Archive for April 2013
I have written before that I am not the worlds’ biggest fan of US cities. There are but a few exceptions to the rule, and I recently discovered another one.
Most metropolitan areas in America seem to be spread out across huge areas of land – without a real city center – and they are impossible to navigate by foot or by public transport. There are a few exceptions. New York was fun, but expensive and on the busy side. I love San Francisco and Seattle, and I could see myself living in either if they weren’t on the other side of the globe.
So my expectations for New Orleans were pretty low. Not having read up on its history like the good ignorant tourist I am I was expecting another clunky high concrete-to-services-ratio kind of town, perhaps with a little relief in the form of an overly polished mall. Not so.
New Orleans is a greasy, dirty kind of city – in a good way. It’s old, and lived. It’s got history and atmosphere. There’s jazz on every corner, and lots of dive bars and strip clubs that stay open all night. Bourbon Street is a bit too touristy for my taste, but there are many other interesting streets nearby. We spent most of our free days walking alongside the river delta and about the city streets. I found a couple of nice bookstores – proper bookstores with barely any light, a handwritten register, wobbly stacks of books and barely any room to move. Being the addict I am, I bought more books than I will be able to read in the next 6 months. In the evenings, we hung out in the dive bars and absynthe houses, we drunk beer and other crazy stuff, and listened to jazz and fusion.
I will definitely return if I get the chance.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Pretty much what I expected from it. Travelogue of a drugged-up roadtrip, against a backdrop of the latter years of the American sixties. The book starts out very strong, but bored me more and more towards the end.
I’d still like to see Vegas sometime.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
More dystopia. I enjoyed the movie, and the book is good too. It took me a while to get past the annoying abundance of nadsat in the first dozen pages.
I love life on the road, but it’s also nice to have a place to call home again. The last six months had me travel across most of Europe in the midst of winter. I’ve slept on the couches and in the beds of my friends and strangers, at bed-and-breakfasts, in a rental apartment, a handful of night trains, several hotel rooms and a couple of hostel dorms. The introvert in me needs a break.
This week I moved into my new place, a single bedroom apartment in one of London’s southern boroughs. It’s not super cheap, or large, or in a great neighborhood – welcome to London – but it’s comfy, near one of the more active high streets, and – above all – mine. In terms of square feet (or square meters – whatever) it’s about a third the size of my flat in the Netherlands.
Before I moved out, I threw out as much stuff as I thought I could. A lot of furniture made its way to my sister, and what was left went to the local recycling or landfill. The remainder was packed “carefully” into three dozen boxes by the moving company, and then picked up and put in storage here in London. It’s sat in a warehouse for 5 months while I was doing my thing roaming about Europe, and I haven’t missed any of it. Perhaps it’s time to throw out more so my next move won’t be such a hassle.
It seems like a long time ago that I lived in the Netherlands. I can see myself staying in the UK for a couple more years, and then move elsewhere.