[EEUU] New York, American life

Amanecimos en Krakovia, maletas preparadas, bus y al aeropuerto! Una corta escala de 6 horas en Oslo, y pasada la media noche en suelo americano llegamos al que sería nuestro destino por tiempo indefinido… la casa de los Pera!! Omar y Pablo nos esperaban ya impacientes en casa. No nos veíamos desde Navidades, pero ya se echaban demasiado de menos. El tiempo cuando estás lejos de tus amigos corre despacio, muy despacio.

Unas risas sobre lo gordo que estás, esa barba de naufrago, que si te ha cambiado la voz,… preparamos el maravilloso colchón hinchable y a descansar, que el día siguiente (aunque a nosotros no nos lo parecía) era laboral!

Y ya de buenas a primeras… sorpresón de los buenos, el loco del Quintas se había pillado un vuelo de San Francisco a NY para pasar el fin de semana con nosotros… weeeeee! Qué alegría, no había podido venir a la boda, y ya hacía mil que no pasábamos unos días juntos. Esa misma noche conocimos a la athletic, smart, joyful, and always-smiling Nikita. La pobre había tenido una semana muy dura y estaba cansadísima, así que se fue pronto a dormir. Nosotros hicimos lo que mejor sabemos hacer,  un señor botellón con filosoforrapteo profundo sobre la vida y, como colofón, con un memorable speech de Mr. Quintas en las escaleras, o mejor dicho LAS escaleras. A la entrada del piso de los Pera, había siete escalones mágicos que conectaban la puerta de acceso al edificio con Sullivan Street. Desde fuera parecen unas escaleras normales, pero cuando te sientas en ellas y ves la vida neoyorquina transcurrir, te das cuenta de que esas escaleras son probablemente, uno de los mejores rincones de Nueva York, si no el mejor 😉 y todo eso sin exagerar!

Al día siguiente me levanté con un resaca de campeonato, y pensaba que no volvería a ser persona al menos hasta el día siguiente, pero en ese momento Nikita obró un milagro. Había preparado unos crepes extraordinarios, increíblemente buenos, y preparado todo tipo de condimentos… pensaba que no podría comer ni un bocado, pero en cuanto lo conseguí… mi cuerpo volvió en sí y no sólo eso sino que desbordaba energía! Así que cogimos un balón, y nos fuimos al parque cruzando Hudson. Unos toques de calidad (llegamos a 20 toques!, 32 años de vida jugando al fútbol para esto XDDD), volvimos a casa y mientras Mónica se fue a la reunión del club de lectura que organizaba Nikita, Pablo y yo nos fuimos a su partido de hockey con las bicis. Ibamos justísimos de tiempo (para variar), y para colmo nos cogió una tormenta tropical  que lanzaba unas gotas que parecían peras. Pero no pasa , con alegría y pa’lante! El equipo de Pablo poco pudo hacer para neutralizar al Messi que tenía el otro equipo. Cenita y por la noche, de fiesta al roof top del Hotel Empire, el famoso hotel de Chuck Bass en Gossip Girl.

Y así fueron pasando los días en Nueva York, viviendo como americanos pero sin pasta 😀 Menos mal que Mónica encontró un supermercado del Bronx que te traía la comida hasta Manhattan, porque pagar 4$ por un litro de leche, 5$ por una barra de pan de molde, o 10$ por una botellita de aceite se salían claramente de presupuesto. Yo creo que fuimos sus mejores clientes durante esas semanas!

Los martes, partidito de fútbol sala, los sábados a Central Park de picnic, por la noche de fiesta guiados por Tamara -nuestra promotora favorita ;)-, los domingos a ver el fútbol (como paulatinamente el Barça perdía la liga –video himno en Legend’s– y el Madrid ganaba en el último segundo la Champions),… otro día nos fuimos a la presentación del nuevo libro de Freakonomics, o a un karaoke coreano, o al cine a ver Godzilla en 3D en un cine que tenía unos sofás que ni en tus mejores sueños, incluso algunas mañanas nos fuimos a hacer unos sprints para activar el cuerpo.

Por las noches, nos bajábamos a LAS escaleras a hablar de la vida, a tomarnos un té, o simplemente a ver la gente pasar, otras nos quedábamos en casa viendo una película (como la obra maestra The Wolf of Wall Street, que nos hizo llorar de risa como hacía años!), o jugábamos una partida de poker y Luis nos desplumaba.

Fueron unos días fantásticos, como en nuestra época en el Galileo, o aún mejor, en Suiza. Nos hubiéramos quedado más y más semanas, pero no era el momento de quedarse, era el momento de continuar, así que compramos un vuelo ultra barato con Spirit y allá que nos fuimos, Miami nos esperaba! Terminaba la fase del viaje “durmiendo como en casa”, y empezaba la aventura, la aventura de la incertidumbre!

