Sunday, July 29, 2007

Last chance for sentimentality

I've been in Trekroner for exactly six and a half months. Now it's just as quiet as when I first arrived, only there are leaves on the trees and slightly warmer.

It feels strange to move out, taking possessions which weren't really mine back to the shed where they had been abandoned and I had claimed them, essentially returning what was considered disowned.

One man's trash became my bed. I saw a number of homeless people in the streets of central Copenhagen yesterday. If only they knew how many beds are stacked out here (I saw two on the way home and I'll be adding mine soon).

A few hours after I put out one of my chairs, it disappeared from the shed. It's a cycle that is good for someone's budget and good for the environment.

Today is about scrubbing the place clean, stripping it of everything and making it look as uninhabited as possible.

By tomorrow morning, the room will look as if I was never here at all. There will be nothing to indicate that I lived in this place, no special mark or sign of me.

The inspector will arrive at 9am to check the condition of the room. I hope he finds no reason to deduct anything from my deposit.

Passing by the Blue Tower yesterday, I noticed the names on the postboxes of fellow students who have left. I took photos of them, well aware that in a few weeks, these names will be overwritten with new ones.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Where have you been?

In the past half year, I've been lucky enough to cover most of Western Europe, five countries in the past six weeks alone. Funny that I practically skipped Scandinavia.

There's still two-thirds of Europe and Asia, and the entire African and South American continents to set foot on. I'll take my time.

Don't forget to drop by here again on August 1st!

Create your own visited countries map

Monday, July 16, 2007

I'm still here!

Just wanted to say that I'm alive, wandering the streets of Europe this summer. For clues where I have been, check out my Flickr photos, which I am updating little by little. The stories will have to wait until August.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Paalam! Farvel!

A little photo shoot with the girls. Probably the last time I'll ever see them, as we are all going our separate ways, moving out of Denmark back to our countries (with the exception of me?).

The international students who volunteered for RF met up at Gimle for the last time. Over barbecued hotdogs and sausages, we talked and talked and talked some more.

I'm keeping the wristband on until it unhinges itself from my arm. Either that or the end of the year, whichever comes first.

I am on blog break until I'm not sure when. July was and will continue to be extremely busy, so do drop by in August, or better yet,subscribe to the blog (see sidebar) or include my feed in your blog aggregator so that you'll be updated the next time I post.

Kitit's jazzy birthday

Monday was Kitit's birthday. We had a belly-bursting lunch with Mariel at Samos, then hopped over to three venues for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.

At Frederiksberg Have near the Rundel, we sat on the grass and listened to the melodious soothing voice of Sidsel Storm and the trio of musicians who make up her Kvartet.

We took a walk around the Garden, passing by the Palace and the Zoo. We took the 6A bus straight to Vor Frue Kirke Plads in the center of the city, where Delirium was playing almost deliriously. The band would turn standards into instrumental variations.

Nearby, at Højbro Plads, sharp seniors Stevedore Stompers regaled an equally advanced in age crowd. I was bobbing to the beat, but the audience was totally calm. Maybe I still have the festival spirit in me.

Lessons from Roskilde Festival

A couple of things I noted from the festival:


Applies to Denmark in general. Drink cans, and plastic and glass bottles can be returned for a 1 kr (~P8.40) refund. To them it's not a lot, but at a festival where you can get thousands of these, you could make a fortune out of collecting trash. There are several children and adults at the festival doing just that, making up for the steep 1475 kr (~P12,425) entrance ticket. If you're feeling generous, there were 700 refund collectors to give the empty cups to, and the proceeds would reach poor farmers in Malawi. The white cups in the photo aren't refundable, though, but these are handed out by crowd safety to the audience. Preventing dehydration, I guess.

Crowd safety

After tragedy struck at the Pearl Jam concert at the Orange stage in 2000, killing nine people, RF has been very serious about crowd safety. They devised a double barrier pit system that minimizes the possibility of the crowd rushing to the front and trampling audience members. The metal barriers guarded by the crowd safety staff are pretty high and even if you could climb over them, you would be caught before you can jump over both fences. It's a good preventive measure.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Not scared to admit it

Christa Couture: "Scared, Too"-like everyone else. Aren't you? Is it just me who's in the mood for a tear or two?

[via HeroBlog]

Roskilde Festival Day 4

Rule Britannia! The English ruled Orange stage on the last glorious day of the festival. It was sunny--the perfect contrast to the damp beginning of the festival.

