What’s Up? (England Day Five)

Weymouth
Visiting West Bay was the number one thing I wanted to do in England, but to get there we had to take the train from Southamtpon to Weymouth. Now, the immediate area around Weymouth was nothing special. A roundabout, some pubs, the classic brick architecture I’ve seen everywhere else in England. It’s not until we walked towards this clock tower at the end of King Street and discovered the beach, that Weymouth really shined and became a beautiful memory in its own right.

The ocean in Weymouth was a beautiful, tropical blue, like turquoise. The sands, a khaki tan, and covered in crows. In the sky a storm seemed to approach, as grey clouds above us were being chased by darker, black clouds. For a while we took refuge from the rain in a bus stop, waiting to take the x53 or Jurassic Coaster to West Bay. During a pause in the rain, we committed to finding a nice cafe and having a lunch before heading to West Bay. We chose The Good Life, a small cafe ran by very kind women, who prepared our drinks of choice–Cappuccinos and Americanos–and two ham sandwiches. The staff took an interest in my being American, and they were the first to ask in all of the cafes I had been too, what I was doing in Weymouth. I took such delight in explaining that I was here to visit my friend, and that I was here in Weymouth to visit the Jurassic Coast, specifically West Bay.

From our window seat in The Good Life, we could see the beautiful ocean, some white cliffs off in the distance, palm trees, and a statue of King George III. The woman running the cafe said to us that the storm out in the distance, the menacing black clouds, would completely miss us. According to her, the storms always break on the cliffs, the formations in the other towns, Weymouth never gets the worst of it. And sure enough, she was right. The worst storm never reached Weymouth and in fact, the weather became magnificent, bright and sunny–fitting for a beach town. With that, we boarded our bus, and headed towards West Bay.

Coastal Bus
This was an extraordinary bus. The route it took was just, so diverse. Steep uphill through heavily-wooded areas, where sun showers fell, and branches slapped against the second floor of the bus. Open, high-altitude farm areas, where the ocean could be seen in the distance, and massive cliffs filled the thin space between farm and beach. The road swooped downhill through small brick towns, with cottages, beds and breakfasts, and historical tea shoppes and schoolhouses. A small church on a high hill was the tallest thing in the area, overlooking all the towns and farms as far as the eye could see.

West Bay
Finally, West Bay. The town was as small and precious as I could have imagined. A small, humble church, a beach side arcade advertising “Family Entertainment,” no towering corporate hotels, no corporate anything–just six fish’n’chips shacks lined up in a row to do friendly small-town competition. As cute as it was, I wasn’t here for the town of West Bay, not entirely.

The cliffs were powerful, and awe-inspiring…

064

IMG_2933

IMG_2961

Here, we spent close to two hours. Walking along the entire first chunk of cliff. Digging our feet into the pebbly beach. Admiring the giants, passing by courteous strangers, and many of their curious dogs. The experience was nothing short of spiritual. Just you, your friend, and nature. A wondrous, ancient cliff, whose sediments tells a story about the Earth you don’t understand, but you listen anyways. The layers of the Earth formed such flat rocks that they just called out for you to rest on them. And at a low point in the cliff, where the threat of falling rocks was low, we rested on the flat rock of West Bay. We rested, and looked out into the ocean–where not a single man made thing tainted the horizon. No ships. No buildings. No airplanes cut across the sky. I really mean it when I say this was a natural experience. Besides the cameras in our hands, I think we really were there, carefree and happy.

The Ships Galley
We ended the day in West Bay with some choice fish’n’chips from one of the town’s small seafood stands. The food was a bit tastier than what was had at the Crown & Anchor the night before, I think partially because you just get better food–or assume you get better food–from small town, small business people. We took our fish over to a little marina, and sat on a public bench where we met just the friendliest people. A group of Starlings surrounded me and my friend as we tried to eat our fish in peace, a couple with a dog came by to scare off the buggers, and we thanked the pup for his heroic deed.

This, this was probably the best day in the entire trip.

Advertisements

What’s Up? (England Day One)

The Flight
To describe what it was like to be in England, and to finally meet a lifelong friend, I have to start at the start. I had never flown Virgin airlines before, and I heard a great many things about their services–so when I took my window seat and saw that I had free movies to choose from, a blanket, pillow, sleepmask, earplugs, and even a toothbrush and toothpaste, I thought “this is going to be an awesome flight.” I imagined myself taking off from New York around 8PM, immediately falling asleep, and waking up in London at 8AM. This was not the case. I did not sleep for a minute of my eight-hour flight. Still, I thought the flight was alright; I enjoyed complimentary cheap red wine, dinner, breakfast, and I listened to a lot of George R.R. Martin on audiobook.

The Bus
When I landed in London, I was exhausted, but too excited to slow down. I made my way to the central bus station, grabbed a ticket to Southampton, waited all of thirty minutes, boarded my bus, and got underway. (I noted that the air outside of London Heathrow smelled clean, felt cold, like ionized air). I looked out of the bus window, looking for some iconic London landmark. Would I see Big Ben? The London Eye? I saw nothing. (I think this must be what it feels like to land in America for your first time, stepping outside at LaGuardia Airport, and feasting your eyes on Queens). But I wasn’t here for London, London was just a means to an ends, I was here for my friend.

