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Archive for June, 2006

A week and two days into tour (Dublin, London, Brussels)

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I just realised that sometimes World Tour feels a lot like a pure vacation.  Like when I wandered about Dublin in the middle of the night or when I spent a leisurely day in London.  Yet at other times it feels a lot like travelling for work, or business.  Like when I’m dealing with the Singapore-related emails or when we have to rush from airport to concert venues.

Belgium has been wonderful.  I’m quite impressed with the 25 year old Prince Simon de Merode whose castle at Westerlo was the venue for the Havard Club of Belgium’s casino night.  The Prince also showed up at the concert we had tonight at the official residence of the Deputy Head of Mission of the American Embassy in Brussels.

The food has been fantastic here in Belgium.  I would love to live here (or really in most places in Western Europe) and work for a while, I think.  The scampi, ribs and beer at Wieren in Leuven was memorably good.  Leuven in general is very pleasant and interestingly quaint, yet bustling with the energy of a University town.

I’ve enjoyed my homestay here a lot.  While Patti White’s stunning townhouse flat in the tony part of London (Holland Park) was arguably more luxe–wait till you see the pictures of the colossal guest bathroom covered in trompe l’oeil murals on the walls and ceiling–I think Professor Paul Verlin’s recently renovated (and not quite finished) house here in a leafy neighborhood in Leuven has been exceptionally comfortable.  The house boasts custom hand-carved artisanal staircases, an AGA stove in the kitchen and a raindance shower rose in the guest bathroom (really a guest apartment on the top floor).  Staying here has been like staying in a really fabulous spa in Sweden.  Very restful, calming and rejeuvenating.  I’ve also really enjoyed spending time with the Verlins and chatting with Paul, Ann-Marie, Charlotte and Emily on all sorts of things.

It’s sad that Dublin will get narry a mention here on the blog, nor will London, though I will say that it was fantastic to have Laurel and Kenneth in the audience at the Christchurch concert, and I trully loved the time I spent in Oxford with wonderful company (really makes me wish I’d gone to uni there, and certainly tempts me to consider graduate work there).  There’s just too much to say, particularly because I’m constantly busy either doing things that really should be journalled about eventually to preserve them for posterity, or sleeping to recover from the exertion of said activity.  On the upside I’ve been pretty meticulous about keeping a photo-record of the trip thus far (save for the last 36 hours when all my camera batteries aggravatingly died on me).  The pictures will just have to do in place of actual written records.

Je suis ravie d’avoir l’opportunité de parler français à la Belgique 🙂

Tomorrow, Luxembourg.  Off to pack again!

First stop entry

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

Here I am in Dublin, and I’m going to try and make this quick so I can minimise the amount of time I spend sitting in this Internet cafe and go hit the streets to look around.

Aside from the ginormously painful, expensive affair that move-out was (I even had to miss the first 7am call/gig entirely), things have been going fairly smoothly.  I was completely knocked-out on the flight to Frankfurt, where we had a four hour layover; I’m a little annoyed at having slept through dinner on the flight, but I made up for it with many bags of Haribo candy 🙂

Earlier today we sang our first gig of the tour, at a very strange interfaith peace conference of some description, and between the jet lag, sore limbs (too much hand-carry luggage!!) and complete lack of warming-up, I think we sounded a little weak.  On the way back to the Dublin university residences that we’re staying at, I noted that so far the trip still feels like just another Din roadtrip to Connecticut or Maine…  I was looking out the window at the Dublin suburb we were going through and thinking, “I can’t wait to get back to Quincy; Is this Allston, MA?”

The Irish accent is both really pretty, and also often indecipherable 🙂

IMPORTANT:  There is a great little group blog that’s been set up for the Dins and they’re loved ones.  Bookmark the page: Dins v. The World

See you in Dublin

Friday, June 9th, 2006

I’m not ready to leave.  Not close.  But I have to pack up my desktop now.  Call is in about an hour.

Last night was amazing, with the gig at BC with Ming.  Remind me to talk about the dietary cycle I fell into these past few days.

 Anyhow, anyone who wants postcards, please do email me (the address can be found in “contact details” link on the left bar) with your postal address.  Also, if you have the addresses of other people I know, also feel free to send that along as I don’t have my address book with me…  😉

See you on the other side of the Atlantic.

The last working Monday

Monday, June 5th, 2006

Very unexpectedly, I am rushing to see the completion of multiple essays….  and not for myself.  I can’t go into details, but this whole situation comes as quite a shock, in more ways than one.  How did it come to this?  I don’t know.  I pray it gets done, at least the bare minimum.  And not for my sake at all.

In the meantime, it’s been a really lovely weekend spent away from campus in New York.  A couple of days were spent on the Dins’ whirlwind Albany Tour.  Five engagements in one day, starting with an 8am call and going to 10.30pm.  Five gigs in one day.  That’s a new record.  It was loads of fun though, and pretty cool, from the half-hour NPR radion program to the Legal Aid benefit (where they had planned an entire Dins-themed event with lime-green balloons and G&T hampers) to the Confirmation service where the group gave its best rendition of My Lord in memory.

Then I hurried off to Manhattan to join Ming at the W hotel (lovely location and lobby, even if the rooms don’t quite live up to the hype).  We saw The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick Jr., who was simply marvellous, and matched by an impressive cast of talented singers and dancers.  A great production indeed.  Catch it before its current run ends in two weeks.

I also made it to B&J Trim, where I spent the better part of the afternoon picking out an outrageously difficult, fiddly and costly selection of trim, lace, ribbon, fringe and buttons in various complementary shades of antique gold for the brown cashmere military-inspired dress-jacket I’m planning for the Fall.  It all took so long that I didn’t even manage to make it to M&J Fabric for the actual double-faced cashmere.  I suppose I’ll just have to pick it up in London along with the Prince-of-Wales check wool I need for the fur-trimmed long coat that’s also amongst my plans.

Overall I had a fabulous time, rain and cold notwithstanding.  Thank you, Ming 🙂

I have an absurdly full Monday ahead of me.  Drycleaners, T-mobile store and post office; Prof Hardin’s office, sleep-study clinic, Dins rehearsal and admissions office info session; and then the Lodge Communication this evening followed by the Miss Pitch bachelorette party…

I know I’ve missed things out, but one can only do so much, right?