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

miércoles, 4 de noviembre de 2015


“Well, I will just have to live with that, I guess.” So thought Roger, a thirty-year-old singer who had recently released his first album. He had been trying for a long time now to have a record around and he had finally achieved his dream. But a routine visit to the doctor had changed his life forever. It had been the look on the doctor’s face that said it all and nothing, at the same time. He asked Roger some questions beforehand, like “What are your parents like?” and “Do you know of any illnesses in your family?”. He had answered as best as he could but the truth was that those answers and those questions didn’t matter at all. The doctor seemed authentically shocked and sad when he told Roger he was going to loose his eyesight in a matter of months.

 The reasons were very technical. He cited some scientific names and a number of reasons for this to happen but Roger didn’t care about that at all. He just wanted to now if there was a cure or if he had heard correctly. The answer to the second question was obvious but to the first, there was no real answer. The doctor sent Roger to other doctors, specialists, who would now, more about his condition and maybe they would be able to help them. He assured Roger that his condition was very unique and that’s why he had noticed it right away. Maybe if it was in the earliest stages, the disease could be stopped somehow but he didn’t even try to guess how that would be done. He seemed pretty appalled but Roger didn’t notice, right then he didn’t care about anyone but him.

 Roger walked home in order to think a bit about what had just happened. Moments earlier, he had been pretty happy, telling the doctor the name of his album and telling him it was going to be a huge hit. People liked him before, when he started rapping as an amateur and even more when he actually started to train in order to be a proper singer. He had participated in contests all over the place and had dedicated his life to his music for the last few years. All of that was pure joy until that moment. He didn’t cry but he wanted to. He felt desperate and hopeless at the same time and, although he knew it wasn’t it for him, he would never be the same.

 When he entered home, he avoided talking to his roommate, who happened to be his manager. Malik had always been there for him, being his cousin and all, and he knew he could trust him but he didn’t want to talk. He just wanted to go to bed and try to get some sleep, even if the summer sun was high in the sky outside. He didn’t care about at as he secretly wanted to disappear right then. When he woke up, his cousin had ordered some pizza and had left him some on a plate in the kitchen. He wasn’t there anymore, probably because of business. Roger ate and thanked Malik for leaving him alone to think. It was then when Roger finally cried in silence, his tears falling to the ground in complete silence.

 The next day, they had an appointment in Jamz Records. The album had been released a month ago and they needed to have a meeting to discuss how everything was doing and if further efforts to do a campaign for the album had to be done. There were already plans for a national tour but now Jamz wanted to add a couple of foreign dates as the digital download was receiving rave reviews in other countries. Roger tried no to force his face too much to make a smile and he felt that the he was able to do that but it hurt. He was just not into hearing people talking and talking right now. In secret, he had thought of just dying in his room, one way or the other. He was desperate and wanted everything to have a fast conclusion.

 He also went to a couple of specialists who wanted to try some new medicine with him. It was mainly about using natural things to make his illness go away or at least act slower. He was told that it would take months to be rendered blind by the disease but the specialists agreed that they could make it slow down to give them more time to discover something that could stop its advance altogether. This cheered him up a bit, as it was some hope he didn’t think he would have. He took all the medicine, all the eye drops they gave him to take. He just wanted for this entire nightmare to be over soon and just be able to enjoy music like he had before. After all, he was promoting an album.

 Actually, Roger was unable to go to his next appointments with the specialists. Malik toured him around the city, going from radio station to radio station, giving out singles of his most recent release. The idea was authorized by Jamz, as they thought giving the album a personal seal as the artist handing out singles may create a certain myth about the artist that they could use in the future. Roger had a nice time going from door to door as he was asked to sing several times and also talk a bit about whatever it was that they were talking about. He felt important and loved and he needed that more than ever before. So he enjoyed the experience from start to finish, as he felt like a proper rapper.

 The album went on to have amazing sales and then the tour became a reality, with even more dates added to it all over the place. Roger was going to be on the road for at least three months, a very long time which scared him do to his disease. He visited the specialists before leaving and they gladly confirmed the disease had slowed down and it wasn’t advancing as fast as before. They gave him new medicine and begged for him to try to shorten the tour, if it was possible. Besides, they asked Roger to wear sunglasses at all times in order not to force his eyes too much. Hope was very much alive and he decided to be a good boy and just follow everyone’s advice.

