ah, you found me! so, like i said before, this page is an experiment. as i'm sitting here at my home in copenhagen, i'm feeling pretty optimistic about my abilities to keep this page updated. it's going to be very raw -> so i can edit it quickly, and mine it later for juicy nuggets.
things to take:
chris robbins t-shirt X
little coolers X <--i found a beautiful thermos at a flea market here, only 2 kroners! (that's 40¢)
portable stereo <--maybe i can find an old battery powered tape deck there
some kind of guidebook
sleeping bag?<--i don't know where i'll stay, but i don't want to carry too much stuff
lots of memory cards X
lunch in 7 days:
so i'll head to prague, and then try to get to the lake from there. i don't have an international drivers license, so renting a car might be a problem - - if i can't do that i hope i could find a bus, or even rent a bike ... it' s only 50 km away from prague ... so i could ride there in a day if i had to.
i went to the american embassy in copenhagen to try to get an international drivers license and couldn't - though they said i don't need one in the EU ( - but the czech government website says i do....). couldn't take any photos because the embassy has to protect our freedoms.
i've been looking everywhere for an inflatable raft that i can easily pack in my bag, and blow up when i get there. i've been to every toy store and department store looking. no one has them or can get them. at an aldi, i found huge family-on-a-yatch-stranded-in-the-atlantic life rafts, but they were huge and almost too heavy to lift.
i suppose i could try to find or make something from foam and stuff in the czech ..... but if i'm taking the bus - or on bike - an improvised raft might make travel impossible. one toy store had to innertube-ish floaters, they could be attached somehow with some cardboard on top for a platform.
lunch in 6 days:
making an atlas and some fold out maps from google earth images.
thinking it's more interesting to take a bus or train from prague ..... trying to anticipate where that might put me, and make maps the enough of the surrounding area that i won't be stuck. also, i'm sure the closer i get to the lake, the less english speakers there will be, so it'll be good to have maps that i can just point at where i'm going....
i'm worried i won't be able to update this site while i'm there... if i can't find a wireless-style internet cafe... so i'll set up a blog like chris has just in case... so if you don't see anythere fresh here, that's where to find it.
lunch in 5 days:
found a raft! and it's a BEAUT!
actually, eva found it online. i biked to every possible department store and toy store within 30 minutes of copenhagen, and couldn't find anything. (and yes, i was wishing for a wal-mart...) it's amazing how hard it is to find something when it's not 'in season.'
lunch in 4 days:
i'm off! ready for action!
maybe it was a huge mistake to try to use this web page to detail the trip - and maybe it's a huge mistake to take my computer. BUT, i'm doing it. if i can't edit this page while i'm there, through, i'll edit a page on the blog lunchinalake.blogspot.com
walking past 2 bikes pulled from the lakes, the wheels of one are covered in green growth. looks like a big round salad. the other has been in so long the spokes are completely rusted away. walking through a crowd of striking nurses.
carrying more than i wanted to. a big bag just for the raft. it's big and light.
i met chris online, actually. i don't really know him - well, he's not the kind of friend i would really visit or call to catch up with. he wrote me about a year and a half ago, asking if my work was really a way of intervening in my own life, and if it might be called Auto-Interventionist ( <-that's chris's term, by the way). i said that it seemed about right. and it's been a year and a half now, and i think about that email all the time. i think about it so much that it must have had an impact on me - if my work was not an auto-intervention, it certainly is now. to be clear: that's not all of it, i like to think there's a lot more going on in my work, but it's definitely a part of it.
i've been thinking about a series of projects - duels - where two people or groups agree on a proposition, make just enough guidelines to be sure it actually works, and go for it - a form of very loose collaboration, that develops over some time, and then: BANG! it's happened.
so here we are now, lunch-on-a-lake is a perfect duel, and perfect auto-intervention*. so i wrote chris.
