Gogo Gaga

Sitting on the RER from central Paris to Charles DeGaulle airport, I heard the same sound that I heard on my first day taking the RER from Charles DeGaulle into Paris. In the midst of foreign words that meshed into the same blur of random unrecognizable sounds, I heard a baby’s voice. The gogo gagas of the east were the same as the gogo gagas of the west. No matter where across Europe and no matter how unrecognizable and foreign a language can be, this sound always came across clear.

After 23 days and 12 countries, I can wake up knowing that I have taken a crap in some of the most important places in Western Civilization. Paris was beautiful; Athens was dirty; Lisbon was rustic; Rome was grand – especially the rats; I thought they were dogs at first – not miniature dogs but full dogs. There’s no way to describe these rats without seemingly exaggerating. If I see a little mouse in my house now, I will laugh at it. No mouse trap would catch those Roman gladiator rats. I’d be dueling with them with full armor, and they’d probably still have the advantage.

Budapest was bi-polar;Amsterdam had boobies; Sevilla was brown;Munich was peaceful;Venice was a fairytale – it’s not supposed to exist in reality. It only belongs in movies and romantic paintings and books. Especially at night time,Venice is a dream, and no matter how many times I look at the same boat going down the Rialto or a gondola passing under a bridge, it’s completely surreal each time. It is a city magically floating on water.

Beauty mixed with ugliness everywhere. In front of awe-inspiring cathedrals, beautiful waterfronts, and wealthy neighborhoods, haggard beggars, entire families sometimes, stood on streets while passersby walked by without noticing; however, at 3am in Sevilla, down a dark alley with buildings covered in graffiti, a little girls rides her bicycle, and families walk without fear. Whether in Mali, Egypt, Baltimore, or Paris, there are people in need and people content with life. Life, as diverse as it can be, is still the same all around the world including, of course, those gogo gagas.

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