With a few solid weeks of regrouping under my belt and enough knowledge about inner-city Baltimore to last a lifetime, I felt ready to take on a new endeavor. It was time for a trip.
For the last two years my friend Molly had been begging for her buddies to come visit her in Shanghai, but I just couldn’t bring myself to brave the cold and deal with the kind of rain that hits Northern China in March. Not on a vacation, anyway. Visions of me shivering while struggling with a wet, deactivated subway ticket were more than I could handle...even with my superlative blood pressure. Sorry, Mollz—I’ll make it up to you (here in SF).
For lots of reasons that would require an entirely separate blog to adequately explain (trust me), Bali won out as the destination of choice and my friend Michelle earned the coveted position of Travel Partner, 2009. After living for 15 months in a dysfunctional group house on Fell St. back in 2003, we knew we could handle 3 weeks together in Indonesia. Hell, after that, err, experience, we could handle 3 weeks in an alternate dimension...where there's no sun.
Ten days later, she boarded a plane from NYC to meet me in San Francisco. Kind of like a scene from an 80s movie where the endearing protagonist is forced to change her look in order to overcome some challenge (a transformation that usually takes the form of a montage set to an inspirational song perhaps by Cindi Lauper), I stripped Michelle of all things fancy and literally rolled up her sleeves. Off came her diamond necklace, away went the fabulous leather hand bag, on went a sports bra and out came the headlamps.
In the final scene of our montage, Michelle effortlessly slugged a pack onto her back, casually tossed her blackberry on my dresser with a shrug and flagged us a taxi to the airport.