Thursday, August 31, 2017

home(t)raveling: month 2

with more and more help from our friends!

Second month! Nine whole weeks already: feels unreal ; been hectic ; looks unbelieveable ; is exhausting ; sounds weird ; tastes wonderful ; mostly just amazing. It could be a dream and it's pretty much like a dream. Look at it this way: large, empty (and ever-changing) rooms ; people who come by and go unexpectedly or providentially (our dear G. for instance, initially visited for a few days and ended spending three intense weeks with us) ; things stored in unlikely places, resulting in goofy/poetic/chaotic settings ; space and time uncoiling a bizarre way ; little or no connexion at all with the outside/real world ; and one doesn't seem to be sleeping ever. Home(t)raveling is a little bit like waking life, only that the string quintet we listen to day after day does not play an intriguing tango theme but some delicately chiseled accompaniments for Silvia Perez Cruz' unique voice. - See for yourselves:

suggested therapeutic protocol: listen at full volume, once daily, for a whole month. either during or between meals.
don't dilute in water. wine is fine. in case of overwhelming emotions, increase the dosage and keep listening.

Well, August was not only dream-like. It was also a bit of a rush. of a rash? Intense, stressful and very busy. Wallis was still working at the local vet clinic, with the owner/boss suddenly deciding to take two weeks off. On a weekend's notice, she was left with the keys, the pets, the trouble and all the rest. "Do not call me over the next ten days, I feel so tired!" was the last thing she heard. "Do not talk about work, I so wish I weren't back in this shithole!" would be the first thing she'd hear afterwards. Meanwhile, Futuna had a good load of translations to deal with, including an on-site 4-day mission for a client somewhere in the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark. Yes, Copenhagen, Denmark - forgive the absence of funny letters, crossed O's and weird accents, I can't afford to spend the next hour looking for them into blogger's menus (thære yøu gøøkåy? nøw, plæse givæ me å bræk, I'm låte!). Hopefully, there'll be a little illustrated post about this uncommon and freåky adventure sometime søøn*.

the living-room back to bare brick and stone - "shall we never forget those wallpapers..."
For now, we're in the second half of August, right in the eye of the tornado with Futuna away to sit at someone else's desk (ain't that gross?) and Wallis alone to deal with someone else's clinic (ain't this creepy?)**. Alone? Not really: her dear friend M., just landed from a few years in Dominican Republic, came to spend these critical days with her. She took on the meals, scoured some door and window frames and gardened like crazy, while allegedly working on her PhD... Impressive how the procrastination bug can get one to engage in and work on - often way harder than... - any random task that one may come across on the way to not doing what they're actually supposed to. Ha ha ha! It also happened to be our tiny village's summer fest and the nights were apparently quite sleepless, full of cheap music and bouncing drunkards all around. Fortunately, that is precisely when our friends M. & A. (who are not only friends but also architects - yes, you can be two and even more things at the same time. They, for instance, were our neighbours in Barcelona, before becoming our friends. And by that time, they had been architects for years already! ain't that crazy? right? right?), decided to take a long weekend to come visit us and set up a site meeting.

the (great) job done by M., L. and M. & A. in the garden (we also both helped, eh!), especially trimming the ivy from the central hedge (ain't that contradictory?)
They also took our dear L. with them, who came to visit us for the second time already, and was ready to work on the doors and windows that she had left unscoured on her first stay. Friends, friends, friends! Well, now is indeed a good time to extend our warmest thanks to M. & A. for being with us, visiting with us, looking at every little thing with us (and with their architects' eyes), councelling us and advising us, calming us down and cheering us up, supporting us, guiding us through the whole process, thinking phases and ways to do, finding how to's, options and solutions, all this before we actually started anything... All along these 2 months and those 3 others before the project even began, M. & A. treated us with their friendship, knowledge, expertise, ideas, tips, warnings, sketches, calculations, software proficiency and last but not least, with a good load of embotits catalans at each of their visits! Thank you so much, M. & A. : Home(t)raveling wouldn't be the same (it probably wouldn't be at all) without your help, skills and enthousiasm!

our small (but efficient) door and window renovation workshop with part of the results (more soon, once we figure out how to use the router...).
Another important task of these peaceful and nice summer days was un-glassing, scouring, cleaning, scrubing, sanding, treating and oiling the doors, windows and frames of the first and second floors. As for the doors, we had done some already, and the windows would need further processing with the router, so as to make them double glazing-friendly. This, we'll show it later on, as soon as we've figured out how to do it... Oh, the joy of being a permanent, full-time beginner at things and learning new stuff everyday! Anyway, at some point, we were unable to work on them anymore and had to find some new tasks. While A. kept working on some designs and plans, M. took some pictures from original points of view and we finished to remove the plaster and lattice false ceilings in the first floor. Supposedly an easy job with no surprises nor major issues to be expected, it came with a good fright and a close-to-falling-off-the-ladder Futuna. Feel free to come in and have a closer, it appeared to be long-abandoned: a dry, empty and extremely fragile architectural masterpiece! Now, ain't that super cool, super beautiful and super impressive? We don't really know whether this is from wasps or hornets, as there was nobody around to give us the answer nor bite us, but it's a good thing we found it and removed it, just in case it happened to be a seasonal resort or something like that...

