Saigon – and thoughts on insignificance

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So after the two weeks spent in Barcelona I took a flight and landed in Saigon, or formally known as Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Everybody here calls it Saigon ‘though.

The flight was surprisingly cheap. I booked it through Etihad Airways, and it was a total of 420€, from Barcelona to Saigon. It took me around 24h since I entered the airport in Barcelona ’till the moment I exited the airport in Vietnam. I flew from Barcelona to Rome and from Rome to Abu Dhabi in Air Italia. Then with Etihad from Abu Dhabi to HCMC.

I must say that Etihad is really an impressive experience regarding flight. They even have access to internet in case you want it. The attention was amazing. I actually felt like I hadn’t paid enough for all that I was getting.

I had to ask for a pre-aproval letter for my VISA before embarking. There are a few websites you can use, but I did it through http://www.hotels-in-vietnam.com – It worked just fine, in about 72h from my application on-line I had the approval letter to print in my e-mail. The pre-approval was 35$ plus the fee at the airport that was – if I’m not mistaken – 45$. All this for a 3 month single-entry VISA.

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Barcelona – food and big data

Back to this lovely city. I’ve been here twice before, almost 2 weeks the first time, during xmas two years ago, again almost 2 weeks in the beginning of my journey through Europe, in April, and now 2 complete weeks again. I bought the flight in a bad timing and it cost me about 140€, with everything included. I had my big backpack, plus my small ones, and I needed flexibility in case I changed my mind. If you’re traveling just with a small backpack and a hand bag you can get it much cheaper – the same flight would have been 80€.

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It has been three months and a few days in Prague. So some last information about prices in Prague, in case you’re thinking of visiting for longer periods of time:

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Berlin & freelancing online – part 1

Ok, to Berlin, I think I’m gonna divide my thoughts on it in 2 or more posts, not only due to the city’s major importance due to the current state of things in Europe, but also because I really liked it. Maybe it’s due to being summer already and perhaps a trip during winter would have made me feel quite differently about it, but I only experienced it during 2 shiny weeks and I actually fell in love with it.

4.500km until now :ohhhhhwwwwwowwww:

4.500km until now :ohhhhhwwwwwowwww:

 

So where to begin? I took a flight there, as I had already explained, which was the cheapest and quickest way to get there. I usually rather not fly, but take trains, coaches or share rides, you know, carbon footprint and being able to discover more and meet more people, but due to the sheer distance it was easier to just take a goddamn flight and land directly there. I had already heard about Berlin and everybody told me it was quite open, multicultural and cosmopolitan although I didn’t think it would deviate so much from my own preconceived ideas of the german way of being. In a sense it doesn’t, I mean, it’s organised, well laid out and planned, services work very well and all that, but on the other, it embodies quite a big variety of cultures, languages, nationalities and interesting things to do.

There I went to meet Raquel, a portuguese friend of mine that set out to live there a few months ago.

 

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Turim

Hi all,

it’s been a long time since the last post, which means this one will be gigantic!

So after my long stay in Switzerland I traveled to Torino, in Italy. There I would have a place to stay in the house of Catarina, sister of a long time friend from Portugal, Gonçalo Almeida. He’s currently finishing a degree in London Film School and she’s doing an erasmus studying medicine in Turin.

3.350km ! ohhhh god!

3.350km ! ohhhh god!

I know Catarina since she was a small child, really. From the times I went to hang around Gonçalo’s house when we were kids. She’s four years younger than me. She lives with other 2 medicine students. Elena and Joana, italian and portuguese respectively. This was my second time in Italy, which is a country I really like. I had been there 2 years ago, doing a Leonardo DaVinci internship at the studio of Luca Masarà, working on retouching with him and Georgina. If you need photographic services near Padua, look them up! They do some amazing work and I learned quite a bit while there, besides being treated in a very pleasant way. I was never in Turin before, I had been to Padua, Venice, Bologna, Verona and Parma.  I was there through Check-in, a Lisbon based interchange association providing young people with opportunities to go abroad and do voluntary services or internships in creative areas. They in hand coordinated with XENA, the italian association headquartered in Padua.

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Switzerland

So after being in Paris for 4 nights I took an Euroline bus and headed back to Lyon, as it was easier to go to Switzerland from there, besides that I also had a Regus office right near the train station, which made it easier to work and then hop into the train. Also, I did the trip during the night so it eventually gave me one more day free of the hassle of finding a place to sleep. I arrived quite early in the morning and since I knew my way around from the previous stay at Lyon I just took a walk and then a bus and got into the office.

Montreux

Montreux

The trip from Paris to Lyon was 35€ and the train from Lyon to Lausanne was 44€, with 3 changes. I was going to stay at a longtime friend’s house and he was going to pick me up at Lausanne, from where we would go to St. Croix, where he lived.

3.050km so far

3.050km so far

Switzerland is rainy and most of the time grey, even though I actually caught a few days of shiny sun. I wasn’t counting on staying as much as I did, about 2 weeks, but due to some problems I did. It was great that André was there otherwise I would have been screwed. Besides being with someone I enjoy he made my stay very pleasant and helped a lot. I cooked a few times but mostly it was he who took care of that. He has worked for the past 5 years as a cook and he’s a great one. Besides that, he’s very talented regarding music, not that he has any kind of formal education on it, it’s just something natural I guess. You can check a music he wrote (and he is singing as well) for which I made a small videoclip. It’s dark, but in a way I like it, it’s raw and it certainly convenes the ambience of Switzerland with its rainy and cloudy days. It also reminds me of some of Thom Yorke’s solo work – which is good.

It’s a shame that once again I didn’t photograph what we ate, but in a way that looks kinda instagramish for me and also, it would make you envious and drool over your keyboard, so who would want that.

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Paris – Dark night of the soul

Ok, so I like Game of Thrones and I think it suits.

It’s been the first night I spent on the street, alone, in a totally unknown city without even speaking the language (French). Maybe it’s a bit over the top, but I love that phrase from GoT and I think it suits.

Truth be told I pretty much felt that way in my first night in Paris after having been in Carina’s house in Lyon. It’s been 2.350km so far, between plane, car rides and bus coach, in about 14 days, starting in Lisbon (5th of April) and going through Madrid, Barcelona, Lyon and now (it was 19th of April) Paris.

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2.350km

So once again I went to a city without having previously sketched a route or itinerary. In this case I didn’t even know anyone in Paris who was there at the moment.

In psychogeography, a dérive is an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience. Situationist theorist Guy Debord defines the dérive as “a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” He also notes that “the term also designates a specific uninterrupted period of dériving.” ‘(from wikipedia, dérive)

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Meditation – extensive thoughts on it

in Lyon

in Lyon

It’s been about 4 years since I started practicing Transcendental Meditation daily (with a few exceptions). Before having decided to learn this specific technique, which is extremely easy and can, if you will, be learnt by yourself, I had tried meditation many times, through other simple techniques (such as meditation through the following of your breathing) in an intermittent fashion.

My interest in meditation comes from a long time, the first time I did it objectively I had 16 years, much by influence of esoteric doctrines. The interest was always there although I never practiced it in this continuous fashion until 4 years ago.

I have never written about the subject before (the original in portuguese was written and shared in April, 2013) but I have talked about it with several friends and acquaintances and today I decided to write my ideas about meditation, with special attention to Transcendental Meditation. I will start by mentioning some thoughts based on other persons opinions and works and then share my own.

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