Monday, April 11, 2011

Venice (Final part -finally)

Here is the final and very late part of our Venice trip, I've been delayed by a million other things(some of which I will share at some point), including internet problems. But here it is,Venice Part III!!!


When you walk out of the train station at Venice you are imediately transported to some other dimension in time. Venice is truelly beautiful with its canals and old buildings and gondoliers, one’s imagination runs back to thoughts of old romantic courtships on balconies and love letters. At the same time the aesthetics becomes almost a bit artificial as these old buildings are maintained in contemporary times.

With the carnival there are also the costumes and the masks. You find a range of costumes from period costumes to just plain bizarre costumes – a man in a snail suit and a creepy man with many hands to mention only a few.  Between crystals, feathers and bizarre characters it feels more like one is in a fantasy.  Perhaps it is this strange feeling of unreality that gives way for the strange behaviours and excess that people allow themselves at carnival.  The memories of the day seems slightly unreal as I remember us squatting in the streets, wandering aimlessly, seeing to much, my friends kissing strangers and me attacking someone...

Most of the day we spent wandering the streets; gazing at the dozens of people in costumes. By sunset we found ourselfs in the big plain overwhelmed by the spectacle. By then most people has already been drinking all day and it is with these strange surroundings that events started turning in to craze.  By now it is not strange anymore that random people take pictures of random people. Everything is spectacle there is Darth Vader, a Jedi, a very tall man, a women dressed in gold, name it.

We did not think it strange shortly after sunset when guys dressed as prisoners asked to take a picture with us (even though we were not dressed in costume). As we were posing for pictures with these random men one of them seemed to find a particular liking in me. Of course one does not think anything at first, being a little intoxicated by wine and spectacle one isn’t immediately aware of the events that could follow. So when the man put his arm around me and looked at me with a big smile I did not anticipate that his lips would all of a sudden move in towards me, and if it was perhaps just a kiss I could’ve accepted it, but what was to follow was so absurd that I did not exaclty know at that point whether I should laugh of cry. As his lips came close and my head slightly bobs away his tongue shot out with determination to enter my mouth.  In disgust I pinched my lips togehther pulled away as much as possible.  The resitance did not seem to discourage him, infact he just readjusted his plan and instead of sticking his tongue in my mouth he opted for licking my face instead. My dear friend looked on and we can still not really know why she just stood there looking at us and why I myself seemed to be so passive in the process of escaping him. I did dodge him after that but my face felt kind of sticky for the rest of the night. What is funny though is that his friend seemed to have tried the exact same thing with my friend Winnie.

As the night progressed the fools became more.  One of our travel companions of the day got lost at some point during his search for a bathroom and was only able to find us two hours later.

When the night got really late we moved from the events of the big plain in search of other parties, food and bathrooms.  We wandered the tiny streets, found a slice of pizza on the way and found plenty of strangers to have strange conversations with.  It was after one when reached a club that played strange regae music.

The club filled up more and more as night (or by this time morning) progressed.  There were tons of strangers making out, and tons of men trying to pull their moves on any girl that might have accidently cast a glance at them. There were plenty of men making an effort to come bump and grind (gosh I had that, why would I want to dance like that?), and plenty of men groping at me at random points.  I don’t know if it was just a little bit too much alcohol, tiredness or the strange atmosphere but all the groping and people pushing, but it got me feeling a little aggressive.  I at some point remeber using really rude language which I could never repeat to tell a guy to please leave me alone. In my defence, this guy continously touched me and stood way to close to me, and he was creepy and had long dreadlocks which looked like they might carry 300 different lice species.

Perhaps before I describe my next moment of craziness one needs some understanding of my reality to gain perspective on the event that followed. Now, for South Africans, crime is a reality, we all know someone personally that has been affected by violent crime at some level.  Guns to me is not something you play with, it is a weapon of destruction.  At some point after  I have been groped at too many times and I was already extremely tired a man appeared out of nowhere into our little dancing circle and pointed a gun into my face. My first reaction was of such complete terror which made me jump at the guy to grab the gun from his hands.  I completely aggresively attacked the guy, only to realise that it was infact ofc ourse a plastic toy gun. But at that point I was so angry I grabbed the gun from him anyway and try to break it and hit him with it.  I got such a fright that I was completely angered by the sittuation and needed to go outside to breathe and I almost broke out in tears. 

By then all I wanted was to go home.  Eventually I manage to get a free bottle of water from the barman (I think he could see I was in a crazy state) for me to calm down. By then though we found it time to leave and find our way back to the train. It took friendly strangers (well the one was making out with my friend so he had to be friendly) to direct us, me sort of carrying,sort of dragging my other friend who found her capacity to walk slightly affected at that point, but we made it to the train , happy to finally sit down. 

# Please excuse me for typos, spelling and grammatical errors - internetlessness = posting from library which closes in 15 minutes, no time to edit#

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