any expert out there? a quick search on the net suggests it could be european hornets. A gorgeous, scary, psychedelic tiny house inspiration anyway!
Last but not least on this entry: another friend came to visit over the past few weeks. Not very helpful but you know, the important thing is to get involved. Not very talkative either, but we eventually learnt his name from the neighbours (who happen to be his owners). He's called Oreo (any resemblance with the name of some famous black and white cookies is probably a coincidence...) and he's quite NOT interested in cooking nor doing the dishes, BUT really keen on eating any bit of tuna, ham or chicken we might have for him. Ah, and he loves licking a yogurt lid every now and then, too. But who doesn't? It's been fun to have him around, to see how he go less and less shy and how he got bigger and bigger through the weeks, too. It's probably time somebody took the decision to have him neutered already, but we believe it's too muh of a responsibility for us at the moment and the owners, who don'treally speak to us, don't seem likely to blame us anyway ...Wait and see.

last but not least, our new friend/neighbour Oreo helpin with the elderberry harvest!

Time to conclude - cause I'm gonna be kicked out of the university's library soon - not by anybody in particular but the sound of my gargling stomach! So yes: friends, friends, friends! And thanks, thanks, thanks! None of this would be nor would have been possible without your help, energy, sweat and support! We love you all!

We'll be back soon!
Take care and enjoy September
Futuna & Wallis


* Better not to promise anything about more blog posts, right? Promises only exist for those who believe them, don't they? Ha ha ha. Sorry.

** "New challenges everyday! Living life to the fullest! Tomorrow a little bit more! On my way to Hawai! The sky is the limit! Wooooooh!" and more global-citizen-CS-friendly-positive-thinking crap.

Monday, August 21, 2017

tabt i oversættelse ... i København

Futuna's (non legally binding) declaration of intention:
I won't be too long, this time. I won't spend hours and paragraphs telling you EVERY detail and story.
This post is gonna be MAINLY images together with a shooort explanation of the how and why.
Now, this is absolute vodka b-llsh-t! I am NOT capable of doing this short and neat, but I can still TRY, though.

København downtown: modern-art buildings under the sky ; rococo "fantaisie" on its bed of lettuce ; roof edge bike shop hipst-vertising.
Well, it was a not-so-sunny, not-so-hot early August in the Ariège. We were in the middle of the beginning of the crazy vorágine of renovating this beautiful and little grand ruin of ours, when our favourite translation agency contacted me (Futuna) for a "special" job offer. Tied by the non-disclosure agreement, I'll just leak that the client was in Copenhagen, Denmark ; that instead of wanting a (french) translator to work FOR them, they wanted a (french) translator to work AT them's ; that it was a 3-day mission in their premises, all-inclusive-all-you-can-eat style ; that the terms of the deal were really decent ; and that it sure was going to be genuine un(t)raveling stuff. Pretty uncommon.  Quite unconventional. Highly unexpected. Dangerously untimely. In a word: absolutely unturndownable!

vers les docks (where fish strive out of the water) and on the sunny side of the street, among rusty cars, vintage bikes and... Møbelstof.
Following this phone call, things went very fast. Like lightspeed, scary fast. And suddenly it was mid-August at an airport terminal, mid-August on a plane and mid-August at another airport terminal, farther north. I was in Denmark for the first time. How weird is that? I took a suburban train to Sømeplåce døwntøwn, walked towards the water, took a left and started to hunt a hipster bar to get a decent cåfelåtte. My first impression? Suburban trains and cåfelåttes are freakin' expensive in this country, trøncø! But considering the whole thing was scenic, exøtic and deliciøusly nørdic*, I said to myself "whåt å wønderful wørld"** and kept wandering the streets and docks randomly. Our friend U., who'd visited us a few weeks earlier, had put me in touch with a local-ish friend of his he'd met ten years ago, while studying here. Thanks to a misunderstanding and to having the same name as a mutual friend of theirs, I ended up invited to surf a couch at his family's (so many thanks again, P.!!): all I had to do was agree to meet him somewhere sometime, only it'd be without an operating cellphone (thanks to Free's cheapest fare) and wondering "just how?"

