find someone in town to teach him Portuguese. But would it be hard for him to get anything more than a tourist visa? I don't know. I should look into it.

I spoke on the phone to [livejournal.com profile] live_life_like last night, who lives in a beautiful coastal town in one of Brasil's southern states. She's the one who introduced me to LJ and it makes me sad that we weren't able to meet this time around. I need enough time in Brasil to travel south and visit her. I need enough time by the sea.

It better be sunny and warm in London when I land tomorrow.
commonpeople1: (Yolanda)
The housing association kindly slipped a letter through my letterbox this morning, warning me that both elevators need to be shut down all day today for maintenance work.

I live on the 11th floor. I have a plane to Brasil to catch. I have a suitcase.

The water has also been shut down. At least I took a shower yesterday after I came home from watching Twilight with Hester. I can't remember the last time I heard such bad dialogue in the cinema. And the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Make-Up 2008 goes to Twilight, for vampires that look like they are wearing badly-applied talcum powder. Other notable 2008 Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Film. Worst Actor. Worst Actress. Worst Supporting Actors. Worst Supporting Actresses. Worst Screenplay. Worst Special Effects. Worst Director. Worst Vampires. Worst Title That Has Nothing To Do With The Story In Question. Great night out, however! The entire (half-empty) cinema laughing together, talking back to the screen, giggling, actually enjoying the badness-of-it-all. Popcorn, beer, Coca Cola, and Doritos dipped in melted cheese. Countless memorable lines. Definitely a cult film; and the sequel will probably be a slicker, big budget affair, thanks to its success in America. Can I pre-book tickets already?

By this time tomorrow, I'll be at my mom's in Brasil. Their computer seems to be acting up so I don't know how often I'll be able to check LJ. I'll have to content myself with the full moon. In case you don't hear from me until after the 25th, have a very merry little Christmas! Dispel your humbugness, and let a crowd of singing munchkins into your heart (but make sure first they are dressed like Santa's little helpers). May the spirit of Dorothy fill you with joy this season.

I'm a Carlisle! I found out through TwilightersAnonymous.com. Which Twilight Male Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!


NOOOOOO!!! I want to be Edward! Or James, the tracker vampire! *pouts*

Update: It's actually the tower block next door that has had its water and elevators shut down. But the letters were distributed here... hmmmm. I wonder if the poor buggers over there even know what's going on? I'm not complaining - my life is suddenly a little easier!

Air Canada

Dec. 14th, 2008 02:35 pm
commonpeople1: (Tom)
Kevin flew to Canada a few minutes ago; we won't see each other for a whole month. I wanted to tell him that I loved him this morning but couldn't find it in me. I can't say "i love you" to anyone. I don't say it to family, friends - not even Kevin. I don't know why. There's some superstition attached to it. In the ten years I've been with him, I must have said it a dozen times - tops. I walked with him to the bus stop, we hugged and he climbed onboard. Then he texted me just now to say he was about to board the plane. I texted him back those three little words. He replied with the same.

And now I'm alone for 9 days until my flight to Brasil.
commonpeople1: (Log Lady)
Kevin and Sissy Jen bought plane tickets to Canada this Christmas... with Zoom Airlines.

I'm guessing they'll be OK because they bought their tickets with credit cards... or at least I hope so. Anyone got experience with buying from a company that goes bankrupt?
commonpeople1: (Morrissey)
In the end, the airline allowed me to fly without paying a fine. I arrived in London yesterday afternoon, safe and well. Thank you for all the toes, fingers and paws crossed, as well as the good vibes.

While waiting for my connection in Amsterdam, I pictured myself standing on top of an airplane, wearing a billowing white dress, singing The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter".
commonpeople1: (Morrissey)
Did any of you pray for me overnight? Because if you did, thank you! There was a place for me in a flight tonight, arriving in London tomorrow noon.

