Armchair Travel Blog

Adventures from Paris onwards circa 2012

Month: June, 2013

Weather

It’s weird how hot and cold it’s been here in Mexico city. Any I mean it in the most literal sense.

Although for the past week or so it’s been fairly cold. They tell me that nothing is unusual about this weather, but I don’t think I am in the minority when I thought that a summer in Mexico would be sunny and hot.

I already know how it is back home, sweltering heat that makes pouring in clothes a hassle and all you want to do is air in front of the air conditioning vent. That’s summer weather as I know it.

I’m not sure if it’s just been an unusually wet season here, and that’s what is bringing down the temperature, or if in fact it’s normal.

I will say that I have had days when I was in sweatpants, a sweater, AND a hoodie inside the house to keep warm. And ok so it’s cooler inside the house than outside, but for June weather??

Last I checked we were still in the northern hemisphere.

It might be this that has given my aunt a stomach trouble – or something we ate that didn’t settle well with her. Either way it has led to some slower days as I get to play nurse and I am grateful that my Spanish is good enough to communicate with whomever I may need to talk to.

My grandmother only has 2 days left with us here in the city before she returns to warmer (?) climates in Guadalajara.

Which means that in 5 days life will get considerably more interesting.

Still, I wonder with these 2 days left with my grandmother and my aunt feeling better this morning if we won’t get out and do something for cabin fever.

Even if it is sweater-weather in June outside. (not that I really mind sweaters, it’s more the principle)

Would you like to hear some sad news? No? Well here it is anyways. My mother board (a.k.a. the very spinal cord of the computer) possibly died/fried according to the good doctor.

Today we hope to take the computer to a friend (of my aunt’s) son and see if anything can be done to salvage to computer that is not to the tune of $500.

The question remains if it is worth saving or for that price to simply get another computer or the like.

Well enough about the bad news. And into life updates.

Everyone here seems to think that I am anywhere between 16 to 19 years old. They seem genuinely surprised when I tell them that in fact I am 23. I always knew my sister came across older, at least prima facie, but I never thought that I looked as young as I did. Or perhaps these friend’s of my aunt’s have really bad guessing skills.

I chalk it up to taking good care of myself and keeping youthful.

This morning we’d had yet another breakfast at a friend’s house (as it always seems we pass the eating brunch of one variety or another)

They all talk over another and people easy ass they are served, and again it was a birthday celebration, but they have been friend’s for nearly 30 years now and it shows.

Again they all seem answer I’m not my aunt’s granddaughter for my face. (I figure this will serve me well later in life)

This time there was no tripe to eat but enchiladas made with mole. And this mole was good! Lucha knows what’s up and I left feeling so full that I needed to take am afternoon nap. Hard at work.

Yesterday we went to Tenochitlan to pass the afternoon and we ate some quesadillas made from blue corn and Oaxaca cheese. There’s a variety of stuffing you can put in there from “flor definitely calabasa” and “huitlacoche” which I am not sure the are English translations for.

But I am told both are very good to eat although not everywhere in Mexico there toes of food are eaten.

The heart has come back to Mexico and while the sky was a clear blue it was difficult to want to walk, especially with my abuelita.

Tonight (when my aunt decides to wake up) I hope to watch the new Superman film. I great mixed results but I have always liked Christopher Nolan’s approach.

In just over a weeks time I will be in Cancun, although I hear there have been some impressive tropical storms. (they won’t be there while I’m there, obviously)

And with the dollars to Cancun it seems time is going quickly although the hours digesting the meal go by slowly.

Please at home, send good vibes for my computer! (and for am ice cream for me; because Mexican candies are all spicy and chile and weird. What happened to simple chocolate?)

Hiatus – sort of.

Hi guys, I’m both really sorry and really sad. My computer got a virus somewhere sometime ago and it crashed my windows 7 software.

This means I’m stuck on my phone for the time being, and therefore can’t really update. But yesterday was great!

I met Diego Riveras Tlaloc (Aztec rain god) and went to San Angel in the south of the city for a bazaar  ate crepes in a place that took me back to France.

Today we are terrible Chinese food and took some nifty wing and bear pictures. I’ll be sure to share them when I can get my computer back.

Tomorrow she’s going to a doctor for a CD reboot and I have never been more thankful for having a backup. So I will lose some music but not my life’s collection of pictures or music. Thank you externals and drop box.

