I’m hoping this doesn’t vanish into the ether as my previous post has done. When reflecting on the disappearance i considered only briefly a “loss”, then mused “there is so much more from where that came.” And so here I sit, writing at a table in a very populated organic cafe on Oxford Street in London, England, drinking chai tea, watching the tourists and locals meander by on the wet sidewalk. Its also raining.
I had secretly promised myself I would write every day, during this month long journey. And I did, really… Anyway, since I promised myself, and fulfilled said promise, without posting, I’m cool. But, just to fill those interested parties in on my travels thus far, here goes.
“Is it true? Do blonds have more fun?” Asked the TSA screener as she peered briefly at me, looked at my brunette passport photo and took a double take at the real me once more.
“Yes! At least this blond is having more fun than let’s say two years ago!”
What changed? Cancer. Death. Tears. The richness of mourning. Yes, I said it was rich, not necessarily pleasant, but full of my every human emotion it was.
My decision to go blond was pretty simple. I was tired of dyeing my roots every three weeks even if I was funding my then hairdresser’s child care. I also got this sort of bee in my bonnet about going au naturale…yes I know my going blond is not exactly “natural”, but it makes the white root halo I have been developing look less obvious, and it is much more fun. Especially with that pause and ever so slight look of embarrassment by someone who hasn’t seen me in a while. “Oh my, you’re a blond now!” It makes me giggle. Then again, here I am, on the road again, now as a blond…and yes I am having some fun. Here goes about this trip.
I departed my abode in the very wee and yawning hours of Sunday morn, (I think it was a week ago) hopping a Mr. Toad’s wild ride of shuttle trips to LAX. I bounced and wiggled in the way back of the Prime Time stretched van, falling in and out of sleep, miraculously arriving in a mere 15 minutes from the time I had been picked up. It was now 4:20am. Double yawn. Fortunately I had a much earned frequent flier first class ticket which entitled me to a free entree into the Admirals Club; even if I did have to wait ten minutes for them to open their doors! Gawd! Oh the first world travesty, my having to wait in line to get a very comfy leather lounge chair, complimentary cappuccino and stale croissants. I allowed myself the mini pleasure of snoozing, noshing, checking emails and texting as I waited the additional two hours for my plane to Dallas to begin boarding.
The flight was thankfully uneventful. I snoozed a bit, ate a poor excuse for a first class breakfast – a bowl of cold cereal with 2%milk and a banana – at least it wasn’t my idea of first class, where one might be offered almond milk and organic hempseed granola, then again you can refer to my remarks about first world problems. All that aside there is so much to say for seat and legroom even if you are as vertically challenged as I and besides i did have those two mediocre croissants back in LA… It is a balance of comfort qualities as they relate to quantities. I am so thankful this is all I have yet about which to complain. Let’s move on.
Our early arrival in Dallas and my 2 hour wait for the connecting bird to Detroit gave me the chance to walk off the “flying leg fatigue”, especially since I won’t be walking and running my sweet dogs for several weeks and I gotta get moving to maintain my girlish figure while traveling.
Aren’t you gonna ask me about Detroit? No? Just as well. I’ll be brief. I didn’t see it. Unless you consider the airport. I arrived at the North terminal, schlepped my bags to a shuttle to take me to the Westin at the Macnamara Terminal where I checked in, washed my face and headed out to dinner, where? Back Into the airport where I got felt up by a TSA bull dyke with the officious manner of Jaba the Hut. “Hey, why the frisk? I went to the trouble of getting registered with TSA Precheck!” I asked. The BD gruffly responded it was required since i wasnt flying. Wait a minute – I just got the “go ahead” from security at the hotel and a free pass into the airport, what gives? Well all this must’ve really pissed her off and adding insult to injury, I jokingly remarked that had I wanted a massage I would’ve stayed at the hotel. Not funny to Jaba. After a tougher than what one might imagine a LAPD SWAT team pat down, she swabbed the inside of my purse, the inside of my shoes – I was waiting for a dental swab, and fearing a cavity search, when she finally gave me the okay to put my clothes back on…okay, my sweater and shoes, but you get the idea. She took her sweet time to insert the myriad of swabs she collected into the machine and took a lazy summer’s day worth of minutes to saunter the few steps back to me to look at me and tell me I was then free to go. Sheesh! Had I wanted to terrorize I would’ve slain her with my sharp witted tongue! But I was hungry, sort of, and wanted nothing more than to mange and head back to my comfy bed.
Into the terminal I traipsed along moving sidewalks and long hallways to see what might tickle my time-challenged palate. I walked briefly into a hamburger joint only to ask myself, “What the hell am I thinking?” Then I settled on Soba, the Japanese restaurant where the very helpful waitress guided me to a vegetarian rice wrap filled with asparagus, pickled daikon, greens, ginger and other stuff I was too tired to remember. I dipped the pieces in delicious sauces that accompanied the roll and scarfed it up as if I hadn’t eaten in days. Ha! Yummy and perfect for my sleep-deprived self. And back to the Westin I did trod to sleep, perchance to remember to set my alarm.