Still, feeling antsy, I took notes to pass the hours. I noted every roundabout, the types of cars we passed, the traffic signs, (how accurate Euro Truck Simulator surprisingly is), the beautiful yellow rapeseed fields, the farm animals. Then the bus drove through our first city, Winchester. I noted the “canal-river” which turned out to be a Roman Viaduct, the many bars and restaurants, the historical brick aesthetic. (I don’t think I imagined I would be here four days later, eating and drinking with one of my best friends).

I feared falling asleep on the bus. It was far more comfortable than the airplane. I put on another chapter of A Song of Ice and Fire on Audible and tried to focus on the landscape. “Stay awake.”

The Arrival
When the bus pulled through Southampton, it was funny. I had seen some of these streets before, on Google Maps, back when I was thinking about the trip. I saw the West Quay, I knew what it was. I kept looking at the sidewalks. Was she somewhere around here? Where’s the bus station? Where? Where?!

Seeing her in the bus station was crazy. Just that type of moment where you don’t care how dorky you look to all these strangers, you’re just so happy you’ll let yourself get a little out there. Scream, hug, laugh, just say “Oh my God” over and over again. And, keep in mind, at this point I had been awake for over 24 hours, so the lunacy of sleep deprivation was stacking on top of the lunacy of happiness.

The notes slowed down here, because well, I was just experiencing things. I was wheeling my small luggage through a new town with an old friend. I needed desperately to sleep. So I slept in what would be my modest little bedroom for nine days. I slept a small, good little sleep, then had some breakfast sandwiches and drinks at the Maritimo Lounge, and more drinks back at my friend’s place. My long day ended like that. Familiar vibes of watching YouTube videos over some cider and beer, and a longer, much more needed sleep.

The Sea Brigade: A Broadchurch Podcast

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3317770/height/360/width/640/theme/legacy/direction/no/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/

I don’t know if that embed code’s going to work, so on the off chance that it doesn’t and the podcast can’t speak for itself, I will. This is what I’m probably spending three hours a week working on, a podcast for Broadchurch, a drama from the UK. You’ve read my feelings about the show before, but I don’t know if I’ve talked at length about podcasting. It’s fun work, and to have over a hundred listeners in two weeks makes me feel great. If you like Broadchurch, please give it a go! Right now me and my friend Emily are the only ones out there producing a dedicated Broadchurch podcast.

What’s Up? (1/5/15)

Last First-Day-of-Class
I guess I just had my last, first day of class, ever. So, how’d it go? Well it was cold. Music 0100 was so, well, nothing happened so I can’t really judge it. Intro to Poetry, better. We did things. Wrote poetry, talked. I know somebody in Poetry which is very important, and exciting. Really helps the class not feel, isolated? Of my morning teachers so far, Kazumi > Nathan. Then there was a nice 2-3 hour break wherein I made lunches for the future, went to Roman Civilization, found out it was canceled, and then got lunch for the day. Killed time, wrote a blog post that turned into a review for “The Interview” (2014). Afterwards I had “Intro to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.” As an introductory course I expected it to be full of first-year students who I wouldn’t know but instead I actually knew a few students. And two of them were ranking board members of Rainbow Alliance and the Campus Women’s Organization so, it’s not even that weird for very involved people to take an Intro course! Ending the day on this note was very important. Very hopeful. Very happy.

Broadchurch Returns
So the episode only just aired, so I’ll let everyone watch before I go spoiling stuff but… if anybody doubted Broadchurch Series 2 could be any good, you’re wrong! Because it is off to a good start, and I, oohhh… I can’t wait to write about it.

What’s Up? (Broadchurch Edition)

It would be a huge mistake for me to let another day go by without writing about Broadchurch. It’s a British murder-mystery drama that I started on December 17th, and finished on December 19th. In a year where I got to watch Fargo, True Detective, House of Cards, and other television greats – I can’t believe something could top all of that. Okay, so, Broadchurch isn’t as good as True Detective or Fargo, but I liked it more than either show. I felt less tense, less miserable – I had a great time theorizing “whodunit” without going through the agonizing… hmm… anxiety? that shows like Fargo or Breaking Bad could cause me to experience. (The kind of tension that makes you want to pause or fast-forward a show).

Broadchurch took place in a quaint seaside town that I thought was beautiful. The Jurassic Coast is wonderful, and something I never knew I wanted to see until now. David Tennant gets to be Scottish, weird, and kind of an ass to people. It’s nice to see him out of the loveable Doctor role and inside something much darker – the troubled detective. Olivia Colman’s great as his detective-sergeant, though I’ve never seen her in anything before. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but… I loved Arthur Darvill as the town Priest. Honestly. The cast is so small that I liked a little bit of most everyone. Oh man! And David Bradley too (Lord Walder Frey, Filch, so on!)

The show does what it promises to do in the first episode. Find the killer. We have two detectives, a small town, and while it may not disturb the formula – it’s a good time. Question everybody, come up with your own theories, and have a good time doing it. It was hard to stop watching, and when the credits rolled – I cried! I cried a little bit, yes! Congratulations Broadchurch. Not many TV shows will ever make me cry.

So please, do yourself a favor – if you have Netflix just give the first episode a try. If the serious tone and the brooding, methodical detective work isn’t your thing, then fine. For me it was, and I’m already thinking about re-watching those precious six hours of Broadchurch. It’s weird… but this show might be the highlight of winter break so far.