Fingers and paws crossed, please.
commonpeople1: (Default)
My plane left London at 9pm, Thursday night. It flew over the city, following the river; I kept an eye out for landmarks and was slightly freaked out to spot the National Theatre. I looked in the general direction of my old office, the places I used to hang out, miles below me. I imagined the building busy, productions into their second halves, people milling about the backstage area. It felt weird to know so much from so far away.

A Dutch Pippi Longstockings sat beside me. Her blonde hair was tied up in a matted mass, crowned with a pair of sunglasses. She ate far too much sugar for her own good, then flicked through a heart-throb magazine. After much jumping and shuffling on her seat, I gave in and paid her attention. She gave me the best and friendliest smile in the world.

The hotel in Amsterdam wasn't too far from the airport. The bedroom was white and cold, and the whole place reeked of marijuana. A plastic bag was wrapped around the fire detector. Flicked through the channels and was not surprised to find porn, in full throttle. Slept for six hours and caught a bus back to the airport at 7am.

This must be the third or fourth time I fly with KLM. They are never a disappointment. Very friendly service; unlimited amount of drinks (including alcohol) and snacks; plenty of films, TV shows and games to choose from your own personal screen; and a wide variety of newspapers to read from. I watched Zodiac (excellent) and Little Children (disappointing); I read from one of the three novels I bought at Heathrow. Did you know airports don't sell poetry?

My grandma had gnocchi and country chicken ready for dinner when I finally arrived at the farm. We sat shivering in the dining room until someone had the bright idea to sit by the fireplace, under blankets. My mom brewed some tea and, by 10.30pm, I was in bed. Woke up today at 5am to the valley's roosters and cows.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Up to 200 people have died in a plane crash in Sao Paulo, Brasil.

When [livejournal.com profile] hunterjr told me about this, I thought it was a crash without casualties... I can see now that it was a horrible disaster. Sissy Jen called this morning to find out if I had left England already for Brasil.

Congonhas is not the airport I'll be using in Sao Paulo; my plane arrives in Guarulhos, so I'm assuming my flight tomorrow won't be affected (but I'll check beforehand.)
commonpeople1: (Morrissey)
Image of kurds standing by a mountain


The airplane is about to take off. Most of the people in it belong to my excursion, though the crying mother and child in front of me do not. Another woman, also not part of my group, stands up. A friend tells her to "sit the fuck down". An argument breaks out, then quickly dies when the air stewardess asks everyone to close the blue curtains. Up and down the airplane we pull our curtains closed as we move down the runway.

Everyone forgets to close the curtains beside one of the unoccupied seats. I wonder if the plane needs to be completely dark, for our own protection, as it flies away. I go towards the window and look outside. I see many Kurds covering the sides of a mountain that reaches into the sky. They are covered with snow and ice, their bodies huddled underneath thick blankets. The mountain is dark and steep, the sky a marine blue.

When I return to my seat, my friend hands we a small bowl with chicken stew and some bread. He warns me that the food is very spicy. I spill some of it on my pyjamas. We eat with our hands and balance the food without the use of the trays in front of us. The plane continues to move down the runway and I wonder if it will ever take off.
commonpeople1: (Swim)
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Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy flight in my previous post. You have no idea how much power you hold:


  • KLM air stewardess: "As you can see, you are sitting right beside an emergency exit. There are a few things you need to know: if the plane crashes, you must pull this tag and the door will open. If the door doesn´t open, you must push it. However, you must only open the door once the alarm bell stops ringing. If you open the door before that, you will be sucked into the engine, and that wouldn´t be very pleasant."
  • Out of all the passengers boarding the KLM flight to Brasil, I was one of the few to be frisked by the security guard. I love it when people think I´m dangerous/dodgy-looking.
  • As soon as the plane took off, one of the air stewards skipped down the aisle. Not run. Not walk fast. Skipped.
  • There were over 50 movies, 50 CDs, videogames and even Sudoku games to play. I could watch new fair like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. I fulfilled one of my lifetime dreams: I watched an airplane thriller inside an airplane (including bombs, shootings and the kidnapping of a little girl - Flightpan). I thought there was an international law against undue passenger distress? Perhaps passengers are now allowed to sensibly stress themselves out?


