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Walking With Fire 2005: Nov. 22-27, Austria
Europe: Part V

Entries from this trip:
A quick overview of the entire trip
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4
Entry 5 | Entry 6

"Reading Departure Signs in Some Big Airport, Wondering Why We Ever Go Home"

This review only really covers the important things, so not everything covered in other entries will be covered in this one, because some things are a) for those who were there and b) simply unimportant.

Note: If you're wondering about the lack of pictures in this entry, well, there wasn't as much to see around the house, and tomorrow will include more than this entry

11/26/05: Fifth Day: Workshops and Pictures

We rolled out of bed in a sort of piecemeal fashion this morning, primarily because of the crazy-long bus ride we'd taken the day before (and that Duke had driven!).

John had to head home that day due to a family issue, so Duke took him to the airport in Salzberg. We waited for him to come back for a while, had a leisurely breakfast, and then about vampire movies and other things like that in preparation for my talk later that day.

Finally, we started the first workshop, lead by Monika. (Workshop? Oh, yeah, we were here to share knowledge, too!)

Monika giving a workshop

She talked a lot about her job and conflict resolution, and we discussed a lot of things about dealing with people in stressful situations. It was a lot of fun actually getting to hear about her job and work, something that I've never really had a lot of time to talk to her about, as our conversations have always been full of, well, other things. It was, really, one of the more informative workshops I've been to in a long time.

We had a lunch, and then I talked for a while about Slavic vampires (much to Mazi's delight, as she was about to go see Dracula's actual castle). Most of my notes came from the class I took on vampires here at OSU, and it was really a lot of fun just to talk about crazy vampire stuff for a while. It's really fun to give the workshop, actually, as you get to see people discover things about the "actual" vampires of the Slavic world they never knew (like the fact that they're actually supposedly red and bloated, not pale and skinny, as we think about them in the West).

Following that, we had a leisurely dinner, and then decided it was time to take some pictures.

Mazi was very interested in having her captive audience of models pose for her. She's an aspiring photographer, and wanted to do something with mythic themes. In the end, most of us ended up as deities from various mythologies. It was a lot of fun.

I started the night pretty much at Mazi's mercy as she ran black body paint over my body with her hands. There's an ongoing joke between me and her that if I were to ever move in and try to steal her from Duke, he'd sit on me and I'd be two-dimensional in no time. I'm still not sure how that joke started.

But as Mazi was running her hands all over me (even dripping paint onto my pants and reaching down to clean it up without a second thought), Duke was all of six feet away and never once tried to sit on me. Yours truly somehow managed to remain three-dimensional all the way through this trip, which continues to surprise me.

I'd never been so covered in body paint before (I have been covered in finger paints, but that's a whole other story), so this was an interesting experience, especially for someone like me who really isn't into it. But honestly, I trust Mazi at least as far as I can throw her (which is probably pretty far), and probably a lot further than I can throw her, actually. I sat still while she covered me in this black paint, even when she rubbed it over my eyelids. Heck, I trusted her to do it more than I would have trusted myself.

Then she started sticking feathers on me with spirit gum, which proved amusing, as well. I was, I found, to be a raven for the first shoot.

As a raven

Anyway, I ended up completely dressed, and we took some shots. Monika was also in several of them, as were Meghan and Craig. We posed for about twenty minutes and then I went to get cleaned up for the next set of shots.

Monika before picture-taking got underweigh

The next set of shots had me freshly cleaned from the shower (the body paint washed off wonderfully easy. . . this time) along with Jessie as retainers for Monika, who was to be playing Aphrodite.

I'll just say that we had a lot of fun worshipping our goddess during that shoot. There may be video around, but I doubt anyone will ever see that. The pictures, though, are another story:

Monika, center, as Aphrodite

Next, there was a shoot with me trying to wear some horns so I'd look a bit like Pan. The shoot called for me as Pan and Monika as "my" nymph. It was a sort of role-reversal for the previous shoot. I'm not sure why, but I was suddenly a bit self-conscious (probably from having to act like a sexual god, not one of my strong points, believe it or not), and asked everyone but Mazi and Monika to leave.