doubting between "tunnel visiøn" and "døwn the råbbit høle" ; black lamp in a colourful setting ; classy n' glassy side of the street!
After some long, unworried hours of københavnin' around, partially following some of his advices and tips, I sent friendly P. an email which he answered right away, telling me he'd be at the main exit of some centric subway station at 5 sharp and that he didn't wear dreadlocks - which was, let's recognize it, a dramatically useful description of his person! Long storty made short: we met, he walked me and showed me around, took me to touristy, colourful and über-cool Christiania (see below), where we enjoyed a locally brewed beer, the gorgeous variety of the indigenous fauna and flora, as well as a nice piece of conversation by the river - or was it a lake? After that, we walked back to a place where a bus was seemingly waiting to take us away, took a ride to P.'s home, met his lovely wife and two kids, cooked and had dinner there, had a shower (not together, do I really need to specify that?) and before I realized (not an apology nor a justification, but it had been quite a hard day and it was getting night-ey already...), I was sleeping like a log - please don't insist, Mum: no way I paste a link here, two Beatles' songs in a row would be way too much.

fløwer pøwer @ Fristaden Christiania ; scafføldings and gråffitis in B(ike) flåt ; the øne and ønly sølyst plånt/høme...
About Fristaden Christiania: what you'll read - or have just read - on the wikipedia page (link above) is sure enough more informative and accurate than what follows, but if you wanted informative and accurate stuff about specific things, you wouldn't be reading this blog in the first place, would you? So, Christiania is apparently THE thing to see in Copenhagen, while the little mermaid definitely isn't. Indeed, the little mermaid is in the absolute top five of all disappoiting monuments and must sees around the world ; even crappier than the tower of Pisa and the Buddha park in Vientiane. So, initially an autonomous anarchist town on squatted old military premises by Copenhagen downtown, it now exhibits all the features of a Boom Festival: rusty upcycled cabins, flashy New-Age artworks, dystopic SciFi sovietic vans, dreadlock-wearing alternative/underground/anti-everything nihilists and tons of legal, ilegal, unlegal and alegal highs. A beautiful place to be, where you'll buy and consume whatever you please without hiding and where the setting seems to be designed to help you trip for hours without exposing yourself to any hazard - if you except: drowning in a pond, impaling yourself on some piece of art, choking with a "homemade" falafel, being crushed under the rubble of a collapsing shack/art gallery, OD-ing with happy 'shrooms, getting bitten by a gigantic and moody rat or simply suffering acute septicaemia... Like a psychedelic Dejima, it's a lovely place to spend a while, sincerely!

this cool van keeps remindng me of some Björk classic (directed by Michel Gondry?) ; just another one of Christiania's nice lil' shacks.
Woken up early the next morning, just on time to get on P.'s car and drive the kids to school before he dropped me at the closest suburban train station. We hugged thank you, good bye and good luck, and in about the amount of time needed to yawn and stretch my back, I was already on the right line and on a direct train heading to the client's. It was cold and grey at the station, so I crossed the street of cobblestone (no, no Simon & Garfunkel song, here. it'd be too obvious. or maybe? let me think about it for a second...) and entered the Coffee shop just opposite the round-about I'd seen on google maps and suggested to N. (my yet-to-meet German translator colleague on this project) for a BBB - a breakfast business briefing. I was early, she was right on time, we had a quick coffee with milk and pastries to break the ice and soon walked to the client's to get the job done. I won't be saying a single word about translating except, maybe, this: as we (both) assumed (and repeated) beforehand, it was nothing that couldn't have been done from (our respective) home. Only it got us to travel, producing a few extra tons of carbon dioxyde, disposing cardboard coffee cups, discovering a beautifully singular place on earth and being paid for doing so. Sweet!

Christiania's handcrafted cårgø bikes ; one of its cåbin pørns by the låke ; and some pøliticålly incørrect ørchårds and vegetåble gårdens.
Since talking about work isn't really an option, then ¿what? Let's talk about the time off and surroundings: time off was basically breakfast, dinner and the way from the hotel to the office. And back. An average 20 minute walk in the middle of a residentiål nøwhere, which logically takes us to the "surroudings" chapter - smooth transition, isn't it? Well, my hotel was stuck to, or built against, the local soccer team's arena. It was also the official venue for all sorts of trainees, fellow or opponent teams, journalists and V.I.P. living of, for and around the soccer thing. Søccer! My soft spot, my weakness, my cup of tea! The one and only reason I get off bed every morning! Couldn't have dreamt of anything better, couldn't have been any happier. ¡Wøøø!*** Only relief: there was a state-of-the-art gym in the 1st underground floor, with a 24h all-you-can-sweat pass included in the room's fare. Pretty much everything I'd seen on TV, brought to me in real-life: superlative dudes with their protein shakes, making sure their triceps were slightly more inflated than the neighbour's, and fit-as-hell girls, with their pastel pink and green outfits, doing the step machine as if it was the last thing they'd ever do... I spent an instructive and delightful hour "working out" (trying out every single machine) there both evenings, between the walk back home and my shower and in-room instant noodle soup dinner.

