subject: #2 LONDON
well, i have got a connection here and am going to take advantage of it. england has been really nice, not just bc the temp reached 80 degrees one day, but bc of the people that i have been hooking up with. thanks to dave for babs (she’s nuts!) and sophie (really quite nice), victor (bjarke and i having drinks mon) and frank (ivan pulls me out of one accommodation jam after another!).
went to EDINBURGH for the last weekend. people were buying me drinks and making sure that i danced with the local beauties (who were having a hen party - bachlorette...). really gr8 time there.
i am meeting people randomly as well; french school girls from borges (going for a visit), a swiss au pair who taught me ital pronunciation), a namibian (? -nr s africa) who was a laugh, americans who latch on begging to speak proper english, who are “uglies” or who just want to debate health care for a bit.
saw some scary art at the various galleries, but spend lots of time just wondering about and watching.
i havent gotten lonely; reading shakespere (comedies) and the origin of species (should take a bit).
thankfully, the $ is getting stronger, but with the aid of friends’ couches, i am getting by on <$20/day (under budget, but knock wood).
i have given away some more stuff as too bulkly and heavy, incl. the req. levis. i did say i wanted to blend in, right??
i am getting more sleep than usual, but less time in the coffee shop will do that (and sleeping until 10:00 the next day!)
diet is gruesome by many of your standards but i have gotten on with bread and beans for years now.
people react differently when I tell them I am off for 5 years. I have taken to say that I am traveling w/o the duration desc. besides, i don’t know and cannot contemplate the whole thing.
have decided to go from here in 2 weeks to amsterdam and brussels, then to france. gotta do those places once, even if the former reminds me of vegas and the latter of the dmv..
be sure to write, but wait for me to respond.
this well in mind, and you will immediately perceive that nature is free and
uncontrolled by proud masters and runs the universe by herself without the
aid of gods.. .who can rule the sum total of the measureless?
so in the midst of love venus teases lovers with images. they cannot glut their
eyes by gazing on the beloved form, however closely their hands glean nothing
from those dainty limbs in their aimless roving over all the body. their comes
the moment when with the limbs entwined they pluck the flower of youth. their
bodies thrill with the presentiment of joy, and it is seed time in the fields of
venus. body clings greedily to body; moist lips are pressed on lips, and deep
breaths are drawn through clenched teeth. but all to no purpose. one can glean
nothing from the other, nor enter in be wholly absorbed, body in body; for
sometimes it seems that that is what they are striving and craving to do, s
hungrily do they cling together in venus’ fetters, while their limbs are
unnerved and liquefied by the intensity of rapture.
subject: summer solstice!!
this is the first letter to those of you that are not “jacked in” to the ‘net. if you get an address, pls email me immediately. i have sent 4 msgs to people w/accounts already (wow - a free ride, more messages, faster and cheaper!)
my address is firstname.lastname@example.org and i check my mail every 2 wks or month or two (whatever...)
so, what’s been going on? lots...
LONDON - looked up origin of “zetland”. my dad was named after a marquess (that’s a man too) who was big in india nr. the time of his birth. this guy (lord dundas) came from a line in the shetland (formerly. “zetland”) islands in scotland and traveled for about 10 yrs on the same route as me (even carried the complete shakespere!). interesting parallels there!! i tried to get in touch w/current marquess, but lady zetland called after i had left the uk.
went to EDINBURGH - fantastic people!! and nice place. met barbara who taught me the proper pronunciation for italian chi and ci words (finally!)
BATH - also good - college town and good music. take the bizarre bath tour - what a laugh!
STONEHENGE AND AVERYBURY - very impressive stuff. the pagans knew their stuff (sorry to the big three believers that think that xmas, easter, etc originated w/them...)
OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE. the latter was smaller and nicer to look at, the former had more stuff going.
BOGNOR - my aunt (dad’s sis) and uncle and drop-in cousins, wonderful time catching up and i wish that we could get together more often... lots of advice on nepal.
off to AMSTERDAM for window shopping and space cake (didnt do the former - legal doesnt take away the horrible degradation; the latter didnt work “you went to the wrong place” says a wide-pupiled gent...). much nicer to ride in the country and have a nice picnic. liked v v gogh museum as well (even at colette’s pace).
a ride from kathy’s friends to BRUGGES, belgium. petty little town, left quite soon and went to bruxelles (worth passing up...) where i met a canadian guy who had been on the rd for 3 years a summed the important things as family, friends, health and warmth. got rid of my scarf soon thereafter.
hitchhiked to PARIS in 9 hours. when i was actually waiting,, it took <30 min to get a ride. impt. to goto the right place.
