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jeudi 21 mai 2009

Life is a long vacation with intervals of work

The Pleasant Long Commute to work among the Los Indios..


How often do you begin your journey to work with a glass of French Champagne? I was inside the Air France Boeing 747-400, the last of the aircrafts to evoke romance and adventure, Seat 2K... Champagne, sil vous plait..

I was on my way to work.

People complain of long commute to work, but while pleasant, mine  is rather tortuous. Air France to Miami...Champagne...Foie de gras...Crevettes with noodles... cheese…a sweet wine to finish the dinner... a little sleep... write something... read something... within 9 hours, you are over Miami, and each and every time when my flight descends into Miami, I have the similar sensation of a lover waiting eagerly for his date..Miami never disappoints… Look a bit to the left... in the distance of less than 200 km lies San Cristobal de la Habana, with its fading portals and sensuality that traps the visitor into its tropical torpor… ah...through the Immigration and Customs in a jiffy, to the house of my sister. It is nice to have a sister, who also happens to be your confidante and counselor. It is my yardstick of friendship, if I introduce you to my sister Jackie (born in England but grew up in Jamaica), that is an indication that I like you... Her helper from Jamaica, I call her Miss Amazon because of her enormous size, had prepared a lovely spicy, stir fried dish of noodles, vegetables, stripes of beef… and the PG tips tea always tastes better at the home of my sister..

To lessen the impact of United States on my conscience and more importantly on my stomach, from whatever country I travel from, Miami is the first destination, it is that liminality of being neither here or there, which I like about Miami.. Also nice to have your sister and close friend living there, and who absolutely spoils you and looks after you... ah well...

She was driving me to the airport on my way to the Indians, to my work, for which I had entered USA, we wanted to have a Lebanese lunch at Maroosh in Coral Gables, she pointed out to an Asian Fusion restaurant in South Miami, called Origin, we changed plans and had a nice pan Asian fusion food, I tasted Amok made with Salmon, this humble national dish of Cambodia which always comes with the river/lake fish and my sister had a nice red curry with shrimp which had Thai flavours.

Time to say good bye to Miami, always a little sad even if I know that once again on June 10th the same Air France flight will bring me back to Miami.

Time to go to work!

Continental Airlines, seat 2E, from Miami to Houston, the food was plenty but lacked the vital taste the French food has, this evening it was Reuben sandwich, which was too heavy for me, a lentil soup, a couple of glasses of Californian chardonnay… Houston to Omaha was on a Continental Flight again, seat 1B... I slept most of the way. I no longer feel Jet lag as it is classically described but falling asleep at inappropriate hours could describe  the effect of long flights on me...

The Midwesterners are extremely friendly, polite and welcoming. Would you like a Ford Lotus?  asked the man behind the AVIS rent a car counter; I had no idea what he was talking about... I said enthusiastically Yes, as long as it has satellite radio, so that I can listen to BBC world services as the grey scenery passes me by along these lonely roads, away from Kuala Lumpur, far away from Paris…Rangoon... these are the places I think of as I drive to get to work… I know some patients or other are waiting for me...

53 hours after leaving Paris, here I was driving into the parking lot of the Indian Clinic where I would be working for the next few days. Within minutes of entering the clinic, once again I have forgotten all the other lives... the one in Asia, the other in Paris, the third in Cuba... this is where I am now, my mind and body and soul are all here...i am quickly integrated into the rhythm of the life here, in this desolate part of the United States, which the Indians call The Turtle Island..

At Lunch, I drove 50 km to the next town and ate at a Vietnamese restaurant, which never changes its flavours, I had my perennial favourite, Bun ga Xao and my colleague had Bun Bo Hue, better than the one I tasted in Hue itself… ah well.. That is now another story...