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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Travels of an outsider Red Cap on the road less travelled.

“I stick my finger into existence – it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How did I come to be here? What is this thing called the world? What does the world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the thing, and now leaves me here?

“… How did I come into the world? Why was I not consulted, why was I not made acquainted with its manners and customs, but was thrust into the ranks as though I’d been bought from a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in it? And is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I would like to see him.”

Kierkegaard: Repetition: A novel.

And so begins our new journey, me and my moron on a journey not to another continent or country, but a journey into the self, into the meaning of being. We are boldly going to stick our fingers into existence, and smell it.

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She is ninety years old. We visit her frequently. During one of our previous visits she told us that her husband was coming to pick her up to take her home. People were busy putting a floor into one of the rooms at her house. The concrete was still wet, they will not be allowed into the room.

Then she said; but my husband is dead. Why didn’t you tell me that he died? she asked confused.

And indeed, he died a long time ago, but she forgot.

I stick my finger into existence – it stinks, said my moron. I want to see the director. And so we enter the world of the outsider. The man asking pertinent questions, judging, accusing, demanding answers to life, the universe and everything.

On our next visit she told us that elephants were roaming the hospital ward she was in. She loved it. She was not afraid of them. She also told us that her youngest brother and her two sisters were still alive and well. When we told her that they have died a long time ago, she would not believe us. She smiled knowingly and told us that her husband visited her the day before. He was going to take her to the shop to buy her some new shoes.

(meer…)

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It is now more than a year ago that we went to Germany on our famed pilgrimage. I think I, the famous Red Cap went into a severe depression shortly after our return to this dark, disorderly, violent and bloody country. Isolated from the rest of the world by a desert to the North and an ocean all the way around the rest of it, she is only now, about a thousand years later, getting to the “let’s-kill –all-the-other-buggers-before-they-kill-us” blood and gore phase that Europe went through.

Yes we saw it all. From the brutal Roman occupation and their Gladiator blood sport arenas for their own amusement, to the Prussian wars, and Napoleon’s bloody conquest of most of Europe, the one hundred year war, the madness of the Crusades, and other small local skirmishes as well as two world wars culminating in atrocious, vulgar Dachau and Auschwits. Yes it happened and it will happen again, and it is now happening in Africa. It is enough to make you ashamed of humanity and send you into hiding for the rest of your life, praying that some or other Bubonic plague or alien invasion will wipe them out for good.

And that is what I, the famous Red Cap was doing most of the time since our return. Hanging out with some shady characters, trying to minimise contact with these despicable human beings as much as possible. You never know when they will turn on you and shoot you (they like to shoot things), or stab you (another great fun thing they like to do), or stone you (great stoners they are ever since Biblical times).Red Cap 3

We did go on sporadic excursions all over the place, like visiting great cultural spots to hang out with the forefathers, those brave men and women who should have stayed in the good old Netherlands or France or whatever seedy corner of the world they ran from, mainly because they could not get along with ‘thy neighbours’. Question is, why travel all this way just to kill or be killed by black savages, while you could have stayed home and be killed by your own savage, moronic people over trivialities like how a loving, almighty God should be worshiped. It does not make sense, but then again, do these bipeds ever make sense?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

(meer…)

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Goodbye Germany

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And suddenly it is time to go. The last day dawned on us with sunshine and bird song. Sneaky bastard. We were hoping for some sort of reprieve, some sort of exculpation, exoneration, absolution, call it what you

want. We urgently wanted to stay longer, very much longer, maybe even indefinitely. This is what a postmodern society looks like. This is me, the world famous, sophisticated Red Cap. This is where I belong. This is what I deserve. All the technology, all the luxury, the rich and mind boggling culture, the sophistication and level of civilisation. An authentic, thoroughly postmodern society.

Duitsland 2014

Duitsland 2014

Ye gods, I stand (or rather hang) mortified in the midst of all this splendour at the side of my moron, who is beaming with devastating ignorance at all of this, and mumbles weakly; ‘This is nice. I think we should perhaps come here again sometime’. NICE! NICE! Domkopf! Saumensch! I swear his befuddled little brain cannot fathom the splendour and intricacy of this sophisticated civilisation he suddenly finds himself in. Shame, it must be completely overwhelming for the bird brained poor sod. As the saying goes; the light of one single candle is just there to show you the darkness, presuming of course that there is even one single, tiny little candle burning in that empty, pitch black cavern of his skull.

For a last treat our hosts take us for a walkabout and a cup of tea in the Englischer Garten. Strange thing this English garden in the woods of Germany. Why, one wonders, did a proud German nation bother with an English garden in the middle of a German army camp? But I am willing to forgive them this faux pas, because they at least had the common sense to erect a shrine with a statue of Apollo in one corner of the garden, it could just as well have been a statue in honour of some or other Royal English prick.