indigenøus håbitåt in a residentiål neighbøurhøød ; say "bikey bike" and ride it ; dangerously irreverent wine støre and a vintåge cøupé.
Another one of the hotel's interesting features was the wake-up call service: it didn't seem to be working. Well, they failed to ring my room's phone twice out of two mornings, even though I walked to the front desk and asked for it specifically both times. Not a big deal, it gave me a chance to try and enjoy their branded bicycles through the neighbourhood and to make commuting both faster and more fun... As for the surroundings, then: somewhere north of Copenhagen, a half-residential, half-industrial (and half-desert) suburb, with little to do if you except staring at everything with fascinated alien/tourist eyes. Not a bar, not a shop, not a bench, not a single area designed for unbusy people to spend time outdoors. You could reasonably uphold that the Danish weather is generally not inviting, but it falls short with the first sunbeam, when you witness everybody getting on the street and turning their faces south, as though desperately trying to synthetize vitamin D for the next 12 months. So, maybe it's just a cultural thing: the outdoors may just be this awkward no man's land you cruise through between home and somewhere else, with no other reason than the act of transiting. This being said, houses look homey, streets streetey and bikes, bikey.

indigenøus håbitåt in a residentiål neighbøurhøød ; say "bikey bike" and ride it ; dangerously irreverent wine støre and a vintåge cøupé.
Then, a bit too soon to be honest, it was Friday afternoon and the job was all done. It was time to say "gøødbye, fårewell and see you ågåin sømedåy", rush through traffic to the airport, share a barely decent pizza and local beer with friendly N. before flying back to our respective homes. We exchanged emails and FB-friended, invited each other to come visit someday and wished we'd have other opportunities to city-break somewhere that fancy in the future... and, of course, on the house! Working 3 whole days lost in translation with somebody you've never met before can be stressful or a plain pain in the a--, but getting to do it with N. was nicer and funnier than I could have expected. Another good reason to thank Rñkjvsb (the Danish client) for this cool experiece. My flight back home was quiet, beautifully stormy and generally boring. If the descent on Barcelona was gorgeous, with Montserrat, Tibidabo and Montserrat bathed in late August sunlight, the landing was really tough. I came back, almost unaware, to a post-terror attack city where tension, fear and grief were tangible on the streets, on the subway and on every face. I spent a night at dear L.'s new shared appartment, the two of us in a state of shock, hitting on a bottle of red wine. I came back home the next day with her and our friends A. & M., the official home(t)raveling architects. But that's another story.

stormy weather over western Europe: dark clouds and scary light ; minutes to landing: Montjuic, Tibidabo and Montserrat in the distance.
Ah, I almost forgot to tell you about the postcards! Copenhagen is indeed a beautiful and fascinating city, in which postcards are not only VERY expensive but also VERY difficult to find. Do millenial city-breakers not send postcards anymore? Do they use a f---ing app. to send e-cards? What's the post-modern equivalent of "sending a postcard"? Some kind of tatoo printed on unbleached paper with vegan ink that can be shipped by UPS to a remote location, or some stuff like that? Anyway... Well, talking about expensive, you should have seen the face of the (not so friendly) lady at the post office when I asked for 10 stamps for my 10 (XXth century style) postcards: she stared at me with both pity and disbelief. She warned me I'd only be able to pay in cash and it was going to be a substantial amount. I was prepared but I was naive, too. At the current rate of the Danish krone, 10 stamps for Europe are worth slightly less than 40 euros! - which is proportionnally even more ridiculously expensive than the hipsta-latte or the 2-zone suburban train ticket. Here's a proof I didn't give up: those 10 fellows probably don't realize how privileged they are!


* I solemnly swear I'll try to refrain from overdoing this ø and å thing! I'll try, okay... but you'll have to admit it's tempting...

** Oups! I did it again...

*** You guys don't need a tag to understand sarcasm, do you?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

ignorant is the new wise


This post contains offensive and judgemental opinions on people I don't even know.
It is full of verbal violence, intolerance and negativity about some post-modern crap I've read lately and its author.
If you're a Buddhist, or believe in respect-over-freedom-of-speech, you may not want to read any further.
If you're a 'digital-nomad' moron whose mouth and mind are full of global BS, or if you worship cheap travel for the sake of it and making money through a click-bait shitty blog, while aiming at making the world a better place, reading this post may make you feel miserable (my secret hope), or feel upset (my secret agenda), or feel like punching me in the face (my first guess).
This being said, and for the rest of us: last call for passengers to doucheland, now boarding!