 The first date of the tour was simply the best day of his life. People were cheering his name and they all sang the lyrics at the same time he was rapping and singing. He was pumped all through the performance, even in such a small venue (about a thousand people could fit in). When it was over, he signed autographs on copies of his album and posed for pictures with many people, men and women and even some kids that somehow appeared after the show. He celebrated that night at the hotel with a small party, thanking everyone involved in putting him in the place where he was now. He felt like the luckiest man on Earth and he just wanted to share that feeling with every single person.

 The following dates, he used his sunglasses and received praise for that particular style. Many more pictures were taken and autographs signed. He even got to do some press, mainly radio but also interviews for magazine that were specialized in music. He was glad to receive anyone interested in knowing his story, his struggle from when he was just a boy dreaming to be a singer and then having to do something else for a living because he had nowhere else to go but even then still singing and rapping and being who he really was. People liked his story because it felt real and honest and he loved to talk about it because he was very proud of his roots and of his pathway to recognition.

 The following day from that interview, he had his first foreign date. It was on a small venue, so it was going to be familiar and not intimidating. He jumped on stage and started with the most popular song there but then, as he was moving, he tripped and had to stop singing for a couple of minutes. He apologized and kept on going but the seed had been planted. He was nervous because he thought of the reason behind tripping. He kept singing and rapping, but people were not as pumped as in other places. Roger tried to finish but the stress was too much and he just fainted. He felt his body move and he heard some voice but he just surrendered to the pain and to tiredness of his body.

 In the hospital, the first thing he did was screaming. He had woken up but he hadn’t realized it for a while as he woke up blind. When he understood what was going on, he just screamed and almost tried to pierce his eyes to make them work. Some family members and Malik stopped him but he had to be sedated in order to be controlled. When he woke up, very late that evening, he heard his specialists talking with his doctor there. She was surprised about his condition but they were explaining how the disease just jumped ahead due to stress. It had been uncontrollable all along. In his bed, Roger cried in silence and tried to figure out what his life was going to be from then on.

lunes, 29 de junio de 2015

Stranger tour

   I had just met him but I didn’t want to walk around a whole new city without someone to tell me what was what. You see, I had arrived in Barcelona only recently and I’m one those people that understands things better when someone else is explaining. I get lost easily when I’m all by myself but I learn rather fast, which has always helped me get through things. Anyhow, I was having my first cup of coffee today and this guy was just really nice and I just asked him if he could show me the city. I know, he could have been a serial killer or something. Actually, it would have been worst if he had just said no but he was very nice and gave me his number, asking me to send him a message at night to see what he could do for me and my request.

 I did write to him from my phone and he answered rather quickly. He explained that he wasn’t from Barcelona either and that he understood how nervous I was for being in a new city so he proposed to go out the following weekend and show me the places that he thought would help me get to know the city. The weekend was only two days away so the wait was very short. He came to my place, where I had recently moved. I offered him a cup of coffee but he said he would rather start right away. He seemed very serious and not in the mood to talk, so I didn’t say a word. We just walked a few blocks until we got to a subway station. There was a map where he explained me where everything was: downtown, Montjuic, the industrial areas, the beaches, the mountains and the bars and discos.

 We entered the station and he bought my ticket, in order to show me how it all worked. That part was fun because I knew how the system worked, I had traveled from the airport in the metro. But I decided not to say anything because he seemed a little bit fed up with the whole concept of explaining all these menial things to an idiot from another country. We sat down side by side in the train but wouldn’t even look at each other. Maybe it was best if I just let him go and be miserable alone, because I didn’t wanted my own weekend to be spoiled. I would just walk around and people would help me. I had noticed people were very nice so maybe that was my real thing. I had no idea when or how I had decided to ask that from a stranger.

 The train stopped and he got out so I did the same. He walked rather fast so it was difficult to keep up with his pace. When we came out of the station, I realized I had been there before: it was the main square of the city called Plaza Cataluña. There were lots and lots of people everywhere but I decided not to be still for too long because my companion had already started walking away. I followed him to the Rambla, trying to get to where he was but it was impossible. After a while, I didn’t see him anymore. Fe up with the attitude, I just stopped and went back to the square. The climate was getting a bit colder.