I´m now at the farm. My aunts, grandmother and brother are here. It´s sunny and I´ve been taking photos of the dogs drinking water from the pond. When I went to hang my towel to dry in the morning, a great kiskadee flew over me. Apparently, toucans have been flying down the mountain during certain times of the day. We are going to leave some seeds and fruits out for them.

At the moment, because of my family being around, I don´t have time to catch up with LJ. I´ll try doing so in a couple of days. I hope you are all well!
commonpeople1: (Default)
My flight to Brasil leaves in 8 hours and a half. My next update will be from South America.
commonpeople1: (Jehovah Witness)
I'm in a horrible mood today. I don't know if it's because of the excrutiantingly long play I saw last night (The Royal Hunt of the Sun), the disappearance of the sun, the nightmare I had about being fired, the impending flight to Brasil and all its economic horrors, the tickling cough that just won't go away or the long tedious hours stretching ahead today. Whatever it is, it's making me cranky.

I want to hit HMV after work and buy The Organ's album. I've got their song "Memorize the City" stuck in my head and the newspaper this morning called their debut an effort beyond their Joy Division, The Smiths, The Cure and Blondie influences (i'm paraphrasing). I tried to buy a book during my lunch hour but nothing appealed to me. I'm feeling angsty about passively taking in culture -- books, films, plays, LJ -- and giving nothing back. And maybe I don't even want to give anything back, because there's nothing left to give. Music is the only thing that soothes me.

I've been listening alot to the Pet Shop Boy's "You Are Always on My Mind" ever since that night at Feeling Gloomy. My neighbour must be pissed off because he's fighting back with ska and 70s style punk. Little does he know how happy he makes me.

I want to lie under a South American sun, cuddle my dogs, eat watermelons & eat pastéis, wear shorts & flip flops, fall asleep in front of brasilian soap operas and win the lottery. I want my holiday in Brasil to start tomorrow, and to have those three weeks feel like six months.
commonpeople1: (Nosferatu)

Elizabeth Taylor was carried out of the airplane on her wheelchair. The front part of her skull was bald, and the remaining hair had been weaved into long braids. She looked pasty and old, too infirm to even acknowledge us.

Her acupuncturist was by her side, helping carry the wheelchair. Tiny blades covered Elizabeth's face. The scene reminded me of the 10 of Spades in the Tarot pack. Whenever the acupuncturist pushed one of the thin blades into Elizabeth's skin, I heard the sheathing of a sword.
commonpeople1: (Default)
Witness comes forward after watching Crimewatch last night.

***


I went through a near death experience last night, in a dream. I've died before in dreams, but this time it was different. The airplane didn't reach the runway and fell inside a chasm. I knew I wouldn't survive the crash as we tumbled down. I closed my eyes, left my body, and saw the blue flames engulf everything. As I was getting pulled towards God (yes, he/she/it does exist) I woke up. Blood was pumping through my head as if I'd had an aneurism. I've never experienced something like that in my life.

***


The number 18 bus driver shouted at me and made a big scene this morning. The ticket machine had swallowed my money and he wouldn't give me a "customer care card" (which the infolady on the phone told me he should have.) I was the morning's entertainment for a bunch of zombies.

Work at the Institute of Education was fine - I pulled the same ropes and the same bells rang. At lunch, I visited my old colleagues and we gossiped about personnel. It was nice to see them again.

Glad to be home. Kevin is reading a story tomorrow at You Don't Bring Me Flowers. I finish work at 4.30, so I'll hit the swimming pool then go there to support him. Summer hasn't arrived and I'm already waiting for Autumn.

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