Monday, February 8, 2010

We all wandered around, found things to eat, visited jewelry and other shops and observed Rigans enjoying their Sunday afternoon. On our first evening, Cortez had met a girl from UC Berkeley who invited him over to her house for fondue. Michael met a famous designer whose show had just opened. Ben and Alan may have had the most excellent adventure. They looked for and selected a cafe to sit in and play cribbage - a game played by their grandmothers and not so well known anymore. Soon they were surrounded by girls - who turned out to be actresses in training who were curious about the game and asked to learn to play it. One of their friends was the barista of the coffee shop/tea house. After about six hours of cribbage, and as discussion turned to dinner, Ben and Alan helped the barista carry the dishes back to the kitchen and close up the coffee shop, and the girls proposed going to a restaurant owned by a friend. The five new friends (Alan, Ben, and 3 girls) then went to the restaurant. It was immediately obvious that the owner is very involved with the arts and artists and particularly jazz - he showed his tickets for events he had been to, pictures of artistic celebrities who had been in and so forth. After about an hour he came and proposed a visit to his back room. The girls said that this was a very unusual invitation. The back room was a kind of projection room. When they went in a film was playing of the Latvian Radio Chorus, of which Latvians are very proud. He selected from among his many jazz DVDs something called "Step Across the Border" a 90 minute filmed jazz improvisation which was pretty obscure. After this, cards were exchanged and he said he would try to come to the concert tonight. Ben then went on to the Irish Pub to join Dylan and Matt Curtis for superbowl watching which some made it all the way through (it started at 1am here.)


  1. 06.02.2010
    35,000 feet above sea-level, maybe over Poland?

    Wind Beneath my Lufthansa Star-Alliance Wings,

    I think that I can safely say that if I were not a singer, my sleeping schedule would be more naturally Da Vincian*. Because of our 5 AM bus-out to the airport at Brussels, and because I was sure that I would oversleep, I just chose to stay awake until 5 AM, after which point, I promptly conked out on the bus at exactly 5:02 AM and was awakened by Bree (God bless his responsible soul) when we came within sight of Brussels.

    Because there are only two flights a day to Riga, Latvia, we voted to destroy ourselves on a travel day with this early flight in order to make it to our destination not at 2 AM, but rather at a decent hour, hopefully to enjoy our free day in a Baltic State of Rest (please do pardon the pun; I may never forgive myself).

    Somehow or another we seem always destined to connect in Frankfurt. I’m not sure if you’ve ever flown through it, but it really is the most obtuse, ridonculous airport in the history of the Western World. Lufthansa is often manned by, let’s say rather dictatorial following of rules meant to be logical (as was the case with our pre-auroric check in Belgium) and yetsomehow, Frankfurt airport is incomprehensibly unintuitive, with some vehicle shuttling you across practically the entire perimeter of the airfield after you’ve landed a mere three or four gates away from your connecting flight (for which, by the way, we are usually already running perilously close to the line due to fog, snow, etc.,). After the shuttle drops us off wherever it decides it equidistantly inconvenient to everyone on board, we get the joy of sprinting underground four flights of stairs, while praying to whatever god one happens to pretend to believe in during times of such stress that we don’t have to go through EU International security. Awarded with another four flights of stairs up, we arrive at ground level just in time to hear that the final boarding call for our flight has been announced, still about ten gates away.

    I wish that this were an isolated incident, but it seems to happen often when we fly through this airport. I can’t help but wonder if I desperately wronged the German gods at some point in a past life. Still, it all worked out. The Great Ticketing Agent is in His Heaven, and all is right with the world, for we made our connection. Now, comfortably seated on board, with a glass of surprisingly delicious Washington State chardonnay in hand as I type to you this newest chapter of a travelogue of a journey which, traversing the long lines of Renaissance, Enlightenment and Revolutionary Thought, seems to have no end in sight, yet which opens itself (and me) to endless beauty just when I think I’m so tired and so travel-worn that I’ve not another gasp of unexpected delight in me.

    I do. And I’ve another song in me yet. And I’ve eight more days and six more concerts before I see you, in whom my eyes see as much beauty as any cathedral’s gothic spire, in whom is more ideal than any 18th century philosopher every dreamt, in whom is more mystery than any Franco-Flemish misty canal, and for whom I sing my song.