The Arctic Monkeys played the perfect tunes for a bright, dusty day. The lads looked fresh, as Alex described them." Are you having fun? Of course you are. Splendid." The music was so clear

I must have been hiding under quite a large rock because Muse was not familiar to me. For some reason, I had not heard of them in the Philippines. But yesterday, listening to them, it surprised me that I actually knew their songs. Now I'm a convert. Frontman Matthew Bellamy doesn't look 29 at all. Fun fun fun: the giant white balloons that were rolled out from the stage to the audience.

Capping the night (for me at least) were Basement Jaxx, who made me dance and not feel silly though I was alone. Wearing the tackiest of dance band costumes, the vocalists kept changing outfits as if they were in a dressing room. Too bad I had to do a Cinderella (the last train was at 00.13), but I saw the fireworks from Entrance East, a terrific dot to end the week.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Six hours, four acts

The granddaddies are alright. Rock icons The Who took to the stage delivering great live classics, as they always do. Mic-throwing Roger Daltrey credited the rain to the crackle in his voice. Pete Townshend's quotable quote: "In India, they say rain is a blessing from God. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that God in northern Europe has a strange sense of humor."

I didn't know that "Behind Blue Eyes" was originally theirs. My favorite song was "Who Are You" set against a video backdrop of train tracks.

I had never heard of 120 Days before, but man, this Norwegian band has some great hybrid stuff going on. Electronic rock that has to be seen to be believed. Angry and danceable: a potent, crazy combination.

All-male Romanian group Fanfare Ciocarlia looked out of place at Astoria, but the crowd wanted to dance and they got it. Gypsy music with wind instruments and drums, at times Jewish and Latin to my ears. Great build-up, with a lot of suspense.

At 1am, it was time for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis looked drugged out, so his bandmates took the chance to shine by showing off their mastery of their instruments. I got sleepy, though, but there was no way to slip through the crowd. We stood in front of an area without people because the mud was deep and sticky. I thought things were going to get better, but a few minutes of rain made the mud more like quicksand.

I had two pairs of socks, leggings under my jeans, a zip-up cardigan over my tee and a shawl on. But it was a cold summer night and I have to thank Mike for lending me his fleece sweater and Irene for her scarf or else I would have risked hypothermia.

The last shift!

My third shift was from 7am to 3pm this morning. First went around K1 with Sebastian who makes me think of a young Michael Ball. The rest of the time, I was watching over holes in the fence with Søren.

We also distributed garbage bags in the "beer for trash" drive sponsored by Tuborg. (As you can see, maintaining cleanliness is a challenge.)It didn't look like it would work at first because people were hungover and had just gotten up (this was around noon), but it turned out to be quite successful, though probably not as successful as metroeXpress, which distributed each of its free papers with a bottle of beer.

Day 2: US-UK-SE-DK

Cloudy day with a few moments of sun. The woodchips and hay spread on certain parts of the festival grounds helped make the mud more bearable.

Caught My Chemical Romance at Arena, then the youthful Beastie Boys at Orange. CSS made me happy at Odean and Trentemøller proved that even rockers need electronica. Passed by The Queens of the Stone Age on the way back to camp for an early rest in preparation for an early Saturday start.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Soggy at sunset + report rap

[updated 2:20] While I'm at it, might as well share this. You might not understand, but you'll get it. The weather report rap:

Looking up RF bloggers. I'm not the only with rain and mud issues. It supposedly rained more yesterday than it does in a month. That explains a lot.

Also, RF is as laidback as they say. Bags are not searched and the most they say about drugs is "think please". Hmmm.

I was looking through RF pics in Flickr when I found this photo by Tpape.
This was taken the other day, so it's probably much worse now. Mud is heartbreakingly beautiful...when you don't have to step into it. Psyching myself up to go back there in a little while. Agh!

Legends at the festival

This is about as much as I can put without infringing on anyone's copyright. Longer clip available on request.

Three legends of Roskilde: the rain, John Legend and Björk.

It rained nonstop yesterday. What a way to start the music. It seemed that the 210 bus was not coming, so I walked down Køgevej. But then it did come 20 minutes later. And for the first time, there's traffic in Roskilde!

On the way to the tent, I discovered that there was a hole in my left boot. Good thing I had duct tape. I caught the last part of the Arcade Fire set at Arena, standing at the fringe, wishing I were taller. Waited an hour for John Legend and had a good spot in the pit. The man is talented, sexy and confident.