Lesson learned. Get an anti virus program. And that virus’ suck and so do the people who make them stuck

I promise to try to keep updates best as I can during these trying times and to be proper once my laptop had life again.

Thank you for being patient and please everyone remember to back up your information always!

I spoke early about the rain — just

I spoke early about the rain — just hours after I posted my last blog, the sky ripped open and let out such a thunderstrom, the likes which I have never witnessed. 

I hear that it has been pretty bad at home as well, but let me regale you with this storm for a little.

This storm came out of nowhere, and we have been feeling it’s sisters for the rest of the week because since then there has not been a non rainy day. But this storm in particular started around 1600 and did not stop until well past 2200. 

Such power of nature I have rarely experienced. This was a thunderstorm as they describe in books and movies, that came out of nowhere – fast and furious – with something to prove.

The thunder was so powerful that it tripped three car alarms over the course of the storm. My aunt, who had spent the day outside said that as she was entering the neighbourhood felt the electricity in the air and that it smelled different.

There was giant cracks of lightning – thankfully far from the house. I wasn’t aware that there was such a thing as a wet season in Mexico, and perhaps this is an odd year – but the storms here have been nothing to sneeze at. 

Thankfully though it has brought down the temperature to bearable degrees and even falling asleep to the rain pattering against the window is pleasant. i have been affected by the power of this storm and nature is a wonderful thing.

I was asked if any trees fell, but I say that where I live there aren’t much in the ways of trees with which TO fall. (Not that it doesn’t have it’s own vegetation).

I think there is a price to trying to learn multiple languages at once. I am having now more than ever confusion with genders of items. This could be in part because my French is interfering with what items get gendered how (an entirely foreign concept in English) or because I am out of practice and have not totally cemented it in.

Spanish is mostly easy though, with plenty of rules and few exceptions. (A far cry from French). I also had a vocabulary lesson as my aunt sat me down. English is not something I am speaking much of these days, except to type it. So far I have learnt the words for planter (maceta) and apricot (chobacano). 

That’s two more than I started out with!

Yesterday we were supposed to go out for a breakfast with some of my aunt’s friends, but my grandmother woke up with such a headache, she could barely see from it. Her blood pressure was dangerously high, and so even after waking up at 07.00 for a 10.00 breakfast invitation, we had to cancel. I think in part it was because my aunt came home so late yesterday that my grandmother got all wound up, and woke up with such high blood pressure.

In the end I took the dogs out for an hour’s walk around the lake and then went back to sleep for a while. 

I think growing old and being at that age must be difficult, because you increasingly become more infantile-like. I still try to let her be her own person, but sometimes her hands shake so bad she can’t open containers or get up from a chair. Then I happily help her, and I wonder how far she feels she has fallen.

(She is always ready to remind us about her aches and pains, though).

So instead today we went over to a neighbors for a breakfast, and hearing that there would be tripe served, I had my smoothie and muffin in preparation.

Not that I shied away from the tripe soup. I had a healthy (or at least fair) portion of it, although admittedly it came after 2 tacos and a serving of yogurt and fruit (all after my own breakfast before)

The tripe has a soft feeling in the mouth, and this one had a very strong odor. While I would eat it again, I’m not sure I would suggest it, nor would I eat it tomorrow. This in part because of the odd texture, and that I am increasingly shying from red meat (it’s more like a yo-yo). 

The company though! What a colorful bunch with even more colorful vocabulary. We stayed until 16.30, and they were all half drunk by the end of it. (Of course we ran home in the afternoon rain; but she lived just down the street). But they speak fast that you have to pay attention and every other word out of their mouth is on par with a sailor.

Not that I understood much of the double-talk or what have you, but it was a riot to see even my grandmother smile at the antics.

But when even the 83 year old woman starts talking about the “Bad Taste Bears” set in front of the cake for my aunt, you know it’s something special. (Although honestly, how many birthday’s does my aunt have??)

They all mistook me for being about 16 though, so I’m not sure if I should be insulted or not. I know people often think my sister is the oldest among us, but 16 years is still even I feel a bit too young. (I guess this will work to my advantage later in life?)

And then the 7 year old who showed us her “dances” — which were more appropriate for a nightclub. We laughed of course, but I still don’t think it’s a good habit to learn to dance.

I now think I can say that nothing surprises me anymore. She speaks “English” of course, and I spent the afternoon re-learning the hula hoop.

