Friday, July 8, 2011

Then and Now 7 - No Higher

Then and Now 7 - No Higher
Time: Mid-2007, single and at the hostel.

I didn't just hang out with girls when I was at the hostel, by just looking for a relationship or an easy girl. I mostly hung out with girls, yes, but only because they were the ones who were emailing and approaching me the most often. One day, I woke up in my dorm room and went to the public computer to check my email. To my surprise, among the two or three other emails from girls who wanted to hang out, there was a message from a guy, Andrew. He wanted to meet up, exchange language, and show me around to some fun places that I hadn't been to before. After exchanging phone numbers over email, I called him up and we set up a time to go hang out.

The next day, we met up, and he brought his girlfriend along to say hello, too. After a few minutes of walking around the train/bus/subway station and chatting, the three of us went to a local restaurant to get something to eat. It was a dimly lit place for an intimate atmosphere, there was some nice music coming in through the speakers, and the people around us spoke quietly and happily. The food came quickly and was very delicious.

We talked about all kinds of topics. I was surprised by how good Andrew and his girl's language skills were, and even more surprised that he actually took the lead in the conversation at points, instead of it being me constantly pulling information out of shy friends.

After we ate, his girlfriend went home, and Andrew and I took the subway to an enormous building with a scenic view. After a very long (and stomach turning) elevator ride to the highest point of the tower, we got out and took a look around. The view was open in a complete 360 degree circle around the building, with a gift shop and a little museum of the history of the tower in the middle. I took a lot of pictures up there, because there was a whole lot to see.

On one side, the view offered a wide and beautiful scene of the city in daylight. Buildings sprung from the ground as far as the eye could see, and cars zipped by on the roads below in all directions. On another side, the city ended abruptly at the foot of a forested mountain. The mountain was almost completely covered in the green of the tree canopies, but here and there, a couple of little houses could be seen nestled between their thick trunks.

This was one of the big reasons I wanted to see this country: back home in America, nature was something that was caged, fenced off and seen with the eye of someone at the zoo. Trees on the median, grass in the park, it was all placed aesthetically and artificially. But here, nature sat right beside civilization in a beautiful mix of old and new.

I moved on to another side of the tower, and could almost see the ocean beyond the many mountains and buildings beyond me. The clouds were puffy and free in the sky, hanging over the millions of people below who I wanted to get to know. Throughout all this time, Andrew and I were chatting about the things we could see, our lives, his work, my adventuring, anything we could think of.

After the sun was beginning to set, he noticed something down on the road below. There was a crowd of people below, all gathered around a concert stage. We were too high up to make out any signs, faces or clothes, but Andrew heard from the news that it was a gay pride parade, featuring a very famous pop idol in a free outdoor concert. We spent a good long while just watching the throng of people move in time to the music like waves upon the beach. He also pointed out how some of the people on the street were dressed and positioned in such a way as to look like a man's face, but I couldn't see it, no matter how he tried to explain it.

After trying to describe where the "face" was for a minute or two, Andrew just gave up trying to explain. But I just grinned, took a picture of the people down there, and had him show me on the preview pic on my camera. No wonder I couldn't see it: it didn't look at all like a man's face. But I nodded and lied, "Oh! There it is."

Finally, night set in, and I took another look around through the darkness. The forested mountain was now an ominous black shape in the distance, and the houses upon it could not even be seen anymore. The most interesting thing was the view of the city at night: light shone through the windows of buildings far and wide, with the caution lights for airplanes blinking upon them. Cars drove up and down the street, casting tiny, stretching shadows up and down the road.

It was at that point that I truly began to plan my journeys throughout the earth. Here I was at the top of the world, sharing an excellent view with an excellent friend, and I knew that there were millions more sights to see, and friends to make, just waiting for me to come and know them. The two of us spent several hours up there before it was time to go. The elevator ride down was swift, and a subway ride later, we parted. I'll never forgot the fun time we had, and the view he shared with me.

As for today...

I woke up at 11:00.
My wife and I went to the gym, then we went home.
I started a load of laundry.
I ate lunch.
I watched TV.
I watched internet movies with my son.
My wife took a nap.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I did some more resume, email and phone call stuff for work seeking.
My wife woke up and went to work.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I hung up wet laundry.
I watched internet movies with my son.
My mother-in-law came over to take my son out.
I played video games.
My son came home.
I watched internet movies with my son.
He fell asleep.
I played video games.
I slept.

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