Thursday, May 8th. Two weeks travelling and it was finally time to pack and leave to the “first” destiny of the oficial trip.
I wake up really anxious, as always, waiting the store to call telling me the lenses were there.
In the previous night we went for some beers at my farewell party of Poland, but we came back early. Wojciech had to work and I had 300 km to drive.
The time passes by and the store doesn’t call. We call them and they answer the same answer over and over “it’s about to arrive”.
I decide to put my bags in the car and drive Wojciech to his work. While he would be there, I would be taking a walk around the city waiting the call. And the call never happened. One day more in Poznan without the lenses and a huge feeling of time lost.
I get really sad and angry, but getting sad and angry wouldn’t help now.
Wojciech comes back from work and we go to a studio where his friends were playing. There we would have a last beer and some fun.
The band is formed by Piotr, Bartlomiej and Damianek. They are making a jam session and sing, ironically, that I should have not bought that car. Then they overload me with questions about my trip and we decide they would make a special song for the trip and also that I would use some of their songs for the video.
On our way back the trams are completely full of Young people going to a party that was taking place near the flat. Wojciech explains me that it was the end of the semester and this was a traditional party that happens every end of semester and everyone was going there to distress and get completely drunk. We decided to go back to the flat and sleep.
My anxiety wakes me up on the next morning. This had to be the day, with or without the lenses.
Wojciech was outside already solving some stuff at the post office. I call him and ask about the lenses and he tells me he had already called the store and they still didn’t know when they would be there. I almost punch the wall. Then I take a deep breath and try to forget it.
I ask him to call them again and let them know that I was only going to buy these lenses if they would be there before noon, because I had to be in Berlin before 6pm, otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to sleep there. He then sends me a link to a polish website. I don’t understand anything, but I could see a picture of a white sheet covering a body near the tram line that we were yesterday night. I ask him what has happened and he tells me that it was a friend of him. He tried to cross the line when coming back from the party, completely drunk, and was hit by the tram. He died.
Wojciech comes back quite sad and I didn’t know if I should be sad about it or angry with the store. I felt really selfish for not being able to share my friend’s pain.
The store finally calls and tells us that the lenses would arrive at 3pm. I ask Wojciech to send them to hell and that I was leaving to Berlin. I take my stuff and we go down. Wojciech hugs me a melancholic hug, we take a picture together and he takes a few pictures more of the car. I get inside and leave. Another goodbye with a horn.
It was 11:30am when I left. It didn’t take much time for me to take a wrong turn and get lost. The GPS, as usual, wasn’t working properly. While I was trying to find the way, I stop on a gas station to refuel. When I left the station, I turned on a street and suddenly I’m back to the starting point. Lucky me. This time I don’t commit any mistakes and soon I’m on the highway.
On the highway there’s nothing much to do. It’s a straight road, boring, annoying and without any company. The radio is broken, so I have to sing alone, like a crazy person talking to oneself. I don’t really care.
I got used to be overtaken. Some people turn their heads to see the car. Some kids point their fingers, some young laugh and the older get surprised. Two cars with Russian license plates overtake me. The first one goes fast while the second I could notice the woman on the passenger’s seat taking a picture of my car. I try to thumb up for her, but the driver wasn’t on a good day and speed up.
After around 200 km I arrive at my first international border. I go through a bridge, leaving Poland behind and facing Germany right in front of me. And right after the bridge I notice some police cars around the road.
A 100 km more and I arrive in Berlin. Without GPS, I try to remember how should I do to get to the address. I had studied the way on internet the day before. I’m not sure if I was lucky or if I was a good student, but I get there without any mistakes.
I go up to the flat and Erik is there to meet me. I met him last December. He tells me that Tina, his fiancée and whom I met four years ago in Lithuania, is working. Soon they would be going to their hometown, near Dresden, to solve some things regarding their wedding celebration.
He leaves soon and I’m alone in their nice flat. Before he leaves, he borrows me his public transport card and with this card I go to Alexanderplatz to find a store where I could buy the lenses I was waiting for days in vain.
One of the lenses were not available. Precisely the one I was waiting for so long. It’s okay. I take another one. The filter I bought was useless then and I have to buy another one. At least in less than an hour I solve the problem that for the last three days I couldn’t solve. I go back to the flat and rest. Not without going to a market first to buy some food and, of course, beer. After all, I was in Germany! I make a carbonara sauce for my pasta, drink my beer and can finally lie down and use the internet with no worries.