 About fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. It was a call, not a message or a text. And it was him because I could see the name “Coffee guy” on the screen. I smiled because I didn’t even know his name and decided not to answer. But he tried two more times so I finally decided to pick it up. He asked me where I was and why I hadn’t followed him. I told him he seemed too distracted and too pissed off at something or someone and that I didn’t have time to waste so I thanked him for his help and just hung up. But he called again and asked again where I was. I told him I was at a bar, drinking a beer. He got to the bar and, again, didn’t say a word when he sat down beside me. He didn’t ask anything for himself and I just wasn’t in the mood to ask some stranger what was up with his life.

 Then, he started saying he had had a tough week. Apparently, he had been into a number of interviews for jobs he would have wanted to get but he got none of them. I told him that maybe he had been just awful in the interviews but he replied that he had been relaxed and charming and had answered everything rapidly and kindly. He just didn’t got why they wouldn’t pick him. I didn’t say anything else. I just sipped my beer and looked at all the glasses and things the barman had behind him. The coffee guy then told me to go on with the tour but I told him I had decided not to tour anything with someone whose name I didn’t even know. He then told me his name was Evan and that he needed to walk around or he would keep thinking about the jobs that didn’t happen.

 I just gulped down the beer, closed my jacket and walked outside, not saying a word to him. Evan decided to be nicer and started talking as we walked, explaining the history he knew about the place and his impressions when he had first come to the city. At first, I wasn’t talking at all but he was trying so hard I decided to give in and have a decent Saturday. We walked through the Gothic neighborhood and the historic center, we went by the zoo and Evan promised to take me soon and then we got to the first and most popular beach in the city, la Barceloneta. Not many people were there, possibly because the wind was now colder but some were reading or just playing around in the sand.

 We got back into the city, walking along a big avenue and seeing old buildings. I took pictures with my phone and Evan decided to surprise me by getting into some of the shots. We decided to have lunch in a fast-food place and there I had one of the best moments since I had left my home. He was very kind and shared his frustration for not getting any of the jobs. He told me was still getting a masters degree but that he wanted to be able to earn money and just have a living. He told me he lived some blocks away fro me and that he had thought that by going out with me he could forget his frustration.

I just told him I understood what was happening and that I had gone through the same thing over and over in the past. But finally someone silly enough had hired me and now I was working in that beautiful city. He laughed, saying I didn’t even know if it was beautiful but I told him it was love at first sight. He just laughed and told me that wasn’t totally out of the question and that he wanted me to fall in love harder so he decided to take me to the other beaches after lunch. The wind was very cold and the ocean had turned into a grey puddle but we just stood in a pier and watched the weather happen for at least a half hour.

 During our time there, we didn’t talked very much. I noticed he was sad again, all of a sudden, so I decided to let it go for the moment. We walked towards the nearest subway station and then he started talking to me about how hard it had been for him the first weeks. That was not because of the city but because he had never left his house before and he had a hard time not seeing his mother and father whenever he wanted or not having his sibling to have fun with. He was all alone and he told me he had remembered the feeling as we walked down the pier. He talked to them every day but it was not the same. You always miss family, he said. And I knew he was right.

  After a transfer, I realized we where in a higher neighborhood. He told me that daylight was going to fade soon so he wanted my first tour day to end fantastically. So he just made me walk behind him through some steep streets until we got to a park. It was Park Güell and I had seen it in TV before. I had wanted to visit it and had no idea that’s where Evan was taking me. It was a nice walked inside the premises, taking a lot more pictures and now making Evan pose in some of them. We took very good pictures and he told me there was something else he could do for me. So we went up a road I had not seen before and he took my hand in order not to get lost, because the sun was setting and darkness was starting to settle.

 We finally got to the top where I was able to see the whole city in front of me. I could see downtown, I could see the neighborhood were I was living now and also some other features I hadn’t noticed before. The sunset’s light made it all look even more beautiful. We just stood there for several minutes until I noticed the artificial lights went on and the sun had totally disappeared. Then, as we came down the hill towards the park, I realized I was still holding Evan’s hand but he hadn’t noticed or maybe he didn’t care so we just kept it like that until we go to the subway station. He took me home and then I offered a cup of coffee again. He told me he was exhausted and wanted to rest his head but that maybe he would come for it soon enough.

