Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a weekend

Another year older. Another February 10th closer to death. Creepy! Don't worry, I haven't gone cynical.

Even though the age to do anything remotely interesting, including drinking, is 18 over here didn't mean that I couldn't have a wonderful birthday. The weekend started with a wonderful trip to Kew Gardens (mentioned below). Saturday I woke up, showered, and realized my hair was a nightmare so I ran down the street and walked into a salon I stroll past everyday. The only appointment available was an hour and a half later with the owner, Andre. He's from South Africa, and he tried to teach me Afrikans and the click language. He also told me to stay away if I wanted to grow out my hair. Anyway, I did a little birthday shopping in the afternoon, which proved to be a success.

Saturday night a few of us met up at The Big Chill Bar for birthday drinks. Obviously there was no harm done, as I am writing this post two days later. No hospital visits and I am still alive!

Sunday was a trip to Brighton Beach with my roommates, Ambika and Kristin. We took a two hour-ish train ride to the coast and spent a lovely afternoon eating seafood and lying on the pebble beach. There's nothing like a vast ocean to put you back in your place, and it couldn't have been at a more appropriate time. We are so insignificant and tiny--little babies standing on ancient rocks, layered over a dynamic, moving, living Earth. And the sunset wasn't too shabby!

But I wasn't finished with the ocean. Monday morning Andrew, Tom and I drove to Dungeness to see more sea.

This place is desolate.

You think it's the sky as you drive into the town, but it's all vast ocean around you. The sparse sprinkling of trees diminishes the closer you get to water. In the distance the silhouette of a power plant emerges in the skyline. Crummy houses line grassy patches a few hundred yards back from an empty pebble shoreline that stretches out to giant waters. It's quiet enough, save for the pulsing crash of waves and deafening crunch of rocks, to make you whisper. Several fishermen stand patiently, faithfully, by their lines, hoping for a catch.

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