I think that it's best summed up with a picture from this portion of the shoot:

Monika and me, as a nymph and Pan

Monika and I had a blast with that shoot, and word has it that we took some good pictures.

My favourite picture from that shoot, though, was this one:

Monika and me, as a nymph and Pan

Next, I was put into some crazy gold body paint. This stuff was not like the previous stuff, and was alcohol-based (on an unrelated side note, none of us were drinking through this whole process, so don't blame it on the alcohol). This body paint was not as comfortable, and when I did up my face, I found that the stuff burned like nothing else because of the alcohol fumes getting into my eyes. The pain would die down quickly, but it was bad for a minute or two. I was to be some sun deity from the Vedic pantheon, Surya; Monika was to be Usas, the dawn; and Duke was dressed as Agni, with all red sparkly paint. Duke, in my opinion, looked the best.

Duke as Agni

Me as Surya

We had a blast during our shoots (each of us got to do a shoot on our own, then the three of us were together for another). Apparently, these three gods are in some sort of love triangle, but this whole Vedic mythology thing is, admittedly, mostly beyond me.

Me, Monika, and Duke:
Surya, Usas, and Agni

The others, Meghan, Jessie, and Craig were all having their pictures taken, too, and most got some one-on-one time with the camera, but I wasn't there for any of their shoots, as I was either getting makeup done or in the shower getting it undone.

More of these pictures are forthcoming, I understand, so I'll post a few when I get them.

Afterwords, I attempted to remove all the gold body paint in the shower with no actual success. The gold body paint was horrid, and so I hired on a shower buddy to help me get it out in exchange for trying to get theirs off. It was, by far, the least sexy shower I've ever taken with another person, but if you'd like to imagine some sexiness, feel free.

We were in there for about an hour and a half trying to remove all the paint. As I look down where I type, I see that there is still some on my finger nails.

I collapsed into bed that night exhausted and pruny, but happy.

11/27/05: Sixth Day: Some Departures, Cleanup

On the sixth day, I woke to find most people already gone. It was kind of sad that we didn't get to say goodbye to everyone, but then again, It was about time to head home.

Meghan and I were flying out of Salzberg the following morning, as was Monika. We gave Duke and Mazi a hand cleaning up the house, doing dishes and some odd jobs and carrying boxes to the van, and worked out that we'd be able to stay with them at their hotel that night and spend a final day in Salzberg.

I snagged some last photos off our balcony. It was a grey day, but still just a stunningly beautiful view:

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The view from my balcony

We packed up and headed north through the mountains (but not before I snagged some maps of the area so I could find it again), driving through the tunnels between the house and Salzberg. On the way, we pulled over and got a picture of a castle that we'd passed numerous times before, but never really had the time to snag a picture of:

The Castle on the Mountain

Another shot of the castle

When we got in, Duke checked into the hotel, and then we sort of sneaked in and hung out for a little bit, and then headed downtown to the Old City for some dinner. We ate a very good meal, where I had some of the best French fries ever, and then headed back. We didn't get to see much, but we spent some more time in the Salzberg Christmas market.

The view from a bridge in Salzberg

We also got to see a number of signs of men wearing hats doing all sorts of crazy things:

Men With Hats Cross Here

Men With Hats Cross Here (And Leave Their Hats)

Men With Hats Go Down Stairs Here

Men With Hats Will Steal Your Children And Eat Them Here

After we wandered around the city a bit, and the Christmas Market in particular, Duke bought the ladies and kiddo cabfare back to the hotel and he and I walked the mile or so back to the hotel. It was a good walk, and the speed at which we could do it was rather liberating. We managed to pass the natural history museum, too, advertising a dinosaur exhibit. Too bad it was late and closed.

That night we watched some MTV in German, pushed the beds together and slept, three women and two men, trying to catch some Z's. It didn't work well for anyone for the whole night, but we all got at least a bit of sleep.

Next Entry:

11/28/05: Final(?) Day: Wondering Why We Ever Go Home

11/29/05: Actual Final Day: Paris

The Girl in Paris

Making it Out of Europe, Smelling French, and the Detroit Adventures

Entries from this trip:
A quick overview of the entire trip
Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Entry 4
Entry 5 | Entry 6



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