Monday, April 14, 2014

Miles to go…

DSC04762 (1300x975)Its been a wonderful week, visiting friends and family in the US and celebrating my 60th.  I had a lot of wonderful notes from friends along the way: comments on social networks and emails from colleagues.  They are all very much appreciated; I will be back in touch this week.

Events added up to a lot of travel, many early mornings when conference calls started at 3 am (local time) and I got six hours work on the business before the (West Coast) world woke for breakfast. 

There wasn’t a lot of time for writing and sharing pictures; I’ll catch up via an April 8 blog-backfill shortly.

20140414_223448But today was a marathon, even by my standards for busy days...

  • Up early to work on home networks and finances before packing.
  • 1:35 -- Delta 232 departs Seattle for the 9.5 hour trip to Amsterdam.  I collate notes, transcribe receipts, and half-watch the whole Bourne trilogy.

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  • 8:30 arrival in Amsterdam: pay the rent, catch the NS train south to Maastricht (interrupted by one snelbus diversion between d’n Bos and Boxtel).  While noticeably cooler and dotted with misting rain, its still a lovely morning racing across the fields and rivers.

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  • DSC04779 (960x1300)12:30 Maastricht arrival – it’s wonderful to be back among familiar things.   The trees and flowers have all bloomed in my absence, it feels like the first traces of summer.  Nobody in the cafes for Monday lunch, but the Maas river is sparkling and fresh.

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DSC04782 (1300x1012)I get a shower, a quick shop, repack, emails.  A gust of wind knocks two plants off the kitchen windowsill: emergency repotting costs another hour.

Koffie with a friend at 3:15, cadeautjes to exchange and verhalen to share.

  • Train departs for Eindhoven at 4:40; a bus connection drops me into the airport in plenty of time for the 7:30 flight.  ‘reflecting on the differences between Dutch and US architecture as I ride the 401 bus across Eindhoven: the Netherlands tends towards a whimsical  retro-futuristic that is really unique.

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  • The bag checks in at 14.8 kg against my allowance of 15 kg: I still have the instinct.  And Ryanair’s new ‘kill them with kindness’ policy is a vast improvement over the old ‘obstacle course of indignities’.  There are even assigned seats at no charge.
  • We drop into Stansted early but border security is understaffed and it takes 40 minutes to clear customs.  I miss the train by 3 minutes as a result, but have a DSC04803 (1300x974)good conversation with mijn w_wezen about whether women are typecast or objectified in power structures common in European businesses.
  • A burger, followed by a firm resolution not to eat burgers for at least a week.  A negotiation with our financial folks in London, then, at 9:30, a half-hour train north to Cambridge. Connect by taxi to the college where the taps are open and there is a lot of singing to old pop standards.  ‘'Two pints: it’s finally time to call it a night, a day.

DSC04798 (1300x975)‘Time check:  34 hours travel on three intermittent hours sleep.  ‘'its silly, but I feel a bit of pride akin to completing a marathon run.  I’ve still got it, even at 60.

And my second reaction is that this pace, too common in the past ten years, can’t continue into the next ten.  Back on the wagon, balans en grenzen,  tomorrow will be better, I promise.

My life sometimes seems a cross between The Bourne Trilogy and the Amazing Race:  either Do it or Deal with it.

But I surely wouldn’t trade it: the alternative choices just seem diminished and uninteresting in comparison.

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