Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta adventure. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta adventure. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 1 de octubre de 2016


   It’s very strange when everything is so familiar but, at the same time, it feels so strange, as if it wasn’t real. Of course everything is real. I haven’t stepped into another dimension or anything of the sort. I just stepped into a plane and, because of the time change, it seems like an eleven-hour flight was only about four hours. I suppose that means I gained some time but I do no feel very fortunate to have achieved that. Again, it feels like I’ve cheated somehow but that’s silly, as many people do it in a day and other lose hours, myself included.

 The body is the one that is the most confused. My mind, I think, can understand the issue but the body, as you know, has a process of adjustment that takes a bit more time. And it’s not only about the fact that time was involved in the process, it’s also the change in weather and surroundings. Things cannot be more different and, at the same time, they are exactly the same. I know: I don’t really make sense. And, to be honest, I won’t be trying to make sense for the next few lines because I think it’s not necessary. Everyone can understand this situation.

 One thing that struck me right as I stepped out of the plane was the cold. I mean, I have lived with this cold for a good time of my life, but I didn’t seem to remember how peculiar it is. It feels like something gently pressuring your body from every side, very gently. It’s certainly not as awful as full-blown winter weather but it had a particularity that I think most people ignore. Maybe it’s because it can go away pretty fast if the sun and the clouds help, not that it happens that often. Oh and the clouds! So many, many thick clouds.

 I forgot I wasn’t going to see much of the sky here. It rains constantly, making the city appear even darker than it is. The weather in some parts of the world really doesn’t help at all, not the people living there or the ones visiting. And it always leaves a lasting impression because it’s the subject people love to talk about. They remember the weather in one place better than many other things that could happen. It could seem as if it wasn’t that important but I do think it is crucial to what someone might think and how a place can be perceived.

 Oh, and I’m coughing. But it’s not the weather here that caused that. Instead, it was the dry cold air in the airplane, which has been really annoying to me in the recent days. Before this flight, I took other two less than two weeks ago so it makes sense why my nose cannot seem to get better at all and why I seem to be in the brink of the flu every day. I think I’ve been able to push it away for a while but it would be difficult to do that forever. At one given time, I will have to be sick again and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

 Another funny thing, or maybe not funny but just curious, is the fact that my bags felt very full but, in the end, they did not contain anything out of the ordinary. Just clothes, some souvenirs and a bunch of paper I like to collect in the form of tourist brochures, magazines, books and others. I don’t really have that many pieces of clothing or anything. In fact, I had to throw away a few things in order to be able to get it all in the bags without making them too “overweight” for the airline’s regulations.

 I will be able to put everything in its place in less than thirty minutes, maybe even counting all of that paper I told you I have. It gets a bit ridiculous when you’re able to put every single piece of your life in two bags and then move them from one continent to the other. It really makes you think about the print your putting into this world and how important it might really be. It makes you think about your life, your achievements, everything. It can certainly be kind of overwhelming, when you’re playing close attention.

 But I did it without paying attention and I think it was for the best. It’s not useful to confront everything in your life in one go. It is much better if you just deal with one thing at a time. That guarantees that you can achieve better conclusions, instead of suffering because of everything that you might “find out” about yourself. I guess it really depends on how much you know and accept yourself. It may be even possible that you don’t have to face any demons because you don’t have any. No one knows how fast people confront their fears and anxieties.

 Sorry, I feel I veered in the wrong direction with that last paragraph. I guess it’s because change is always so hard on people, no matter who you are. Change takes a toll in the heart and the soul but not always in a bad way. It’s just one of those things you have to deal with and I’ve done it before so I know what I’m talking about. It can be very challenging to get from point A to point B, sometimes even impossible for some. But for others, like me in this very moment, it is not a matter of wanting but rather a matter of having to.

 There are clothes on the floor and objects beneath the bed. The bags are there, gently asking to be liberated from all my things and even my cellphone is asking to work in an environment different to the one he was in. Even inanimate objects seem to realize that things have changed. Or maybe that’s just me, imagining things to make everything a little bit easier. Who knows? Or… who cares, to be honest? I think I’m allowed to think and care about many different things right now, especially as I get used to the altitude, which can take a while.