*but maybe not-so-perfect to be trying to watch, but we'll see: it's an experiment!
found hotel at airport, outside prague.
bus->train->bus->lost in the rain, angry, full of regret->bus->hotel
lunch in 3 days:
no success yet with finding amazing drinks to surprise chris with yet. my beautiful new thermos is empty.
if i drive to the lake no beer (that's the drink of choice it seems. they invented it here.) if chris drove to the lake no beer either.
but if i take a series of buses and trains, i can't carry so much anyway, and won't be able to stop along the way to make an amazing collection of drinks .... maybe i'll go with an empty thermos and try to convince someone at the nearest town or farm to fill it with coffee. (does chris take milk?)
to the station to research transportation possibilities.
lunch in 2 days:
after this cup of coffee, back to the station.
--ideal trip--> public transportation, leaving tuesday morning, arriving near lake, walking a few kilometers
--option 2--> public transportation monday, sleeping somewhere (or not) , walking a few kilometers
--option 3--> rent a car tuesday morning
today is sunday: if i can't figure it out today, i'll have to work fast tomorrow ... if it's option 2, and i've got to leave tomorrow, i have to be sure i don't miss the bus -- there may only be one. i looked online, searching for towns nearby the lake, and it seems there may only be one, leaving noon or something.
ok, one more coffee then i'm off. it's beautiful outside.
i've met chris before -physically- not just online. the first time was at an opening in brooklyn. he wrote and said he was coming to nyc, and we agreed to meet. i said: how will we find each other? he said: well, i'm a short bald guy. i knew i liked him already.
the second time, he came to copenhagen and was part of our 'tent show.' we all lived in the church together, and build a huge tent city. chris and his collaborator john baca built something like an earth-missile... a wooden pyramid to be flipped and launched into the ground. he and john wore helmets for their head-first journey down.
went to the trainstation
went to the bus station
both were totally chaotic, unfriendly,.junkies shooting up. got sent to window after window after window. eventually finding help.
at the trainstation i went to info, he sent me away to another office, and then another office. i finally stuff on of my laminated maps with the green arrow on the lake into his window. he was surprised but relieved it was so simple, and looked up towns and trains for a while. 2 trains leave tomorrow. it would mean 22 hours of waiting until lunch.
at the bus station even more unfriendly. more chaotic. went to any offices, finally at the right one. tried to show the map. the man asked me to spell, which was impossible: i don't know where i'm going, and i don't know what half of the letters are. i tried to show him my maps, but i realized that he's blind. i said thanks and got into the next line. waited, and finally talked to the woman. she was great. 1 bus leaves tomorrow. 22 hours of waiting for lunch.
earlier, i would have preferred to rent a car and leave prague the morning of the lunch. finding these trains and busses was somehow exhilarating, and i want to try it - and the long walk from the station to the lake.
i suspect chris will drive, and it will be a little more interesting to arrive in totally different ways. i've been imagining his car parked as close as possible, and he walks to the lake and sees someone coming from the other direction, scrambling over the fields. that's the romantic-best-case-scenario. better than arriving, seeing a car parked, parking next to it, and seeing chris inside. it's more fun to sneak up on him.
lunch in 1 day
my friend marie once gave me an article discussing the difference between "knowing that ______" and "knowing how _______". we mostly "know that _______". i think chris and i are exploring "knowing how": to move, to find someone and someplace - physically - not just on google®, and more simply - how to get to the water; and more personally - how to be productive while in a new and changing context.
i've been carrying around a studio on my back: computer, camera, maps, knife, pens, notebook, calendar, headlamp, - power plugs, adapters, batteries, battery chargers - passport, rainjacket, long underwear, jacket, - water, hard boiled eggs
i'm afraid this project has made me a hybrid super-tourist-blogger.....it's really pushed me to a mundane but extreme of the digital/WiFi life ..... i think normally i won't even take many photos of this trip, if any at all. i would write about it, but just notes for myself. but now my camera is always out, taking double: photographs then video. video then photographs. i walk the streets looking for WiFi signs in the windows (they call it "veefee" here), and have been spending a few hours every morning 'blogging' and modifying my webpage - even though i've tried to set it up in the mostest fastest way i could. i hope it's for something..... i hope that something separates me from the bloggosphere and from the tourist-slideshowosphere.