Ever wondered what to do while stuck long hours at an airport terminal waiting for a flight? Or stuck between your two neighbours on a flight? How about reading (or writing) an (hopefully) interesting and inspiring blog post? Well, now you mention inspiring pieces of reading - or did I mention that myself? how convenient! -, there was indeed one I came across randomly about a month ago, on a very fancy blog. I soon discovered it was written by a travel supa'star, a wanderlust heavyweight, some sort of #digitalnomad schredder, a Marvel hero with a cool name and a trendy 2.0 backpacker costume: the Connor Mc Gregor* of the travel blogosphere! A living myth! A unicorn in hawaiian shorts!
#MyNewHero: un(re)touched and raw.
If you excuse me for being way too sincere, way too soon - that's the writing equivalent of smuggling one's toothbrush on one's one-night-stand's bathroom shelf before leaving their place the next morning - I'll confess I was simply amazed that one of Facebook's almighty algorithms fished that piece of raw rubbish just for me. This idiotic gem was targeted and selected based on my profile, feed, activity and so on?  I'll have to think about this thoroughly later and make amends: no way I'm getting away with that without practising some self-criticism.

So, what did the algorithm get for me, just for me and for me only? An authentic little treasure of moronic millenial bullshitting. Un-censored. Director's cut! So neatly superficial, so powerfully short-sighted, so disgustingly self-satisfied and so genuinely ignorant, it was close to pure genius. Really moving. A brilliant example of CS's the sky is the limit, wooo!-philosophy (a.k.a. "let's go carping all those diems!") under the pen of a <quotemark> travel writer and journalist </quotemark>, who self-introduces himself as <quotemark> New York Times best-selling author </quotemark> and whose best-selling product was written and intended to make you <quotemark> Travel better. Cheaper. Longer <quotemark>**. Now, that's what I call a good start, mate: travelling as a dick-measuring contest! Classic and classy old-school junk-ology. Implacable rethorics: the cheaper and longer, hence the better. Pay less, get more. "How many miles must a man walk through, sang our unexpected literature Nobel prize in his early years, before you call him a man?" Well, forget about that. Nowadays in Millenniala-land, it'd be something like "How many miles on your airline program, before you get a free flight?"... How did he say, the unexpected Nobel Prize? "the times they are a'changing...". Indeed. Joan Baez, if you're still around, don't cry. It's useless. They're everywhere. Resistance is futile. They won the war already. Deal with it: Ignorant is the new wise.


"LEARN HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NEXT TRIP. Hi! I'm New York Times best selling author ---. If you're overwhelmed by all the travel information on the web, sign up here to get proven step by step tips and tricks that'll save you time, money and have you traveling sooner!"


Wanna travel like a local in France? Try our rusty shitty Citroën c15!
So, if you've got time and you wanna take a chance to give him a fair trial, you can read his nice piece of travel writing/journalism here. Just cruising through the introduction, you'll learn that "sharing economy" is "the term given to the plethora of websites designed to connect travelers with locals, offer more unique experiences, and make travel more affordable". Wow! Thank you so much #MyNewHero, it took Wikipedia 150 bibliography entries to define, refine and analyze what the sharing economy is (or isn't), what it looks like and what it may become, only scratching the surface of it. So yours is indeed a great synthesis: "a bunch of apps to help you travel cheaper!" And this is just for starters. I so can't wait for the main course, but let's be patient...

There he goes: "While I’ve used the sharing the economy frequently before (I am a big fan), they have never been the primary focus of my entire trip. I usually add a few activities in while I’m being a normal tourist seeing the main attractions." And also, wondering how it was going to work: "Would this be the best way to meet people? How much cheaper is it, really, to use only the sharing economy? Would it be more work? Would I even like using the sharing economy all the time?". Down to the two important ideas: he's a big fan of the sharing economy and he's used it before. It so sounds like "I'm not racist, man. Look: I even have a black friend". And cheaper - is that the point? Apparently, yes. Could the sharing economy be about not wasting resources, not over-consuming and not getting so much new stuff and services when you can share, borrow, co-own or rent... Thought spending less was secondary to trying to act more sustainable, the 3Rs, all this. But it looks like I had it wrong: sharing is all about cheaper deals. Oh, and the best so far: "what if don't like that too much?" As a customer of the sharing economy, what if the act of making the world a better place is not enjoyable enough? First experience: a BlablaCar ride with 2 locals. Buckle up!