Duitsland 2014

Duitsland 2014

And then it was off to the airport. Said our goodbyes, au revoirs, happy landings and what not, and we were off. And this time I was treated with the respect due to me. I travelled with the moron in the passenger compartment of the plane and not in the cargo hold like before. Disgustingly dirty and cold as hell it was down there. I felt humiliated beyond words. I will never forgive him that indiscretion.

But my happiness was short lived. The cargo hold was indeed cold and dirty and disgusting, not exactly Schloss Neuschwanstein, but, as I soon realised to my horror, to be herded together in this cramped space with this lot vulgar, wheezing, coughing, spitting humanity, was an ordeal comparable to Dachau. The air was hot and humid and teaming with the most horrid bugs of all kind, competing with each other for the most suitable host to penetrate where they multiplied to be coughed out into the liquid air to infect more people who were happily smiling and talking and laughing. This was driving me out of my mind. I was not going to survive this madness.

Duitsland 2014

Duitsland 2014

We stop over at Dubai, a splendid, modern, shiny airport, not designed to accommodate weary, bone-tired world travellers. We survived ten agonising long hours of waiting for the connection flight back home amidst drooling men in long white frocks ogling innocent young girls (hateful Western unbelievers) in miniskirts and hot-pants. They, the white frocked, towel headed men, are not interested in a famous, albeit dishevelled Red Cap, sitting atop the greying bald head of an equally dishevelled elderly man. Regrettably, nor are the pretty young ladies.

Eventually our plane arrives and we shuffle on board, being welcomed by pretty stewardesses and a new wave of exotic, noxious germs. After an eternity in the belly of our flying beast, crammed in like sardines in a tin can with these vulgar, sweating, wheezing bipeds, we arrive back home. We disembark, taking our aliens, now in permanent, hostile residence, with us and picking up a couple of the local variety on the way to the arrival terminal.

Duitsland 2014

Duitsland 2014

If there is such a thing as fifty shades of grey, then I am sure I achieved a remarkable 51 shades of crimson during our flight back home, arriving at Aandblom Street in the palest shade of red imaginable. My poor germ infested moron (now poor in every sense of the word, especially the sort of word bank managers understand best) and his equally poor spouse, sported a very dark shade of green and promptly went to bed, and stayed there for the rest of the week, and half of the next week, telling each other what a fabulous, unforgettable trip they had had. And, I believe, in their feverish delirium, started to plan the next trip to Europe.

And now, fully restored to my old exuberant, charming and witty self with a healthy red colour, I must admit that it was worth it, every moment of it. Yes I do sport a few permanent scars and lost a stich or two like a seasoned traveller, but I loved it and will do it again, and again for as long as I live. To that end, we are working on a scheme to rob a Bank. Watch this space, we will keep you posted.

Ps. watching the news last night made me change my mind. I have a feeling that the moron is going to botch up our planned bank robbery, and we will all land in jail, thus I suggested that the moron and wife paint themselves black, we get a boat and head for Europe as refugees. That way we will get VIP treatment and permanent residence in the country of our choice. We get food, a house, medical treatment and a job. Once inside, we can start demanding better treatment, free housing, free meals, and if we don’t get what we demand, we accuse them of racism and discrimination, and we burn down their towns and cities.

This is going to be so exciting. Just can’t wait. The Red Cap is going to go on a rampage!

Juliet verona

See you soon darling Juliet.

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The Red Cap and the Fairy Castle

In a desperate bid to absorb another miniscule part of European history, we dash excitedly towards one of the most beautiful, albeit unfinished castles of Germany, Schloss Neuswschanstein, the fairy tale construct in the foothills of the magnificent Alps. We are tourists, we must see, we must take pictures. We must, like heroes, partake in the glory and agony of dead people.

We are blessed with another beautiful day filled with vibrant sunshine. The gods have been very generous towards us with exquisite days of sunshine during our little tour of Europe so far. We are humbled for we are unworthy. In the meantime, like mad King Ludwig II who built this place, we keep an eye on the dark clouds gathering on the horizon.

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The country we travel through is heavenly gorgeous, and greener than the greenest envy of the most envious man or woman on earth. You can almost hear the fairies giggle in the tall grass and shrubs along the way.

We travel through the sleepy town of Hohenschwangau, consisting mainly of upper class guesthouses, rundown pubs and posh restaurants. A quiet heaven for weary tourists and popular hunting grounds for bloodthirsty preachers and witch hunters of years gone by, all of them, thank God, eventually hunted down themselves by the relentless hunter in black with the unwavering scythe. Were they glorified on arrival up there, or were they mortified like they should have been the bastards, one wonders.