On Saturday I go meet a former work colleague who’s living in Potsdam, a city in the outskirts of Berlin. I meet Gabriela in Alexanderplatz and we go for an “alternative tour” through the city, as the website suggested. The guide, a british guy with his heavy accent, speaks as someone who really knows what’s talking about. He says about the graffities and the unknown streets. He takes us to Kreuzberg and then to East Side Gallery, where the tour was over. He asked me about my videos and I tell him about my trip. He liked the idea but asked for permission of use of his image. No problems.
I and Gabi walk for a little more and we stop for lunch. Kebab, of course. She eats hers in a matter of minutes and I can’t even finish mine. Never happened to me before.
Although the sun was still there, it was late already and Potsdam isn’t so close. We said goodbye and I went back to the flat. Not before buying some beers more. Do I have to remind you where I was?
The Eurovision final was being broadcasted. In Brazil no one knows about it for an obvious reason: we are not in Europe. Anyway, I haven’t watched it so I didn’t know who were in the final. pela Rússia, “doou” seus 12 pontos para eles. E a Rússia retribui e dá os seus 12 para eles.
And it was quite ridiculous, I must say. At the final were Russia and Ukraine. And every time a country voted for Russia, the boos were loud
But in the end, the winner was na austrian singer who turned into a drag barbed queen. I still didn’t listen to the music. Actually I haven’t listened to any of the songs and I don’t really want to. I think it was quite interesting for her, or him, to win. In such times, where xenophobia in Europe is rising as a hundred years ago, this message of tolerance would not be in vain.
I turn off the TV and go sleep. No plans for the upcoming day.
I woke up, turn on the PC. I try to talk with Jorge, a goode friend of mine from Venezuela and who lived in Vilnius too. He told me he would be in Berlin so we decided to meet.
We went to Reichstag and Brandenburg. Meanwhile, we talk a lot about Brazil. Such an interested guy about Brazil he is. We make some comparisons with Venezuela and he explains me his situation in Europe.
Even though he has a masters and doctor’s degree, each one in a big European institution, he can’t find a job, even in telemarketing. This has been draining his health and I can see his wasn’t as smiley as he was four years ago.
He has been living for almost a month in a latvian friend’s flat, who called him asking for the flat Keys. He had to go and I went to the open museum about the wall. I took some pictures and made some videos of a place that was somehow not exclusive for tourists
Back to the flat I finally meet Tina and Erik. They had just come back from their trip. We talked a bit about their trip to Brazil last year and about mine too. It doesn’t take long for their friends to arrive. Lech and Tania are a couple. He was born in DDR and she in GDR. Now they both live in Berlin.
We made a dinner that was mostly everything we had on the fridge, plus some aspargos and potatoes they borught, stew and with some cheese sauce. And then I could make my first officially interview. I turn on the camera, point at them and we start to eat. The conversation naturally flows and a lot of nice answers and questions come. I liked the way the interview was being taken. It made me happy.
At 1am, Lech and Tania have to leave and Erik and Tina need to sleep. All, except of me, of course, work in the next morning. I get my PC and check how did the interview look like and then I go to bed.
Monday I go to Potsdam meet Gabriela again and get to know the small but quite importante german town.
We were hit by a quite heavy rain right after going down the bus stop and we had to run to the university’s restaurant. I pretended to be a student and had a nice meal for a cheaper price. We met a Bulgarian friend of her, Adam. I told him about my trip and, again, after the initial surprise, he liked the idea. We decided to try to meet in Sofia, if he will be there when I am there.
We three walked around the Neu Palais, that was right behind the restaurant. The rain was still annoying us, but lighter than before, but I still couldn’t use the camera. We decide to go to Orangerie and the Sans Souci Palace. A big complex of parks in just one place. A lot of green that I really liked, but I couldn’t stay for long. We go to the train station, where we said goodbye. Not a sad one because I know we will meet again soon. We live and work in the same city. No dramas.
I go back to Berlin on a long journey. I feel people look at me quite ofte. I think it’s weird because, after all, I’m in Berlin, a multicultural city where I’m just a regular person. I remembered that in São Paulo, when someone looks at me, I feel like my zipper is down. In this case, I felt like I had no pants. I tried to look to the landscape and avoid any eye contact.
At the flat, Erik arrives a few minutes after me. We decided to go meet Tina at a Lebanese restaurant. She always wanted to go there but never found a good excuse. Now she was with a half-lebanese guy and that was the perfect excuse she wanted.
We had a nice dinner and went back to the flat. On the next day they had to go early to work and I would go only later to Prague. We hugged, I thanked them for all the hospitality and a little bit of sadness was on the air. Another goodbye, actually two goodbyes, of so many I would still have to give.
Before fall asleep, I talk with my host in Prague about the time I should arrive there, 8pm, and then I go to bed with my mind wondering how the road would be like, how the new country would be like and how many people I would interview there.
I sleep tight.