 He left and I got in and I realize how good that day had been. I slept like a baby and was even more thrilled the next morning, when the doorbell woke me up early in the morning and it was him. He had decided he wanted coffee right then and I had decided I wanted him to come in too. That they, we held hand a lot. But that’s another story.

lunes, 5 de enero de 2015


Hay miles de tipos, de variaciones, de sabores y aromas. Y Olga los quería conocer todos, todos los quesos que hubiera. Desde joven, le había fascinado la comida y ahora le apasionaban los quesos. La razón era sencilla: un joven bastante guapo estaba cortando un nuevo tipo de queso en el supermercado y ella lo contempló cortando y probando, como si fuera un delicioso nuevo vino. La manera en que lo probó, su expresión y el simple olor del producto, la atrajeron de tal manera que se obsesionó al instante.

Fue así que, cada fin de semana, visitaba una granja en la que fabricaran queso. Normalmente eran a base de leche de vaca, así que las variaciones en sabor dependían de la producción, si era artesanal o hecha en una cadena de producción y cuanto tiempo dejaban que madurara.

Pronto, Olga quiso más. Así que, después de una ardua investigación en internet, planificó para sus próximas vacaciones un tour por Europa, visitando varias regiones y probando todo el queso que pudiese. También tendría tiempo de visitar varios monumentos famosos y, ojalá, de conocer amantes de la comida como ella.

Olga organizó todo en su vida alrededor del viaje: adelantó todo el trabajo que pudo en su puesto de contadora pública, encargó a su gato bigotes a la vecina de más confianza y pidió a la oficina de correos guardar su correspondencia en un buzón y no llevarlo a su casa.

La primera parada era, como era natural, París. La ciudad luz era hermosa o al menos así la veía Olga que desde el primer momento estuvo fascinada con todo, incluso ignorando aquellos detalles no tan glamorosos de la capital francesa. Ese día solo se ajustó al nuevo horario y dio una vuelta por el vecindario del hotel, que era muy bonito aunque bastante solitario.

Al otro día asistió a su primer evento: una cata de camembert, hecho artesanal en la ciudad de Orléans. Todo estaba organizado a la perfección y por primera vez pudo ver como los profesionales hacían su trabajo: para Olga eso era lo último, lo mejor, lo más destacable de la habilidad humana para apreciar su propio mundo.

Y, no sobra decirlo, el queso estaba delicioso, justo como debería de ser. Comió varios pedazos y a la vez recorrió la sala pero, con algo de tristeza, vio que la mayoría de las personas no estaban interesados en los demás sino en el queso. Cuando vio como una mujer reía y se tomaba fotos con los profesionales, fue la expresión más alegre desde que había llegado. Olga comió un poco más y luego se fue a su hotel a descansar.

Tuvo dos días más en París. Al siguiente fue a un evento para el lanzamiento de un nuevo queso crema, que era simplemente majestuoso, y al salir planeó subir a la Torre Eiffel. Pero la fila era tal que seguramente no ascendería nunca o al menos no hasta la noche, si es que lo permitían. Olga dejó ir su deseo de ver París desde lo alto y decidió mejor pasear por el centro de la ciudad y tomar fotos.

Al otro día, pasó la mañana en el Louvre y comió algo en la cafetería que allí había antes de salir al hotel a recoger su maleta para viajar a Holanda en tren. Cuando llegó, tuvo problemas en el hotel pero los solucionó rápido. No había mucho tiempo que perder ya que tenía una cata esa misma noche.

Cuando llegó, ya todos estaban probando un gouda de fuerte sabor. Se había perdido los comentarios de los profesionales pero pudo verificar por si misma lo delicioso del producto.

De pronto, la saludó una cara conocida: era la mujer risueña de París. La había visto también en el evento del queso crema, pero esa vez fue por un momento ya que ella estaba rodeada de gente y Olga quería visitar la torre.

En esta ocasión, Olga la saludó y la mujer, llamada Victoria, empezó a hablar de cómo había llegado allí: ella no estaba sola ni tenía gatos, era su marido, indirectamente, quien la había dirigido al queso. El hombre era intolerante a todo tipo de lactosa y esa natural aversion﷽﷽﷽﷽﷽﷽﷽﷽ al queso. El hombre era intolerante a todo tipo de lactosa y esa natural aversi de gente y Olga querdl salir planeón por los productos lácteos hizo que su esposa tomara un interés en ello, por el simple hecho de que su esposo detestaba tanto quesos como yogures y leches.