 Page three and I think I have nothing more to say. It feels weird that even my fingers seem to weigh more here. My body in general feels heavier for some reason. Is that even normal? I hope it is because it’s certainly no fun at all. I expect my head to hurt a little bit in the next few days and my eyes to adjust to the light, because even that it’s slightly different. People never think about things like that and the fact is that they really affect your life without you even noticing.

 I have some reordering to do, some things to throw away and some others to fit in their new spots. I think that may happen in the next week or two because everything will feel strange for a while now, even people’s accent, as well as their way of doing things. I now it sounds silly but people are only equal before the law. In all other cases people are extremely different in ways that most people never even think about. I like that but at the same time I know how difficult it can be to adjust. Time will tell I guess. Isn’t that funny?

 I forget to say that I feel different anyways. I mean, I’m no exactly the same person that left a year ago. It may seem like I am, and probably not that many things have changed, but I do feel I have made important changes in how I perceive the world around me. It has been in my best interest and I frankly don’t think all those changes will be annulled being in here. If anything, they will all be but to the test again and that’s what life is all about so I don’t fear any of that. Challenge is a natural process and I, for one welcome it.

 I will have to make adjustments, of course. Pretending nothing has changed is a stupid way to face life. The best thing is to find out what’s the best new way to do the things you have and like to do and then it all becomes clearer and life just transforms into a good path to walk on. And that’s what I really want to happen. I want a path to follow; I want my steps to be safe and not to stumble down from one side to the other. I want to have security and also I want to be certain that life can find it’s way to me and me to it. Does that make sense?

 Probably not. I think that many of the things I wrote here, this morning, don’t make any sense at all. But that doesn’t really matter. I can blame the cold or the bed or maybe even my body. Hell, I can even blame my brain for being robbed of many hours! The truth is change has happened and it would be, at the very least, interesting to know what happens next. So many things are lurking around in life, waiting to be found or to jump on top of you. Let’s just breathe a little bit and take it slowly, trying to avoid pain and just having the best time possible.

miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2016

Small green man

   The only thing Serena could do was drive. The desert was an enormous place and she felt good entering it with the old car she had bought in the city. The idea was the cross the whole length of the desert, taking pictures and getting to know the few people that lived there. She had a fascination about that place and, although she had already visited the largest cities in the world, her mind was set know in getting to know the Earth’s most isolated places. She put on some music in the old radio and drove away from the city at first light of the morning. That day, she stopped several times to take pictures of the rock formations and of the animals of the area. It was dangerous, but she didn’t mind.

 The first night of her trip, she slept in the car. She just parked by the road and covered herself with a blanket. From that point of view, she could see the moon, which also fascinated her. It was its brightness and uneven terrain that made her wonder, for a long time, if people would ever be able to walk there permanently. She fell asleep fast just by looking out. Early next morning, a sandstorm woke her up and she had to wait inside her vehicle until it had moved on elsewhere. It was a violent situation but she had loved it because it was so unique. The storm indicated that the future held many secrets and interesting things and one of those happened just a few hours later.

 He was walking by the road, very slowly, visibly on the verge of collapsing due to the horrible heat one had to endure in the desert. When he saw the car, he tried to wave but was so tired he couldn’t and just collapsed by the road. That was the way Serena had to notice him. She stopped the car and ran outside. The man had fallen on his face and had hurt his forehead with a rock. She carried him inside and sat him on the copilot’s seat. She didn’t have much water but used some of it to wake him up. As he came to his senses, Serena notices that the man was not a common sight: he was rather short but with big bulgy eyes and greenish skin. He had normal hands and legs but his skin seemed “fake” somehow.

 When he woke up, he congratulated Serena and asked if she had any water. Whatever she had left, he drank it in haste. He was very thankful but then fell asleep very fast, after dropping Serena’s thermos to the ground. She picked it up, closed the copilot’s door and then got in the car and started driving again. The man was in no condition to keep walking and she couldn’t just leave him there so she decided to carry him to whatever place she found. She didn’t stop for the whole day, mainly because she was scared to be alone with such a strange man. She just wanted their shared journey to end as fast as possible. That night, she almost gave up but finally found a motel past midnight.