you know that book called "the death of culture'? about how every tom, dick, and jane blogging their every thought and uploading every second of their lives is destroying thousands of years of our culture that's been painfully developed by mankind? ... i hope i'm not a nail in the coffin! - maybe i am. but i do think these forums: the internet, blogs, digital cameras, flickr, ____, can't be ignored by those in the 'culture' end of this world. there must be a place in 'art' for these things, even if it hasn't been quite carved out yet.
so now: i'll walk to the station, get on a train, and go into the czech wilderness. this will probably be my last entry until after lunch -> 25 hours and 17 minutes from when i'm writing this.
i'll transfer trains two or three times. the first transfers are just a few minutes apart. there's no room for error or confusion.
i'll arrive at about 2-something today to a town that's a few kilometers away from the lake, and then walk.
maybe to the lake,
maybe to find somewhere to sleep,
maybe just walk to pass the time.
armed with "vegetarian no meat no fish" written in czech onto my ticket.
eating breakfast at cafe, power went out. walked to trainstation. power out there too. no one seems surprised or is acting like it's abnormal. got on train, beautiful warm day.
on train #1,
in little room with two americans .... looking at their camera. i was about to ask them where they are from, the woman (who's left arm is covered entirely with tattoos) pushes the camera away: "i can't look at that now." she looks out the window and cries.
on train #2,
thinking on a different level about how to get to the lake. now that i'm on the train, the next set of practical problems seem all too clear. studying the maps.
which town to leave from?
which town to sleep in?
there's a road that goes close to the lake - then dead ends: is it someone's farmhouse at the end?
are there guns in the czech ?
can i get to the lake and not be seen?
- or should i try to make friends with the owner?
- or should i take the long way: over the fields to avoid the farms (but risk angering the farmers even more)?
i don't want to spend a lot of time standing around preparing, inflating.
on the road map it looks like there is a small woods - i could try to hide in that woods if i have to.
it is amazing here
the train is passing through tiny towns, flower filled fields, streams, little lakes, castles in the hills - their double spires poking out of the woods.
now just at breznice, just a few km away.
it's so pretty here it hurts to look at it.
got up to get off the train and saw chris - well, his back. he must have seen me. he was hiding. standing behind the door at the end of the train. but i didn't see his face---
get off the train
running around the building
compelled to find him
compelled to hide
don't ruin it!
he must have been hiding behind the door of the train,
run out around the corner, turn around back to hide around the corner
look around, see his back,
look again, he's gone
he's 30 meters, behind a tree
i'm behind a car
i still haven't seen his face
he must have seen mine on the train
he must have got on at breznice
i tried to photograph him
he hid really well
the next train comes,
only one of us can take this one, there are new rules now
chris is walking
i see him moving behind the trees -> toward smetanova lhota
is a one-car-train, a short ride to smetanova lhota. tiny town. walking, so hungry. the only little store is open only 7-11 (am-am). find an old man at an old hotel ... now it's closed (or - it has one guest room, that's taken -> by chris?). communicating with hands, gestures. no food, no bed. i show one of my laminated maps. go back to cimelice he says: food, bed - same place.
a young fellow in a fast car, driving like mad. delivers to the restaurant/bed. show the vegetarian note, devour 'risotto', potatoes, coffee. no bed (does chris have this one?). walk through town, go across street, talk to woman. bed is at restaurant. no bed there, i say. she says to go to another town. i show my map again. go to krsice.
shit, krsice is only a km or two away, but it puts me far from the lake. i get on a bus, the driver says: yes! speak excellent english!
i don't have to pay, he drops me at the door of the restaurant - with bed.
beautiful, this first week of spring.
sunburned arms, face, neck
we've seen each other, back there at the train and the station. together, we've established new rules .... chris by hiding, me by almost finding him, and then hiding too.... now we must avoid contact until we're on that lake, at noon tomorrow.
i was sure i'd see him at smetanova lhota. i looked in every passing car, and behind my back for his face. i was sure he'd be sitting at the restaurant at cimelice eating.
but now, writing from the beautiful farmhouse hotel, 5 km away, i won't see him. where is he? did he beat me to one of those guest rooms? is he camping?
the old man in smetanova lhota said there was a castle. that would be fantastic.
i'll have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and hitchhike. i'll fill up the thermos at the restaurant. it will be hard to find the lake. there are a few of them. it's really strange knowing chris is nearby - both hiding from me and looking for me, just as i am for him. maybe he's camping by the lake - by the castle. maybe my drinks should be simple for a campsite: cowboy coffee, fresh water, maybe some oj.
wake up to birds, raindrops, gray. it's cool out, hopefully it will warm up.
