About the landing preparations

I dreamt about the San Francisco.
It looked more like New York city encompassed with the dense Hong Kong mist.
It looked like some place that San Francisco is not, but I knew it is,
I tried to take my mother and a dog out to walk a bit around the golden gate, she said no.

Why can’t we go and walk a bit around the golden gate bridge
Why can’t we

My mother was busy, so was my father. Busy was my sister, my cousins, grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends from school, university, kindergarden, the friends I missed and loved.
My dog wasn’t my dog. He looked different, bigger and more polished, and not like my dog at all really.

Come, let’s go see a world, we’re in San Francisco! We are not here forever. We’re only here for a while. How can you know we will not be in a whole new place by tomorrow.

Let’s
go
and
see

But everybody was too busy.

So I took a metro a couple of blocks away from our San Francisco house, the one looking just like in the Mrs. Doubtfire and went to the Golden Gate park. I sat by the river and looked at the tones of red lines and cables, rapid waters of the blue river. There was nobody else just me and the dog that didn’t remind my dog in any way, the endless lines and splots and contextures, the red of it, the metallic.

The intimidating beauty, and the power, and the time, the cold wind smacking my face, tearing my hair, pulling it, ugly, the face of the dog I didn’t know, faithfully smiling to mine

And so I cried

I cried because I have never felt more lonely in my life. I cried because it was me and the powerful intimidating beauty surrounding me from every angle while everybody else was gone. How powerful the world felt by just surrounding me, the world created and remained, forgotten and dismissed.

Everybody else was too busy.
People got to work you know

I dreaded whether they would see what I saw? How I could I know they wouldn’t say

SAN FRANCISCO IS FOR JUNKIES.
YOU NEED MONEY
MONEY IS IMPORTANT
YOU WILL MISS THE MONEY
IT BUYS YOU A BIGGER HOUSE
YOU NEED TO PAY MONEY TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO NEED MORE MONEY TO BUY A BIGGER HOUSE
YOU NEED MORE MONEY
YOU NEED MORE MONEY
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK

But I just sat there. I sat on the grass, green minty grass and I felt what I saw with every bit of my soul like I looked at it through a little piece of a pink glass.

*

Two years ago on the sunny friday morning of October I launched the Apollo 13 from the small ugly Warsaw airport. I waved to my family and friends and the love of my life, I pulled the blue pulsating heart out of my bleeding chest, put it inside the big metal, flying Apollo, and launched it. Since I have done it, two years, seven hundred thirty nights and days of comparable length has passed on the planet earth, the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System’s four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to accommodate life. My mum, dad, sister, grandma, grandad, aunties and uncles went to bed around seven hundred thirty times and saw around seven hundred thirty sundowns.
I feel like all these days I have been in a different galaxy. I escaped time as I knew it.

I left earth in Sydney on Friday night and I saw it again, twenty hours later, in Dubai on Saturday early morning, just to leave it again with a repacked suitcase to see it again in London
I like going west, because it makes your day last forever. If you drink coke and coffee you can do with it anything you want.
You can get a little cute wrinkle throughout the day.

Can a fly live the day longer than me?
Does it make me the ambassador of the inequality of days and nights?

I’m so lonely
but that’s okay
I shaved my head
and I’m not sad

Some of my beloved friends has fell in love throughout these seven hundred thirty days. I am so happy for them. Some has changed their style and career, moved to another city, broke up with their boyfriends, got a big pretty tattoo, some stopped smoking and finished universities.
I just fly and fly, just ride you know,
keep on rolling like there’s no tomorrow
jump from one island to another, oh what the world is but islands, making passionate love to the Empire State Building in the May sun, in December nights.

I cried when it started raining in Coventry and I couldn’t explain why. I think I cried because it was so beautiful. It sounded so pretty, like little twinkles on the window sill. It felt so clear, so simple and normal, it felt like my soul has been taking a little shower, so I sat down, with my face wet in raindrops and cried.

I saw a grizzly bear. He has been eating a plant on the side of Canadian Highway number one, the longest Highway in Canada. He could kill you with a paw, but he ate the little green plants.
It was beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes away.

Why do we underestimate the world so badly? Why do we let the system close us in the box, why do we let it make us breath the fake filtrated air and make quick unpassionate love to the computer screens.

It’s beautiful.
It’s wild.

That girl said i want to be like you
And who is that?
Red hat?
Glamorous lifestyle, the big glass doors of the beautiful hotels
London New York Paris oh baby
Tones of make up, red lips, sad eyes

That made me sad.
Can’t you see that’s everything I am not?

I worry my Apollo 13 will crush when touching down. I worry the atmosphere will torn it apart into million pieces, breaking my heart, turning it into something ugly.
I worry I will come back to all the busy people who couldn’t go to the Golden Gate park that day with my arms opened and it will not change a thing. I worry I will leave you, Empire State, to hear no sorry, go by yourself

That go by yourself I dread the most

And so I went

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/du-buy/ (continued)

This place has many more colors and faces than you see in the television news.
There is some history of Dubai, it’s a bit forgotten and doesn’t really have much to do with the city we see today. It probably won’t last for long neither.
As most of the places around the world origin from their history, and most of people are proud of it, build the monuments and write books to keep it alive, Dubai cuts off from it roots. It builds the biggest world towers, creating a completely new identity, leaving its origin in the forgotten parts of the city which are rarely visited by the tourists tempted by the biggest world shopping malls.
For me the history of this place are these tired faces and the smell of the spices.
These are not the things that last forever though.