"I was little nervous (...) because I was worried we wouldn’t end up talking much. I was right. After making some initial small talk with her and the other rider, we exhausted their English and my French and they just spoke French to each other. I can’t blame them though. It'S a lOT EASIER TO SPEAK IN YOUR NATIVE TONGUE THAN GRASP FOR WORDS IN A LANGUAGE YOU DON'T KNOW WELL."


Exactly, my fwiend! If you want to live like a f-ing local in any country, start by learning the f-ing local language. Or - at least - stop assuming every f-ing local has to talk to you in YOUR f-ing language! What kind of a self-centered, narrow-minded, imperialist prick brags about living like a local in any country in the world with an English-only approach? You know what? Go live like a local in NYC. Go get some spicy-tasty-yummy sharing economy with a taxi cab in Manhattan and leave us indigenous people of the Fwance alone! Seriously. "Live like a local bla bla bla". My ass like a local. But look, at least our hero is a fair-player: "I can't blame them though". Oh thank you my lord! Why is that? Come on! Blame 'em a little! Is it by any chance because you don't speak a bloody word of any foreign language yourself? While you self-define your-arrogant-self as the supah travelah-supah stah, Mr. NYTimes Best-selling author?

me doing the sharing economy with a cat: come share our couch! hashtag vanlife!

Then we learn he had another disappointing experience with some other sharing economists from the AirBnB platform. Btw, a platform that is making millions just by charging a (huge) percentage fee on illegal/alegal rentals between peers and peer-profesionals, actively involved in global gentrification and making cities some fake theme parks for tourists, with sky-rocketted rents unaffordable for the working class locals who have to go live in the suburbs and commute long hours everyday. Live like a local, my ass. It's like the Nokia add, but with 2 l's instead of the 2 n's, look at that:

<> AirBnb - Collecting People! <>

Anyway, as he briliantly wraps it up: "in Orléans, my Airbnb hosts were young graphic designers, super accommodating, helpful, and had an excellent tea selection. However, they spoke little English, weren’t so keen to hang out, and mostly left me alone." Oh! The poor little thing! His AirBnB hosts weren't so keen to spend 24/24 with him and they spoke little English. They looked cool, though: they were young graphic designers with an excellent tea selection! How sad he purchased a service from them on AirBnb and not, say, AirCnC, like in CONVERSATION AND COMPANY! Or didn't anybody tell him BnB actually stood for BED AND BREAKFAST? That is to say: place to sleep and morning coffee with pastry! If you wanted friends, you should have tried another approach: the sharing economy does not usually sell any. Neither does the regular, individualistic, capitalist one. You just do not buy friends. Period. Like a local my balls, #MyNewHero: you're learning to live in France like a pathetic spoiled kid, not like a local! Then the thing goes on and on: he meets other AirBnB hosts who are desperate as he is and need some company. They hang out with him and speak his language, so he can finally feel like a local. They even fake having feelings towards him, putting a candle on his croissant for his birthday. As he reckons: they are an older couple (probably suffering an empty nest syndrome and inconsciously looking for some child-like ball of fur). They laugh with him as they swap stories over a bottle of wine! Oh my God! Is there anything local-er than that?


"I met a local psychologist, a recent college grad touring his own country, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo (which I found to be an enlightening – and very depressing – experience), a fun Dane and a Japanese tourist who wanted to be a farmer. They filled my time with laughter, fun, and insights"


Another beautiful life lesson from #MyNewHero: apparently, Pokémon Go is part of the sharing economy too! You can hunt and capture interesting people with only 1 (one) trait. And they're like items or cards, to be added to your collection. Purchase them for free on! Wooooo!

What's up with this creepy little man? He keeps sayin' he wants to live like a lo-cow...
"They filled my time with laughter, fun and insights" made me smile, but I almost puked with "which I found to be an enlightening - and very depressing - experience". My balls, like a local. Like a mo-ron, you mean. The rest is not as good as he expected: not so many people are willing to get paid for sharing authentic stuff, apparently. The food sharing economy is disappointing, even though he admits a jazz musician cooked him an awesome burger. Why would you have a cook cooking you something to eat when you can have a jazz musician doing it instead? He also had "a Thai guy and his boyfriend, make some delicious Thai food". I know what you're thinking: a Thai guy cooking Thai food is a bit too easy for the sharing economist learning to live like a local. You would have expected, at least, a Colombian plumber to cook Thai food on a solar stove, right? But read more carefully: the Thai guy and his boyfriend! Now you have the cherry on top: he got his meal cooked by a gay Thai! To our NYTimes best-selling author, that made him special Pokémon-style and worth mentioning. They're not persons, just jackets... But the whole thing keeps getting better: now comes the time to analyze and conclude, to nail the nail (local saying!):


"I started to have mixed feelings about the sharing economy. First, it’s not convenient. You’re dealing with people, not companies"


