A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about goodbyes


Of where I've been, bank hurdles and the present track.

sunny 19 °C
View Crossing back & Re-Europe on Zaspirucho's travel map.

For six weeks I barely wrote a word. Not just here, but my journal famished too: only a couple pages to account for over a month; poor thing. But I am on a train again, earth rolling beneath my feet. And moving calls to words in a way that staying put does not.


So, I arrived in Rotterdam, where I did not find the story I was looking for, yet I decided to stay. With pride I saw the days pass, staying put, not hurrying onward. But there was something missing. Maybe if I had stayed just a bit longer... but by the end of the second week, I was on a plane bound for a warmer place.
The Netherlands I found... strange. For all it's beauty and charm, I kept talking about rat races and recalling old conversations with conspiracy theorists, their claims that Big Brother is no longer watching, for he has no need, since we write the log ourselves. According to the internet's wisdom, citizens of the EU can work in the Netherlands for up to three months, without being formal residents. And it must be all true and easy if you have a set life back in your home country. Which I don't. There is a fun triangle they use to make staying around more difficult for anyone slightly outside the system.


To get a job, you need a bank account. To get a local bank account, you need an address (and a resident's number usually), and to have an address you need a contract, therefore you need a job. So you need a house to get a job, and a job to pay for your house. And work cash? Forget it. There's places where they don't even take cash anymore. So basically, its very, very complicated to just up and arrive. If you are already part of their system, be welcome. If not, kindly do not try, or be ready to don your rat costume and run.
So I left for Romania. I enjoyed it the first time, and though it was a rash decision, I'll stand by it. It was a month of cooking, enjoying, and just living. I saw many new movies, we watched all of Breaking Bad, and I never repeated a recipe. Some days I did not leave the house, many a day did not own a morning. It was great.
I left Rotterdam with the idea to make this project I've been thinking of for an embarrassingly long time, yet haven't really done anything about it. I want to build a functional vehicle using Theo Jansen's walking mechanism. That's the What. Don't ask me Why. But I had a plan, and my notebook grew rich in designs and ideas. Then I faced reality.


I decided to fund the thing myself, since I can't explain it well enough to look for sponsors. Then I spent the better part of a month trying to get my money across the Atlantic... Tired of annoying people and Western Union's fees, I decided to take care of it myself. I thought the best way (or rather, the least bad way) to do this, would be Paypal.
So I deposited money into my Mexican Paypal account. Then made a Romanian one and transferred the money. All was fine, so minus a good percentage, I had my money in Europe. Or somewhere. That's when the truth got in my way. See, if I had just lied, everything would have been simple. But since, when I opened my new local Bank account using my Spanish ID, a Spanish address was expected. Otherwise, if I gave an address in Bucharest, I would need some proof of residence. Or something, it was all fuzzy and lost in translation. They even got my name wrong. But I got the account in the end, with fake name debit card and everything... But since it was set to a Spanish address, I could not deposit into it from Paypal Romania, as I later learned. But I am not K., so eventually I got it.
By then I had explored material depots and scoured Ebay for pieces and Chinese made ball bearings. But with my budget, I realized I had to size down. From a house sized project, to a car sized one, then a bicycle thingy. By the time I actually got the money, more than half of my allotted time in Bucharest had passed, and I was no closer to starting than when I left Rotterdam. I decided for a scaled model.

And then, without a warning, the travel bug struck. "I'll leave halfway through August", I said one day, then stared off into distance. By next day it was "the end of July". Then “this weekend”. Once the wanderlust set in, only trickery and a half priced train ticket kept me in place.
And so it is that I find myself on the go again. After a month in Bucharest, I decided to follow the original plan. I made no scale model. Instead, I'm going to meet the original designer, and see his creatures first hand, maybe even ask a question or two. I'm off to meet Theo Jansen.
By train. From Romania, back to the Netherlands.


Posted by Zaspirucho 03:24 Archived in Romania Tagged budapest netherlands romania plans time backpacking rotterdam goodbyes bucharest working thoughts Comments (0)

Road trips and missed planes

From Oregon to San Francisco, and beyond!

View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

So we set out of Oregon in style.


