So after having slept in the street I took a long walk through the city.
It was sunday and the streets were almost empty as the day began, apart some workers cleaning the leftovers of a saturday night and the casual sports guy going out for some exercise early in the morning I was alone in the streets of Paris.
I went through some cool neighbourhoods, saw the Shangri-La hotel near Iena metro station and then went down to the river Seine. After that I was very close to the Eiffel tower and I went to check it out. What can I say, it makes an impression but once you get close to it, it’s kinda dull. I also met someone on my way there, totally high on something I’m not sure what it was, he talked and talked and talked.
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.
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)
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.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was traveling to Lyon from Barcelona through idBus. It was a great choice in the end. I found them through carpooling.co.uk, because they were a partner company to that ride sharing platform. They do a lot of itineraries in France as well as some connections to nearer countries such as Spain and United Kingdom. For 35€ in a night coach to do around 640km with WC, wi-fi (although I was going to sleep mostly), power sockets to charge equipment and large chairs, I thought it was a cool deal. We left at 11pm of 14th April and arrived the next day around 7am. We stopped after entering France, to have our id’s checked and we did a hour stop later, to eat, stretch, etc.
During this stop I’ve met and talked with a very nice couple, Onofre and Adelaide, who were catalan (he) and italian (she), since I don’t talk catalan we talked italian. They were going to Lyon on vacations and from there to the middle of nowhere, a calm spot near a monastery, to enjoy nature and calmness. This is a portrait I made of them when we arrived and also a sneaky portrait of a gay couple who met upon arrival.
I love the city, to be honest. It’s warm, beautiful in details and with a lot of interesting things to see. The culture really appeals me. Having grown in Portugal I find many of its traits similar, although a different language always makes things different, or at least seem different.
I’ve been in many other places after Barcelona, in this trip, and I had been there before, about one year and half ago for about a week.
I keep on doing my regular morning meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and this is a portrait during one of the times I did it in Barcelona.
Like I said before, I think it helps striking a balance, not only because of what it does biologically (and seems to be proved, but I mean, you can find those effects in regular exercise as well) but most importantly regarding what it does in terms of your consciousness and/or psyche. It’s quite freeing in the sense that sitting with your eyes closed for 20 minutes, even though you have so many things to do and explore, sets you free from the materiality of life. And this doesn’t mean a complete disconnection from the outer world, from emotions, from life, family, friends and obligations, it just means a temporary disconnection from that plan of existence, from the idea of a Self that is constructed upon those many characteristics, narratives and layers.
So, here we are again, this time I’ll share some of the thoughts Xavi shared with me, regarding Catalonia’s independence (2nd part) and a popular assembly we went to.
On another note, I’ll add a picture of Mar Carrera and some info about her work, before Xavi’s texts.
Mar doing a Skype meeting with other members from Catalunya’s SOS Racism association.
Mar works for Pol·len Edicions as a Communication specialist. One of the books they edited is Warcelona, una història de violència, a counter-portrait of the Barcelona of tourism and leisure. A book by Jordi Borràs that shows the legal violence (State violence) used by the Catalan police against political and social dissent groups.
She also works for SOS Racisme Catalunya, a Human Rights association that fights against racism and xenophobia and fights for human rights in all the Catalan municipalities. www.sosracisme.org
In the recent 2013 Report about the state of racism in Catalonia, they showed that 40% of the racism cases they accompany (victims of racism that seek their offices to ask for legal support) are done by police forces, which is quite a significant number. Mar is also responsible for the Raising awareness activities, as well as doing some Communication tasks.
So I stayed in Madrid from the 8th till the 11th of April. I got a flight from Lisbon to Madrid, because it made a lot of sense but to fly to Barcelona was too expensive for me so I searched other ways of doing it. One of the things I also wanted to try was blablacar.com . This ride sharing platform is great and has many people enrolled. I found a ride that went from Madrid to Barcelona for 30€ with Jose Antonio. Jose is originally from the South of Spain, now lives in a small town near Barcelona, although he works for 3 days in Madrid each week.