Stockholm Syndrome

Trip Start Aug 23, 2007
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Trip End Sep 23, 2007


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Friday, September 21, 2007

A bad sleep last night.  I couldn't doze off until pretty late then I awoke at 6 AM, when I promptly thought about some crap that's been bothering me and it instantly kept me awake ... arrrrrrgh ...

Mary gave me a hard time for getting blood all over her bed this morning.  Guess I somehow cut myself and got some on her sheets while I sat on it.  I returned from the showers to find her carefully examining her feet - I thought she was checking out her toes for more pus, but it turns out she thought her feet might have been cut and bled on the bed.       
 
We had wanted to grab a crepe from the market near the hostel, but the market wasn't running today.  Instead, we went directly to the train station and ate there.  Mary-ism #38:  Mary also purchased a "sh!t" sandwich for later on.  She meant to say "schnitzel" sandwich ... at least, I hope she did!  I also picked up a "sh!t" sandwich for the train ride.

We didn't bother getting seat reservations and had some difficulty finding seats - we ended up sitting across the aisle from each other.  I made a little progress on the journal writing - I am way behind.  It was quite hot when we arrived in Dresden - probably mid-twenties.  After almost three weeks of bad weather, we finally get beautiful sunny days at the very end of the trip!
 
Pat Running Around Like a Headless Chicken Moment #376:  There have actually been many moments like this, but I've only documented this one.  I forgot to photocopy a map of Dresden before leaving Canada, so we arrived not knowing where we were.  We managed to find the address of the TI ... but it wasn't there.  Mary later told me that I was wandering around in a hyper state, much like a headless chicken, and even mumbling to myself.  I never realized I was that bad! 
 
We found the hostel, checked in, and ate our "sh!t" sandwiches on a bench outside of a church.  The sandwich was all soggy from the cucumbers and lettuce after sitting in our bags for a few hours.  We should've just grabbed something here in Dresden, but I thought that we would've gotten hungry on the train ride and that we'd also save time in the process.  I think Mary felt a little rushed by me - I guess I'm even more high strung than I thought, and am always on the go while traveling.   
 
We went to the world's most beautiful dairy (as it is billed) - what the heck???  People go there just to eat some cheese and get a glass of buttermilk???  Not my type of attraction
 
After, we walked down Hauptstrasse, a nice pedestrian street.  It's lined with restaurants and shops but was dead at this time.  We popped into a market to check it out - it was pretty typical stuff.  We crossed the bridge to the old town - it's interesting to note that parts of the new town are actually older than parts of the old town.  This is pretty typical in cities that were heavily damaged by war and later re-built.   
 
It was pretty disgusting walking across the bridge - there were tons of bugs floating around.  You didn't want to talk and risk getting bugs in your teeth - yech!  I also kept walking into spider webs that were floating in the wind - apparently I ran into a giant one and dragged it along with me for several meters, before it finally blew away. 
 
Dresden's old town is quite beautiful - there is a big terrace that runs along the river and is a perfect strolling promenade, with its numerous cafes and stunning architecture.  A palace, churches, tons of museums ... we didn't really go into any of them, but we did admire all of the gorgeous buildings. 
 
The Kreuzkirche has one of the nicest church exteriors I have seen in a long time.  For once, it wasn't just another church!  We popped into the Katholische Hofkirche - there's a free classical concert tonight, and we caught some of the rehearsal. 
 
Next up was the Zwinger - a very cool palace that was quite different from others I have visited.  As such, I enjoyed it immensely - Mary also liked it a lot once she got over her initial disappointment.  She was sad to learn that it wasn't a "Zwinger's" club. 
 
Mary lagged further behind me than usual today, so I had plenty of time alone with my thoughts (sometimes this can be a dangerous thing ...)  I did much reflecting about the trip and had a bit of an epiphany.  For the first time in three years, I was finally ready to come home.  I'm not talking about returning just from the trip ... it's like I've been running away from something for a long time. 
 
Maybe there is no longer anything here for me in Europe, though I've always come here to search for it.  Maybe I've finally realized that I can look for happiness back home.  Maybe there's something back there that makes me feel complete again.  Or maybe I've finally found all those little pieces of myself that I've misplaced over the years.  Who knows ... I need to think about this some more. 
 
After we finished checking out the Zwinger, Mary and I sat on a fountain and I told her about my epiphany.  She quipped "Are you saying that you no longer want to travel anymore after spending four weeks with me?"  You know ... she might be on to something.  Ahhh ... I've finally managed to turn Mary into a cynical and sarcastic person - mission accomplished! 
 
