Travel Thursday Snapshot: Copenhagen Thermometer

Having been born and raised in Southern California, I reach for a hoodie when it gets into the 60s. Oddly enough, I like cool weather, as long as I’m warmly dressed. My hands and feet don’t like it, but my legs don’t mind, which is why often you’ll catch me wearing shorts with gloves. As long as my nose and ears can take it, and the wind isn’t so bad, I’m good to go even in the low 50s.
Of course I did some skiing in the local mountains, shot the Vancouver Winter Olympics—really wasn’t that cold—and most of all did Arctic training in the Marines, where I learned the secret to going to the bathroom in freezing weather: don’t. But that was with the highest tech gear available, and with all the running around I was actually sweating as long as the wind chill didn’t get through the balaclava. So I have been in cold weather before, even ridiculous stuff—I only lasted two hours on Antarctica, but that was partly due to the smell of the penguins—but am in no way used to it.
It was early November as I took the shuttle to LAX, wearing my heaviest jacket because it wouldn’t fit in my luggage. Of course it had to be 104 in the city of beautiful angels that day, but by the time I landed in London it was exactly half that, so I ended up needing the jacket and was glad I’d put up with the sweat to start.
A few weeks later I was in Copenhagen, fully enmeshed in the story A Ton of Redheads, which you will find earlier in this blog history. It was a rare evening alone, so for once I didn’t have a redhead telling me which club to head to. Instead I wandered from the center of town, where the train station was, though not taking the Stroget this time, as I knew it well by now. I’m sure my fantastic sense of direction kept me from getting too lost—could always grab a taxi back anyway—but all these years later I can’t remember just where I was when I stopped to take a photo of something most tourists probably didn’t notice.copen
If my math isn’t as bad as usual, that thermometer on the building had it in the low 40s, but that was early in the evening, and the night was just starting. Take a look at the little kid in the right foreground, blimped up like the Michelin Man, to tell you what his parents thought about the forecast. (I later went over to see what he’d found on the ground that was so interesting, but it must have moved on.) I do remember walking down that street, looking for anything that caught my eye like I do in Berlin or Zurich or many other places. Perhaps I wrote something down in my journal about it, but there’s nothing that comes to mind in my brain about anything I saw there, which means nothing bad happened either. As long as I kept walking I didn’t feel much cold, until my ears and nose couldn’t take it anymore. At a certain point, not having any fun, I said screw it and flagged down a taxi to my hotel, knowing I had a full day of redheaded fun to come once the sun came up. . . and warmed things up a bit.
;o)

Travel Thursday Snapshots: Oostende

For a SoCal boy used to warm beaches and colorful sunsets, there was something almost magical about the gloominess of the North Sea. It was easy to tell these were regular everyday clouds and not storm clouds, though the water was roiling and the sea breeze was chilly, the kind of landscape that made imaginations run wild: warships, monsters, even hurricanes.
As had become usual for me whenever I was traveling in a cold place, I longed for ice cream, and found it easily, though the pretty redhead seemed at first surprised and then amused to have a customer in this weather. She’d literally been the bright spot of the day—and I don’t mean just her hair—as she’d been lonely without customers and, like a lot of Europeans, wanted to practice her English. She managed to slip in a remark about her husband early on so there would be no misunderstandings, and considering I was in my early 20s and just arrived in Europe I took it better than I might have otherwise expected, continuing to chat as I passed the time until I could move on to a warmer place.
And yet here I was sitting on the promenade, gazing at the sea. . .
My morning had started in London, more specifically at a hostel in the remains of a castle in Holland Park, just west of Kensington Palace. Waking up at such an early hour was bad enough, made worse because there were a bunch of people sleeping around you who would get riled if you woke them. Every sound as I dressed and packed seemed magnified until I finally lugged my backpacks out into the lobby to call for a taxi from one of those infernal British payphones where you make the call first and, once they’ve answered, make them wait until you put the coins in. Then it turned out the front door was locked and it took me a bit to find the rear entrance, by which time the cabbie was waiting impatiently in the cold gloom.
Though I did not fall asleep on the way to Victoria Station, I didn’t remember any of the ride. Nor did I fall asleep as I sat on the cold floor with my back against a wall, waiting to check in for the train that would take me through the southern part of England to the ferry/jetfoil/hovercraft. Luckily I was wearing my high school choir hoodie, which bore a huge maple leaf in honor of our Vancouver Expo 86 tour, leading an also-yawning couple to approach me and ask if I was a Canuck too. They didn’t seem all that disappointed to find I wasn’t, as we kept each other company through the trip, and I ended up having lunch a few times with them over the years whenever I visited Victoria. (One time Rob took me to his wife’s Bath and Bodyworks-type shop to surprise her—she remembered me too—and then led me a few blocks over to a strip club, but that’s another story.)
With the boat landing in Oostende I first made my way to the Eurail office to get my pass validated, then had my ice cream redhead time. Another hardy soul was womaning a pomme fritte stand despite the cold, but even though French fries are one of my fave eats I resolved to wait until just before heading for the train station to satisfy both my curiosity and my hunger. But that wasn’t for another two hours. This was obviously in a time before cell phones, when we had to lug around 1000-page books called “Let’s Go: Europe,” but I simply couldn’t manage to pull mine out because I was too mesmerized by this pedestrian yet somehow magical view of the North Sea. . .
Almost missed my train. . .