Dubai /do-buy/

I live in Dubai.
I’m having three days off, what recently hardly ever happens, so I really feel like I do l i v e here.
“Here” probably means million different things to different people. To many, it probably doesn’t mean anything too, as Dubai is quite a mysterious place. I’m trying my best at exploring it, so I knew at least a bit about where do I live, but I suppose that my point of view, the one of a girl who serves chicken and beef, is probably quite a limited one.
You know, I just serve chicken and beef and, o my Lord, sometimes I do run out of chicken. Than I just serve beef trying to convince people that it’s not really my fault and that hating me won’t get us anymore chicken. And hey, it’s not easy. It’s not a good feeling to be in the plane full of people who hate you, so I work hard.

They say Dubai is a place of the most amazing experiences, of perfect holidays, they say it’s a Gulf’s hub for sex, alcohol, it’s were girls will go with you for money, where people do more.

Let’s start from how you see Dubai. Probably you’ve never been there, nor really thought about coming here. Maybe once you saw tickets on some website, and the idea came to you head, so you put “Dubai” in google and you felt amazed for a while. Maybe some of your friends have been there for their honey moon, or you saw it on some “fashion tv” program, or in some fancy advert.
This is the thing about Dubai: it is w e l l advertised. I’m not judging whether it’s true or not true what these adverts say, but let’s face it: you’re not going to read about Dubai in some bad taste magazine, you’re not going to come here for some cheap holidays.
Dubai is about money, and not a small one. “Do, buy” that’s how some call it. Dubai is being represented as an exclusive product, as a dress from a very fancy shop. You could go for a shopping anywhere, but why not to go for a shopping to the biggest shopping mall? You can go to the Eiffle Tower, but why not to go on the biggest tower on the world? That kind of thing.
People say it has no soul.
The thing is, doesn’t matter how much money you have, you just can’t build Burji Khalifa like that, it’s just not that simple. There’s money here, right, but money didn’t build anything by itself. Who did, is poor Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian workers. And believe me, they didn’t build any villas with the salaries they got.

Once I got a bit drunk with a crew. I was chatting with the first officer. I ask him where is he from, he says “Dubai”. He had a bit of an Australian accent, and I couldn’t really figure out what kind of nationality does he look like, so I just give him a look, “come on, don’t bullshit me, you’re not from Dubai”. He asks why.
Well, nobody’s from Dubai, that’s why. Poor boy was trying to convince me he actually is from there for some 20 minutes, getting a bit frustrated I guess, and I only believed him once he showed me his passport.
What am I trying to say is, n o b o d y is from Dubai. You don’t just meet these people on the friend’s party. They are somewhere, but when you ask somebody where, nobody knows.
How does this refer to Dubai as a city? Well, what I believe is, the culture of the place is mostly based in its citizens. You can’t really find an identity of the city, which is basically a transit place.
Is it anybody’s fault?
Not really.
Am I able to say I like Dubai?
Not really neither.

The First Officer I told you about, he went to school in Australia for a few years in the 90’s. Once he came back he was a stranger in his own city: he didn’t know where to go for a dinner or where do people party. The buildings just grew out of the sand and suddenly you lost the horizon’s line out of sight.
This is why you just can’t be from Dubai. Dubai we watch today in the fancy catalog is nothing like Dubai that was there 20 years ago. There’s no a right one and a fake one. It’s a strange thing, especially for us Europeans, who are so used to all these medieval dates engraved on churches and old houses, but it is how it is.

Who is there? Who is working in the biggest world shopping mall, and who build it? Who is carrying me to work and back and who is driving this city? People who miss their families. Tired people I see in the newest technology city’s metro. They are from Philippines, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Some of them managed to come here from Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Sri Lanka. There’s a long queue in front of the visa issuing building. This queue goes a way out, people sit on the sand waiting for their turn, the day is unbearably hot.

There are special schools providing the courses of keeping a hotel room in Philippines. I suppose in many different places too. Some girls will go there and learn, they are going to move to Dubai, the city of dreams. Their babies and husbands are back home, and while it was such a hard personal decision for the most of them, feeling sad about it here feels almost inappropriate: it’s common. It’s a thing they will chat with colleagues during the lunch break, all of them have a similar story to tell. What sounds to you like a romantic drama is a reality here. You hear it more often than a story of a happy family living in Dubai and buying a dog. There’s no dogs in Dubai: nobody buys a dog in a place he’s not planning to settle down.

I met this taxi driver, he tells me his wife and two babies are back in Sudan. He haven’t seen them for two years, but he couldn’t find a job back home and he’s happy he can send them money every month now. There’s no drama in his voice. We could be talking about what did he have for breakfast as well.

I’m not trying to criticize Dubai, but I’m trying to say that it’s not necessary what you think it is. These magazines and photos are not lying: it is an impressive, surreal place. But they don’t show the faces I see in the metro, don’t tell stories of the taxi drivers and shop assistants. This is not the matter of blaming anybody. Is it Dubai’s fault that we miss our countries?
Not really.
And I miss mine too