Hell yeah bitches, I’m back.
Archive for November 2005
With any luck, the next words I type here will be from the comfort of my couch/kitchen/bed in Atlanta.
Here goes nothin’.
On arrival at Gatwick (via 3 trains) this morning we discovered a wee issue with my passport which involved a $200 ticket change fee, a trip to the Embassy (via 3 more trains), a $95 emergency passport, a trip to Ebeths office to get her keys (via 2 trains) and back to her flat (via the final 2 trains) for another night in London.
Details later. I’ll be sitting here trying to figure out how the universe managed to get this child harness thing on me. Yanking me around muttering “not so fast, missy” , I’m completely at the mercy of a whim that’s not my own.
It’s ten after midnight ATL time, and I’m up. Kinda. My weight is sinking through the air mattress on the floor in Ebeth’s living room in Swiss Cottage, and my butt is hitting the ground. I’m growling. My brow is furrowed as I stare at the screen with watering eyes, at fifteen second intervals I either clear my throat or rub my nose. I’m about to expose a few unsuspecting individuals to whatever germs I picked up that have burrowed themselves into my immune system and made me not-so-immune.
The walk to the train depot, the ride to Gatwick, the two hour wait to board and the stupid-long flight home will all be opportunities for me to share the love with the residents of the city that’s hosted me over the last week.
It’s the least I can do, really.
I’ll type at you again from the land of my taxes.
After a whopping 6 hours of sleep I made it out of bed in time to take three trains for my Sunday morning obligation. On arriving back to the flat with a much needed cup of coffee in hand, Ebeth and I decided we’d venture to Notting Hill via Primrose Park, which is about three blocks behind her place.
En route I took a liking to this vehicle not only because of its clever little name but also because it’s just my size. On having seen it I attempted to imagine Codie fitting in something similar and found myself dangerously close to snort laughing.
The view from Primrose Hill shows how small the city really is in a way I could comprehend (3-d). It was suddenly simple to see why it was so easy to get from one major attraction to another on foot.
Notting Hill was a wee further than we’d planned and since I intentionally left the sneakers at home for fear I’d be tempted to run while I was here, and in turn was again the obvious American, we dropped in pub number 1 for a little warm up / rest / liquid encouragement in the form of a pint of cider.
That pint got us maybe another ten blocks to an additional pint in pub number two.
The second pint inspired us to hop a double-decker to deliver us to pub number three where we had a bite to eat with another pint. Feeling warm and happy and very ready for an early tuck in after a day walking in 30 degree temperatures, we jumped another bus home.
This is, in good form, my definition of vacation. Wandering neighborhoods via native transport instead of spending all day attempting to take in art I don’t understand in a gallery I arrived at on rented wheels. Exploring pubs and making friendly with locals instead of nibbling micro-meals at five star restaurants. All of it accompanied by plenty of rest, yeah baby, this is it.
Tomorrow? Who knows where my wanderings land me. After dinner, though, I’ll pack because the fun has to end eventually and we have to return ourselves to that distant ugly place we call reality. We circle back to routines and jobs and bills and errands and the wretched bits we’ve been attempting to deny, that list of things we wanted to hide from. Along with those, though, come the hugs and smiles of friends welcoming you back, the grace of fish that don’t float, the comfort of cars that still have wheels and the other components that make up the familiar embrace of your so-called life.
Saturday morning the aftermath of the Friday night wine showed itself as it took the three of us until 11am to get out of bed/off the couch/air mattress and on our way to breakfast. Salad with your omelet? Uh, ok.
Ebeth and I with Su, who flew in Friday night from Amsterdam at breakfast. I don’t believe in dressing up much on vacation, clearly.
Following breakfast while Ebeth slaved over StoveTop back at the flat in preparation for our belated Thanksgiving, I escorted Su on the tube and through the chaos of Piccadilly so she could hit Pink for a few schmancy dress shirts.
PDA is rampant here, which brings up a great assortment of feelings but on Saturday it was mostly sidewalk rage. That’s what I’m going to call it, anyway, when lovebirds insist on walking hand in hand at a leisurely pace on a busy, crowded, otherwise fast moving narrow city sidewalk. I did a happy dance when we finally arrived at our elusive, well hidden destination, then I made Su pose for me.
Dinner with the expats hosted by Pat and his lovely wife Ann was followed in short order by Su slipping into a triptophan coma. I took advantage of the situation by posing her with a suction cup gun that belonged to the twelve year old son of our hosts and a half a glass of wine.
The day was one that might not lend itself to antidotes or stories that will be told for years to come, but it was one full of laughter, good people, sparkling conversation and a kinsmanship that only a gaggle of expats celebrating a belated Thanksgiving with makeshift ingredients overseas could realize. It was probably the most enjoyable holiday I’ve had since my early 20′s.
Friday night I’m talking to Ebeth about the ex-pat Thanksgiving dinner we were going to, and she’s telling me about her friend Rachel and Rachel’s friend CiCi from Alaska who will be there and I say “I knew a CiCi in 3rd grade. Does she have red hair?” Ebeth says “she’s blonde, but I think it’s dyed” and I ask if her last name is Weiss and she says she doesn’t know.
They speak the next day and as soon as Ebeth says “Maigh” CiCi says my last name and (imagine this) remembers me as well. I shit you not – it’s the same CiCi I went to grade school with for exactly one year in Anchorage some 20 odd years ago…in London, on holiday and connected via mutual friends.
The world is an itty bitty place.