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At the foot of the Alpine foothills we stop to admire the Romanesque Schloss Neuschwanstein high up in the Alpine mountains (or then Alpine foothills, if you like). And it is here that I, the world renowned Red Cap come to my glorious right with an admiring crowd of photographers going on their knees around me to immortalise me against the backdrop of the preposterous dream that King Ludwig II of Bavaria dared to dream. I just loved it and revelled in the attention showered onto me. I felt like a king.

Duitsland 2014

Then it was all excitement as we move on to buy tickets for a tour of the castle while a light drizzle of rain started coming down to try, without success, to dampen our high spirits a bit, but then our spirits were really dampen when no tickets were available for any immediate tour. After much deliberation it was decided that, due to time constraints and concerns that my moronic old man with his bad leg, bad heart (and if you ask me, his serious lack of precocity) would not be able to climb the couple of hundred meters uphill to the castle, the project be abandoned and to return to München.

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What a waste. I so wanted to visit that way-out mad castle, built by that mad King. People regarded by the high and mighty as mad (especially mad kings), are my favourite historical figures. Kings, by definition, are a mad lot and this King Ludwig sounds to me like the most sane king in the history of Bavaria. Thus, to my mind, to be regarded as mad by people even madder than himself, he must have been an exceptionally, insanely sane man. He loved art, he loved peasants, and most of all he loved Wagner. Think Tannhäuser, think glorious Lohengrin, think Tristan and Isolde. How mad must you be not to love this music!

But of course he was a fool, an incurable optimistic one. He did not want to make war, he hated it, and when he did succumb to pressure, he lost the war and virtually his kingship. The next time he did, he won the war but finally lost his kingdom and his sanity. Serves him right the retard, believing like a fool in the goodness of all people, and trusting politicians to be honourable servants of the King, the Country and the people. He lost everything, even his optimism and started to concentrate on the building of his exorbitantly lavish castles, his dream world where all was good and noble and beautiful. Of course he was mad. In a world filled with brutal men who loved bloody wars and plundering, Ludwig II’s world was a vulgar intrusion.

So we went home and drank some wine, and pondered the madness of the word, and drank some more wine to be able to sleep through the darkness of being. Tomorrow will be our last day in Munich. We will be going home late in the afternoon, back to an equally dark future in our beloved, blood drenched Africa.

Me, I am sitting pretty on a badly balding head, looking, listening, judging. I exist on this planet to teach wrong-headed optimists the error of their obtuse convictions.

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Trail of blood

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Early morning and we are off to Italy while I am excitedly but softly humming: La donna é mobile, Qual piuma al vento, muta d’accento, e di pensiero, …. Ahh my beloved Verdi and his Rigoletto. I can hardly keep myself from bursting forth in full volume: SEMPRE UN AMABILE, LEGGIADRO VISO ….. We travel, me and my moron and his companions. Not like the fool Perceval on a quest for the Holy Grail, but more like bloodhounds, nose to the ground on the bloody trail of murderous men.

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First stop Pischiera, that benighted little town on Lake Gerda. Long past her splendour, with her drawbridges used for keeping barbarians out, now permanently down and tarred over, inviting a new breed of barbarians into her fold. The moat and massive protective wall around the inner city is still intact, but now serve as beautification and curiosity respectively. But the wall still remembers its bloody past. It still remembers the war cries of the defenders and the counter cries of the bloodthirsty attackers. It still remembers the cries of the wounded and dying. It still remembers the putrid smell of blood and the desperate cries of war prisoners being tortured in the prison deep inside its innards. Once a proud wall, playing its part in the violent history of a moronic humanity. Today it is a sad wall with no function, only nightmarish memories.

Late that afternoon my traveling companions were sitting in the shade of the wall, laughthing and drinking wine, and eating pizzas. They were having a good time celebrating their trip to Europe. I was furious. Have they no shame? I shouted at them at the top of my voice: Do you not smell the blood? Do you not hear the desperate, terror filled cries of woman and children amidst the roar of battle embedded in this very wall, in the soil at your feet?

And what did I get back in replay? From the table next to us, a discussion on the aesthetics of the sword, and the fine art of swordsmanship. Even the crude old metal shield became, to their bemudled brains, a thing of beauty! Instead of an intelligent discussion on the morality of war, I got a passionate technical overview on the merit of the crossbow over and against the conventional bow and arrow and how the crossbow was the predecessor of the modern missile. I wanted to cry. I wanted to puke. I shouted: But people were being brutally butchered, and for what!