 The manager was a young man with his face covered in pimples. He was reading a science magazine when Serena opened the door and asked for two rooms. When he looked at her, the young man started looking for the keys but then realized there was a small strange man behind Serena. She almost screamed when she heard his weird voice, a bit squeaky. He thanked Serena for the ride and the water and told the young man that he wanted a room too. But he told them, as he looked suspiciously at the small man, that there was only one room available with two beds and another one with only one bed so should choose what to do. Serena thought about sleeping in the car again and letting the small man take the single room but her body hurt a lot from all the driving.

 It was the squeaky voice of the man and his stubby hands on the counter, who asked for the double room. He told Serena it would only be for one night and that way they could take care of each other. And then he winked at her, which she didn’t really know what it meant.

 The young gay gave them the keys and indicated the way to go: it was just across the parking lot. So Serena told the little guy to go there first. Meanwhile, she would park the car in front of the room. After she did so, she entered the room to see that the small man had taken off his shoes and socks and was lying there on the bed closest to the door. He had his eyes closed so she could stare at him longer than usual.

 It was not only his statue and the weird hue of his skin. Besides his eyes, his little hands and feet were also kind of puffy, as if they were filled with water or something. Maybe he had been walking too long or maybe he had an allergic reaction to something in the desert and that was why he looked like that. As she sat down on her bed and took of her shoes, she realized how strange it was for anyone on Earth to be walking alone through a desert. Or maybe he had been left there… The desert was a place of many strange events, where people saw lights in the sky and had encounters with life from other planets. Maybe her new friend was a little green man, of the other ones.

 She then asked him what his name was and he answered right away. “Gordon. Gordon Shumway.” Was it wrong that he had answered so fast? Maybe it was his real name but she was sure she had already heard that name before. Or maybe she was just tired and her mind was jumping to conclusions. He asked her name too and she only said “Serena”. They talked for a while about their love for the desert, which they discovered was mutual. They talked about certain species and plants and about the beautiful sunrise. And, slowly, they feel asleep at the same time.

   When she woke up the following morning, the first thing she felt was how hot the room was. The desert had to be burning up. She was glad to be inside a room, on a bed. She wondered if it was early and if she should start her journey of the day right away or maybe just ask for some breakfast and then take some pictures around the place. It could be interesting to talk a bit more to the young receptionist and to any other person working in the motel.

 Then, she recalled the earlier day and finally opened her eyes. Gordon, if that was his real name, wasn’t there. His bed sheets were all over the place so maybe he was still around or maybe he had just left… with her car. She sprung up the bed and ran outside. For a moment there, her heartbeats almost made her deaf. But there was no need for that:  the car was there and looking towards the reception, she saw Gordon waving at her and telling her to come. She raised her hand to indicate she had heard.

 After putting on her shoes, she walked to where Gordon was and realized here was a small dining room, with a few tables, by the reception. The lights must have been turned off the previous night because she hadn’t seen it. The pimples boy was there and it was him who served them as a waiter. They had orange juice and black coffee and lots of bread with butter and jam and also some scrambled eggs. The quality was not the one of a five star hotel but it certainly wasn’t bad at all for a desert motel.

 Serena and Gordon chatted all the way through breakfast, starting the conversation where they had left it the previous night. They talked about all the creatures they had seen and also about their journeys and what they were planning for life. Gordon confessed that he still wanted to roam the desert and showed Serena a bag the boy had gave Gordon as a gift. He only had two big bottles of water inside and an old map. Then, he asked Serena for a one last favor before parting ways.

 That afternoon, they both penetrated even more into the desert. Serena took, on Gordon’s suggestion, an alternate road, which went straight into a national park. The small man told her he had some business to do there, as if it was an office building or something of the sorts. Once they started seeing more hills and rock formations, they stopped the car. She got out and took some pictures as Gordon looked all around, mumbling. He finally choose to walk to a far away mountain, which he said would have a great view over the whole desert and he could do whatever he was he wanted to do.

They bid farewell with a very peculiar hug and a smile and then parted ways. As she went into the car, Serena saw the little man walking very fast towards the mountain he had chosen. Secretly, she admired him for his sense of adventure and because he seemed to know more about life than her.

