This photo was taken at South Point, HI during a brief period last week when I was the southernmost person in the United States. If you go left here, it’s a straight shot to Antarctica.
Last week, this summer’s grand tour took us to the biggest of the Hawaiian, or as they were once known, the Sandwich Islands (cue mental image of trees laden with BLTs, Reubens, and Italian subs). Imagine if that name had stuck, and our 50th state was called the Sandwich Islands, or maybe just Sandwich. It seems like a whole different world. Our current president would be a native Sandwichian. There would be a TV show called “Sandwich 5-0″ and a beverage called “Sandwich Punch,” which is just plain confusing.
This is the kind of thought that tends to drift through your mind in a place like Hawaii, where the tropical atmosphere (combined of course with the drinking and smoking) quickly induces a dissociative state. A week passed in a pleasant blur, and while there was a certain amount of touring and beachgoing, there was also a lot of sitting on the lanai with a glass of wine in hand.
And in truth the indolence has not entirely worn off…so that’s all for now. Aloha, and I really mean that.
It was only yesterday that I learned, posthumously, of the existence of hitchBOT, a “hitchhiking robot” created by some Canadian college professors. hitchBOT safely navigated its way around Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, and in July set out to cross the United States. After being treated kindly and hospitably in Boston and New York, taken to a Red Sox game and Times Square, hitchBOT made a big mistake.
It went to Philadelphia.
Within hours, hitchBOT was lying decapitated and dismembered in a ditch.
My initial reaction was, well of course that’s what happened. In Latin, “Philadelphia” means “City of Brotherly Love”; but in American, it means “City Where They Chuck D Batteries at Ballplayers.” As a native Philadelphian, I feel like I can say this without prejudice: people in Philadelphia can be really mean. There are plenty of nice people there too, but the mean ones are mean in a special way peculiar to the city.
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This photo was taken at Urquhart Castle, near Inverness in Scotland. In the foreground is a replica trebuchet built for a movie shoot a few years ago. In the background is Loch Ness. If you look close you may see Nessie peeking out from behind the branches at the left – if, you know, that’s what you want to see.
This shot shows the menu of a restaurant called Punjab in Covent Garden in London. Note the third item under “Homemade Lassi.”
I meant to ask the waiter about this but got all caught up in the many exciting foods and forgot all about it. Ever since I’ve been wondering, what gives? Were they just fucking with us? Could you actually order it at some point, or are they planning to make it available at some point in the near future? Or do you just have to ask nicely and/or say the secret word? A return trip will probably be necessary.
After three weeks of travel both foreign and domestic, we are back in Humboldt County and back to regular old daily life, more or less. There will be things to say, maybe some pictures, once I’ve had a chance to get a little organized and get my head right.
In the meantime, here’s a shot I took in London, I think of the grit that the Cleveland Cavaliers were missing in those last couple games:
The last time my favorite sports team won the championship was 1980, when the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. I turned 13 on the day of Game 2 of the Series, so this week marked the first time in my life I’ve gotten to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate a title. It was delicious. Also strange. Let me explain.
When we arrived at Heathrow it was Tuesday morning, and my only priorities for the day were to get some sleep and to find a way to watch Game 6, which was scheduled to tip off around 2 a.m. The first was easy to accomplish, the second not so much. Searching the guide on the cable system in the flat we’re renting turned up a broadcast of the game; so far so good. But it was a subscription channel that would have to be activated, and getting that done turned out to be an ordeal.
In the meantime, I thought that London being a cosmopolitan metropolis, there might be someplace that Americans gathered to watch basketball in the wee hours of the morning; but if such a thing exists, I could find no evidence of it. The kind gentlemen who’s renting us this place tried diligently to get the necessary channel activated, but in late afternoon informed me that it could not be done. I had just woken up and was almost ready to accept this answer; I had discovered that we could at least stream the game on the iPad, which would have been OK.
But then I rallied and got on the horn to the channel in question, and finally got a phone number that expedited the solution of the problem. That sorted out, we adjourned to dinner at an Indian place called Bengal, which was fantastic. Afterward there was time to kill; we had a little walk in the park, did a crossword puzzle. There was soccer on the tube, then a lame episode of NBA Today, then the pregame blather. At last it was gametime.
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