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Monday, September 12th, 2005

Transatlanticism

Sunday, September 11, 11:30 PM EDT, ??? Local time

I’m just over halfway through my flight to London Heathrow, which should put me in the North Atlantic, probably somewhere around Iceland? They said that daylight would come very quickly upon us as we headed east, but it’s still pitch black outside. Among other firsts, this is my first red-eye flight so as I write this, the cabin is mostly dark and the passengers mostly asleep, save for the smallish number of people choosing to watch Moulin Rouge rather than catch some shut-eye. I’ve never seen the film but I don’t have a great angle on the screen and figure I’d rather see it in more comfortable environs. It’s the second film of the flight, the first was Monster In-Law. You’re damn right I slept through that.

I’ve had Billy Bragg stuck in my head for most of the first part of the flight, and naturally I didn’t bring any of his music along though I did think of it before I left. “Here Comes Richard” was replaced in my mental soundtrack by Jim James yelping “Off the record! Off the record!” and while I actually did bring my copy of Z along with me, I really don’t feel like installing the copy protection software that would allow me to play it on the laptop so I’m currently enjoying the dulcet yet sardonic croonings of Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman. Seems appropriate.

If I had any sense, I’d be asleep too. For whatever reason, I’ve been nigh-narcoleptic all day, barely staying awake long enough to check in, board and eat… But I just caught a few hours of shut-eye and honestly, I found the image of being gently illuminated by my laptop screen at 39,000 feet near the top of the world while everyone else around me slumbers too romantic to resist. Yes, I find that romantic. I’m weird. Having Ewen McGregor and Nicole Kidman singing silently to one another out of the corner of my eye is just gravy.

They’ve just promised us turbulence. I am going to stow my carry-on baggage in anticipation. And maybe get some more sleep.

Monday, September 12, 3:45AM EDT, 8:45 AM local time

All my adult life I’ve wanted to come to the United Kingdom. And here I am. In the departure lounge at London Heathrow. It’s… airport-y. We came in from the northwest just as day broke so I got to watch the English countryside go by in its wonderful patchwork of fields. I wonder if the government mandates that certain fields be one colour and the adjoining ones be another, just so as to maintain such a pleasant aerial view. I don’t know where Heathrow is relative to London proper, but I sadly didn’t get to see any of the city on our descent – just some industrial parks and trailer – sorry, CARAVAN – campgrounds. I’m only here for another forty minutes or so, then on to Copenhagen. Someday I will return for a proper visit to the UK… Someday. It’s so charming here – everyone talks funny.

Monday, September 12, 2:45 PM EDT, 8:45 PM local time

Welcome to Copenhagen harbour. We’ve just set sail and I’m lounging in the ship lounge, which seems like the best place to lounge. It’s also where the wireless signal is strongest. I’m tired. I’m not really sure what day it is or if I’ve slept at all. I suspect not. I haven’t really had a chance to see Copenhagen – the bus drove through downtown en route from the airport to the pier, and what I did see was beautiful, but I’m not going to get any time to spend in the city till the end of the trip. I will say that anyone that uses hardwood floors in their airport is truly a highly evolved people. And wind turbines! They have so many of them, they make our token one back home seem so lonely. Tomorrow is a travel day so maybe I’ll offer up some insights on the cruise ship experience from the perspective of someone under the age of 50. It’ll be a unique perspective since I believe I’m the only one, on this ship at least, who is.

Monday, September 12, 3:17 AM EDT, 9:17 AM local time

Intermittent satellites conspire to keep me offline while we’re at sea. I’m keeping these notes in a Word doc and will post them in the appropriate dates when I get online. Sleep was also intermittent last night, not sure if from the jet lag or the Broadway-style revue going on in the theatre directly below my cabin… This morning is a travel day to Sweden, and coincidentally, it’s the day they’ve scheduled the least interesting activities for the day – though I could go play shuffleboard. Seriously. I think I’ll just hang out on the deck and read or something. And yes, it’s been brought to my attention that my RSS feed is busted. My servers got moved recently and now I’m not sure what’s going on. I will get try and get my magical team of elves on it to try and get that shiznit fixed.

By : Frank Yang at 11:59 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. claire says:

    wow, thanks for the vignettes. that’s dedication. i am not travelling anywhere exciting anytime soon, so it will be fun to do so vicariously through your entries.

  2. Garry says:

    I told my dad about your trip and he’s all, "The Black Sea? Cruise? WONDERFUL! We should do it!"

    Honestly, I’d like to tour Northern Europe with friends, or even on my own. I think my Dad would like it better in the south where he’s from.

    Copenhagen has hardwood floors? I knew it. Such an IKEA-esque feel (even though it’s still Denmark).

    SIGUR ROS in less than a week!!!

  3. Frank says:

    Dedication? Boredom. See today’s post. I expect to be far more excited once we begin actually seeing the cities in Scandanavia. The ship isn’t so much an experience for me as it is transportation with rich food.

    Garry – I’m on the Baltic, not Black Sea. The graphic I posted before had the wrong name on it. PRetty reassuring from the company that’s supposed to be bringing me, eh?