Barcelona

You expect for someone to instantly hit on you, sweep you off your feet, make you paella therefore falling in love with Barcelona. You blame Woody Allen.
There are beautiful people everywhere but even though you can understand almost everything you can’t find one Spanish word in your head and feel like it’s too pretentious to hit on someone in English.

Your friend has college everyday, so you just walk and walk and walk till you feel like your knees are about to jump out and roll away in protest. The beach is a beach, but feels like a mall by how it’s organized. Alleys intersect alleys drowning you in a mosaic of old and new. La Sagarda Familia really was breathtaking but you weren’t about to stand in that line. Same for the Picasso museum. Luckily you find the Museum of Modern European art, one of the best museums you have ever been to.

Apartment hunting is a movie in itself. Most don’t mention that they are families only renting out a room. You could cut the air with the awkward tension.

Barcelona reminds you of any other big international city, but sometimes the architecture is better. Any big city has its places where you feel like you’d fall in love with whomever talks to you next.

The thing that makes a city isn’t buildings, lingering images flashing by your eyes that you might recall in passing. Cities are made of people that ebb and flow like blood through a body. Without knowing someone in a city it is like any other pile of rock across the world. You are missing that connection and it frustrates you.

It’s time to go home, but you can’t imagine it all being over.

Jet Streams

You return to Marseille and wait for your friend. War and Peace encapsulates you. She finally arrives with warm embraces and you hear her story of falling in love in Togo.

The next day she shows you around Marseille after having lunch with insanely nice friends of her’s. You see five jet streams in the air that slowly expand into clouds before dissipating.

Even though her school in Barcelona already started your friend shows no hurry in getting there. Her calm amazes your overly organized self. At night you climb a fence at a park and sit on a cliff edge sharing whiskey as the sea licks the rocks. You and others talk of constellations.
You both feel the change in the other, but can still find what made you friends in the first place.

One night in a square where everyone is drinking you start to feel sick but the sight of two guys on a date warms your heart. You start to crave the smiles, the retelling of stories and the connections made with a new love interest.

You wake up sick but still go to the sea with her and sunbath on some rocks. Fighting a fever you get medicine as you both prepare for the bus to Barcelona. Fighting a fever on a bus is so fun. On arriving in Barcelona you wait a few hours for a friend of her’s to find you. Your fever makes you irritable and you regret snapping at her. After going to the wrong hostel you find yours and quickly fall asleep waking up feeling just fine.

Friendships are a little like jet streams in the sky. There are always changes, the streams streaking across the sky of our past, but as we move on the changes dissipate into the infinite blue and it is as if nothing has happened.

Rennes

Walking through Rennes is like walking through time. All the same shops are there and the city is still filled with an insane amount of young, well dressed attractive people. You see all the places where you had experiences that made your 17 year old self. While Rennes hasn’t changed you start to finally see how you have.

Talking with one of your best high school friends you can almost see the last three years in the cigarette smoke. The time appears than dissipates, leaving the most important thing, your friendship. Of course you get drunk with him, after all it had been three years since you’ve last seen him.

The next day you see your old host sister after five years. She is still beautiful and sweet and after you take some time to yourself to read in one of your favorite parks in the world you two let the smoke of years past flow in-between one another.

park

After another park day you find three out of four of the most important friends from France infront of you. One came from out of town to see you, fleating memories of when you used to call yourself an artist float by as you two talk art like you used to. You reconnect with the past yet again through a galette.

You go to have dinner at your old host family’s. The little sister is strikingly beautiful now, not the same gameboy playing tomboy you knew. The elder sister is joyfully pregnant while the parents are the same. When the parents start talking books with you you remember how books and movies were the main topic of conversation amongst you three. Funny stories pass between smiling lips.

The last night is spent with one of your best French friends. It is a textbook I am about to leave conversation. Death. Orgasims. Youth. Farts. Beer. You both agree that the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know.

Upon leaving your heart really feels as if it swells as you think of how you have such great friends. You prefer not to think about how you have no clue when you will see them again. Corny as it is Whinnie the Pooh enters your head.

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

Marseille

A man plays an ancordian in the park you are at. You laugh at the sterotype.
You walk the whole city, geek out at a church with muslim influenced archecture and try to get used to seeing white people everywhere and hearing a language you understand.
There is a church on the largest hill, so of course you have to go. It is one hell of a climb, but one hell of a view as well.
On your way down you stop at a park and watch as youth jump into the water from an old fortress. The birds in the bush infront of you start flipping out then wooosh a hawk flys into the bush and flys away with its prey. You stare agaped. No one else notices.

The hawk flys away as the sound of splashes and soft spoken French sway in the wind.

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Thailand

You get to Chiang Mai and feel too tired of traveling to care about it. The second day you go to an elephant camp and awe at the cute baby elephant and have your theighs go sore trying to ride the biggest one. While bathing them in a river you simaltaniously almost get stuck between two elephants and almost stepped on all while trying not to be swept away by the current.

chang mai

A few days later of nothing-much-else-happening you go to a Thai boxing match. You are two rows from the front with cigarette smoke flowing as easily as the booze. Sweat and water spray off the men and women as they fight, glistening in the Florissant light of the giant star above them.

boxer

Back in Bangkok you are even more disenfranchised with traveling. You need a break. The taxi drivers charging you double doesn’t help. You two go to the gay section of Bangkok. It is like the Rue de la Soif in Rennes, a street of just bars. You and your friend have nothing to talk about because you’ve been together everyday for the past month. You take a sperm shot.

Walking through a metal detecter you go to the biggest gay discotech in the city. DJ station. It’s more packed than a Japanese subway at rush hour in Tokyo. There are three floors and it takes you a hour to realize they gave you drink tokens when coming in. You meet pilots, NGO workers and men from Norway to Bangladesh.

The next day you go to a giant mall for your friend to get a book. It’s eight stories. You walk by an anime convention. When lost you end up at a board game convention and stare at the skyline.

That night your friend leaves for home and you go to the gay red-light district because you have to know what the sex show is like. Cigarette smoke gives weight to the neon lights rolling across the bodies of boys you can pay to sit with you, or do more. Two men start fucking on stage in a looney tune manner, spinning and twisting in comical ways. They make their way, never pulling out, around the club to fuck next to everyone there, scurrying alone like Charlie Chaplin. You feel anything but turned on.

You wait at your hotel for a taxi to the airport cause the shuttle lady won’t answer her phone and it’s too hot to find a different booking place.

You are going to France. At least, you say, you can speak the language there.