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Monday, January 16, 2012

Writing Game 5 - Travel Writing

List of ingredients:

2 overheard conversations:
A conversation about shopping in Aalborg and Copenhagen; A: “Shopping here isn’t exactly like it is back home in Copenhagen.” B: “That would be exaggerating a bit.”

A conversation about smoothies; A: “I love smoothies!” B: “Yeah, I could use one right now.”

3 species of birds: pigeon, ostrich, chicken

2 brand names for food: Knorr, Uncle Ben’s

Text from 6 signs:
- “Slow! Children at play.”
- “EXIT”
- “We serve good food.”
- “STOP”
- “No smoking”

The name of a planet or a star: Saturn

The name of a lipstick: Elysambre

1 time of a day: 14:57

The title of a book of fiction: A Song of Ice and Fire – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The title of a painting: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch

The name of a dead politician: Abraham Lincoln

2 types of onion and one type of potato: garlic, shallots, and red skin potatoes

3 items from a hardware store: power drill, blender, oven

A make of gun: Colt

Something a child might say: “I want ice cream!”

Not What It Seemed

At first, the “STOP”-sign really could have seemed to be a warning, and as the cab turned around the corner this was only underpinned by the second sign, covered in pigeon droppings, to meet our eyes which told us to “KEEP OUT!” As open-minded backpackers we didn’t really pay much heed to it, although the silence among us suggested that this wasn’t what we had expected. I guess this charmless facade surprised us. There were more chicken on the streets than people. The gaps in the pavement might as well have spelled “DANGER!” and looked like someone had randomly molested them with a huge power drill.
The cab driver seemed to feel the same discontent as he speeded past an empty playground, ignoring the “Slow! Children at play!”-sign in a hurry to drop us off. Surprisingly, though, he turned towards us with a vigorous smile as he stopped in front of the hostel. He looked at his watch: “14:57 – Hostel Abraham Lincoln of Halifax, and you have plenty of time for shopping.” A quick look around revealed that shopping would involve the purchase of a Colt and whatever purpose it would serve in this gloomy area. We paid the driver and trudged towards the entrance door. “So, does anyone wanna go shopping?” I asked my friends with a touch of irony. “Sure, we can hunt down our own prey; I could eat an ostrich right now.” I wasn’t the only one noticing the gun store. Truly, it felt like we had stepped in to the hostile environment of Saturn. “Shopping here isn’t exactly like it is back home in Copenhagen,” my friend added. “That would be exaggerating a bit,” my other friend approved.

But then everything changed as we entered the hostel and the smell of garlic, bread in the oven, and exotic seasoning ascended our nostrils. Further addressing our appetites we were welcomed in the hallway by a sign which assured that “We serve good food.” We stepped into the reception and were welcomed with the smile of a gypsy-looking lady who couldn’t exactly be accused of cutting back on the Elysambre. “Hey! Welcome!” She burst out happily as she rolled out a lump of dough on the table beneath the counter. A very unusual sight in a hostel reception, but as we glanced around, we noticed that the entire room was one big mess of colorful decoration and old furniture that provided the room with a very cosy and homely atmosphere. In the midst of everything, the terror of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” failed to annihilate the positive vibes and instead afforded an ironic imitation of our baffled faces. It really surprised me that this hippie-shack allowed “No smoking.”
“You booked a room?” The lady asked while stuffing fruit into a blender. We did. “You can drop your luggage over there.” I quickly occupied a huge, comfortable chair in the corner with my backpack, thinking that I would spend the evening here with “A Song of Ice and Fire” before continuing our journey in the morning. “Care for a smoothie? On the house,” the lady asked. My friend quickly replied “I love smoothies!” Whereas my other friend added: “Yeah, I could use one right now.” Free smoothies, a lovely hostess, and a menu spelling: “fried chicken, red skin potatoes, and homemade red wine sauce with hand-picked shallots.” Knorr and Uncle Ben’s would remain comfortably packed for the moment, and I remember thinking that the huge “EXIT”-sign above the door certainly didn’t seem alluring at the time.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how this piece really reads like travel writing, and that the ingredients (while not disguised very well) seem almost completely natural to the environment. I guess it's the outside/inside opposition of the street environment and the comfort of the hostel that makes it work so well.


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