2 hours 15 minutes until lunch
eating cold breakfast at picnic bench at cimelice. walked here along highway. rain is worse, cold, coughing.
chris seems so tough. i keep imagining him at the lake already - maybe all last night - working on something, building a boat. i'm bringing a thermos filled with espresso and a liter of oj.
cold, wet, sitting outside the only store in smetanova lhota. went in to buy coffee and wait 30 minutes. no coffee. old men at table. empty town. 1 hour 10 minutes until lunch.
now walk to find lake.
went out into the rain again, and walked and walked and walked. the map said the road would end, and the lake should be just a bit north. the road ended by dividing in to three dirt roads at a farm. choose the rightmost one. walked
no sign of the lake.
into the woods?
check the map
the lake should be before the woods
i'm near the river - too near. should go north through the field.
mud, plants, hunting boxes on stilts.
walking forever, too long
lake always seems over the next hill
over a fence
i felt a kick in my leg. electric fence
around the fence.... -- can't go around
over the fence, where the top wire is missing
through the mud, over the crops, around the cow shit
through another hole in the fence again,
through the bushes blooming
another dirt road
did i turn off the road too soon? take to the fields too soon? i should go back.
it's getting close to noon.
follow the road... into the woods
along tractor tracks
into the woods
find an animal pen, turn left
over the moss
between the trees
the floor is so green and soft
over the hill
in the trees in the distance over the hill - lake? sky?
run through the woods
run to it, that has to be it
the other end looks deeper.
it's got to be it
walk slowly around through the reeds and the mud
hide from the rain under and old tree at the edge
what if he can't find it?
what if he doesn't come?
how long do i wait?
what if i leave?
what are the new rules?
there are shotgun shells all over the ground,
on a hill on the other side a someone is walking down
i inflated my raft in the rain. chris stripped down. we got in. him on his side, me on mine. i struggled to paddle the raft, struggled not to fall out of the back. chris struggled to keep his head and the lunch above water.
we met in the middle and had coffee, and chris chewed on a sausage.
we were so cold. chris, who was half in the water, was shivering so badly he could barely talk. i was afraid of falling out of the back of my little raft, besides, i was trapped in it: it was so small and unsteady, i was more a prisoner than a driver. with chris kicking and me struggling with the "oars", we eventually made it to the shore (after chasing his shoes around the lake first).
when we got out, we went high up into a hunter's box and shivered, soaked, cold. we ate the rest of the lunch (the cheese triangles chris had collected, soggy bread, sausage, oj, a few beers, some kind of serbian liquor, and the cold coffee i brought.) chris had arrived over an hour early, and waited in another hunter's box: watching, waiting.
when we had mustered our energy, we made the long walk back to the farmhouse/restaurant/hotel in krsice, so many kilometers away. still cold, soaked, tired, we walked over fields, dirt paths and small country roads, stopping once to take refuge from a storm in a collapsing woodmill and kiln along the traintracks. that night, we ate, drank, feasted.
the night before, chris had stayed in that hotel in cimelice, the one that told me they had no rooms. they told him the same, but he insisted. after a czech friend called for him, they allowed him to stay - in a room with twelve empty beds.
the next morning, we had a long breakfast made for us by our new friend, the cook. we walked to cimelice, took the bus to prague, and found a hostel. we spent the night walking, talking, eating, drinking, and laughing as we swapped stories about our separate adventures to the same lake.
if there's no update here, (and i'm not stranded in the czech forest, highway or at the bottom of a lake), i'll be posting here: lunchinalake.blogspot.com