Pero espera espera espera…. Y los edificios, Times Square, skylines, Hudson,… no os preocupéis! Eso lo dejamos para la semana que vino Rober, y por supuesto que hicimos turisteo, y del bueno! Stay tunned, todo eso vendrá en la próxima entrega de New York, que no queremos agobiaros con tantas fotos de golpe!

Y de regalo un par de videos del ambiente neoyorkino más loco 😉

Un beso y seguimos!

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[Reflexiones] 1984 – un futuro presente

Hacía años que me quería leer este libro (como tantos otros!) y, como ahora la excusa del “no tengo tiempo” ya no sirve, me he decidido a ir re-cultivando mi mente a través de la lectura en este viaje.

1984, un libro escrito por George Orwell en 1949. Una proyección de un supuesto futuro, en el que un gran partido político capitaneado por Big Brother tiene a toda la clase media bajo control. Conversaciones, movimientos, gestos involuntarios, pensamientos,… todo está sujeto al todo-poderoso Big Brother. El proletariado es libre, porque jamás será capaz de organizarse para rebelarse.

Pantallas que escupen información sin parar (os suena de algo :p), y que a la vez controlan de todo lo que ocurre en frente de ellas (en este caso serían más bien los móviles que trackean todo aquello que hacemos). Una sociedad que no piensa, sino que simplemente asume lo que las pantallas dicen sin pasarlo por el filtro de la razón (en serio? qué tío más loco, no? XD). Y una sociedad que vive bajo una continua sensación de miedo y temor, que se mueve al compás de las emisiones, y donde la verdad ya no importa. La verdad es lo que dice “ahora” la pantalla y la prensa (cualquier parecido con la realidad es pura ficción).

Por suerte, en uno de los factores el autor no acertó, y ha supuesto que el presente sea ligeramente distinto. Internet y la información distribuida, hace que el pasado no se pueda modificar. Es algo de lo más impactante del libro, los esfuerzos del Partido por demostrar que sus opiniones siempre fueron acertadas se basan en el cambio continuo del pasado (periódicos, libros,…), de manera que lo único “cierto” es lo que hoy se publica, y que los pasados-actualizados corroboran. Sin embargo, parece ser que en aquellos lugares donde existe veto de información la situación es aún más parecida a la descrita en la novela… qué pena!

Por último, decir que agradecí la parte “más teórica” del libro, combinándolo muy bien con la historia que relataba, y del que os dejo un fragmento. No os cuento el final, que si no os acabaré de reventar su lectura 😀

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, theHigh, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives — is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High. Presently a new Middle group splits off from one of the other groups, or from both of them, and the struggle begins over again.

[…] The cyclical movement of history was now intelligible, or appeared to be so; and if it was intelligible, then it was alterable. But the principal, underlying cause was that, as early as the beginning of the twentieth century, human equality had become technically possible.

Un abrazo!

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Calificación: 8,7

Juny

[Polonia] Auschwitz, la fábrica de la muerte

Este es sin duda el post más triste de todos los que hemos escrito hasta el momento. Nuestra visita a los campos de concentración de Auschwitz-Birkenau, y es que no fue un sólo campo sino varios. Toda una zona declarada de interés militar al inicio de la segunda guerra mundial y que paulatinamente se fue convirtiendo en la fábrica de la muerte.

Con la intención de trasladaros la experiencia con el mayor detalle y realismo posible, hemos decidido que podáis ir leyendo la historia a través de las fotos. Por ello os sugerimos que pinchéis en la primera de ella y vayáis una a una leyendo y adentrándoos en este horroroso capítulo de la historia, ocurrido hace apenas 70 años.

No ha sido fácil escribirlo, pero esperamos que el esfuerzo haya valido la pena y que podáis experimentar ligeramente lo que sentimos en nuestro día en el campo de concentración.

Un fuerte abrazo!

[Poland] Krakow: Poland’s heart

Our next move was Krakow. A four-hour wonderful trip was waiting for us. Maciej took his car and drove along the one line per direction but in good state national road, surrounded by green and yellow landscapes. We had great conversations about how common and different  Spain and Poland were. We touched some political issues and discussed about how the governments deal with them, but when we explained some facts that are happening right now in Spain, they could not believe it. And then Asia asked “Can we do anything about it or help you somehow?”. It was a simple question, but I have to say that it touched my heart. Never ever a non-Spanish person after talking about these kind of problems had asked such a simple but (at least to me) meaningful question. They really care about us, they really wanted us to have a better country. This moment will remain inside me for ever!

And after a short stop in the middle of nowhere to have an extraordinary dinner, there were we…in Krakow! The city of Polish kings and bishops, the center of culture and art, a university center and a magic place. The city that was called Altera Roma or Florence of the North.