María swiped the American Express, and we came back home that night on our own rented Nissan. Doin' the 'merican thing. Maybe it wouldn't be necessary if the traveling infrastructure wasn't so bad (or non existent), or the buses so expensive. Specially having just hitchhiked a similar route some weeks earlier, the greyhounds and such just didn't seem worth the trouble or cost.

We set out early and out towards Crater Lake. María was dead set on visiting that place, having heard only wonders of it. So we drove up the hill and into the forest. A beautiful drive but, when we got there, Oh surprise! National parks were closed due to the government shut down. Brilliant idea that one. Close Yosemite! Close everything up! So we just kept going forward. A random hiker said we should go some other road, so we did, and somehow we ended up in the Lake of the Woods. Middle of nowhere, never heard of it. Yet there we were, in front of a beautiful lake, enjoying the little sun there was. And, hungry as we were, we got an awesome avocado cheeseburger, with a side of sweet potato fries, at a restaurant next to the marina. Not bad for the middle of nowhere. Not bad at all.
Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods


When we left that morning, we had two options: After Crater Lake, we could come back (turned out our farm friends were having a party), or camp out in the Redwoods. Yet somehow he ended in Mt. Shasta. At some point we decided not to go back, just keep going forward, and the mountain was our best shot at finding a free campground. And find one we did! Unfortunately it was closed due to... Government shutdown! So we got off the road, and just slept in the car. It was warm and spacious, and I had a wonderful night. María did not. It's not the first time she envies my bum-like ability for passing out anywhere. It's a good skill to have, you must admit.


In the morning we went as far up as the car would take us, and waited for the sun to reach us. I had nothing to wear but my sandals, and it sure was cold. Somewhere, not far away, singing and drumming could be heard: the Rainbow Gathering was not yet over. We both wanted ti visit, but it would have to wait. It's not the kind of event you want to crash for only a night... And coffee was calling out to us too, so we had to get of the mountain and caffeinate. The town of Mt. Shasta is a quiet and cute one. With some good coffee shops, a couple of shops full of incense, quartz and nepalese products, and a couple of bookstores, it had everything we needed to pass the time. Even I got a souvenir. María got plenty, but the best of them was a particular used book. So many bookshops wandered in search, and there it was, in the $1 box: Montessier's the Long Way, waiting for us.

Little after dark we made it to the Harbin Hot Springs. A beautiful place, during both day and night. You can soak to your heart's content. And when they say clothing optional, they mean it, so you're basically around naked bodies most of the time. And if you're done soaking in the warm water, there's also places to meditate, to walk around, a library, café and market. It's not a cheap place, but I would say it's worth it! And we saw a gray fox on a path, not afraid of humans, but still keeping a safe distance. Same thing with the deer, who seemed more annoyed by having to circle around us, than actually afraid.

Two nights we spent soaking, before getting to San Francisco, the town of many faces. That's what most surprised me of the place: you walk for three blocks, and find yourself in a different city. And it changes all over again after dark. It's difficult to take it all in, how can Disney-like wharfs stand next to the lively Chinatown, or the small italian coffeeshops, with the tweakers and aggressive musicians. We walked up and down, and back again. We enjoyed the city, our company, and yet another goodbye... We've had a couple already, but it seems this one's for longer. But we had an extra day. I'd like to call it a freebie, but it was certainly not free. I had had some credit card trouble and had not been able to book my flight to Malaysia, got it two days before leaving. So I didn't have a ticket yet, but María did. Somehow though, we mistook the departure, arrival, or something. We didn't find out until the morning, when there was nothing else to do, but get a new ticket and try to enjoy one last day together. And it was a nice one. Beach, wine, fondue, music, and a Golden Gate background.


So after a couple of costly mistakes, a lost flight, and a wonderful trip, María was walking down the Oakland Airport, to be seen again someday, somewhere. Well, she is now officially part of The Clipperton Project, so we just might meet again in some other sea.

As for me, after a random Couchsurfing powered night, I woke up somewhere in Daly City. Don't ask how. But it involved beer.
Lots of it.

Lots of it.

Now, on my own again, I've left the continent already. I can no longer walk back home, so there's only forward to go!

Posted by Zaspirucho 23:33 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hot_springs goodbyes departure ransack Comments (0)

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