Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back in the Armchair

If I were reading my own travel blog, I might be a little miffed. The title has lured me to settle in the easy chair and vicariously see a bit of the world without the hassle of delayed planes and missing hotel reservations and slow elevators and failed Internet connections and instead I’m reading about yet another music class of joyous interplay that surely will bring World Peace where all else has failed. Who cares? I want to hear about whether the Great Wall is really so great (it is) and is it really true that a small plate of cold buckwheat noodles and a few shrimp tempura in Japan can cost $25? (It can, but great news in Japan—no tip!!!).

I want a photo of a thousand bicycles on the Beijing Streets (sorry! 10 year too late—the government pushed for cars and cars it is). Did you really have noodles and vegetables for breakfast each morning at the hotel? (I did). Did you learn any Chinese? (I worked on a short poem and watched my brain do an intensive internal Google search for any sound that was close to the one I just heard and come up empty—and that’s why everyone laughed at what came out of my mouth.). Do you really believe your theory that laughing hysterically with friends at people you know in common who aren’t in the room helps alleviate jet lag? (Still testing this one, but it seemed to.)

What’s the most interesting part of the Temple of Heaven? (Got there close to closing, but was able to test out the Echo Wall, a kind of St. Paul’s Cathedral circular outdoor wall where you can say something on end of the circle and your friend can hear your voice emerge from the wall on the other side. Actually, with everyone shouting, it was hard to hear, but it worked better when we played recorders.) Did you go to the Forbidden City? (Wasn’t allowed. Ha ha! No, I went six years ago and the scale and grandeur of it all was quite remarkable.)

I heard a rumor about Japanese toilets with knobs on the side for spray and bidet. (Yep. Got one in my hotel, but damn if I’m going to test it out.) Why was the background music Mozart piano in a traditional sushi restaurant? (See my Julia Roberts blog). Is it true that some idiot in the newspaper the flight attendant handed you thinks Romney won the debate? (Sigh.) Is it true that if you keep writing to make me happier in my armchair that you’ll run out of time to prepare tomorrow’s class?



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