The dogs were unfortunately left outside, so by the time we got home they were soaked, but being chihuahuas were able to warm up rather quickly, the poor things. My bath towel did not make out so well. 

And now if I am lucky, Superman: Man of Steel opened up today in theatres, and so I may just be able to convince my aunt to take my cousin and me to see it tonight. (This comes after her nap, of course).

I also have not seen this cousin in a few years, and so I shall keep my fingers crossed.

It’s 2 weeks until Cancun, and it turns out I may be going to Veracruz as well! July looks to be a busy month 🙂

Wanted: Running Playlist

And  if anyone has a list of potential running songs which you think would be a good addition to add to my playlist, please leave them below in the comments or email them my way.

This is because I am getting awfully bored with the ten or so songs on my running playlist and I am looking to keep things moving and fresh.

Please and Thank you.

Wednesday

I took the dogs this morning on a three mile walk – which if you’re a chihuahua is quite an accomplishment, and even more so when one of the dogs has a generalized fear of the outside world and whose shirts don’t even fit her anymore. 

They did walk beautifully though, and even the scaredy cat was able to cope with jst about everything but bicycles whizzing past. (In which case the claws come out and the dog freezes up until the threat is past) 

But you have never seen so many people on their morning rounds stop or pause just long enough to admire the little dogs in their dresses out for a morning walk. No less than four people in the span of an hour stopped just long enough to talk to me about the dogs. 

You would think that in a country where the national dog is the chihuahua, more people might know about them.

My goal for the end of the summer is for the shy one to start getting more comfortable on her walks instead of with the ears flattened back and tail tucked between the legs. And also for her shirts to fit her again. 

After their walk, they have promptly collapsed into my lap for their afternoon nap. Sometimes, I swear the dogs sleep more than my cat.

I’m not sure what it is about the Mexican Soap opera that brings half of Mexico to a grind between the hours of 19.30-22.30 but you can reliably count of many households virtuously sitting in front of their televisions watching the latest drama unfold.

And I mean drama.

Everything is close-panned reactions of faces as the drama bomb drops and the music swells and becomes dramatic in a way that is worthy of the silver screen. The acting is absolutely terrible – in that I would make a good fit for the show – and people are always having affairs with other people. Yet every evening my aunt and grandmother tune in – this season it’s called “Vivir a Destiempo” – to see what will further develop.

I think the people in these soap operas like the adrenaline rush that comes with everything being so dramatic. And I mean everything, from being late to an appointment, to forgetting a date, to the man being the baby’s father. 

Admittedly it is a great way to learn to speak Spanish, although sometimes they can speak a little fast, so you get lost if you’re not keeping attention. It’s so poorly done sometimes I wonder if they didn’t just pick up the actors from off the street. (Although many are all young, blonde, and fit, so perhaps not all). 

Nonetheless the comedias make me laugh because the whole plots are so ridiculous, I cannot take them seriously, even as my grandmother swears lightly at an actress whose double dealing. 

In other news, it seems that the small drizzles of rain these last few days have brought down the temperature enough for it to be pleasant here in the city. Up north there were reports of over 40C temperatures (The human body temp should remain about 37C) so you can imagine I am grateful for the little rain. 

Tomorrow morning we have to be out of the house by 08.00 because there is some breakfast invitation to which we must pick up two other ladies and the restaurant is somewhere in the southernmost point in Mexico city. And which, according to my aunt, can take 2 hours to get to if traffic is bad. 

I hope it won’t be.

PS:  Mom: Abuelita sends her love to the family.t

Weekends (or mine, at least)

Time is a funny thing. Humans are the only creatures that are bound by these somewhat self-imposed concepts of time, being on time, being late, hours in a day, weeks in a year, years in a lifetime. We’re so driven and motivated by it, time is more precious then gold some will say, that we need to take self enforced vacations to get away from time.

Lost time. But is it lost if it is spent lounging around the house all day in your pajamas after a 60 hour workweek, or if it is spent camping out on the beach with loved ones? Time well spent. Is it well spent to come to Mexico to learn to speak (read/write) Spanish instead of pursuing instead other perhaps career advancing opportunities?

Time goes fast, time goes slow. Standing at a checkout line can feel an eternity, and spending a brunch with friends goes by in the blink of an eye.

