Tag Archives: Traveling

A Postcard from A Broad

1 Aug

Christopher tells me we’ve been inundated with questions about my whereabouts so I do apologize, dear readers, for my absence. I’ve had to nip over the pond for a get-together of writers I used to work with. As you know my schedule is usually too packed for last minute travel, but the chairperson of the committee organizing this reunion opined that my agreeing to attend was nearly the only thing that would guarantee the success of the event, so I decided to come. My instinctual willingness to please others will be the death of me one day. But not today.

So I am in lovely Boston, Massachusetts. The group’s first meeting was for drinks in the Liberty Hotel, a building which used to be a jail. While the architecture is gorgeous, as I sat sipping my cocktails, I couldn’t help but wonder about the lives of those who had previously called the place their home. Somehow I doubt their Singapore Slings went down as smoothly  as mine, if you know what I mean. I spent the next afternoon roaming the city streets, visiting old haunts and new shops before meeting up again with the writers to discuss our current projects.

Boston really is a terrific city and I would encourage everyone who has yet to visit it to do so. It’s a classic American city. Bostonians speak with a distinct accent and while the most appropriate adjective to describe it is obnoxious, it also has a certain charm. Many Europeans assume that all Americans shout when they communicate, but I can attest that realistically the number is closer to 83%. I will say, as well, that the binmen here are incredibly thoughtful in terms of keeping their sonic disruptions to a minimum early in the morning.

I am lucky enough to feel at home in both American and British cities, but as an experienced traveler, I can tell you it does take a little work. The most important thing to do before heading out to new frontiers is investigate and respect the customs, history and habits of the locale. Before your next trip, buy some books about your destination and read up. (If I were a different person, I would suggest you purchase my own books on this subject, but as you know, I do not like to be pushy and as I know, it is easy enough for you to find them if you are in fact interested in good writing.) It’s the little things that count the most. For example, when I first moved to England, I made certain I gave pathetically small tips to my servers. What gives me the right to lavish my substantial fortune on hard-working bartenders, just because that’s what is done in America?  Similarly, when I now come back to the States, I abandon my more British habits, like acknowledging the fact that there are other drivers on the road. One must adapt to the culture one is in, not expect it to adapt to you.  It’s just good sense and, of course, good manners.

I’m off now for a brunch with an editor friend to reminisce about that weekend he and I spent in New Orleans. I’ve a few more dates to keep while I’m here but will do my best to keep Christopher abreast of any developments. Enjoy what’s left of the summer, and I’ll be back to you soon.

Kiss kiss!