Sunday, July 31, 2005

 

Returning to normal & A lovely intimate dinner party

I went to bed last night at 11:30pm and woke up at 4:25am, so my body is totally back to normal after the trip home on Thursday. As I pass further and further into the life of one of those fascinating middle-aged men you boys hear about, I need less and less sleep. I've never needed more than about five and a half hours but some nights I wake up after only four or four and a half hours feeling refreshed and ready to go. Whether it's healthy or not I can't say but I feel great and I certainly get a lot done each day with all those extra hours awake.

Fritz and I credit our bouncing back from jet lag so easily to a product called--No Jet Lag. It's a homeopathic product made in New Zealand and it WORKS. We were introduced to it by good friends who now live in Seattle when we stopped with them for a couple of days last time we headed for Australia. I had been to Asia before in one hop, crossing ten time zones and being devastated for days after arrival. So I proposed to Fritz we break the trip with friends or new places to explore along the way. M & S (I would have writen S & M, which is the order in which we always speak of them, but the boys aren't into that) for two days before heading to New Zealand and they said we HAD to use No Jet Lag which is available at health and whole food stores. You take a pill every two hours unless you're sleeping, from the moment the plane pulls back from the gate until arrival. We hit Auckland airport at 4:30am feeling great, got our rental car, drove for about five hours, spent the day doing stuff, spent the evening having a Hongi (Maori dinner baked in a fire pit underground) and about 9:30pm began to feel a little sleepy. No Jet Lag is that good, and we've used it ever since whenever we travel.


The famous "Bamberger Rider"

The Cathedral in Bamberg is one of the gems of this town that was virtually untouched by by the second World War--we visited other cities that had been 85% flattened by American bombardiers (my father among them. He personally helped take out Berlin, Kiel, Frankfurt and Regensburg). Mounted on one main pier of the sanctuary is this handsome fellow, one of the most famous statues of the Medieval period, because it's the only life-sized equestrian statue known to have been attempted between the end of the Roman period and the Italian Renaissance. The realism and detail are remarkable.

When we booked the cruise we wondered what our fellow passengers would be like and were hoping for a mix of ages and nationalities. The reality was that the majority were in late middle age, and mostly American although there was an Israeli couple, some Brits, two New Zealand couples who were lots of fun as Kiwis almost always are,
a Chinese couple now resident in the US and a German couple. All were hetero.

We were the only two gay men on board. Our sister ship that sailed from Budapest at the same time but went only as far as Nurnburg, had a big group of very lively gay men with a nice spread of ages, but that was not to be for us. It didn't take us long however to gaydar out a lesbian foursome from southern California, one couple and two of their friends. Smart, sassy and great amounts of fun, they made a frequent sixsome with us for lunch and dinner.

Fritz and I tried to mix as much as possible. We like people and had some good times with a wide variety of types. A small number of couples figured us out and were frosty--these were red state Republican types--and we accepted the fact they were folks we probably didn't want to know anyway. Still, it made us realize how lucky we are to be on the east coast and involved with Academia.

Another nice thing about teaching is that a number of former students keep up with you with some frequency, some eventually becoming valued adult friends who keep you in touch with the life and culture of their generations. I hosted a 30th birthday dinner last night for one former student who did lots of design/technical work with me, mostly in lighting, and his new boyfriend. S, the birthday boy who manages events and has taken rock concert tours nationwide, had called before we left, said turning 30 was going to be traumatic and that of his two options, dinner with his parents or with me, he preferred the latter. Also he wanted me to meet J, slightly younger and doing a PhD in physics at Harvard, who was more and more looking like The One. Instead of going out, I suggested they come here.

I had a Mediterranean antipasto platter for their arrival, and began dinner with white cheddar and asparagus soup, moving on to quiche lorraine, lightly curried summer squash and zucchini, home baked wheat bread with dried apple and candied ginger mixed in, and champagne for dinner. The birthday "cake" was individual confections of chocolate truffle in fudge cake balls covered with dark chocolate ganache. As daylight failed and we kept on talking and laughing, I lit the candle chandelier and brought some candles onto the table to surround the enormous bouquet of mixed flowers they had brought me. They're truly, glowingly in love and the evening was a joy from beginning to end.

Comments:
The trip sounds wonderful, as does the dinner for your former student. How wonderful life seems to be for you. I hope it stays this way for a long, long time.
 
Trip recounting is great Will - interesting experiences for sure!

That dinner sounds good - I just had breakfast, and you're making me hungry :-)
 
Even though you kept in touch with us during your travels, I have to say there's something comforting about having you 'home'. xox
 
Beautiful that "Bamberger Reiter" ... I know him only by photographs, but my father carved for me a rocking horse which looked very similar the Bamberger Reiter ... My father made it when he came home from the war captivity in 1946.
The wood he took for carving was a piece of a girder which he found in the ruins of the bombing raids from 1945 ...
This rocking horse was my first birthday present I can remember ... allora ne ho avuto tre anni !

All the best to Fritz and you,

Hans
 
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