Tag Archives: new adventure

Good morning, Cao Dai

Few days ago I landed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to start my journey through SE Asia. Here’s the first highlight: the main Cao Dai temple, which I visited yesterday for the midday mass.

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The ceremony was incredibly enchanting, with chorus accompanied by traditional music, countless scents burning and minimalism typical for Muslim prayers mixed with richness of colors resembling Hindu temples.

BTW on my way back I visited the Vietkong tunnels in Cu Chi. It was OK, but I’m not that interested in combat techniques and tactics.

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Starting the Norwegian Adventure

What follows is a diary of my recent trip to Norway. Each post will correspond to a single day. Even though I’m writing this down after my return, I will set the publication date for each of the posts to the day it describes.

I took a WizzAir flight from Warsaw to Rygge near Oslo. I hate waiting in a queue for boarding so I was one of the last passangers on the plane. We were all asked to take any seat we can see as quickly as possible. Everyone pretented not to notice a particular place next to two little girls. Unfortunately, a flight attendant asked me to sit there and I couldn’t really refuse. So I had to help them a bit when preparing for takeoff and landing but more importantly, I had to listen to the lound, high-pitch screams of the younger one for the entire flight. It seemed they were travelling with a guy sitting in front of me who didn’t really care. Well, he was partially excused since there where another two girls sitting in his row, so there was no way he could put all four of them around himself. I cursed myself for leaving my earplugs in my big backpack instead of the cabin luggage.

There were two surprises awaiting me after we landed. Firstly, the three guys sitting in the row behind me started chatting with the girls. It turned out they were all related, only they didn’t want to listen to the screams themselves, so they pretended not to know my charming little neighbours and let me have the honour of sitting next to them. Secondly, when I reached for my cabin luggage, I realized I had put the earplugs there just before checking in my big backpack and forgot about it. Damn it.

Well, at least I was in Norway now. And it was time to decide where to go. The west coast looked really appealing on my roadmap but after I asked at the tourist information and at a gas station, it seemed that getting there and then travelling along it might be quite complicated for a hitchhiker. So I decided to take the main Norwegian highway (the E6) and go somewhere in the North, for I love the arctic.

A short, nice walk to the nearest roundabout and in no time a car pulled over. I got picked up by two Polish guys working in Oslo. As I was about to find out, there are lots and lots of Polish people working in Norway. The driver used to hitchhike himself so he was so kind as to drop me off at the far end of the city.

I didn’t wait long at that spot either. After a good hour, maybe an hour and a half, I got picked up again. The driver wasn’t going far, but he used to hitchhike himself and assured me that I had much better chances at the proposed spot. He told me to stick to the gas stations and not to hitchhike on the highway ramps, or else I will have to deal with the police. I found and still find it hard to believe, but perhaps the cops around Oslo are more uptight. My driver also said that nowadays, when he wants to go somewhere far, he calls local DHL branch and asks if they have any trucks going that direction and if he may go as a passanger. That’s another thing I find hard to believe.

Anyway, he took me to Jessheim, just north of Oslo, showed me a nice small forest just by the highway where I could camp and also a gas station where I should start the next day.

The camp set-up I chose for this night was this: a hammock, a simple mosquito net (i.e. a window curtain) hanging loosely from the hammock ridge line and a tarp supported by the ridge line, stretched with some pieces of thin rope to form a canopy. I put my sleeping pad in the hammock and a sleeping bag on top of it. There were quite a few mosquitos in the woods so I was curious to see for the first time how the window curtain would work. Alas, I forgot to take a picture of the camp.

Only after I got everything set up, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. All I had was some bread and chocolate but I was quite happy with my supper. And then it was time to get some good night rest.


The first day on the pitch

…was yesterday. First some stats: I was standing there for 5 hours (not including lunch & beach breaks) and made 49 zł. Which is way, way more than I was expecting.

As I had written, I would perform a single trick over and over again until it drew someone’s attention. Then I would proceed with the other tricks. Most of the time, I was performing the entire set for a single family but sometimes a bigger crowd would form, up to approx. 25 people. At all times there was a small bag lying in front of me with a few coins in it.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about other buskers’ experiences. Many of them mentioned how much it meant for them when a kid threw into their hats a significant amount of their allowance, even though it wasn’t much money for an adult. Now I think I really understand it. There were some really small kids who threw into my hat 1 zł. It must’ve been quite a lot for them. There was also a 12 year old boy who gave me 5 zł. It was so great to know that they had enjoyed my show that much. And that comes from a guy who normally hates kids. It also made me think more about all the things I could improve in my tricks and then I felt a bit unworthy of their money.

There were also some people, who had been dragged by their kids. At first you could tell they just wanted to get over with my tricks and go wherever they had been going. And after the first trick you could see their eyes widen and their whole body language change to ‘holly s**t, he is really good’.

Also a couple times I saw a person leave having seen all my tricks, stop a random passerby and say to them: ‘This magician over there is great, you absolutely HAVE to see him’. If you are lucky enough to be living outside of Poland: In Polish culture chatting to a stranger is something you never, ever do. Not to mention stopping a stranger.

And of course, I have learned a lot about performing magic and got rid of much of my anxiety (so long, shaking hands!). That was pretty quick, given that yesterday was pretty much my first time performing for strangers. Alas, there is a lot, lot more to be learned.

And so a new journey begins…


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