Thursday, 27 November 2008

ps calling krakow, berlin, mauretania and primrose hill

Many thanks Kieran and Claus for factual clarification, and to Nityabandhu and Mauricio and Mussy for your kind encouragements! I'm enjoying writing my blog, and thinking of you all, and appreciate your comments. love to all.

karaoke nights

Today we cycled through the karst and are none the wiser as to its geological origin. Its a flat plain with the most extraordinary hills just shooting straight up into the sky, and goes on for miles and miles. Our guide is Bin (call me Maggie) Yan, a slip of a girl more used to filing her nails and dying her hair orange than cycling. She spends a lot of time looking at her mobile phone, perhaps trying to coax messages out of it to alleviate the boredom of our frequent photo stops. The landscape is astonishing, and the orchards are full of citrus fruits , and cotton, and bougainvillea in glorious blossom.

After a few hours my bum is very sore. We all know how the sinews and flesh of the body hold a remembrance of things past; I am taken back directly to the summer of 1984. I was nursing a bruised heart after a confusing love affair, and thought the only thing to do was get on my bike and cycle alone across France . It took me 11 mostly blissful, and certainly saddle sore, days to ride from Dieppe to Nimes and my heart was mended for a while. More lastingly, the beloved's sister was an Alexander Technique teacher, so I had heard a lot about the Technique and been advised that I would even benefit from it. On my return from France I searched Time Out and found an Alexander workshop advertised. After that I never looked back . I began lessons and within a year had been accepted on to a three year training course which changed my life. So thanks Ben! I saw Ben recently at the theatre with his two teenage sons. We chatted pleasantly, and there was no tugging of the scar tissue around my heart.

Tomorrow we do a Chinese cooking workshop on a farm nearby. If local delicacies are anything to go by - pig hand with sauce, steamed cuckold, fried pig face meet, spicy cattle hoof with local pepper, crispy pig lung, crab porridge, bamboo leopard cat, masked civet and snake (soup, pepper, braised) - we are in for a treat!

Our idyll here is shattered nightly by dreadful sounds arising from a hundred karaoke bars. I want to tear out the perpetrators' tonsils, which on reflection might make a nice soup.