In a big oopsie – both my grandmother and aunt forgot to wish my uncle a happy birthday a few days ago. In my defense I hadn’t a clue. We did mend fences however.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting some of my aunt’s friends for what is a sort of bi-weekly get together in which henceforth I will affectionately call a hens club. It was about 14 women- none with the sold expectation my aunt who were under 60 years old – for a brunch get together.

I suppose the qualifier for the get-together was that of my aunt’s birthday, but this did not stop any of them from buying small chinches and gifts for the rest of the lot. Things from candle holders to hand towels, and my aunt even got a new frog statute to put into her new garden. (One which she is very proud of, and rightly so for it is beautiful). We arrived about 10.00 and did not leave the restaurant until past 13.30.

Somehow the time slipped away.

Not that most of us had anywhere to be anyways, and I have taken to wearing less and less my wristwatch, for the lack of a need to know specific times.

Nonetheless not that we weren’t pleased with the brunch-eon where they brought coffees and sweet breads and fruit and then the main meal to be topped off with sparkling cider. (I was glad I went for my morning run, because even as I write this at 18.00 I still feel full).

The hens clearly know each other from a long time ago, and they speak in double meanings and laughing amidst bites. My grandmother thinks its a riot. (Which, if you met my grandmother, you you understand why I find this so funny.)

They also think I speak a nice Spanish, which is flattering, although I feel I have a long ways to go yet, as my tongue still trips over many words, and somehow things sometimes become Francoenglanish when I’m not sure of the correct word. PreocupAs v. preocupEs, for example.

Everyone greets another with a warm embrace and a kiss (Mum: Chapis sends her love), and I am cloaked in various perfumes.

The restaurant was good, the fruit even better (oh how I love fresh tasty fruit), and the company pleasant. And in order to debut the new garden (new statute included!) there will be a potluck held here in about 10 days time. All the hens will be present, and my aunt even said to bring pajamas so they can drink the night away. (is it wrong of me to want to see this rumpus?)

Yesterday also seemed to have blurred right past – because what are weekends when one is on vacation – as we headed into the historic and cultural center of Mexico where the Presidential “palace” (??) is, with the big square, aka the same image they always show when highlighting Mexico City in tourist reels.

The architecture is heavy, stonework that is slowly sinking and makes the buildings crooked. Mexico city once was a lake after all, and I guess the ground is still mushy. You can still see the ruins highlighted around the center of where the cathedral is, and indigenous people dressed up in all sorts of spectacle with body paint and feathers and peddling a dizzying array of things. (My aunt says that my blonde blonde blonde cousin used to dance with the best of them, paint and all)

My grandmother is a religious type so while we left her at the grand cathedral of Mexico, my aunt and I took the tour up to the bell towers of Mexico. 80 some odd stairs to get up there, and you feel like you can see the entirety of the city.

The bells are huge and wonderful and they toll them to this day, every day.

But what caught my attention was the spiraling ladder made of some hard red wood that at 14m tall was one piece of wood. The ladder was originally made without any nails or screws or anything, and it is beautiful. Bright red and ancient and I wonder where they found the wood for such a ladder. (I think the guide said that there are only 5 of these ladders in the world, 2 of which are in Mexico, and those 2 are the sole ones on the American continent).

The other thing that made me laugh – as it was lost to time – was the story of “la castigada” – or “the punished one”. This is a bell that rotates 360 degrees when it gets going, but it takes a bell man (whats the correct word here?) a year of training before hes allowed to ring it. Its heavy and has counter weights and you need to be quick not to be knocked on the head.

Except in this case, this bell once upon a time was allowed to be rung by a tourist teenager because the bell man had said “go on right ahead”, and because the boy didn’t have a clue what he was doing, the bell struck him right on the head and knocked him dead.

And wouldn’t you know it – for the fault of the bell – they scrubbed any traces of the bells name from all of history. Burnt any mention of if in any paper, and put a bright red cross on it and it was not allowed to ring until the year 2000; or the year of pardon.

For fault of the bell;

To this day they haven’t a clue of the bells name, although now it rings (and on Sundays for 13 minutes) with the best of them, the biggest of the girls coming in at what I think/remember is 14 tonnes.

The square is too somewhat lost to time because as soon as you leave those few blocks, modern Mexico blooms up and out, and swells of people are walking on a Sunday afternoon taking the sun and the company of others. The architecture changes dramatically from heavy stonework to new windows towers.

We ate lunch at El Cardenal, and I had a steak filet smothered in goat cheese cream and if it wasn’t one of the most delicious way to prepare steak ever, I don’t know what is.

