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Two Idle Thoughts

Inspired by idle academic activity.


We stopped at a street performance between the Riverwalk and the French Quarter in New Orleans. They were four young to prime black men, and after the first demonstration, the MC began pulling volunteers from the watching crowd. Three lovely ladies, two rich white men, one Asian and five kids. “Now,” he said, “we are politically correct.” For the next half hour, between feats of dance and performance, the dancers ribbed the audience with every racial joke that made room for itself and they lavished over the Asian Sensation, bowing, mocking accents, looking for his camera and map, and goading him to dance to Kung-Fu Fighting. Just before the last most spectacular trick—flying over six adults—they took donations, pitting states and countries against each other for twenty, forty or a hundred dollars. New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas three times; Denmark, Serbia, Australia, Mexico and France. Finally they fleeced the rich white men, forty dollars apiece. Then, with sixty from the Asian Sensation, they asked where he was from. Laughing, he said, “Alabama.”


I walked up to a church, a church that doesn’t exist, didn’t exist, but is the church of all the churches I have ever walked up to. It is Orthodox and Catholic and Presbyterian. It is plain and ostentatious. It is abandoned and destroyed. The steeple has fallen in on the pews. You cannot get to it easily, you must fly, and then walk, the sun watching, the worn white crossed markers glinting near the ground. “Her tribulations were her glory” reads a faded slab. Fragments of painted color huddle in the shade, Mary’s robes, Jesus’ eyes. The foundations are local stone, blood red in the sun and buffed to a shine by the wind. The slats are wooden, imported, clinging to paint in the deepest grains of splintering cover. Broken shards cast jagged shadows on the muddy, scrubby, forgotten ground and the cross is gone.


It’s obviously been quite a span since I’ve posted. Taking the time to slow down and synthesize some work or reason has just been difficult to justify.

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This trip was a good day with good company and abidingly decent weather, involving only a couple of hours worth of semi-aimless wandering through residential areas. The end of the day also had the crowning achievement of the closest I have come to missing public transit without actually missing it, all for the sake of, what was in fact delicious, ice cream. Continue reading

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Dachau is a hard place to visit. I am aware that seems obvious, but it still bears saying. I didn’t make things easier on myself, because I chose to walk from the bahnhof to the Camp via the Memorial Walk, however I made a right hand turn instead of crossing the street to make the right hand turn and missed the left hand turnoff the Walk intended. This meant I followed the signs intended for cars instead of the footpath intended for people. It was an increasingly hot day and I remain baffled that I did not see a single ice cream place along the way. There were a couple of bonuses for this altered route, including two memorials I would not have seen otherwise. Continue reading

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So I might have failed to realize I hadn’t finished posting photos. My bad.

There’s distinct experiences I remember about these trips. Hot sun. One of the nastiest bathrooms I’ve ever encountered. Going downhill in hopes of not having to go uphill after; failed, by the way. Irritating children. Cold stone inside. I haven’t figured out how to divorce the sensory from the me. That is why I turn more to photos and not words.

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Schwangau means Swan Stone. There was a lot of history at this location and a lot of tourism, not hurt by the fact that it was a Friday. Be purchased the three part ticket which allowed us to go into Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for the Disney castle (and inspired by Wartburg Castle which I have also since visited); Hohenschwangau, the older castle, and the museum of Bavarian Kings. Each castle was limited by a guided tour and we were not allowed to take photos inside, though some things were worth sneaking a snap of anyway. The museum was very informative and made the three part ticket worth it. Inside Hohenschwangau in a glass case is a loaf of bread and a cup of salt, gifts from Russian diplomats to Prince Regent Luitpold for his either 80th or 90th birthday. The loaf is original, they only change the salt when it gets soggy. Anyone hungry? Continue reading