paris is wonderful!! france is wonderful!! i have stayed with friends of dave llewellen (that man is everywhere), gotten hauled off by the cops bc of a friend of gabby’s (adria’s friend - friend of friend of friend of friend!) i was mistaken for a thief and emerged unharmed, but tired after 2 hrs of sleep and real cold pavement.
realize after this type of stuff:
i am careful though.
i ended up getting a eurail pass from a departing american for $75 (about 20% of the price] and have been getting on quite well.
speaking french (or trying) makes all the diff in the world here (as in many countries) and there are the people who do traveler wrong by blasting through europe on 3oday passes, trying to do it all or going from party to party. i don’t like these people bc they are loud, disoriented, ignorant, etc.
one american girl said (in bretaigne): what ocean is this? really....
well, i could opinionate quite a bit...
for me, i am getting used to running every bit of my life, it takes some work, but the freedom is amazing. it can be done on a smaller scale, of course... (hint hint)
i am meeting many people. most are travelers, but they are cool as well.
this is from my quote of the week (sent to email people):
went to MONT ST MICHEL AND ST MALO. both have 12-15m tidal variations and the results are dramatic and beautiful. the latter is a great place to go for a romantic getaway (right - nothing to see or do besides watch the tide drift away...)
french is improving with listening to people around me. i can now understand half of what 3 yr olds yell at their parents when they are being sucked into the sea while trying to fetch their red ball!
meeting people apace and stayed with my first servas host. she was great and if you are interested in hosting traveler or homestays, email to: email@example.com (jay davidson) for details...
health and wealth are good, thanks to diet of bread, $2/bottle wine, fruit and lovely canned veggies (yuch!!)
today is the fete de la musique, where 300+ musicians play for free on the streets. looking fwd to wondering around later...
after here, i am off to the basque country, geneve and bourges (mid-region, a friend). i’m back for 14 july (bastille day) and then to the south to avoid the (damn) tourists on a farm or dig or something...
if you want to write (or send!) me something for my b-day, send it to:
be sure to have a return address and send it after 15 july and b4 8 august (my bday is 14th - remember!). letters are definitely best!
well, what else?? hmmm...
off to italy in sept till end of year. planning any trips??
there is no end to this stuff, so i will have to stop prematurely...
subject: update (via post)
dear family and friends:
this is letter number 2 in a continuing attempt to entertain those that don’t care and keep informed those that do (about my status, not the oj trial!)
if this letter is a mystery to you, try to remember if you met a guy who said he was going to travel for 5 years and then had some kind of meaningful conversation with you, to the point where he wanted to stay in touch and got your address... that’s me -yes, 178 cm, 77 kg, brown hair (getting longer) and (wow!), what a tan!
if you still don’t remember, give it time but i have obviously overestimated your capacities - whoops!
if english is not your 1st language, i apologize for my use of slang, bad grammar and split infinitives; write me a letter and i will get a decent on to you in french or italian (yes - cross those fingers) or even a bit of espagnol..
ecrive-moi en francais et je t’ecriverai en francais.
mi scriva in italiano e io vado scrivare in italiano (poco poco)
a l’hora, yo no hablo espagno, pero piu tarde (manana!)
ok - so welcome to the autumn equinox (actually looked at the figures here in the duomo and the 12 hr day/night is sett 26; i guess that’s b/c (because) of latitude.)
what has happened since the last letter? lots... left paris for SAN SEBASTIAN, spain. loved it there and b/c of my experience decided to go to c and s america for the last year of my trip, learn spanish, return to spain and cross from morocco to egypt (since changed b/c of war in algeria and internal strife/diplo probs in libya). what a time that was! i love the southern hot blooded countries.., got quite a tan there as well as a few good swims.
back to france and lovely LAC ANNECY. hiked in the hills with a servas host and her guests from milano (on whose table i write this letter) and we had quite a good time speaking a mélange of french, russian, english, and italian...
back to BOURGES, the center of france and deserving no other comments. almost went nuts (i went there to rendez vous with a french girl, but she freaked and blew me off decided to make a go at it, but french immersion is too difficult w/o friendly faces. started writing a book abt us culture and also read some emerson - heavy days!.
back to PARIS and stayed with ex-girlfriend of friend of roommate of college buddy of hs friend, slept through the bastille day parade (saw the planes out the window) but did have a lovely dinner in the banlieu with a view of the feu-artifice played to “new york, new york” maybe ol’ blue eyes (viel’ yeux blus) should do a song for paris?
off to AVIGNON via thumb. took 1.5 days for 800km but i made it. low point was walking 6km with pack to the peage (toll-booth) but i had the company of 2 dutch law students looking at graduation age of 30 (love that state-education!)
was in avignon to:
came true with abricot-central
went to marseilles, aix-en-provence, an ill-fated rendez vous and back to marseilles (for said b day package), than back to aix.