So they turned to the exciting topic of the enemy scaling the walls, and the defenders pouring boiling tar on their heads from above. They considered this for a while, and to my relief I noticed the faintest signs of distaste to this barbaric practice … and then they decided that molten iron would have done a better job! I almost fainted.

They drank a toast on this brilliant idea, and then started discussing the next day’s excursion to Verona, city of the scandalous Scaligeri family and the besotted Romeo and his beautiful, stupid Juliet.

Yes, true to form these bi-pedalled excuse for a life form blunders ahead, knowing all the answers, but like Perceval, they do not know the question. They stumble onto holy ground and into holy abodes blabbering and drinking and having a good time while the Holy Grail is sitting right in front of their eyes, but they cannot see it even if it is paraded up and down for their benefit. Afterwards they have this vague feeling that they missed something, even something very important, but they blunder onwards into the dark forest of their emaciated lives.

Forwards to Verona with me humming: Libiamo, libiamo ne’lieti calici, … the drinking song from Verdi’s La Traviata. How I love these passionate Italians!

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011Me and my moron took to the road again, traveling the highways and the byways, the backroads and two-track farm roads. First we travelled West with the rising sun in our backs. There were luscious green cornfields to our left, and brilliant yellow sunflowers to our right. We encountered fat cattle grazing in shoulder high pastures teeming with life. There were signs of lovely creativity and artful play, and signs of impermanence and decay, the very fabric of our existence. Our reality.

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Then we turned South into older country, the once proud “Republic of the Free State”. Sheep and cattle country, with a few farmers thrown in  to complete the picture. We travelled through small towns with faded road signs, absent street names and tar roads turned to dirt and dust. Old towns now, with old people. The young ones have left, gone to do manual labour for rich American farmers far from home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd back home the old way of life is fading, slowly rusting away into oblivion, making way for a new, as yet invisible, uncertain future. Even I, a humble Red Cap, can feel the sombre mood in this last resting place of once shining new and proud vehicles, now discarded and forgotten.

There is no desperation here, no lament. Only quiet acceptance of the inevitable end while the Sun burns down on exposed bodies and a playful wind moves the grass in soft waves of green.  Even the farmers speak in a soft tone of voice as if waiting, more listening than telling, their spirit humble but not (yet) broken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALife goes on. Down in the marshes the storks are hunting. Plovers shout their warnings, protecting their nests and their young. Butterflies flutter happily along from flower to flower and sheep and cattle graze quietly in a distance. In a shed there is a pool of fresh blood and the skin of a freshly slaughtered sheep.

We leave the farm in a pensive mood, driving slowly back the way we came. Down the road we find a graveyard with freshly dug, open graves. The last resting place of more sentient beings. It is quiet here. Not a sound, as if life is kept away deliberately.

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Me and my moron traveling companion return back home at brake neck speed as usual. Back to the city vibrant with life and decadence. Near home the moron’s mood starts to lift. He becomes his old blockheaded self again, pounding the steering wheel with his left hand while showing obscene finger signs to fellow road users. In the last 20 minutes we have encountered, according to his lordship, seven morons, five imbeciles, six bastards, a couple of turds and even one mother f**kr. Someone is going to kill him someday.

Yes we are home, alive and fighting fit. We have wheels, we will travel again soon.

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Selfportret 1

Adventures of a flat red cap.

In the beginning, of course, it was only me, sitting in a daft, drafty, dusty, horrid little shop somewhere in a one-horse town called God knows what. And then one day, in walked this wrinkled, badly dressed old man, gave me a look-over and mumbled something that sounded like “will do”, and the next thing I know I was out of the shop and brutally dumped on the dusty seat of a dirt soiled bakkie and carted off like garbage.

And so my life outside that pathetic shop began … as a prop. An artefact, a thing on the head of a balding old man pretending to be an artist, painting what he called a self-portrait. He, of course, thought he was the most important object in the painting. That was until people started to ask: “What the hell is that on your head in that painting?”

It was then that I knew I was destined to become famous. People talked about me, not about the deluded painter of portraits, no, they noticed me because I was no ordinary, run of the mill old hat or flat cap or cabby or paddy cap as we are referred to on that pretentious  little island way up North.  I am special, so I thought …  and was dumped, again and unceremoniously into the same dirty old truck and carted off on the first of many adventures, meeting interesting people, hearing their stories and seeing strange and wonderful things and places. But the traveling life is not always fun and games, especially if your traveling companion is a bit of a nut case.

Bear with me, and I will tell you all about my travels and meetings with strange, sometimes funny but more often stupid people.

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