 After an hour of driving, before she hit the main road, she stopped the car and looked up to the first few stars of the night. And then laughed. It was strange how funny she had thought Gordon was, considering she was the one who had arrived to this planet only a couple of years ago. She was the “new” girl in town. Maybe he looked like a small green man but she had seen some of the real ones and they much less pleasant and adventurous.

viernes, 13 de noviembre de 2015

Dark enemy

   When the doors finally closed, everyone who had gathered in front of them just looked to the ground. They slowly went back to their duties in the palace or to their new houses in the lower levels, where they had been accepted just some hours ago. Another door that had closed was the one of the throne room, as the emperor had demanded to be left alone as he had “a strategy” to think about. The truth was, and everyone knew this, that the enemy was coming fast and that it couldn’t be stopped. It had been announced that they would destroy everything and everyone on their path and that’s why many had found shelter in the palace. The idea was that, as strong as the enemy was, they behaved like a group of buffalos. They charged until they hit something and then they moved on.

 The funny thing there was that no one really knew anything about the enemy except what people coming from other towns said. They were called “survivors” as they always arrived on the verge of collapse and they all had the same story about how awful and terrible the enemy was. However, despite been able to describe how their own tows burned and how people had been killed, they couldn’t tell anyone about the general aspects of the enemy. It was strange, but it was as if they had seen a shadow destroy all of those towns. No physical traits of any kind had been revealed, only the way they operated and that had been scary enough for everyone to take shelter in a building that was normally reserved for the rich and noble. That said a lot about their fear.

 The palace was a structure built in ten concentric rings, the highest been the one where the emperor lived and the lower ones where his staff lived. There were also some sublevels, normally catacombs used as prisons and to get access to a subterranean river. All of that space was now been used by the families that lived in the town and that had been allowed to come in by order of the empress. She was the one that was doing the most. Her name was Serena and she even went down to the sublevels and helped people build a house in the many rooms and spaces that had been only populated by rats for several hundreds of years. Her husband, however, was too scared or apprehensive to do nothing.

 No one knew if he had seen the enemy first hand or if he just felt this was the end of his reign. He had been emperor for fifty years; since he was a very young boy and this was the first time someone defied his power. And the truth was, he was very scared about it. Specially because there wasn’t a single man in the entire kingdom that could tell him anything useful about the enemy. No any general characteristics, not a weakness, not even the way they killed. It was true he was planning and working on the problem but it was also the truth that there was nothing he could really do about it.

 In the lower levels, many families tried to create the feeling of a home but it was practically impossible. Many of them were staying in rooms that felt too much like a prison and they soon realized that if the enemy didn’t walk through town but instead came to the palace, they would be trapped in the catacombs. The only way out was through the underground river but no one really knew how to navigate it and not everyone would be able to use the only boat that remained there. It was said that many of the emperor’s servants had escaped on other boats, leaving only one in the docks. Many children of these refugees loved to go and play in the docks as it was the only place that felt different and worth exploring, even if it was as dark and moist as the rest of the sublevels.

 Life in the upper levels, however, rapidly went back to normal. All the people working for the emperor resumed their work: they cooked big feasts for the few members of royalty, they made fabulous robes and they even brought in objects from the outside by specially trained hawks. They brought jewelry from very far cities and also delicacies that the king always liked. But the empress wasn’t too impressed by this. She was actually revolted by the fact they were eating a five-course meal as the people in the catacombs had only some bread to feed their children. She tried to protest before her majesty but his aides wouldn’t let her, as she would disturb him greatly. They didn’t want to bother him as he drank his beer.

 Serena decided to go for a walk around all the levels and wrote on a piece of paper everything that she saw that was wrong: too much water been wasted on plants in the gardens, a whole level dedicated to keeping his majesty’s clothes cleaned and perfect, the vaults of money and jewels been filled everyday despite the industry and commerce coming to halt, the closure of the market that had always worked in front of the main entrance, the fact that the his majesty’s guard was very numerous but there were only a few men guarding the first wall that would prevent the enemy from coming in and many other things. She actually ran out of paper as she walked along the edge of the wall, looking towards the town where only ghosts lived now.

 But she realized she was mistaken. There was smoke coming out from one of the houses chimney. She asked one of the few guards for how long that smoke had been there and they said that since the time the people of the town entered the palace. She concluded then that someone, maybe an entire family, had decided to stay behind and leave their lives as always. They didn’t care about the enemy, about wars or even about their emperor. They just wanted to keep living and Serena admired that. She asked her husband to let her go to the town, but his answer was obviously negative.