We ate the last pieces of those Kinder Hippos we bought in Berlin.  I then gave her my most treasured possession - the last of the Trilogy chocolate.  It was a sentimental moment of weakness that I am now ashamed to write about.  I asked only that she take good care of it, and enjoy it only with herself and nobody else.  I did allow for one exception - she could share it if she ran into Fernando again.  Actually, I allowed for two exceptions - the second was if she found Isabel.  Then she could share the chocolate with her, but only if she promised to make out with her, film it, and tell me all about it without leaving out any detail!
 
We walked around the old town and had our last gelato together.  Mary Moment of Brilliance #3:  Every gelato shop appeared to be closing up, but Mary managed to track one down for us.  And it was a shop that actually made their own gelato, rather than peddling mass-produced crap.  It was our best gelato in a long time ... but that doesn't say too much.  

We recounted a story from early on in the trip, when I told Mary that I wanted to name my first daughter "Hazel".  Mary was surprised and told me that she was a little shocked that I had chosen such a pretty name.  I then told her that her middle name would be "Nut".  Or perhaps her middle name would be "Ella" - but then her first name would have to be "Nut".  I am such a sentimental b@stard ...
 
We popped into a mall to do some souvenir shopping.  There was also an excellent-looking pastry shop but we were too full after the gelato.  It also looked like there was a big private party going on tonight, complete with fashion show.  We might try and sneak in later ...
 
We arrived at the Katholische Hofkirche just a few minutes before the concert.  As such, we couldn't get a seat with a decent view, but instead sat just off to the side of the orchestra.  We still had a partial view.  It was a good concert, with the orchestra and choir performing independently and finally at the end, together.  The concert was a little bit too long and I was getting hungry - so we didn't stay for the whole time. 
 
We wandered around the old town in search of food, settling on a traditional German restaurant.  It was pretty toasty outside sitting underneath the patio heaters.  It was a quiet meal as we were sitting in kind of an alley.  The bathrooms with their pine doors reminded me a lot of the Litinterp B&Bs in Lithuania.  It was a pretty good meal.  

Being our last meal together, we got a little nostalgic and discussed the past 4 weeks.  Pat is Finally Nice to Mary Moment #1:  I told Mary that I was pretty impressed with her and proud that she managed to keep up with me so well.  I didn't know what to expect going in to this trip together. 
 
I was constantly checking to see if she was OK during the trip, but everything always seemed to be fine.  Apparently she wasn't always fine but she managed to hide it well.  It was fun reminiscing about the trip and discussing what got on each other's nerves.  There were surprisingly few things - most of Mary's quirks that bothered me were more of a reflection on my twisted personality. 
 
We walked back to the mall to see what kind of party was being held.  We joked that we could definitely get inside if we were in the Baltics - everyone would want to see us Asian freaks!  We walked over to the tram stop - Dresden is a very cool city. 
 
On the tram back to the hostel - Mary-ism #39:  Mary talked about all the "short glasses" that she bought as souvenirs over the trip.  She meant "shot" glasses.  Mary-ism #40:  Mary told me that she "did many German clients back home".  "As an accountant or as your alter-ego, Fortune Cookie?" I quipped. 
 
The area around the hostel has a very youthful and alternative vibe to it.  Big crowds of youths gathered on the streets, drinking.  Tattoos, mohawks, leather, chains, dogs ... there was a bit of everything out there.  Though we've fit in much better once we got out of the Baltics, we definitely felt out of place with this crowd! 
 
Back at the hostel - they wouldn't let me return my key early.  I have no idea why!  They told me just to return it tomorrow morning when I left, even if it meant having to wake up a staff member to do so.  Alright ...
 
We checked our email and train schedules.  Got some bad news today - I can't say that it was all that unexpected, but it definitely was a bummer.  It wasn't anything that really should have mattered to me, but I knew that it would be a major downer for my last few days here.  As much as I didn't want it to affect the end of my trip, I knew that it would bother me. 
 
I'm really glad that Mary was there tonight - I needed a friendly ear.  Though I was sad to be leaving her behind, I knew that I needed some time to myself to think about things.  I knew this would be another sleepless night.  Pat is Finally Nice to Mary Moment #2:  I thanked Mary for listening tonight and told her that she was an awesome travel partner. 

Mary Moment #64:  After telling her this, I gave Mary a hug.  Mary's response was a cry of joy "Oh!  Finally you're nice to me and give me a hug!"  Mary, Mary, Mary - don't you know?  I freely dispense hugs, but no one ever seems to want them - especially women!

I think Mary was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome - the psychological response that some hostages have towards their captors, where they sympathize with them, no matter how cruel or brutal they are! 
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