a) Sweden's last flash of hope when it scored its second goal against France in the Euro Cup last Friday b) The crowds that came to dance in Tantolunden park during the Make Music Stockholm Festival c) May Day parade along Götgatan
I'm spending tonight at Guarulhos, São Paulo's austere and grimy cement palace of an airport. I'm sleeping here because I rather wait until 5h45 to take a 4 reales bus (1 real = approx US $0.50) and 3.50 RS subway into town than pay the 100 RS it would cost to taxi to my friend Marcelo's place. I should have arrived around 17h30 but our original flight from Amsterdam experienced a technical failure of its motor de-icing systems two hours out and we had to return to Schiphol to switch aircraft. This involved dumping 15,000 kg of fuel beforehand in order to lighten the plane enough for landing.
Aside from the abundance of shady dudes strolling about this transport terminal, I've already had a typical South-American slice of life to help propel me into annoyed somniferous bliss:
1. Ask the info desk for how you might connect to a wi-fi network and they answer that the free service is only available for people with boarding passes, but that I can purchase a card at the SuperMix store one floor down. 2. SuperMix doesn't sell the cards, but the Vivo store on floor 2 does. 3. Vivo is closed, so I ask the info desk again. Vivo in terminal 1 is closed but the terminal 2 office is open 24h. 4. Vivo at Terminal 2 only accepts cash 5. The three bank machines nearby either aren't currently able to connect to my bank, don't offer service after 16h or are simply off.
I am in a dark mood considering I've just landed back in the region I supposedly love most. I'm a lukewarm soup of swirling feelings right now and don't yet know what to make of it.
My departure from Lima, the trip to Brazil by land, the apartment and job in Stockholm were all optimally timed to support finishing my studies, but I didn't have my thesis project ready to submit in May and now have a mid-September deadline to shoot for. Since I had a return ticket to South America anyway, I thought it could be a good idea to make up for my disappointment by coming back to write on site and get some much needed extra data. This however involves byeing Stockholm again and another enormous transit by land, it feels forced!
Images from a great weekend spent working at a wedding in the countryside north of Stockholm
My principled desire to stay adaptable and mobile is beginning to clash with a longing for a stable base again. I feel that I've become too good at planning and carrying out short adventurous timelines and that my best chance of finding spontaneity is to live in a fixed place again, where I don't have to think of growing friendships in juxtaposition to an upcoming departure. Stockholm is not the most exciting city, but it's become my second home, one with many layers I've yet to discover and wonderful people who've become very dear to me. These last 3 months in the north were filled with special experiences, accelerated by the warming turn of seasons, culminating in a serendipitous encounter that began with a stoplight exchange of smiles a mere three sunsets from taking the first plane.
My friend Joel "Kriget" Heddin's band Dear Joe is set to release their first album in August. Give them a listen!
Six hours after these first paragraphs, with a couple of hours of sleep and a successful cheap bus/metro/walk to Marcelo's house, I've found my smile again. A fine tropical mist shrouds Sampa in winter today, and the 15 degrees of temperature difference since my last visit is reflected in the scarves worn everywhere and the long-sleeve pyjamas with which my friend greeted me this morning for breakfast.
I've got a lot of goals to achieve in this trip and as I foreshadowingly wrote in my diary two months ago, it's not by being contemplative and well-planned that I'll reach them but by being brash, impulsive, stressed and expressive. I want to be less calculating in my photo-taking too.
We'll see how it all plays out, right now the next step is to catch up on sleep a little before lunch and then plot the route to Buenos Aires so that I can begin chasing it tomorrow.