I am seriously having a love affair with Mexican food and I regret nothing.

Monday is now winding down, and it soon will become la hora de la comedia; or, soap opera hour. (to be discussed at length later)

Mayhaps tomorrow morning I can actually get my aunt out for a run, and no more excuses on her part. The lake really does provide a lovely trek.

PS: listen to the new vampire weekend album. you won’t regret it.

Dog Days of Summer

Mexico city is hot. And I mean that in the sort of semi-uncomfortable way your clothes still stick to your back at 22:00 and the most serious need to carry a water bottle everywhere. Even crawling into bed with thin flat sheets seems too warm for the weather. The high heat is so pressing on your skin that even being outside for more than five minutes at a time is a challenge.

“Well if there is no such thing as A/C in many houses, let there please be fans in each room.” (No dice).

It’s a different type of heat however from the sticky heat back home. That heat has you in need of a shower after a mere ten minutes outside. This is more of an oven heat, dry and intense and lasts well after sun-down.

They say its been a particularly dry season, and over in Dresden/ Eastern Europe they have been hounded by epic floods. (Stay safe Dresden!)

I’m at least grateful for the thick stone that props up the house for it keeps the house at an acceptable temperature even during the high heat of the day where we retire to wait out the worst of it.  (The Chihuahuas here are so crazy they like to curl up under a fleece blanket.) 

That and the myriad of  “waters” can get here: watermelon, mango, guava, papaya, etc. keep the worst of the thirst at bay. They are all lip-smacking, satisfying, and delicious and I readily recommend them to anyone. It’s such a shame that we haven’t such an array of waters back home.

If you think that this heat brings the city to a standstill, you’d be wrong. This heat doesn’t stop the city from bustling, somehow almost fueling the desire to get from here to there.

To say that Mexico City is expansive would not do it justice. The city defies the imagination in its size and sprawl. So many people and cars (admittedly probably doing more harm to quell the heat than good) bustling about and billboards towering and littering the skyline. Everything calls out for your attention with banners and flags, and cars trudge along the freeways perpetually stuck in some kind traffic. There are haphazardly strung together tents peddling all sorts of food and trinkets littered along the roadways. It’s some sort of semi-organized chaos but it does make for long drives. And in the heat, mid-day naps.

There are colors like you have never seen if you have never been to Latin America, because everything is colors splashed across houses in every sort of arrangement, color schemes and matching be damned. Houses are yellow next to bright blue next to green next to orange. It’s colorful and lively and seemingly no two buildings are of the same color scheme.

There is a lake not too far from the house, approximately 7 minutes walking, with a gravel track looping around the perimeter. It makes for a most wonderful morning run as the morning people are up and about on their bicycles, jogging past, or taking their dogs out for a run. It’s a busy lake at these hours rushing to beat out the heat,  but I have not seen it so busy that you feel like canned sardines.

And when the heat starts to creep under your skin and into your mouth, there is an assortment of mexican sweet bread waiting for breakfast. The bread too comes in various styles and types, some with sugar, some with chocolate, some braided, some colorful, and any combination therein.

Today is Saturday, and we will see where the day will take us.  This might mean teaching la rata de dos patas (see: Oda the Chihuahua) how to use the computer. (She’s making good progress)

Day 1

There is something exhilierating about travelling alone, to someplace that perhaps you’ve been or someplace entirely new. You wake up in one country, and by days end find yourself in an entirely new culture made up of new faces, street names, and languages. It is the thrill of the unknown at the seemingly endless possibility of what could be, and that it doesn’t quite hit until  the plane has actually left the ground. 

I’ve been to Mexico, sure, more than once. And while I wouldn’t say that the the houses and the locations are different, they’re not entirely the same either. Until yesterday Mexico was only ever a family trip. Now I have struck out on my own to try to make the most of my last summer of freedom and damned if I won’t give it a good go. It’s been years (3+ if my memory serves) since I’ve last seen the collected assortment of family. And while today is only day one, we have 7 more weeks to go. (Hence the memoirs)

Let me also say that United Airways is far from comfortable. The trip from Washington DC to Mexico city was about 5 hours.  It gets worse though, because even though the plane was half empty, the seats were so small and cramped together I think of the groans of frustration my father would have trying to squeeze in where they carved three seats where two should have been. And then there is the 5 hour flight time leaving at 17:00 and there is no dinner served. And no free entertainment.

