March 18, 2008

6 hours remain in this marathon day that started at 7:30 AM. Sleeping in a former squat that houses 14 people made for uncomfortable surroundings. Throw in a drunken 20 year old kid (who missed the last train) whom fell into the good graces of SUNDOWNER crashed out 4 feet from me and you have the comfort that is Mike Park's life. Ahhhhhh... the wonders of 1st class travel. But I wouldn't have it any other way. How else can you experience the many pleasantries the world has to offer. I perhaps managed 4 hrs of sleep and now I sit next to SUNDOWNER on UNITED AIRLINES flt 927 towards the golden shores CA-LI-FOR-NI-AAAA..

Our personal tv screens are broken. Out of the 9 channels that are offered, we are getting two. Fortunately one of them is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. That made the first 2 hrs fly by, but now I'm concerned for my mental state as I've run out of things to do. SUNDOWNER of course is reading, but what does an oversized kid do for 6 more hours. ARGGHHH.. Actually 6 hrs and 40 minutes according to the MAP channel. So make that 3 channels that work.

Back at the squat... we'd see random people through the night as we traveled back and forth to the bathroom. This morning, I saw a man that looked to be around 50 years old, overweight, long beard and yup.. I said GOOD MORNING, but he did not answer. I wanted so badly to take a shower, but had no towel and there were no shower curtains. And the door didn't lock, but I pushed forward. I grabbed the best smelling towel I could find and just went for it. The quickest shower ever. 2 minutes maybe and I was out of there. Even worse, SUNDOWNER used the same towel after me. YIKES!!

HIRO took off at around 6:30 AM. He said goodbye, but it was a blur. He was trying to get reservations on the 8 AM train that would put him in NICE, FRANCE at 11:30 PM. If not, he was going to have to go to PARIS and then wait 5 hours and then take a sleeper train and arrive there in the morning. Wonder where he's at? As for SUNDOWNER and myself...well, we just went ahead and got going early even though our plane wouldn't be leaving til' 1:50 PM. At 9:20 AM we were on the SUBWAY towards TEGEL AIRPORT in BERLIN. One transfer on a bus and we were at our location 3 hrs and 50 minutes before take off. Unfortunately the BERLIN airport doesn't have much to offer in terms of entertainment. We walked the circumference multiple times, a coffee at STARBUCKS, bought snacks at the convenience store, and 4 EUROS for 12 minutes of internet access. Ahhhh... such fun. I'm gonna try and take a nap.. I'll check back later.

It's now 12:26 AM. We still have 4 hrs and 40 minutes left. My three channels on the tv are reduced to zero. For some reason I only have audio now. But I did get a voucher from the airline that allows me to get some kind of gift online. I'm thinking clock radio folks. What do you think? I've been able to sleep not one second. SUNDOWNER is out. Lucky him. I gaze around and see many folks fast asleep or enjoying a movie. I'm struggling to keep occupied. Even writing is a chore. I'm hungry too. I so badly want to be home. We arrive at around 9:06 PM PST and I'm guessing after customs/immigration I'll be at my mom's house by 11 PM eating Korean food. Oh how I wish I could make the plane go faster. Let me fly.. Let me!

And how I miss my daughter. Seeing the multiple babies on board brings a sharp ache to my heart. When I see her on Saturday I will kiss her 100 times.

Okay, it's now 2:28 AM. Still, no sleep whatsoever. My feet are killing me. Strange feeling that I've never felt before. Feels like some kind of circulation problem, but I've been getting up every hour or so and walking around. I've eaten 9 of the mini toblerone chocolates they give out for a snack. Maybe that's why my legs hurt. 2.5 more hours left on this flight. Yes, I feel like I'm losing my mind. Oh the fun.

Maybe I'll try talking to SUNDOWNER to pass the time.

Ok, I'm back. It's now 3:45 AM and still 1 hr and 15 minutes remain. I'm out of my mind now. No sleep, but I'm exhausted. I'll write about the show last night. Here goes:
Vic Ruggierio from the SLACKERS was added to our show last night. I've seen him play solo before and he's amazing. He was even ok with going on last. Man, this guy is so NYC. His accent is thick and he just breathes NYC. He had recorded last year with a group of ROMANIAN musicians who now live in BERLIN, so about 6 dudes were milling about back stage eating our food and drinking our drinks. I didn't mind to be honest. I wasn't hungry and the beer needed to be drunk by someone other than SUNDOWNER, so no problem. It's just that these dudes were so rude. The only way backstage is through the stage and they were constantly going back and forth during my set and SUNDOWNER'S set. And they were just talking so loud while I was playing. It really was upsetting, but I didn't let that bother me. No problem. Cultural differences perhaps?

But our tiny back stage which was supposed to be just for SUNDOWNER, VIC, and I turned into ROMANIAN HOLIDAY INN. They took over the space, ate the food, and then started lighting up cigarettes. My safe haven from smoke was gone and that's when I had to stand up and say "NO SMOKING". The manager of this troupe of horn players relayed the message and then one dude gave me a dirty look. Well, that was that. I hulked out YELLING this time "#@(*&#$(@*&@#*(&$#@(*&#@(*#@(*#@$(@" and yes those are bad words being spoken). The night was ruined for me. I never left the backstage area. Didn't watch one note played by VIC and never made it out in the crowd to talk to people who came to see me play. I finally found the promoter of the show and had him show me to the room we'd be sleeping in. At this point it was around 12:30 AM and VIC was still playing. He had started at around 11:08 PM, so I thought man he's gotta be ending soon. But as I lay on my back trying to sleep, I could still hear Vic playing. It was past 1 AM and then 1:15, 1:20, 1:30, 1:50, and then finally the music stopped at 2 AM. He just played for nearly 3 hrs. Holy moly. Sundowner and I played 45 minutes each and we were worried we played too long. Unbelieve-ABLE.

But a good show nonetheless. Ok, less than an hour now and we'll be on the ground. Be well.
Peace, mike park