Thursday, August 25, 2011

The beagle has landed

Hong Kong

My feet hardly had time to touch the ground in Hong Kong. Cathy N met my plane and deposited me at the door of my hotel, Butterfly on Wellington. I'll definitely stay there again. It's right near the Mid-Levels escalator and the Graham Street wet market, whose days are numbered. Friday morning I had coffee with Bernadette Longley, a publisher with Macmillan, at the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay. Called in to see my accountant, Millie, then had a lovely vegan dim sum lunch with Cathy H-F at the Lock Cha Teahouse in Hong Kong Park. She is doing the Maclehose Trailwalker event again this year. Lunch was swiftly followed by afternoon tea with Cathy and Bec N at the Mandarin Oriental. Great to catch up on all their news. I was feeling overfed by this stage and passed on dinner invites in favour of an early night after drinks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club with Chris D and Polly.

San Francisco

I was met at San Francisco airport by Annie W, a Dead Runner friend from Aptos. We checked into our hotel (Parc55 near Union Square), then walked to the bay end of Market Street to get a bite to eat for lunch. (I had Vietnamese summer rolls.) On the way back we met Rita and Douglas, who had come up from Monterey Bay. It's great when online pals become real ones. We went out for dinner to a Brazilian restaurant on Market Street. I had a huge salad.

Sunday morning we had an hour's run along the bay, Rita and I wearing the tiaras I had bought in Hong Kong. We were called "princesses" by a street person, and we chatted up two Russian sailors who were minding a Tall Ship that had sailed from Vladivostok. Breakfast back at the hotel together before Rita and Douglas headed home.

In the early afternoon, Annie and I were part of a conference call with some other Dead Runners about the DRS world conference to be held in Texas in February.

Walked with Annie over to the SF Museum of Modern Art to meet my former Hong Kong friend Francine B and her service dog Lola. I had last seen them in that same spot in May 2009. We had a coffee, then saw a couple of excellent exhibitions at the Contemporary Jewish Museum: Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas at home; and Charlotte Salomon's amazing small paintings that tell the story of her life before she died at age 26 in Auschwitz.

I did some work before Annie and I went across the road to an Italian place for dinner, then worked on until 11.30. I had only two hours' sleep before getting up to do some more work, then headed with Annie to the airport at 5 am. It was fun spending time with her. We'll meet up again at the DRSWC.

New York

I worked for three hours on the plane. As we banked over Manhattan I could see my building! It's the most amazing city to see from the air.

Cabbed it to my home in Manhattan, on the corner of West 97th Street and Central Park West, and unpacked my suitcase for the first time in three weeks! I then went to Whole Foods nearby and stocked up on salad stuff.

Yesterday was my first full day back. At 1.51 pm there was an earthquake measuring 5.8 along the eastern seaboard. I didn't feel anything, but friends in Brooklyn and Maryland said they felt it.

Had dinner with Gordon and Joanna R, who moved back to the UK from Oz about four months ago. Gordon is here to promote his novel Mice, which is published in the US by Penguin. We went to a burger bar near the Rockefeller Center. Jo and I had seafood salads. I'll catch up with them again tomorrow.

Today has been a big work day.

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