So my question is: how long does one have to be on a plane before they give you a free meal and free entertainment? And is it even right that because youre trapped in a (tin) machine 30,000 feet in the air, that they will charge 9USD for a cheese sandwhich? Pretty soon they too will charge to use the bathroom and to get anything more than one glass of “complimentary” water. I am not sure if this is merely United Airline, or if anything that does not cross an ocean anymore gives you a stiff hungry ride. 

Well I landed safely, if not hungry, and with an arrival time of 21:00 there was little hassle with customs or immigration. I found my grandmother quickly in a sea of people waiting for their others, and I was relieved, because I wasnt’ sure what to do when I didnt have a phone and no famililiar face to be seen. (Still no phone, but familiar faces triumph)

My spanish is a work in progress, I think you forget how much you forget when youre not speaking as much. But even after a day being here already I am switching gears between English thinking, Spanish speaking, and trying to not substitute too many French words in when I can’t find the correct spanish one. I  know we will only go up from here as I am adamant about making sure that I speak copious amounts of Spanish. 

Authentic Mexican cuisine is by far and large my favourite so you can imagine how I am going to stuff myself silly here. Even if lunch isn’t served unitl 14:00. But even though I had landed famished, having a real enchilada prepared fresh is enough to make even most of the grieances with the flight abide. Needless to say I think there will be many food posts to come.

My familily is a family of chihuahuas, and you have not seen anything so hilarious as a chihuahua in a summer dress. My aunt has 2 to start, and while I am hesitant about small creatures that pose as dogs – indeed she has one that is no more than 500g – hers are well behaved and like to cuddle without the yips and growls that the breed is famous for. The little one I call “la rata”for her big ears and dark eyes and small skeletal frame. Admitteldy they are growing on me as they curl up next to and in your lap and sleep. I guess little yippy dogs aren’t so bad in the end if theyre more like my aunt’s and less like the ones youre prone to find on “Dog Whisperer”

So this afternoon after lunch there is a choral show that I will escort my grandmother to, for my aunt is singing in it and we must support her.

Speaking of lunch, theyre about to call. And maybe by the summer’s end I will have learnt many of the good Mexican recipies.

The sun shines and the adventure continues.

Mexico Lindo

Hello friends,

Long time no talk, made all the more difficult with a heavy cat sitting on my arms. (Cats are silly wonderful companions) It is now (well) past 00:01 on the 5th of June and I am writing to say that as of this moment, consider life breathed back into this blog. You were waiting on bated breath, to be sure.

It has been a long silent time and I have been remiss in updating it. Truthfully, there is no “European Travel” any more, but let that not stop us now! So now this space here will be a dedicated documentation of my travels, wherever life may lead me. (Many places, I hope)

Summer 2013 is upon us, and the time to see the world and visit places and eat exotic food is upon us again. (How I have missed it). This means no more being swallowed up by law school and the like, and nothing but endless possibilities and plenty of sunshine. I hope.

I would like to say that I am packed, but this is only about 95% true. Good thing I have a late flight then tomorrow, eh? Mostly this missing 5% is my fault, but nothing that a quick errand running cannot set right as rain. How one loves to run errands – but sincerely I find a great pleasure in knocking things off my “to-do” list.

It’s nearly 01:00, can you tell? I can’t sleep without penning some thoughts.

Life never nearly pans out as we plan to ans even the best laid plans are set to go awry. But there is always a silver lining, to be somewhat trite, and I cannot say that Mexico is a bad thing. (Perhaps not what was originally in the cards, but success is measured in response to unexpected situations).

I am nervous, and I am excited. Mexican food is by far my favourite cuisine, and anything that is not hot and muggy as Washington DC is wont to do will suit me well.

The family and cousins and aunts and “aunts” and “cousins” (hell, they’re all family – somehow) are awaiting. What do they think of the strange cockatoo American family, if anything? I can’t say I have given them much thought, outside of the one that the younger ones will have only ever remembered Facebook as a fact of life. (Quick, stop me before I melt into a pile of self-pity nostalgia)

First though I am looking toward a 5ish hour flight with nay a snack in sight for the duration of the flight. What cheapskates. I’ll consider it a victory if I get 2 drinks from them.

And even before that, sleep, for it is well past my bedtime.

I look forward to sharing my experiences, dearest readers, and know that in many ways this blog is as much for you too as it is for me.

With love from the US,

Good night.