Thursday, 30 May 2013

The roadtrip report from two days ago. Ye, I know. I'm lagging.

After the Monday in the capital and the Tuesday on the road, I was so tired when I got home, I don't remember most of anything of Tuesday evening. This must be what black-outs feel like. I could swear I turned down a marriage proposal from a local poet revolutionary drunk in a small town that I stopped to have a coffee break, but I just can't recall the details. There were probably a lot of things going on yesterday, also, and I can hardly remember any of those. A part of me runs great on autopilot, it seems. I’ve gotten a lot of work done and this morning there are several emails with thanks and jobs done. Also an empty ice-cream cup in the trash. I ate ice-cream? How? When? Which one??
Maybe the brain is acting like an over-worked computer – running processes just fine, but unable to relate to the long-term memory storage. Ah, well. Brain should know. I remember the trip was actually kind of a joyride.

Going on the photo road trip alone has its pluses and its big minuses. Plus is I get to drive myself and stop when and for how long I want. Need not having to justify every extended unexpected point of the journey. What I should do is get one of those stickers saying ‘caution, balloon following. Unexpected stops and swirls.’ That’s how I drive. I just wanna photograph everything. It’s funny how in places where nobody knows me, my confidence and my attitude is so much more relaxed and bold. I actually run around with my hair down. I actually engage in dialogue with total strangers. Many of them museum employees or homeless folk of the shoot sites, but still. 

My first stop was a small, ugly, unpleasant looking town that grew because of the coal mining industry and they situated the glass factory there. There are three neighboring towns of this description there. You can probably get to them through tunnels. I was supposed to photograph these in winter, but there was such foul weather and the scenery so bleak, I had no problem bluffing. These towns are very dear to me, because I am extremely fond of all-engaging establishments and can walk around, observing their once was way of life with great compassion. They are things of the past, obviously. In the recent years almost all of these establishments have gone bankrupt and towns, once industrious and tightly knit as communities, are just extremely poor and dirty now. 

See these? I know these things! I know how to USE them! There's the coalcase. The water heateing drawer with a tiny pipe. On the next pickie is the table used for making bread (among other things).
The second, the central, is a full blown mining station. Another plus to its appeal is the fact it has been shoved into a really very narrow gorge: narrow so that only a small river, a small road and one extremely narrow and a mile long building could fit. This town is a bitch to park in, because these streets were not designed for traffic and lately everyone has a car. Small and family, but a car nonetheless. If I had come with Steampunk, I wouldn’t be able to park here at all. A regime of tiny cars would have improved the situation, but who can afford a tiny car these days. (Ironically, I saw my very first Microcar today and what’s even more of an irony, I saw it just as the Batmobile (I’m guessing a really low, prowly, black Lamborghini with a lion’s roar of thunder for sound) drove past. The later looked like a joke. I mean, how would you even drive a car like that on our roads? It’s like taking a crystal shoe on a Paris-Dakar rally. 

The best part of the museum tour of this town is, and I’m not being ironic here, a street called The Field, where historians have restored the two old worker’s apartments, such as they once were. And such as the rest of the apartments in the buildings are now, only less neat. Kicker being, these were actually really nice places to live. When the mines and factories were built, workers’ families got these homes and that, even now, seemed like such a sweet deal. I can totally imagine living in a place like this. Dad working in the mine, mum working in the glass factory… Me, dreaming about whatever, but ending up in the glass factory as well. My sister working in the shop, my aunt a grade school teacher. My granddad a local doctor or something. Sure, that sounds like a nightmare to some, but seeing those apartments, it feels almost like a fairy tale. I can still REMEMBER some of the items that are on display there. These are very fond memories of my childhood. Our housekeeper used to live in a really tight, power-less, waterless deal in old downtown and I loved it there. Everything was niches! And there were no baths! (I hate baths.) And everything was small and had a purpose. You couldn’t fit not even a portion of the things I have in my room alone in that entire apartment. Then again I am a hoarder. [looks around] Good Gods, the things I keep.
My next stop was the geographical center of the country. That’s about a half-hour drive up the countryside, over hills, pass meadows, pass tiny villages, down forest roads, towards nothing, over nothing, pass villages, down country roads, up a knoll, around nothing with some forest left on it and there’s the proud monumental flagpole with a date carved in stone. Check.
Back over the ridge pass, I drove down to the other river valley (and such a vast and magnificent valley it is, my home), to shoot a small town with a Roman necropolis in it. The towns on this side of the ridge, however, are airy, colorful, clean and all over the place. If you grew up here it was probably because your parents moved here from out of the nearest larger town where they are working. Must say I’ve never actually been to the necropolis and just shot it from outside, nor have I ever been to the famous cave 5 miles northwards, which I also just shot from the outside. 

My last stop was a fair half-hour drive up the river run, through some of the most beautiful small villages I have ever seen on the entire planet, (prosperous fucking little region, isn’t it), benefiting mainly from wood-related enterprises and  river traffic. There’s photo I was after, as we didn’t seem to be able to get the rights for it to print it, so I just drove to the wood industry museum and re-shot it myself. No regrets there at all, that museum is adorable! And if I wasn’t married I was so high on tiredness and running around, I would probably have sex with the girl working at the ticket office right there in the deforestation miniatures room. (Some of that is the fault of a war victims monument of the town I drove through. I am viciously attracted to stratus of dying naked men of god-like stature. That has been an ongoing issue between the General and me, because he still hasn’t forgiven me for saying I would like to see him die bleeding in my arms after battle. Naked. Is that really such a strange fantasy to have? It’s not like I actually WANT that. It’s just a fetish. Some people skin cats for fucksakes. (Still watching AHS: Asylum.) Moving on.)

The last last stop was hopping over to my friend who works a couple of small towns up the river for the last cup of coffee. By then I have already been on the move for twelve hours and my eyes couldn’t focus properly anymore. I just sat, looking probably like I’ve been hit by a steamroller, happy, tired to fringes, next to a local poet. My friend is a shopkeeper and she had to tend to the store periodically, but that wasn’t unpleasant at all, as I just lay in the chair and felt good about that day. General was waiting for me with a dinner and having been so bored he cleaned the entire apartment. I have no idea how I got home. I am a super careful driver, so that part didn’t worry me, but I have to really think back hard to remember what we actually ate. I’ve posted some of the photos, which I obviously made, because that’s what I do when I come home from a shooting spree. And it’s possible we might have watched a movie. I simply do not know. We probably had entire conversations with me already long out. The next day I was so tired I could barely move. But it was a new day and new work orders in the mail. Which is, oddly, exactly how I love my life to be.