Instead of going directly to Orange, where Björk was about to play at 2200, I got myself a frikadellerburger (expensive). Björk is legendary, but not always for her music (her swan Oscar dress, for example). Her version of "It's Oh So Quiet" remains one of my favorites vids. Since I had seen videos of Björk promoting her Volta album, the sight of her in spandex and her colorful girl band was not new to me. I like her voice - it's so pure - but half the time I was thinking whether it was worth standing in the rain, wind and mud with thousands of people.

Set off to check out the other stages, only to find that my other boot had holes as well (so much for cheap) while wading in muddy rainwater. Irritated (the sound of Mastodon playing from a distance fit my mood perfectly), I decided to go home instead of waking up to squishy boots. There were many people waiting for the bus, so I walked back to the station. I'm sure I'm not the only one with wet feet.

The klippekort machines don't work, the train was packed. Ah, festival life.

News from the official RF site as of today:
Facts about the weather at Roskilde Festival

61yo volunteer DOA at Roskilde Hospital
Various Production and Mustasch replace Mika and Cold War Kids

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Dance if you want to

It's a free country. At 1700 hrs yesterday, they came to Agora K in costume, ready with their music. I remember Hanna saying white tights should be banned.

Shift #2

The first two hours of the shift yesterday went by really quickly. Fireguard on K1 (the muddiest area) with Mikkel, then toilet shift. No, I didn't have to clean the toilet, just put toilet paper in the boxes in the portalets. It was better than I thought. But then, halfway through the shift, it started to rain and it became quite disgusting, ankle deep in mud, going from toilet to toilet. Quite a number of girls have resorted to peeing on the grass. It's that bad.

After I had had enough of toilets (around 9pm, when we saw Jörg, who took this pic), I collected litter with Jade. Though we had those tools to pick up the trash with, it was still pretty messy because the ground was wet and most of the things we picked up were dripping.

A drunk guy approached us. I didn't quite get whether he was asking if we like dance or Danes, but he made some funny move, so we got it: he meant dance. "You like garbage?" We didn't answer. "So I will dance alone?" Sorry, man, but we do prefer garbage over you.

An even more drunk (more likely drugged) guy talked to us about how beautiful the red sky was (it really was). We didn't respond. "You can't say anything because it's that beautiful." True. "I'm having trouble with this beer case," he said, referring to the empty box for beer cans that he was kicking around. Then one of his mates came around and took him away.

I meant to stay the night at camp, but I felt too dirty after having entered 20-something toilets, so I went back to Trekroner on the overpriced festival bus (20kr) to the station.

Spotted on a tent: I wish my lawn were emo so that it could cut itself
Spotted on a shirt: I'm not as think as you drunk I am

Pinoys getting wiki with it

Wikipiniana is starting out strong with over 20,000 articles in English about the Philippines.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

They who waited in line + Act fair - trade fair

Off to my second shift!

If you can't get enough of Roskilde Festival, here's a video from the official site taken the night before the gates were opened, rather, broken down.

RF's humanitarian focus. Encouraging festivalgoers to donate their bottle and can refunds.

Backtrack: The Brussels video

Highlights of last week's trip. I had problems with Movie Maker and Avid Free DV, so I used Jumpcut to put this together. Found the online editor extemely easy to use.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

First shift at Roskilde Festival

Took this before 8am, which explains why it's so quiet.

Our camp, Camping K, is at the very mouth of Entrance East; our agora hosts the Speakers Corner (festival map here). It's not a big area, so it's quite manageable for a team of 14. Our shift leader was Ricko, who makes me think of a bemoustasched Alex Band crossed with David Spade. There were about four or five Chinese girls on the shift, a few other internationals and then, of course, Danes, who are the only ones who can communicate by radio for obvious reasons.

For the most part, I walked around with my shift partner Mikkel, checking for fire. It was uneventful, so we just counted the number of rounds we were making and guessed how many we would make until we switch assignments with the other pairs. An hour into the shift, it started to rain. I had wet jeans the rest of the night.

A note on attire: it is perfectly acceptable to wear a garbage bag. Nearly everybody was in rubber boots. I bought the cheapest rain gear I could find: plastic poncho from Tiger (20kr) and rubber boots from Føtex (50kr). The boots were three sizes too large for me, which was ok because I have thick socks. The problem is that the boots are not high enough (those in the photo are Morgane's), so I can't put my jeans inside them and the top of the boots scratched my legs. Now I have wounds on my calves.