 But Serena wasn’t really one to wait around for others to approve. She had always been rebellious and she had always been curious about her marriage to the emperor. Despite having even younger sisters that were a lot less trouble, he had chosen her to be his wife. He said that it was because of her hair, which reminded him of wheat. But it had to be something else, or so she hoped. One night, she slipped out of her room and disguised herself as one of the refugees. Her handmaiden had gotten the clothes. Serena descended through secrets stairs and hallways that only a few knew about and finally reached the market in front of the entrance. There, she had to run through the square and reach a dark wall on the other end. There was a secret passage there too but the soldiers could see her if she made too much noise.

 She stopped first to calculate how to cross the square and then breath heavily in order to get herself pumped up. She then ran for her life like a mad person and reached the dark wall in seconds. It was strange that no one had seen her, as the moon was particularly bright, but she moved on. The tunnel she was walking on was very humid and full of moss. She fell a couple of times before reaching the end of the path. The tunnel ended in a small room, right in the middle of town. It was amazing no one knew about it. Serene walked out of it slowly and looked at the sky, looking for the smoke.

 The house she was looking for was just a couple of streets away. She walked slowly but not really trying not to make noise, as supposedly, there was no one in town. When she arrived at the house, she knocked. Maybe it had been a bold move but she really didn’t have time to play around. No one answered so she knocked again. Then, she let out a scream as someone pulled a curtain and looked out. Then the door opened and scared faces looked straight at her. There wasn’t one family living there, but two: three adults and five children. They recognized her and that was why they let her in. They were visibly nervous and she tried to reassure them but it was a lost cause. In the end, it was pretty reasonable to be scared and jumpy after been through so much.

 Serena was about to speak when the ground started to tremble. Everyone pulled back from the door and the walls and ran towards a hatch on the ground. Serena didn’t. She was too curious, too urged for the truth. She walked to the curtain and stood still, looking through the window, not even moving. The tremor grew stronger and then, what felt like hundreds of boars passed in front of the house. They were huge, with big horns and red eyes. They destroyed everything outside but they passed fast. She breathed again but it was too soon. Something else was coming down the street and she had to cover her mouth in order not to scream and reveal her position.

 In the palace, they finally realized something was wrong. But it was too late as the moon revealed what was happening there, in the town. And it also revealed that the palace wasn’t safe because, whatever was causing the ground to shake was coming their way. It was only a matter of minutes before the boars overran the market square. And even then, watching it all from his room, the emperor did nothing. Not even thinking about his wife.

domingo, 1 de marzo de 2015


   Although Mars had always appeared to be empty and lifeless, things were different now. For the last six months, people on Earth knew that if they stared up at the sky, some humans might be doing the same very far from them, on Global 1. That was the name of the fist Martian base in human History and was an object of pride and joy for many humans, specially those in the scientific community who had wanted this dream come true for a long time.

 Many governments had once and again postponed the so-called “colonization” of Mars namely because of budget problems and health issues. But they had never really tried to solve any of those problems. When scientists, the private sector and other countries decided it was time to pay a proper visit to the red planet, solutions were created for every single problem.

 The hardest trip was the one of the first group of people as they would never set a foot on Martian soil but they would organize everything for when others came to get them and replace them both up in the orbital station as in the new base on the ground. At first, only seven men and women orbited Mars for about two years. Occasionally, ships would come in from Earth carrying all kinds of supplies, mainly food and new equipment to help make the base and instruments to investigate the current state of the planet.

 They built everything by remote control, using last generation androids that could be controlled by computer, from the space station, and that could last for many years, even in the harsh conditions on Martian soil. It was fun to program the robots to do different things. Mainly, they acted as construction workers although these workers built their own tools and used them only when they were told to, in specific time frames and according to a long schedule that aimed for the opening of the first Martian module in a two-year time.

 The people on the station would often check that everything was properly done and proceeded with their on-site investigations as scheduled. After the first few months, they stopped automatically looking through the windows of their ship. Mars was beautiful but it was also visibly violent and the sandstorms proved difficult for the construction of their base. Many times a special robot had to be activated to “vacuum” all the sand and dirt that caused any problems to the other machines.