In the wee hours of Monday morning, I rose, dressed, gathered my belongings to the door, looked around the room to check for anything I might’ve forgotten and once done I hopped a shuttle to rent my very noisy Ford Focus at Dollar Rent a car, which was an apt name for sleepy me, the focus part that is, though the noisiness did keep me awake as I then headed with it down the highway for the two hour trip to my friends in Somerset, MI who are helping me with a special business endeavor. The Traffic. Oy. But in hindsight I now see it was far better than the Karmageddon jams we experience in LALALAND.
Meeting done, its now three hours later, I’m back in the rental allowing Siri to guide me to the Dollar drop-off at Detroit Metropolitan airport, then into the bus to the terminal, and back through the infamous security…only this time I get “randomly” picked out to get yet another pat down, though this time by a more gentle agent. Its only then I realize I’ve got hours to go and there is no LOUNGE…oy, what’s a girl to do? I check to see if I can get on the flight scheduled to leave an hour earlier. As luck has it, I do, I board and arrive in Philly, immediately to locate the British Airways very posh lounge. Take note American Airlines, BA knows how to treat First Class passengers. The receptionist solemnly advised “There will be only light fare on the night flight to London, please dine with us, GRATIS,inside.” Who am I to argue? Instead I dutifully enter, drop bags, and am then guided to a table for “this ain’t your typical supper”. Before me is lain a totally cool buffet of fresh vegetables, gourmet appetizer salads, custom created sushis and rice rolls, pastas and everything from chicken to duck to prime filet…and so on for carnivores. From this I load my plate with the veggies and salads. I’m going to be lying in an airplane for six plus hours, I don’t really require a heavy meal or a cardiac care unit.
Each moment I am reminded of how fortunate I am and say “thank you” to people who serve and the invisible forces that provide for me this day, those past and future ones too.
Travel from Heathrow to London via the Express is quick and easy. I grab a cab to my hotel in SOHO and check in.
I have now spent 3 wonderful days in London, meeting up with my friend Ellie and her squeeze Rashi – walking the streets of London, snacking/noshing just about every sample offered at Borough Market, laughing all the way and through to the Book of Mormon, and winding our way back to Hazlitt’s Hotel where I have been sleeping on the comfiest of beds with the ghosts of British literary past. The next morning I toured the haunts of the Beatles with other walkers and fans and if that wasn’t enough was then mesmerized by the gourmet vegetarian fare at The Gate in Islington. The food at The Gate is probably the best food I’ve eaten in a very long time.
I hike (4 miles at least) back to Soho with a stop at the Regent’s Park Apple store to figure out why my voicemail is messed up. I figured walking off the food while sightseeing was a damn good idea…if only my feet agreed. I took a twenty minute snooze then headed out again to dine with LA friend Aimee Rivers who now lives the life of a Londoner. We munched on delicious tapas and fresh natural juice fizzes at her fave Soho haunt…the name of which I can’t remember. The food was good. We talked and ate and talked and laughed and ate until we decided to find coffee…then walked and talked til we hit the theatre district, had some cappuccinos, then back to give the tour of Hazlitts – my hotel. The place is really something. It ain’t your Holiday Inn, I can tell you that much.
Let’s see where was I. Oh yeh, I packed, again, and set my alarm, again and went to sleep. 5:30am came too soon, as did my shower and dressing and coffee downstairs while I waited for Mohammed in an Uber to take me to London City airport. I think my driver was hitting on me, but he was way too young to consider anything but a hallucination had occurred. I am so not into young men, except for maybe the stamina part, but a more mature guy brings more than historical baggage…sometimes it is also hysterical. My ego did, I admit, feel charmed, if only slightly and I arrived at my destination unscathed.
Thankfully I passed thru security with little more than an oops. I left my water bottle In my purse. My bad. They tossed it. The bag went through again. I was allowed through. The London City airport reminded me of the little Burbank airport of days gone by, including walking up the steps to board the plane. Quaint. I purchased a fresh almond croissant and a decaf mocha…moments later I boarded the plane to Basel promptly falling asleep until we touched down in Basel. Quick flight, I think.
Basel is in Switzerland, hence, there was a quasi customs/immigration to pass through. I did. Moments later I gathered my suitcase and took the lift to my rendezvous with my meditation group at the Air Berlin ticket counter. I was in a semi state of fatigue, but I wouldn’t have exactly called it jetlag.
Let me see. I am in Crete in the tiny beach village of Polyrizzos outside of the town of Rodakino in the Southern side of the island. It took three hours by bus over narrow winding roads with countless hairpin turns to get here, which we did last Friday night. Thankfully I slept in the dark bus as it wound its way. Somewhere between Basel and here my ankles swelled up like those ugly leg-warmers i used to wear when they were fashionable in the eighties or nineties..only these were flesh colored with no cute stripes or patterns. Yuck. Fortunately the puffy ankles did not keep me awake. Upon exiting the bus we grabbed our suitcases and were guided up a myriad of steps…this was not fun I can assure you, nevertheless climb I did to my room with a nice view of the water which I noticed the next day after sleep.
I’m going to stop writing, for now and hopefully post this before I lose readers or get an offer to pen a travel column. I’ll tell y’all more about Crete, later, after I’ve done more being a blond research.