1st MARSEILLES was a good time w/ a mec from the chantier and his buddies who thought jumping off 30-40m cliffs into the ocean was fun (i did 6m)
AIX was a bummer - too many rich people...
got package and several b day letters. sorry if you sent a letter and got it back but amex, marseilles is the only office that doesnt forward mail, ‘cause there are too many “shady characters”. please resend to my dad (below).
in the spirit of reciprocation, i always respond to letters, so do not hesitate to write me. if i don’t hear from you (family is not sacred) after a year, i will assume you don’t care to have a relationship and delete your address. i decided to do this bc it gives me more time for people who do care to stay in touch and do a bit of shared life, this is a serious thing here; i have loads of time to ponder such thangs.
so…. after i got a letter from a friend in england who said she would be in bruxelles for the weekend b4 going home to s africa, i decided (see above para) to make the effort and hitched 1200 km to there via paris
in PARIS, i fenced with the eng embassy for a passport (hugh is an eng citizen). the first try was june, when they gave me the paperwork (originals, of course) required. after heroic efforts stateside, the papers were almost ruined the day after i received them when my pack was soaked (resulting in the tragic loss of an unread book). the form reqd someone that had known me 2 yrs to certify such and no more (really!). a kind man in line did so and then the clerk said that wouldnt do b/c he saw me meet this guy. christ! so i went outside and got a friend to do the cert. the process is on hold b/c of another paper that was of course lost (after 40 years!). j’attend...
BRUXELLES was as i remembered - blah - but the company made up for the rain and germanic-tints (this is my well-founded belief that northerners are not as easy going as southerners. i practice what i preach and stay in the south, usually. the exception is generally travelers from these climes who are pretty cool (like the young easy rider i met in aix and went skinny dipping w me in a protected, absolutely interdit/verboten/vietato lake, where we almost got fined 1800ff each. hey - it was our bday!)
back south via some great rides through rainy germany (didnt spend a dime, slept in a service station) and a swiss playboy with a really loud like of techno to GENEVE. pretty place, but the cost of living would kill a backpacker at 20m. tgif burger is $16, fruit from italy is lox more expensive. france is a sure bargain after such. had a great time with ed doing the cafe scene and talking about all kinds of deep relationship issues (my favorite topic).
when i came through the mont blanc tunnel, the sun was shining and the air was clean, got right into the italian business with my dictionary and have decided that italian is easier b/c 1) italians don’t learn their own language very well, 2) 50% of communication occurs with the hands and face and “cosi” and 3) they don’t care about proper pronunciation/grammar from you (vs. the french and natl identity). as you might expect, i fit right in here...
i have been with 5 servas hosts in 10 days and like it very much. went to torino, genova, cinque terre, rapallo and here.
eating your way through italia is a great way to go and the art/culture is excellent as well...
i am getting into long-term survival mentality with this trip just now. i have to remember occasionally that its for me, yes, but also that everyone has their life and doesnt care about me (what can i do for them) . this is difficult at times, but i still love the adventures, new people (making friends that i intend to keep as long as they want to). it is certainly a question of being a human being and supporting another human being. my wants being small, i am instantly wealthy (thoreau).
i guess this all is a personal trip to push my limits of what life means and to jettison all the things that i have gathered in favor of the basics of raw emotion and defenseless interaction/sharing. it’s hard to put into words.... (thus the diary and book). to be sure, your letters and my memories with you (old and recent) are the best facets of an existence that is pointless at worst and merely interesting at best. it all boils down to caring about others. and there you have it...
if you want to write me, i suggest the following:
all the time: david zetland c/o hugh, regency 25950 acero, #100 92691 usa
xmas/natale/noel (01 dec > 25 dec. i’m there 26 dec)
send it by 10 dec to be sure i get it...
you wont get my next mass-mailing till after the new year, so have an excellent xmas. i certainly will miss all of you. remember that a heart has an unlimited capacity to love and that the more the merrier!
ps - the french govt is a nuclear idiot, the belgian politicians should give up and split flemish and french, the dutch govt is right to keep pot legal and education high, the italian govt needs to shrink to the size of a belgian beer, and the us govt should stop discriminating in favor of big business. hooray for the internet, which makes all this possible w/o the “aid” of any govt!!