On a rooftop overlooking NYC hours before my flight I ate fancy pizza with the lovely BNugz and told her "I've never been more ready for a trip."
I felt great during a layover in Stockholm, where I ate good food and watched a self-satisfied society roll by in practical yet stylish shoes. The Swedish flag flutter from a passing ship and realized it's a religious symbol way more overt than flags for theocratic states like Saudi and Iran. I liked how everyone drank beer with lunch.
Somehow, on the 80-minute flight between Stockholm and Berlin, Norwegian Air lost my bag. It never showed, and suddenly I became very un-ready.
I spent three days in the seething morass that is Alexanderplatz in the summer (no AC + conservative application of deodorant + thousands of tourists + heat wave = decline of western civilization). I recovered most of the gear and lost touch with sanity, but my Berlin friends kept it cool with good music and minimalist livings spaces and experiments with various states of consciousness.
I met up with Jacob and we took MIAT Mongolian through Moscow to Ulaanbattar, where we landed with a thud among green mountains, cool air, and the smell of coal. Someone was waiting with a sign with my name on it -- a first for the Raw Music crew -- and soon we were eating sheep in various forms. The combination of low blocky Soviet architecture with boomtown condos and ancient mountains makes Ulaanbatar feel like a combination of Sulimaniyah in Kurdistan and Kharkov in Ukraine. Possibly the most specific and useless way to describe a city, but both of those places played a big role in earlier Raw Music episodes, and this feels like a continuation.
Tonight we meet up with UB fixer and metal fan Uugii and go from there.
I forgot to post this....Here's another video from our Burma days: