Notes on cities
by Goda Gontyte
Me at the post office dropping wet package which just recently fell into the puddle and a postman looking at me and I guess just trying to understand what have just happened.. (my package looks sad and it’s from ‘hotelDROOG’ by the way)
He asks: do you know what does DROOG means in Dutch?
Me: I don’t.
He: It means DRY.
Amsterdam always feels super intelligent for me. You can have a conversation in a bar with a total random person and it really surprises how not random it can be.
It seems, that every single thing has knowledge here. Metro has knowledge. Streets have knowledge. People have knowledge. Animals have knowledge. Even, I believe, objects have knowledge too here.
The light in here is the best light I have experienced. I like it in summer, because it is very strong and makes things look sharp and the colours are very bright then. And in winter is such a difference… everything look dimed and you tend to focus into things and their shapes.
Quite a loud bird lives in the yard. He would not sing when the space was filled with other sounds. Only when everything would slow down he would start the performance. After listening to it constantly, I decided to record his voice in different times of the day and made a mixtape out of it. Winter music.
Station vs. Library
Central City Library was full of homeless people and the Train Station was full of people with expensive clothes eating their nice meals. Such a difference to what I used to see in other places.
A man who sells tickets in a bus station asks me where I'm heading to. I say that I travel and that I have been in Boston before I came to Denver. He knows that it has the oldest metro system. I say to him, that everything looks quite old there compared to Denver. He asks me where else I’m going and I explain about the other cities I was thinking to visit. I talk and talk... At the end of the conversation he tells me that he have never traveled outside this place.
During the concert at the theater a woman stands up to say she does not hear enought accordion and would like to hear more flute as well. Musicians are impressed. Later, main violinist asks the same women if she can hear his part well enough.
Me: I am looking for Bruce Nauman, but I can't find... Where is it?
B: I’m sorry, but you will need to travel into the future then!
Me: How far into the future?
B: not monday...
Me: so, it's tuesday then?
B: yes, next tuesday is fine!
(Conversation in a museum looking for Bruce Nauman)
Have my favorite place here. I discovered it by walking on a beach one day. It looks and feels like to be on a film set. Strangely enough, everything feels like it belongs to a place. It is also a very worn down location with an old restaurant. You can sit near the table, drink your coffee and suddenly a wave comes and splashes on you (!) Sometimes I just go there to play tennis in an old tennis court surrounded by 100 m hight palms , not kidding.
In a fabric store
You need a man in a suit to cut a piece of fabric for you.
They like fragrances a lot there. Everyting smells. Hotel rooms, train stations, everything… Food tastes like a parfum too.
I think I have never experienced a line waiting for an elevator. We are about to ask a men standing behind, if he ever experienced something similar in any other hotel… ‘This is something very New York’, another couple standing in front, answers and makes everyone laugh in agreement.
In a metro, you have to check your ticket in a certain speed, otherwise it won't work. So you need to do it quite quickly and in a certain movement. It is completely the opposite to, for instance, Copenhagen. In Copenhagen the machines are much more patient.
Every metro stop has it's melody here and every is different from another. If someone would make a symphony of it, it would be a quite long performance.
A woman and a man walks thru the park. Suddenly, a man jumps on his fours and starts walking next to a woman like a dog. He rolls on his back from side to side happily and laughs. A woman starts smiling as well. Then he stands up and they continue to walk like nothing happened.
Sometimes you don’t need to ask for something special... for example:
Me: -I would like to try something traditional.
Waiter: - Pizza , pasta!!
A:- No!!!! I laugh, something traditional to this place, something that comes from here
B: - Donkey pasta!
A: - What?
B: - Pasta with donkey meat!
A: - maybe next time... I' ll be fine with the gnocchi today...
The guide: When Marco Polo was away from his Venetian home, his half sisters told his chinese wife that her’s husband was dead and he will not come back…So his wife became so upset, that she set the fire to her clothes and jumped from the windows of this house into the canal…
The group: 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀
(Suddenly something jumps in the water)
The guide: Don’t worry, its just a fish.
Someone: No, I think, she is back !!
I use it a lot here. My best side reason is a possibility to talk with people and hear their stories. Lately, when I say to drivers that I call taxi that often, they ask me: ‘How are the other drivers doing?’
Sound of Walk
Whenever I walk with someone they always pick up on the sound of my shoes, but I would say, that this is the sound of the place that they are hearing. I even think, that sound of walking in different cities vary. I tried it with my favorite pair of shoes when going with them through the streets of Vilnius and in Copenhagen and I'm convinced now, that it creates different sounds every time again.