Travel as Metaphor

The blog of novelist Sue Swift.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sue's blog....Halloween edition!

On Halloween night I took two walking tours--one a haunted pub tour and the other one done by London Walks. Both were good but the London Walks one was brilliant. The tour leader was dressed in black, cape, toque, boots and everything in between. Whiteface with Goth black eyepaint and lipstick, and he took us to some delightfully spooky areas of old London.

Yesterday I visited Uncle Li in hospital for the first time, looking for Allison. He was sitting up and looked better than I expected. He said it was lovely to see me :) always a nice thing to hear :) and I told him I'd stop by again. I didn't want to stay long to tire him out.

On the way out I did bump into Allison, who looked fabulous as usual. She and Liz have such a great sense of style. We chatted briefly.

Had supper at Rochelle's, with cousin Eddie off in France looking at properties with Uncle Mo. The boys were charming. I read a few books to them and of course they wanted more...the younger one was too restless to sleep, while the older, who now attends school, was clearly exhausted, poor thing.

I picked up my visa at the Thai Embassy. As promised, two tourist visas for 60 days each. The document, pasted into my passport, is way cool, filling an entire page with all kinds of bright colors and interesting stamps.

Am on a train to Brighton. It's a sunny, beautiful day, so bright that I move to the other side of the train to get out of the sun.

It's not even 2:30 and my will is faltering. I've only been here two hours...walked down Queen Street (an appropriate name considering what I've been told about Brighton's inhabitants) to the shore of the English Channel. The water is lined with a rocky bech of small, smooth stones rather than sand. The sea is flat and dead calm, perfect for skipping stones. I walked the charming pier, then skipped the Sea Life Aquarium...I've been to the Maui Marine Aquarium and am going to Thailand, so I thought it rather redundant.

Went to the Prince Regent's Pavilion, where I'm now resting in the music room. The entire place is a Regency-era explosion of faux Oriental excess. Every centimeter of the palace is gilded, festooned and embroidered with dragong, palm trees, pagodas and the like. Quite brilliant and fantastic. Predominant colors and red and gold, with some rooms done in blue or sea green added as a cooler counterpoint.

Sunday: So Thursday was Brighton, and Friday Bert went to Trisha's in Claygate for a couple of days. I took my hockey bag over to Liz's house and stuck it in their garage. Saw Li again; he'd faded a tad...another chat with Allison, who thinks I should go blond and move to Israel. Apparently all the men there are "potty" about blue eyed blondes. Had dinner at Mo and Lo's last night, delightful of course.

On Saturday I took another London Walks tour, this one of an area of London locally called Little Venice. It's a part of the West End shafted by canals initially built and used for transport of goods from England's industrial heartland to Docklands. It's dominated by semi-Italianate neo-Clasic arthitectire, which as I've said is not my favorite, though there are some quite nice Victorian and Edwardian apartment blocks. The tour was led by the same guy who did the Halloween night tour, Shaughan, and he was again fabulous, especially compared to thedude who did an evening tour I later took, though Hampstead's pubs. This fellow seemed as though he'd rather have been anywhere else. Still, saw some quite interesting things.

It's Sunday, and I had planned to take the Jewish Quarter tour, but Colin phoned twice this morning and made me late. The upshot of all that is that he is returning to the states because the girls really need him. I hope he'll return to Thailand, but in the meantime, I am not joining him in Koh Lanta but will be going instead to Chiang Mai, where we have a mutual friend, Brett, who's lived there for quite some time. He's married and runs a jewelry store. This actually suits me fine since I am only medium on beachy hot places, and Chiang Mai, the 2d largest city in Thailand, is in the mountains and cooler. So I'll see what that's like.

I met a nice couple from Singapore, not a couple exactly but business associates. They are involved with Singapore Walks and gave me a card, telling me to come to Singapore. Perhaps I shall. It's not far one one is in SE Asia. But there are only a limited number of places I want to see outside Thailand. Perhaps it's my American myopia, but foremost on my to-do list are Angkor in Cambodia and the Taj in India.

I took a Harry Potter tour Sunday evening and quit it in disgust. I was not the only one disappointd. Waste of five pounds.

It's now Tuesday morning Nov 5??? and I have been working on getting a hotel in Chiang Mai...tough since we are approaching the high season.


  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Crystal Green's Blog said…


    I'm just so enthralled by your travel news (and I'm envious, too). I love hearing your thoughts as you explore. And how cool is it that you're taking all those London Walks? When I visited London, I was all over those! I took the Hampstead pub walk, too. Loved it. Of course, I was a big fan of the Jack the Ripper tour, as well as Ghosts of the East End (I think that's what it was called.).

    Looking forward to future adventures. Good fortune and safety, Sue. :)


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