Thursday, April 05, 2007

Travelogue: March 24, 2007

I Am a Dancing God

I think I owe Peru a great many thank yous: it has allowed me to key my dancing expectations for myself to an impossibly high level, so I'm always pleasantly surprised when I come off looking good. In South America, I have roughly the dancing skill of a one-legged pre-teen with Down Syndrome. Roughly. But then I came back to HLS and did the Parody, and discovered that apparently I would be needed as a "feature dancer," which I still contend says more about the quality of the male dancing pool at HLS than it does about me, but still, I appreciated it.

And now, even better, I go to England and am reminded about how hilariously lacking in dancing skill Europeans are. I mean, the English are no Germans in this respect (think the old "Sprockets" sketches Mike Myers did on SNL), but once again I have succeeded in surrounding myself with a culture with so little focus on dancing skill, that I come off looking awesome. We went to a Cuban-themed club last night, and my Winter Term training came in handy. Forget Peruvian political history...that was the real lesson I picked up for the term. Score.

Will You Be Having the Caviar or the Solid Gold Babies?

Breakfast with the Guests this morning was a veritable feast. Eggs, toast, bacon, beans, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, chocolate croissants, juice, and tea. Top it all off with a copy of the Financial Times, classical music playing on a record player in the background, and a little bit of political conversation about the ongoing Iran crisis (15 British navy soldiers captured in the Persian Gulf, dispute over whose waters they were in). This is a lifestyle I could get used to.

Stop Being So Damned Polite

As we got on the plane for Morocco and headed for our seats, I spent a full minute standing behind two people who were "arguing" over which of them would defer to the other and take the center seat in their row. Politeness is lovely, but it really leaves me with no appropriate way to say, "Excuse me, your inspirational display of selflessness has trapped like 40 of us in this aisle here, thanks."

6 Out of 7 Ain't Bad

When we landed in Marrakesh, we disembarked from the plane via steps to the tarmac rather than an air bridge. Which was great, because it gave me the satisfaction of walking down the steps, measuring my pace, and thinking, "And this is continent....6!" as I touched the earth. It's a small victory, and the extent of my Asian travels is 2 days in Turkey (but we did cross the Bosporus), but I'll take it! And my study abroad in the fall should help flesh out the whole Asia thing.

Cast of Characters

At this point, I should introduce the highly international cast of characters of our little story, as I imagine I'll be mentioning them from time to time. Let's go from left to right. Sek is our Cambridge-educated (the 1000 year-old Cambridge, not this Boston crap) Malaysian-Australian London-based management consultant. Matt is our Arab-speaking, Egtyptian-Canadian-Coptic-extraordinaire Harvard 2L. Jung is our Korean-American all-Ivy League all-star Harvard 3L. I, of course, am the Russian-Jewish-American London-studying Harvard 2L on the right. And the pretty one in the group.

Do They Allow Jews to Be Sheiks?

We got to our riad (a house arranged around a large interior courtyard, often used as hotels), and immediately, I felt unworthy of the splendor in which I was being indulged (and this is after having that monster breakfast the same morning). Seriously, the place was a palace, as this picture only starts to capture. This large living area was actually roof-less, as it was the interior courtyard. An attendant was on duty pretty much 24/7 to wait on us. When we came back from dinner at 11 pm, having purchased a hookah, he went out and bought us flavored tobacco and coals (which we then smoked in the most atmospheric pillow-filled little nook off that courtyard, while sipping on pointlessly expensive 21-year scotch that Jung bought at Heathrow before we left). After we officially retired to our quarters, I decided to take advantage of the set-up and returned to the nook to write a letter by star- and candlelight. The attendant brought me an extra candle. The only thing that was missing was a harem for my personal use, and I'm not convinced that I wouldn't have found one if I had just looked a little harder.

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