6-hour bus ride to Cologne

I didn’t get the window seat, which was pretty disappointing because it was so scenic – windmills and all – and people didn’t seem bothered with the outside. On my right was a guy reading, and I sneaked a peek at his book (for fun, i was bored and my eyes wandered) and saw two names: Henry, and Clare. And immediately I knew – the time traveller’s wife, one of my favoritest book in the world.

I couldn’t help it, I had to ask him – was this the book? The page was in German, so I couldn’t tell, but I HAD to know if I was right. And he looked surprised, and he said yes it was, he got it at a random bookshop because he knew it’d be a long journey. And that was how our conversation began.

He was a writer, and he studied Philosophy, and to me that was really interesting, because sometimes I chance upon existentialism and I just wanted to hear a Philosophy student’s POV and the way he analyses things. Being caught in structures, routines. Void – a Polish name, which meant emptiness in English. We talked about the novels he wrote / was writing, his little girl, and i’m happy I caught a glimpse of the way a writer works, how they weave part of themselves into their characters. (A part of me was thankful that I asked the question about 2 hours before we arrived at Cologne, because my head was exploding nearing the end, and I was running out of questions, hehe) But it was nice, and he agreed, and we wished each other well as we parted.

It was easy to get to Dieter’s. I met my flatmates in the evening after a brief exploration of the old town of Cologne, and they were from Turkmenistan, a place I previously did not even know of. I’m trying to google more about it now, and apparently it’s part of the USSR. We went for a drink, and the conversation flowed quite readily, from religion to capital punishment to school life to the future, and it’s all really interesting. Apparently they dont have to pay for electricity in their country, because of the abundance of natural resources. Imagine that! Not paying for electricity?? :O

A part of me finds it hard to digest sometimes, how we live in such different parts of the world but the food we eat, the shows we watch (2 and a half man, beck showed me for breakfast, which was hilarious), the music we play, the movies we watch – it’s all the same! All the same hip hop, Kate Nash, Inception, all the same, the top music, all the same.

Chanced upon a quote in Middlesex on the bus ride which rang true: –

You used to be able to tell a person’s nationality by the face. Immigration ended that. Next you discerned nationality via the footwear. Globalization ended that. 

Those Finnish seal puppies, those German flounders—you don’t see them much anymore. Only Nikes, on Basque, on Dutch, on Siberian feet.


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