 Two years passes and those humans orbiting Mars were replaced by a new group, one of only five people, every single one from a different country. This was because the organization that was after the construction of the base, had to guarantee that every single contributing country had at least one representation on the base, for a short period of time. You see, they only had permit to stay a year. No astronaut could stay more than that on Mars. It wasn’t because they thought it was dangerous but because they needed to study them to see how their bodies had adapted to another planet.

 Everything was science and investigations and reports. That first group really didn’t have a lot of time to waste on having fun or merely looking at the planet they had come to visit. As they were the first group, they had to verify that everything was in good shape. The robots were great but there was nothing like two human eyes to verify everything was good for a group of people to actually live, permanently, down on the red planet.

 Half of their year, they spent it on the orbiting station and the other half on the newly inaugurated base. They transmitted to Earth the images of their celebration and every single human at that time saw their joy and their expectance for the future. One of the astronauts, a French woman, had been authorized to bring a bottle of the best wine she was able to get before leaving Earth. It was perfect for the occasion.

That day was special, not only for Humanity as a whole but for that little group because they suddenly didn’t feel like just scientist or people on a mission. They actually felt like they were home and were just celebrating someone anniversary or birthday. They had cake, a proper meal, the French wine and chatted for hours and hours. Of course, they did not spoke a word about work.

 After that, they rested nicely for the first time in a long time and the following week, even with the heavy load of work, was just the best they had on Mars. They shared observations about the planet, the messages they got from their families on Earth and the pictures of their old and new homes that a satellite, released by them, had taken recently. It was all perfect and the idea of having more and more people living there, on Mars, was just natural and almost mandatory.

 From then on groups of people would come and go and with the construction of new quarters on the Global 1, more and more people were able to stay there, for longer periods of time. Some of them weren’t even scientist or anything like that. They were just people who needed a fresh start or who had always dreamed of doing something like this. Mainly, they were adventure seekers, dying to get to know everything there was to see and do on Mars.

 With time, they were able to organize walks near the base and, years later, motorcycle rides to a near canyon and back. Of course, humans had to wear special suits but they had become much easier to wear and less constricting. When stable population passed one hundred individuals, investors from Earth decided to expand Global 1 to the first big town on Mars. Construction started ten years after the arrival of the first people on the planet and was expected to be fully completed in fifty years, making room for at least one thousand new Martians.

 Then, the first proper Martian was born. A woman and her husband had arrived a year ago to town and they had loved it so much that they had decided to stay. And apparently their eagerness for this new environment had also had other consequences, such as the birth of Juno, the first human to be a Martian. She was issued a special Martian passport and many journalists interviewed the family for the following years. She was an instant celebrity without even knowing.

 Juno was one of those who really loved to get around the city and loved even more the feel of the Martian dirt between her toes and fingers. Eventually, a suit had been designed that was only used on the face and around the waist. It would cover all of the body if the person wearing it decided to press a special button on the waist but the people that lived there for a long time had learned not to be a friend of nature. They actually felt Mars was no different than Earth and that nature had found other ways to do things there.

 The young girl grew up to be an environmentalist, opposed to the exploitation of various natural resources found on Mars such as nitrogen, lithium and titanium, all very important for future buildings on Mars and Earth. But Juno had learned the beauty of her homeland and fought the ruling committee of Mars on every turn. Even people on Earth were backing her organization, calling for someone to control what the private sector tried to do off world, due to the lack of clarity of the law.

 But the mining for many resources had already began, in remote areas, and it was fuelling the creation of a new space station around the planet, that would allow humans to take the next step in their cosmic journey: their arrival on the Jovian system. Jupiter was key to travel beyond their system, if that was ever to be attempted and many organizations on Earth were eager to do that and, of course, to get their hands on the massive resources of the Jovian moons.

 Suddenly, many people on Global 1, now called Bellona, were beginning to think about a new adventure, the worlds of possibilities that were about to be opened to them. It wasn’t a surprise that, on Juno’s elderly years, Bellona had seen a flux of emigration like none before. Some stayed and people kept coming from Earth but the new hotspot of their system was Assaracus, a city built for one million people and the new bright star made with the money won on Mars on Earth by the private sector.

 Every newspaper registered Juno’s death, but the news was relegated to the inner pages of every publication. After all, it wasn’t every day that humans discovered they were not quite alone.