Monday, September 29, 2008

First K/night

Knights in shining armour come in many different shapes and sizes. Mine came in layers of warm clothing, and a headlamp. 

Charley and I began our road trip 3 days after I arrived in Colorado. I had to adjust to the massive leap in altitude and to get used to the new time zone. This was accoumpanied by much breathlessness and the complete inability to brush my teeth without stopping for a breather.

We decided that we would be camping mostly and would stay in a motel or hotel every few nights so we could have a proper shower, and a bed big enough to actually move around in.... Charley has adjusted his truck by adding a platform in the back, meaning that you can store all your stuff underneath it, and have a mattress on top. This means that you have about a foot and a bit of clearance in the back, so you cant quite sit up, but the roof isnt on your nose either. Ideal for rainy or cold places where we wouldnt want to be in a tent.

So, off we went. More gear and equipment was loaded into that truck than I have used before ever. We even took a makeshift kitchen sink. We headed up to a national park, the name of which completely eludes me. It was pretty, and mountainous, had elk, and then it started to rain. Not your usual rain. It didnt pour and stop. It didnt get heavier and lighter. It just slowly fell at exactly the same quantity, for hours. Repetitively. Constantly. Tapping. All day. 

By the time we were ready to camp, we were a little tired of the whole rain thing. We took a few items out the back, settled into the 'shelf bed' and watched a film on the laptop. Shortly after it was finished it was about the right time to go to sleep, so we settled in and laid down our heads. To be fair, they didnt have far to go from our previous almost sitting position, but I felt there had to be a distinction for me to feel like I was going to bed. 

I rested my eyes, and cuddled up nice a cozy, and slowed my breathing, and very suddenly realised that I am claustrophobic. Yes, indeed. Claustrophobic. The thought that I was going to wake up with the roof a foot above my head, the fact that I couldnt get out without sliding to the end of the 'bed', well, I started hyperventilating and was heading towards a full on panic attack, when Charley helped me out the truck and lit me a cigarrette. At this point we were standing in the constant rain. It hadnt changed, it was still steady and slowly soaking. Charley just stood there and stared at me for a few minutes. I think he might have been trying to decide if he should put me back on a plane and send me on my way. 

I eventually got my breathing under control, with the aid of my beloved nicotine. Charley finally looked at me, and asked if I was going to be ok in the truck, or if I needed the tent. After several sobbing breaths (the sobbing being re-introduced thanks to my contemplation of a whole night in the truck) I said that I needed the tent.

So at 12:00 at night, in the constant drizzle and the freezing cold (it was below freezing at this point), my Knight erected a tent, placed the mattress and the bedding and all the little comfort things in there, and took me to bed with a cuddle. 

It poured all of the next day too. The memory of that constant tapping is making me shudder even now. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back Story

So, as it is in the title that this blog is about my adventures, I have avoided personal side stories. Now, my adventures have taken me on a personal story that has become the crux of my latest moves. So here is the back story... the last few weeks will be entered in a series of installments, partly because I am incredibly jetlagged, and partly because I lack enough creative energy to write it all at once. So.. to start at the beginning...

About 2 years ago, while I was working as an assistant manager of a pub in London, an American guy called Tam came to work for us. He just happened to be in the pub at the time that my boss was interviewing, and when he inquired about the available position, he was hired on the basis that his handshake was firmer by far than any other artsy students who had applied that day, and the fact that he could speak fluent (yet somewhat bastardised) English. 

Tam and his wife turned out to be the turning point in my opinion of the general American population. My experience thus far had included over-fed tourists turning their noses up at a decent 'bangers and mash' and asking for the nearest McDonalds. Not only did they as a couple shatter all preconcieved stereotypes, they then went on to host every member of their family and to parade them past our pub in ones, twos and complete family units. I have seldom met an entire family that I like as much as I liked this one.

The last family member to arrive was Charley, Tams brother. Never has having a boyfriend been so inconvenient as it was when I met Charley. I was powerfully attracted. We spent a day together going through museums, and who knew you could have so much fun, or laugh so much looking at old and outdated displays? But, I was seeing someone. I wasnt going to break up with the guy I was with for a guy who was in the country for less than a week. Neither would I cheat. The challenge was showing ambivalence. I fear this lady may have protested too much.

I never forgot him. A few months later I recieved a bunch of orchids annonymously delivered by the flower company. It took me 5 months to find out they were from Charley. We eventually got back in contact about 7 months ago. And we have been online every day, night and any time inbetween, chatting skyping, video chatting, msn and one failed phone call. I couldnt let this go on and not find out one way or the other if there was a future.

I planned a holiday. He booked time off. I have just returned from the holiday and I have never been quite so deeply in love in my life.  I shall leave it at that for now, as the leaving is fresh. I shall come back to the start of our holiday which, unsurpisingly, began with an adventure that is amusing in restrospect, rather than at the time.  Be back soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sorry I cant take your call right now.....

I am off, holiday begun. See you when reality returns.....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lovin' London

Oh, dear old London, how I love you! With your drinkable tap water, your effective but overcrowded public transport system, your lovely unbroken tarred roads, your range of food, drink, and places to enjoy both.

Yes, I am back in London. I had so looked forward to returning to civilisation, and to all the things listed above. However, I landed at Heathrow at 4pm in the afternoon. I had been travelling since 3am English time, and I was exhausted. I waited in the inevitable English queue for about an hour, finally got through passport control (after some suspicious looks at the Arabic stamps on the previous page) and made it to the Picadilly line. By which time it was rush hour. Within and hour of returning I was swearing at tourists standing on the wrong side of the escalator, shouting at people to let me (and my massive suitcase) off the tube before they get on, and generally just being cranky and hating the transport. Oh, how I longed for a 4x4 and some bumpy roads....

I survived though, and the next day was sitting eating lovely Japanese food in a trendy little restaurant overlooking the Thames. I sat chatting with a friend I havent seen since I left Cape Town about 3/4 years ago. Aside from the two guys and girl at the next table, we were the only people in the restaurant. We had a wonderful meal, full of little tasty things on little bamboo sticks, and discussing my friends failed marriage. Yes, I am not only old enough to have friends getting married now, but apparently I am old enough to have friends getting divorced. We decided however, that at the very least, they got to have a fantastic party at the expense of their parents, and his wife got to wear a beautiful gown, which so rarely happens these days.

He felt a little left out though. We decided that maybe there should be more situations where men get to wear beautiful gowns. This was the slightly hysterical and giggly conversation of about 15 minutes. Rising hysteria, mixed with food on sticks, and Japanese beer... I think its fair to say that the other table heard out conversation...

It was only after we had paid, and stood up to leave, that either of us paid much attention to the fact that although there were two guys and a girl at the next table, there were, in fact, no female voices. In fact, the girl (wearing a denim mini skirt, bobby socks, mary janes and with lovely long blonde hair) had a fairly distinctive adams apple.....

Yes, I am definitely back in London.