Y así había decidido hacer el tour, dejando a él peleando solo en casa, amargado consigo mismo como siempre. Victoria le preguntó a Olga sobre sus razones y ella le explicó, algo apenada, que adoraba la comida y gracias a un impulsador de supermercado, había descubierto su gusto por el queso.

La mujer parecía muy optimista, ya que sonrió mientras Olga hablaba y al final, pareciendo ignorar todo, le propuso a Olga que fueran, al día siguiente, al museo de Ana Frank. Dijo que nadie más deseaba ir con ella así que podrían hacer del día siguiente un día exclusivo para mujeres.

Y así fue. Olga no tuvo como negarse y Victoria estaba demasiado entusiasmada con la idea para oír un “no” como respuesta. Al otro día visitaron el museo y comentaron todos los cuadros juntas, como discutiendo. Olga siempre había imaginado que así sería tener una amiga a su edad pero jamás había encontrado quien. Lo más cercano era la anciana que era su vecina pero ella no parecía interesada en ir a museos o conciertos.

Mientras comían en un pequeño café de una adorable placita, hablaron sobre los eventos a los que habían asistido. A pesar de que las dos no tenían los mismos gustos, entendían el punto de vista de la otra mujer y rápidamente empezaron a intercambiar anécdotas no solo de quesos y otros lácteos sino de cocina e, incluso, de hombres.

Victoria parecía saber bastante del asunto y encontraba extraño que Olga jamás se hubiera casado. Pero no la acosó con el tema ni se burló de ninguna manera. Solo le confesó que Olga le parecía bastante simpática a pesar de lo tímida y le aconsejó cambiar algo de su guardarropa para resultar más atractiva, si eso deseaba.

Al otro día las dos mujeres estuvieron listas para viajar a Alemania, más precisamente a la ciudad de Múnich. Allí probaron el “erdapfelkäse”, un queso cremoso mezclado con cebolla y pimientos. Lo probaron sobre bagels y otros panes: era delicioso, simplemente ideal. Fue el evento en el que más participó Olga, incluso ganando un concurso de preguntas sobre quesos que había propuesto uno de los organizadores. Gano una cajita de queso alemán que recibió alegre y con vítores de su nueva amiga.

En Múnich pasaron uno de los mejores días, paseando por calles antiguas y tomando tal vez demasiada cerveza alemana. De pronto fue a causa del alcohol que Olga le confesó a Victoria que hacía años había existido un hombre con el que ella hubiera podido casarse pero nada sucedió porque él la había engañado y no solo una vez. Su decepción fue tal que nunca más quiso intentar de nuevo y decidió permanecer soltera.

Victoria lloró al oír la historia. Era una mujer pasional, llena de sentimientos e ideas. Tomó las manos de su nueva amiga y le dijo, con toda sinceridad, que los hombres eran un asco. Incluso su esposo, que casi siempre era soportable, podía ser un dolor de cabeza. Le propuso que el viaje sería la oportunidad de ambas de alejarse de sus vidas en casa y de disfrutar la vida.

Fue así como las dos mujeres siguieron el tour, juntas, compartiendo habitaciones y paseos al museo, comidas y catas de queso y de otros productos. El siguiente punto de parada fue Milán, donde probaron un queso de cabra bastante particular, añejado demasiado, para el gusto de ambas mujeres.

Después llegaron a Praga y allí probaron queso de oveja y aunque la experiencia con este antes había sido mala para Olga, los checos aparentemente sabían muy bien como hacer sus quesos. La ciudad, además, era perfecta para pasear y conocer caminando. Las dos mujeres incluso atrajeron la atención de dos hombres en un parque, que les lanzaron piropos en su idioma y las alabaron sin parar.

La última parada era Grecia, donde probaron mucho yogur de todos los sabores y disfrutar del mar y sus frutos. El fantástico viaje terminó en el aeropuerto de Atenas, donde las dos mujeres se separaron con un abrazo y prometieron estar en contacto constante.

Al llega a casa, ya con Bigotes merodeando por todos lados, Olga sacó de su equipaje el queso alemán y recordó entonces a su amiga de viaje. Entonces recibió una llamada y era Victoria, que quería saber como había estado su viaje. Hablaron un par de horas, riendo y planeando, hasta que tuvieron que cortar por solicitud del marido de Victoria.

Desde ese momento algo cambió en Olga y ella estuvo segura que de ahora en adelante todo sería mejor, más que nunca.