;o)

Paramount Plaques

7 of Fine! Jeri Ryan was here!

7 of Fine! Jeri Ryan was here!

Every Star Trek except DS9, plus NCIS: Los Angeles.

Every Star Trek except DS9, plus NCIS: Los Angeles.

I shoulda checked if that anachronism still worked or was just a prop. . .

I shoulda checked if that anachronism still worked or was just a prop. . .

Star Trek movies are Pretty in Pink

Star Trek movies are Pretty in Pink

Katherine Heigl was here! So was Terry Farrell!

Katherine Heigl was here! So was Terry Farrell!

Facebook Memories reminded me that it’s been a year since my visit to the set of NCIS: Los Angeles. Walking around the lot doesn’t make for many great shots, with almost everything inside the stages, so I had to make fun by shooting the historical plaques that mentioned shows I loved, or at least actresses I enjoyed looking at.

 

;o)

Travel Thursday: Kiss My Blarney

In honor of my friend Christiane’s birthday, and the fact that she was just in Ireland, and that she’s the one who recorded the song that shares its title with this blog entry, here’s the story of what happened on my first trip to Ireland, and why I was okay with not kissing the Blarney Stone.
It being my first time in Ireland, I was on a bus tour with about a dozen other Americans, most quite a bit older, though there was one obnoxious college guy as well. In addition to the bus driver, we had a gorgeous local blonde named Yvonne as tour guide.
About a week into the tour we were heading for Blarney in the pouring rain. During the entire trip the obnoxious college guy had been hitting on Yvonne and not getting her hints to leave her alone, or simply ignoring them. Some of the older people were clearly embarrassed for him, but no one said anything as he struck out again and again, to the point where you could see Yvonne clearly hated him but wasn’t about to risk losing her job.
So once at Blarney we’re told the rain is falling too hard for us to get off the bus, let alone walk the stone steps into the castle, then up to the top where the stone was located. As everyone tried not to look too disappointed, College Boy goes over to Yvonne and tells her, “Since it looks like I’ll never kiss the stone, and I’m sure you have, you can kiss me so that it’ll be like I did kiss the Blarney Stone.”
With the sweetest innocent smile as well as a thick brogue—thicker than usual—she cooed, “I’ve never actually kissed the Blarney Stone, but I have sat on it. . .”
There was a pause, and then the driver guffawed so loudly everyone else got into it too. Looking like she’d won the lottery, Yvonne took her seat at the front while College Boy stood there stunned, almost falling when the bus lurched into action. Grumpily he made his way to the back of the bus; I heard him mutter “Lesbo bitch!” as he stalked by, to which I said, “The fact she doesn’t want you doesn’t mean she’s gay, it just means she has great taste.”
The story would have been good enough had it ended there, but that night at our hotel I ran into Yvonne in the corridor, after we’d all changed into dry clothes and were going down to dinner. After I told her what a great comeback she’d delivered, she smiled and invited me to eat with her. When dinner was over she led me to her room, and. . .
We pick up as I’m leaving her room the next morning, still putting my shirt on, when I run into College Boy, who knows damn well which room this was. Again he’s stunned as I walk by him to my room, murmuring, “Told ya she has great taste. . .”

;o)

Books At The Huntington

A few of my fave written things at the Huntington Library

! Shakespeare first folio

Shakespeare First Folio. I’ve seen actors cry as they try to touch it through the glass. . .

! w Hamlet first edition

Hamlet first edition–an early version, not the one we see today.

! x Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost–the first science fiction novel, unless you count the bible.

! y walden

Walden–nuff said.

! z Canterbury Tales Ellesmere Chaucer

Canterbury Tales (The Ellesmere Chaucer)–actually not one of my faves, but I couldn’t resist the tiny drawings.

;o)