Well yes, exactly! Congrats and thank you for this briliant awakening. You're dealing with people who happen to be humans too. They have lives too. And don't dedicate most of their time to match your needs. Do you dedicate most of yours to match theirs, #MyNewHero? No, you don't, right? In my humble opinion, a good starting point would be that instead of "using the sharing economy", as you repeat again and again, you try and participate or get involved in the sharing economy! Not just "What do I need?", but also "What can I bring?", "What is my goal?", "Why do I want to do it in the first place?" These questions take us naturally to Mr. success' second concern: the argent!

what the hell is the sharing economy useful for if it's not at least 30% cheaper??
"Second, it’s not always cheaper. (...) the listed tours were quite pricy too, often rivaling traditional tour companies.". So, to make it crystal clear:  a service costs merely the same in the sharing economy as it does in the real world? How weird! How curious! Alternative ought to be cheaper, right? Because those dreamers who want to make the world a better place don't need to buy food nor to pay a rent, right? They feed on their colourful dreams and graze the sun, right? Well, apparently, the ones on the other side of sharing are expected to: the ones who sell the sharing. Those who pay to buy the sharing, they need it to be cheap, right? Back to my humble opinion: stop using the sharing. And start sharing. But this is not the point. The sharing economy being as expensive as (or not substantially cheaper than) the regular economy is just a simple problem of perspective: your concern is money, value. Not quality. Or only an incomplete concept of quality. You're missing the point. Very similar to politicians telling us public schools or public hospitals are not profitable enough, or cost too much. Of course they're not profitable. They've never been meant to be profitable in the first place! They're meant to cost public money so as to give a service to society: free education, free health. They're not profitable in money. They are profitable in knowledge, culture, tolerance, peace, well-being, happiness, stuff like that, you know. Maybe the sharing economy works the same? Imagine the mythical beast called "the sharing economy" was never meant to be cheaper economically, but rather to invent, experiment, develop and promote new ways of consuming together. Wasting less, buying less new, not feeding giant companies and corporations, not shipping worldwide. Instead: spending and earning on a smaller scale, shorter circuits of distribution, repairing, sourcing local, exchange, swap...

imagine you looked in the mirror and instead of yourself, you saw the whole picture.
Think about this shared car-ride again: it's not meant to entertain you more, nor to be more comfortable and convenient for you, while also being cheaper for you. Just get your belly-button off the center of the damn equation for a second and imagine this shared car-ride means not using 3 cars, spending 3 times gas, insurance, tyres, tolls. Not producing 3 times carbon dioxide... Now if the 3 of us decide we want to do that, commit to it and manage to find a way so all the needs of the 3 of us are met with 1 single car and 1 single trip, it is going to be globally better: "for the planet", for the human beings, for the message we send to the car industry, the insurance business, the tyres and oil market... It should be cheaper. It may be better for us if we take turns to drive and enjoy some nice conversation and find less cars on the road. Now, the tough truth: this is certainly NOT going to be more convenient for each one of us than simply following each one the schedule and route that best suit one's individual needs! Not more convenient and certainly not faster. Actually, when you decide to do that, you reckon it's going to take longer and to be less comfortable, but you believe it's better (not for you but collectively). Indeed, if you expect a shared car-ride to be faster, cheaper, easier and more fun than any other transport option available on the market, you're a fool, you're going to be disappointed and there's nothing I can do for you. Keep using an app to live like a local and get mixed feelings when the locals don't speak your (foreign) language or don't show you around.




All this being said, live long and prosper, Nomadic Matt! I'm not angry at you, it's nothing personal. I don't blame you either for totally missing the point. You're a product of your circumstances and for a very short amount of time, you became a symbol of what's wrong with the world: a bright shooting-star of stupidity. As we all are, at some point, from some perspective. I just find it sad you're influencing so many a would-be traveler into believing living (like a local) is a matter of consuming, instead of committing. And success a matter of paying less to get more.


* I haven't mentioned yet anywhere on this blog that I am a huge fan of the notorious Conor McGregor. He's my hero. He's just SO amazing. He's my hero. I've seen ALL his fights. He's my hero. - Am I overdoing this? - When I can't sleep at night, I watch him fight on youtube and an average 4 minute treatment is enough for me to fall asleep like a baby! He's an artist and did I mention he's my hero? I'm totally overdoing this.

