E-Travels With E.Trules.....two tall fish tales, Stockholm...Scandinavia, Borneo, Malaysia, Travelogue

« erik, the doubting dane »

end of june, 2001

hillerod, denmark

kronborg ("hamlet's") castle

"to be -- or not to be…?"

never mind.

what i really want to talk about is…

…how travel is a spiritual quest - how it makes you so - small - relatively speaking - measured over the course of time - and - simultaneously large - part of the entire history and culture of the world - part of all humans who came before you. i mean, traveling makes you have to contemplate - if your eyes and ears are open -- and you´re at all attentive, curious & alive -- both the pettiness and grandness of mankind. the meaninglessness and impressive-ness of human folly, accomplishment… endeavor - over the molting, lurching and unfolding millennium. it makes you realize that these centuries and centuries of western civilization that we so mindlessly studied (sadly, in america, to the exclusion of the histories of eastern civilization) – well, they actually do mean something. that is, if you want to understand, learn about, compare - periods of architecture, style, music, art, politics, fashion, literature, cuisine, dance, folklore, theater, war. take, for example, the sub-history of european royalty – how magnanimous and insane lines of kings and queens intermarried, had death-sentencing extra-marital affairs, slaughtered & incarcerated each other, not to mention their guileless and powerless subjects – ad infinitum. and how their god-defying willfulness and narcissistic bodily desire effected national alliances, the course of history, the spread of one culture into another, the intermixing of races, the development of languages, cultures. french kings, spanish princesses. romans, tudors, normans, vikings. portuguese, dutch, danish, russian. one inter-breeding kingdom, one congenitally-impaired empire… after another.

i mean, if you're interested--

then sitting in front of the fredericksbourg castle in hillerod, denmark - on your way to the infamous kronborg castle in helsingor, 'ol willie shakespeare's model for elsinore, dane hamlet's princely prison, then sitting here -- is extremely satisfying -- and edifying -- and thought provoking -- and humbling.

of course, i'm sitting here -- alone -- again. sprawled out like a kerouacian corpse in these imitation-versailles, manicured and sculpted rococo gardens. i mean, what a narcissistic, self indulgent preoccupation and privilege. doing this day after day. inventing each day, one after the other, decision after decision, train-ride after train-ride, staring out these lovely scan-rail windows with only my thoughts and feelings as my curious, one-sided companions?

yet what? i´m... perfectly... satisfied.

perfectly lonely - and at the same time --- satisfied. falling in love with three tantalizingly soulful, salt-of-the-earth scandinavian women a day -- none of whom are more than fleetingly interested or available -- all of whom have husbands or boyfriends - or children - to take care of. all of whom, begrudgingly, yet actually, have lives of their own to live. none of whom can drop anything, everything - or even some things - on a moment's notice - or fanciful whim - to travel with me for a week - or two – or even for the rest of their lives. god, i'm too old for this adolescent fantasy romanticizing shit!

but why is it - that people just don't seem to be as open as they used to be? is it me? age? the times? the need for security, fear of the unknown, debilitating doubt, inconvenient geography, the finicky and fitful future...? damn, i keep trying to live what i teach -- how to live in the moment - improvise – not plan ahead. how to keep your eyes, heart, body and mind open to what's in front of you. who's in front of you. how to react, create, respond to life's promptings, callings, & offerings without imposing one's own hopeless or simply unrealistic agenda and/or expectations upon it. damn, it's a challenging and impossible lesson to learn -- and relearn -- and relearn.

so - the gigantic fredericksbourg castle is looming/sprawling out before me. that is, the ornately manicured, art nouveau garden is sprawling – and the green copper, multi-spired dutch renaissance royal summer residential palace of christian IV -- is looming -- brilliantly behind. the bees are being, the gardeners are gardening, and me, moi, --- i'm writing - looking, smelling, hearing, grokking - all the sights and sounds - and gargantuan creations of christian IV - and his indulgent dad, frederick II (damn, all these roman numeraled kings and queens are hopelessly confusing). and i'm trying not to plan ahead -- too much. while at the same time, knowing that i want to be back in royal copenhagen by july 6 for the start of the internationally impressive jazz festival, then train back to stockholm on july 7, stay there another day or two at johan's on gamla stan, then boat hopefully across to balticly beautiful tallinn in estonia, maybe luck out & see stately st. petersburg without planning the proper 2-week-in-advance russian visa, then get myself back to happy helsinki with the moravs, only to then to sadly, but truly, fly back to insidious, corrupt LA, where - my lonely, suddenly escape-driven dawgie so misses me, my valiant and honorable subtenant barely holds down the not-so-powerful lucretian fort, & my own garden and routine await me - stoically, courageously, and yes, inevitably. where i will then have to spend the whole sprawling and looming autumn - teaching again - 3 whole fucking days of the week -- before i take off for another 4 months to far-away and beckoning borneo, followed by another 4 months to islamic-mcdonaldized kuala lumpur, the wannabe western capital of the east.

oh whatalife.

gotta get outta kronborg. clear my fuzzy, solipsistic mind. go breathe some fresh danish air - back in royal copenhagen, the quintessential cobble-stoned, modern-day european capital. its entire 15th century history of the short-lived but powerful danish empire lurking behind and underneath every sentient church and graveyard. its trendy and euro-stylish coffee shops, boutiques, salons, eateries, and bars packing in tourists and locals alike, especially now in full bloom of midsummer. perhaps not quite twenty four hours a day, but enough to keep an all day-all night, walking & boating tour going through the canals, gardens, palaces, bistros, & back alleys…. through tivoli gardens, the original disneyland and universal studio. through christiana, the berkeley-in-the-60s style, bohemian mecca, where both hi techs and low brows come to this "free" squatters part of the city to purchase recreational drugs imported from all over the world. mexican mushrooms, lebanese hashish, fifty different kinds of california-grown grass. of course, i'm trying to keep my head clear – making my way through rosenborg slot, børsen and rundetårn, and of course past the city's water-glistening "little mermaid", both copenhagen's most popular tourist attraction and its living monument to denmark's most famous native son, the most translated author in the history of literature – mr. hans christian andersen. "oh what an ugly duckling…" remember danny kaye singing? i do. they say danny looked like my dad…

bringing me full solipsistic circle…

"to be – or not to be…?" (shakespeare)

"never mind." (nirvana)

love anyway,

erik, your one-time and ex-(vi)king