Filed under: *Travel Diary
Stepping out of the plane in Vienna, the first thing that hit me was the cold. I could see my breath. The sun had just risen and everything was clean and crisp and whole. All surfaces were in tact and people were quiet, kept to themselves, murmured quietly or typed away at their cell phones. In Frankfurt, on the way to the plane, there was a sign above the bus driver saying it was prohibited to speak with him while he was driving. I was struck by the quiet of it all. Sure it was early morning, people were tired, but there was a distinct increase in the circumference of personal space. A clichéd observation, I know, but still true.
The biggest immediate gulf between being in Luanda and being in Vienna has to do with these cracked surfaces, the smells, and the permission to look at someone or not on the street. Oh – and the sounds. I’ve been lucky, though. Although it has been a bit chilly, the sun has been shining and people have been out on the street and there is a sense of life and activity – however subdued and contained. Jim wrote to me to say that Amsterdam is grey upon grey upon a backdrop of grey and that he’s locked himself up in his apartment, is blasting the Kuduro CDs he bought in Roque Santeiro and working on his puppets, getting ready for his performances in Norway.
I’m sitting in Wirr. A cafe on Burggasse, just off of Hermangasse. They have wireless access, nice hippy food, Manu Chao playing over the speakers, natural light, open space and electrical outlets for my computer. I plan to spend the week here trying to turn my notes and scribbles into blog entries. It’s my compilation station. They are cool here. I got here before they opened and they let me hang out and gave me a coffee while they set up. they even introduced themselves and are taking some coffee over to the guys doing construction work across the street. They seem decent. A good place to work for the week. Maybe later on in the week, I’ll hook them up with some Kuduro…or at least some Kizomba if the Kuduro is the wrong sort of vibe for a place like this.
Oh – and last night, Claudia, Roland, Ursula and I went over to a restaurant on Neubaugasse called Mt. Kenya. It actually says “Wiener Beisl”on the front and looks loike a straight up old school Viennese bar that just happens to serve Nigerian and Kenyan food. It is awesome. The food is stellar. And the mix of Africa and Vienna is just too trippy, but somehow works. I’ll see if I can find the address, but in case anyone is near and wants to stop by, it’s on Neubaugasse between Westbahnstrasse and Burggasse. The manager is a white Viennese woman named Yvonne whose mom hangs out there, sips her one glass of red wine, smokes cigarettes and fist bumps with all the Kenyan and Nigerian guys who come in to play pool in the back room.
Ok – enough of this. I am here to work. Slowly slowly I will update this blog and try to retrace my steps through Angola. In the meantime, here’s a link to some photos from the trip on Flickr. I guess you can make business cards out of them, if you like…
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