** the <quotemark> tag doesn't exist, I know. It should, though. Consider it an attempt to produce the visual illusion, or mental image, of my two hands doing the <quotemark> sign as I say this, with my intonation slightly over-doing it. Now: could you see it? Would you say the quotemark tag helped? How would rate its image-generating effect on a scale from 1 to 5 - one being a minimal image-generating effect and 5 being a strong, vivid vision of the fingers of my two hands doing the quotemark gesture in slow-motion?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

home(t)raveling: setmanes 5 i 6

with a little more help from our friends!

la xemeneia i el llibre* que mes triomfa aquí aquest estiu! ;)
Doncs, no n'estic segur però podria ser aixo el nostre primer post en català, ¿oi que si? Ostres! Aleshores, demano sol.lemnament a totes les catalanoxerrantes i tots els catalanoxerrants que em perdonin: mai he arribat a encertar ni tan sols 3 paraules seguides en el Gran Dictat i el meu nivell de català ès inversament proporcional al meu entusiasme a l'hora d'escriure aquest post. I en ambdues combinacions, aixo pinta malament... Home, ès el que hi ha: al menys, no us vendré gat per llebre. Però com volem fer-li avui un petit homenatge a un gran amic, semblava que aquesta era la forma mes adecuada. Aixo va per en G., el nostre estimat fanàtic, nascut al Llobregat i exiliat per amor entre Ponent i Aragò, que ens va acompanyar i ajudar aquestes últimes 2 setmanes per aqui Can La Meunière. I ès que no nomès vam compartir moments i xerrades molt agradables, sino que també ens va treure de sobre una feina titanesca, que mai haguessim imaginat poder abordar (ni parlar de terminar-la) en els propers mesos! Tot plegat, i un cop buidat i netejat l'estable (veure el anterior capitol aqui), va fer-se carrèc de la granja, per buidar i netejar-ho tot, amb un xic de la nostra ajuda però practicament sol. Ni he arribat a explicar encara que ho ha fet tot penjat amb cordes i a una velocitat que a dures penes ens donava temps d'anar gestionant els escombros i les muntanyes de m---- que sortien d'allà dalt!

Per ilustrar i documentar una mica la cosa, que les meves paraules - tristement - ès queden cortes, aqui sota teniu els "abans" i els "després" corresponent a la part de la granja:

planta segona de la part dita "la granja": abans, abans i mentres... i ja a punt de plegar, amb tot buid i net - només quedarà fer-ho tot nou... un dia futur.

planta primera abans, abans i mentres: ¡qué lluny queden les finestres! després: buid, net... i amb vistes a la muntanya!
Doncs, després de tot aixo, fins i que ens trovavem ben cansats, encara li van sobrar unes miques mes de temps i de ganes... i ens va preparar una habitaciò sencera abans de marxar! Treure el fals sostre i tot el paper de paret, deixar-ho tot net i preparat per a la resta de feines: tractar bigues, fer l'aillament del sostre, pasar-li una capa blanca i neta at tot areu i finalment polir i tractar el parquet del terra. El objectiu: arribar a fer-ho tot i que estigui acabat abans del invern, per tenir una habitaciò (i idealment totes dues) en condicions. Just vam aprofitar el seu últim matí amb nosaltres per anar a la déchèterie a portar tota la runa i quedar-nos un altre cop amb totes les bosses que van tornar a caure en una crisi de buid (existencial).També, amb les feines no-de-casa-sino-de-les-que-s'han-de-fer-per-jalar que se'ns acumulaven, al mig de un huracà d'estrès i de deadlines imposibles, vam rebre una breu visita del nostre A. nacional i la seva M., que van parar a saludar i prendre la mida del chantier al baixar de un Vicdessos plujós, abans de continuar la seva ruta de l'estiu cap al Quercy. Ja tornaràn amb mes temps!

i un cop mes encara: abans, mentres i després. no hi ha res mes per dir, però si per fer abans del invern i de l'arribada del fret...

A l'hora de concloure: finalment, encara que hagi passat uns dies abans, quan encara hi era en U., van aprofitar una estona que ni la Wallis ni jo erem a casa (i just a l'hora de la migdiada, amb la calor que feia, ai, aquests nens que mai aprenen!) per posar-se a realitzar a 4 mans un petit projecte ben bonic i indispensable per l'estiu... del que tant nosaltres com totes les properes visites gaudirem sense moderaciò. Voilà! Amb aixo i diuent-li (¡No! Cridant-li) un cop mes moltísimes gràcies per l'ajuda, l'energia i el bon rotllo, us deixem actualitzats amb aquest número de home(t)raveling. ¡Que vagi bé i fins aviat!

a 4 mans (de fusters): un petit projecte bonic i indispensable per l'estiu.

i molts petons per a tothom,
Wallis & Futuna


* també podria veure-es aquesta entrada com un petit homenatge a l'artista que va produir aquesta auténtica pepita que no nomès us recomanem urgentment, sino que a mes i mes podeu demanar i us passem contacte per demanir-li una copia... o dues!