by Andrea Brandt

Vienna. Flight from Damascus to Athens to where I am now. Made my way to a familiar place. Sipping beer down the street from St. Stephens Cathedral. Chatted with colleague visiting from Frankfort. Place was crowded. People standing, sitting and talking. Students, professionals and those  in-between from some place and going somewhere else. Sitting at a small table with a colleague looking at an impressionistic nude on the wall. Vienna is an impression for me.

My colleague, Aaron and I spent the time comparing assignments. He’s also a journalist though years ago may have spent time at Der Spiegel. We never finished that conversation. A tone in his voice suggested it was none of my business. He likes mystery. So do I.

I like writing about people who don’t write. People who act but are not professional actors. Yeah, I admire Kazantzakis’ Zorba the Greek.

That attitude is also how I like my sex. I like amateurs though I have experienced a professional. I couldn’t resist her at that time. She met my expectations. I just had a bad experience prior to her. Almost got killed. Anticipate and prepare. It comes with the territory. Whether in an intense set of circumstances in the field, on a bed of straw, a row boat or a hotel room, always be prepared.

I like to be around people that have a blemish or two. The blemish(s) can be emotional or physical. Whatever keeps them humble. Humility tends to be honest.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about being in Jerusalem before heading to Syria then on to its capital, Damascus. Interviews. Now I am in Vienna hanging out, listening to a jazzy song in the background. No waltzes. We visit. Aaron is on his way to Cypress.

 Deciding how I will spend the eve of the 31st, and the next assignment in January. What else is there to my life? The mystery motivates me.