Contrary to Warsaw, Krakow had remained through the wars and you could see the history talking directly to you: the Wawel Castle, fortresses, churches, basilicas, streets that had risen some meters (literally) leaving some once-ground-floor establishments underground, the old and new Jewish quarters,… –

Staying in Asia and Maciej house we discovered step by step the beauties of the city. First night walking around the historical center and grabbing some beers in an underground pub. The day after Maciej took a day off (thanks man!) and was our private tourist guide. During the morning we visited the historical center and found a free tour that would show us the Jewish Quarter in Spanish during the afternoon. In this case the roles switched and I explained Maciej some of the stories that happened in Krakow :p though surprisingly he could get most of what the guide said, even he presented himself in perfect Spanish!

This three hours were the toughest of our days in Krakow. To listen how the Jewish community was progressively dehumanised seemed to be a nightmare from another country, not just seventy years ago… When the nazis conquered Krakow, the first day they gave sweets in the square, but after that they were progressively removing rights, day after day. First identifying them publicly, then restricting work permits, banning their entrance in shops and public places, obliging them to move to the other side of the Vistula river, enclosing them with grave-shaped wall and then… extermination camps. We will talk about it in the next post: Auswitch.

As Maciej said wisely, Poland is a country that you should visit at least twice: the first one to know, understand and assimilate the history and the second one to immerse yourself in the current Polish life. So,… we’ll be back! We have a deal 😉

See you soon guys, it was great to share with you these days! Huge hugs and thank you!

[Poland] Warsow, WWII and the Uprising

We woke up in Mykonos, took a plane to Athens and then another one to… Poland. Our plane landed smoothly in Warsaw, we picked up our backpacks and here they were: Asia and Maciej holding a lovely poster with our names! Smiling, happy, full of joy and energy, as they have always been, even after having had a 4 hours trip from Krakow to be on time to pick us up! Thank you guys, you are the best ;D

In fact, we had no idea about what we were going to do during our week in Poland, as Maciej had said: “No worries, just rely on us”… and so we did. We jumped into their car and went to Pawel and Joanna house. That was already a great start! We were going to spend with them the whole weekend, cooool!

It was curious. All of us were supposed to be really tired after such a short night, but we were plenty of energy instead! So we went to do a walk around Warsaw center while we started learning about the history of Poland, and specifically of Warsaw. A city that was completely destroyed during the WWII, and then rebuilt from scratch reusing the materials of the former buildings. A new city inspired in the old one, with almost no historical buildings, nor walls that can “tell you” what happened during those times.

That afternoon we had decided to go to experience new Pawel’s hobby: shooting! As soon as you arrive, you feel strange. Some dry and profound sounds are coming from the shots of the next room. Despite having shot during my year in the Air Force, I felt like a complete newbie and my hands were sweating. But with Pawel’s smile and Asia and Maciej assuring that everything was going to be all right and which were the important things to take into account, we started the shooting session. First Maciej and I shot with a rifle, you didn’t feel almost any backward movement from the weapon. Fast shots, one after the other. In the meanwhile, Asia and Mónica tried with a light gun. At the beginning Monica was scared, but after a few shots she became confident and adrenaline run through her veins. Very good accuracy to be her first time ever. (Video Mónica) We finished with some shots with a Glock. The self-balanced gun used by dozens of police departments around the world… and it was another story! (Video Juny) After such a formidable afternoon we had dinner in a really charming and delicious restaurant close to lake.  A perfect first day in Poland!

The day after we decided to go to the Uprising Museum in Warsow. It was raining, and for the first time in our trip we could take advantage of having carried raincoats with us, yeah! Half an hour of queue under the rain, chatting, laughing, and having good time. Though once we went inside, things became serious. I started to realize how tough the history of Poland has been, overall during the last century: WWII, invasion, cruelty, resistance, pride, honor, W hour, Uprising, fight,… these are the terms that come to my mind when I think of Warsaw.

Pizza at 50% discount (as it was weekend and eeeeveryone leaves the capital) and end of the day going up to the tallest building of Poland: the Palace of Culture and Science, including an marvellous sunset view.  Lucky guys!

Our last day in Warsaw started with an excellent brunch at home, and followed by a visit to the few remaining walls of the ghetto in Warsaw. When you are on site, you feel embraced by the history, you are there, in the same place but in different times. I was a very bad student regarding History, and now I feel kind of ashamed because of my lack of “general culture”. Though on the contrary I am surprised of how interested I am becoming when I am present, surrounded by people that explain you plainly how things developed. And this is the way I’m understanding step by step our recent (and surprisingly inhuman) history.

Pawel, Joanna, Asia, Maciej: thank you so much for those days, for your time, your explanations, living with you, learning from you, enjoying every single moment! Next post: Krakow!

And now, finally… the photos!