London And Amsterdam 2013

September 26 v&a 1

Another visit to the V&A. We spent a good deal of time in the 11th to 14th century mediaeval galleries. Glorious stained glass windows, miniature alters for travel made of gold and gems, one carved inside a walnut shell, huge tapestries from Belgium, their colors still vibrant. We spoke with a woman from New Zealand who was an art historian specializing in religious art of the period. When we told her we had just returned from Amsterdam, she told us that the Dutch art history departments of museums were very gender biased and it was nearly impossible for women to become directors. Seems unlikely to me. The Dutch women I met were strong minded, no nonsense people.

There is a wide, grassy courtyard plaza in the center of the museum with a big fountain pool. People spread out on the lawn and watch as children in their undies frolic in the water. We had lunch in the tearoom again. Sat and chatted with a woman from Denver traveling with her older husband. There were terrible floods going on in Colorado and Mexico at the time. Global warming was one topic of conversation. I wonder why we can’t devise a system of movable aqueducts to transport water from flooding in one region to areas of drought in another? Why can’t we spend taxpayer dollars and American genius on something like that?

Horror of horrors! McDonald’s hamburgers and fries for dinner. We have sunk to an all time food low and need to get home to home cooked meals.

September 27  London's footbridge

Taxi to the airport at 7:00 a.m.. Our driver was from Pakistan now living most of the year in England. He told us that he owned an apartment in Tangiers and every year would make a twenty-four hour drive there in his taxi for vacation. I didn’t know that was even possible. He said that the people of Tangiers were very friendly, that the food was delicious and it was a cheap place to live. He had worked for a tech company and had been downsized during the worldwide, financial crash in ’08. Now he was a London taxi driver. We talked world politics and as I suspected, he agreed with me that most people everywhere just want to live in peace and can’t understand why we don’t.

We boarded our plane at 9:30, had great seats and a smooth flight home. Long, long shuttle ride from LAX to the house, kisses and hugs with our son and straight to bed for a few hours. Had Dorian’s famous spaghetti bolognese for dinner. The best meal since we left.

I love my son, my house, my bed and, although I bitch about our politics, I love my country. Sappy? Maybe, but the more I travel the more I realize how much America defines me and how grateful I am to live here.   paul:canal boat amsterdamdorian & lolacherie in brussels

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