Also picked up litter with a couple of Chinese girls for an hour or so, then on the last hour of the shift, was fire guard again. When it was nearly 2300 hours, we went set to turnover our orange vests at the tower when we were told that somebody was lighting a fire in our area. We went over to the tent to tell the occupants to put out the flame. After a few paces, they were at it again, so we went back and Mikkel told them again to stop it.

During those eight hours, I must have seen more than a hundred guys peeing by the fence (one even took a leak in front of his tent, eww). Encounters with drunk people: someone turning us away when we were cleaning the path beside their camp, a girl who hugged us because we are helping in the festival, and a couple of guys who twirled me around while they danced to the music on their radio.

Maybe tomorrow will be the same, just muddier and dirtier.

EYMD videos online

Having trouble with my videos, so this should be enough.

Opening event stream-has a 7-minute delay

Monday, July 2, 2007

From one institution to another

After the parliament, it's time to move on to an institution when it comes to music. With 75,000 guests expected this year, Roskilde Festival is one of the largest in Europe, and the second largest rock music festival after Glastonbury. Since I'm not a particularly big fan of any of the bands, I'm drawn to the bigger names. Band list here.

This time of the year, the population of Roskilde doubles and the quiet little city plays host to many music fans. When I went into town on Saturday, groups of young people were congregating near the trains station, eager to spend the night out in the cold for the chance to be one of the first to put up tents at the campsites which I heard were mobbed. Barriers fell and the guests came in well before the 8am Sunday set-up.

What's interesting about the festival is that all proceeds go to charity. Every year there is a different humanitarian focus. This year, it's fair trade.

Several international students (at least those that stayed here) volunteered through Gimle for three shifts of eight hours each. I got my shifts and I think it's manageable. No, actually it's perfect. For one week, 20,000 of us volunteers will also be eating, sleeping, working and showering wearing our Roskilde Festival '07 wristbands.

My shift starts today at 1500. Wish me luck!

Europeans look at Europeans

100 international clichés in comic strips exhibition at the Centre Belge de Bande Dessinée in Brussels.

A Pinay at the Parliament

Created with Paul's flickrSLiDR.

No, I do not claim to be European. But I was given the chance to join hundreds of young European journalists and for that, I am very grateful.

I must confess that I am not well-versed in European issues. Before coming to the European Parliament, I didn't even know what MEP stood for (sorry!).

Congratulations to the organizing team headed by Maximilian Kall (the German Ashton Kutcher--just kidding!) and Christoph Fahle (the German... I have to think about this). You guys should be proud of yourselves for making all the pieces fit nicely.

While there is no such thing as a perfect event (did you hear about the encounter with the police and the intriguing incident involving one participant who was sent home for, to put it mildly, misconduct?), it was a good start.

Creating media in 24 hours is ambitious, but we were able to produce output in the nick of time. I did get sad that my article did not see print. Not sure if it's because the layout was late or the printer could not run all the pages. I'm still proud of what we did. :)

Thank you to everyone who made me feel less of an outsider. Hope to hear from or about you, and watch, listen to or read your work soon!

24 hours in Brussels

Created with Paul's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Meet my new digicam

Saying goodbye to Antonio and Anaïs, who are leaving for Italy and France soon, and camwhoring in the bathroom mirror with my "new" Ixus 800 IS yesterday. (All on the same day--I can look quite different).

The main reason why I chose this camera is because when my brother and I had a contest last Christmas, the image stabilization made his night shots sharper than mine. I conceded defeat and became obsessed with getting a better camera. I also thought that I could use my old batteries, but I was mistaken. Anyone care to trade an NB-4L for an NB-5L?

So in the end, I didn't settle for something cheaper, but I'm very satisfied.

Sorry about the Brussels post delay. I need more time!

Schmap worldwide travel guides

Searching for travel advice online isn't difficult--with a multitude of sites dedicated specifically to travel, you'd think you've got everything covered. But Schmap travel guides takes things a bit further by showing you where exactly things are on an interactive map. If that's not enough, Schmap 2.0 allows you to download and print custom guides, and take virtual tours. Luckily, all the places I'm going to this month are there.

Disclosure: one of my Flickr shots of Bengal Cuisine was chosen for the London guide. No renumeration other than the photo credit.