...but in fact the actual excuse for why I'm going to be five minutes late for lunch with a friend:
"We just started using our new bath towels and even though we washed them first, there's still a lot of towel coming off of them, so the reason I'm late is that I cut the shower-taking time just close enough to be on time, but was delayed by the need to spend five minutes getting the towel bits off of my face. (Also, writing this blog post. :)"
I don't know why married life has left me with nothing to blog about. I assume that will change.
The public library near my apartment is sparkling clean and appears to be brand new. I have no idea why New York City would decide to spend money on building a new library, when no one uses it. There have been more staff people than patrons, every time I have been inside.
I'm reading Michael J. Fox's new book, "Always Looking Up," about his past decade, involved in Parkinson's research and exploring new pursuits post-acting. It's more compelling than the category -- celebrity autobiography... -- led me to expect it would be. I'm also halfway through a book called Strange Bedfellows about political satire in America. The author spends a while explaining the differences between Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert (not satire vs. satire). I think it was a PhD thesis turned into a book. The author likes Stephen Colbert a lot.
I'm trying to read less and write more. Succeeding, to some degree. Powering through a draft of a play that I want to finish and am close to finishing.
Also just discovered the Food Network show Good Eats, even though I think it's been on for years and years. It's like a food show for kids, geared toward adults. That's a terrible description. It is quirky in a way I don't expect Food Network shows to be. That's a slightly better description.
Have been back from St. Lucia since late late Sunday night, and finally have the chance to sit down and write about it. Or at least share some pictures:
It's really a beautiful island, and it's fun to see animals walking on the road as if they're people. We saw probably twenty or twenty-five stray dogs on the trip and the only dog I ever heard bark was a guard dog behind the gate of some fancy house that probably belonged to a rich American who visits for a weekend a year. Our tour guide at the chocolate plantation we visited couldn't believe we'd never seen lizards before -- "You don't have them in your garden?" he asked. Little does he know, our "garden" is a $3 pot of lemon basil sitting on the windowsill that we just bought from the farmer's market. People get up from their lunches and a minute later two birds swoop down and start eating the leftovers. Maybe it's just because I grew up in the city, but I get genuinely excited to see live animals that aren't cockroaches. Horses graze on the side of the road, roosters walk on the sidewalk.... I don't mean to make it sound like the island is a farm -- it's not overrun with animals or anything like that, they have cars and stores and a Domino's Pizza, but even their "cities" are not cities as we see them up here.
The disappointing piece of it, a little bit, for me at least, was the degree to which so much of the island seems to exist entirely to support the tourist economy, and there's hardly anything that lies somewhere in between tourist trap and undeveloped rural backcountry. I mean, I suppose to some degree it's just a sad truth that there isn't a lot going on in a place like St. Lucia that isn't part of the tourist economy, and the people who live there, unfortunately, by and large live a very different quality of life than the people who can afford to visit. (And the other sad truth that, by and large, most tourists probably don't care to see actual life in St. Lucia and are completely content to stick to their fancy resort beach and never venture elsewhere.) But even to find local St. Lucian food was not that easy. The area around our hotel was pretty much entirely fusion restaurants serving meat and fish that had been shipped in from America or elsewhere, and charging Manhattan-restaurant prices. Our first night, we ate in a Chinese restaurant that could have been dropped in from Epcot -- decorated like you would expect a theme-park Chinese restaurant to be decorated, serving essentially the same food as, say, P.F. Chang's. A couple of the better meals we had were from an unmarked shack we happened to come upon, hidden behind some of the restaurants and hotels, that served lunch to the people who worked at the hotels and in the souvenir shops. We ate there twice and neither time did we see anyone else who could have possibly been a tourist. Our hotel warned us against taking the bus -- but the bus was easier to navigate than the New York subway system, by far, and besides costing a heck of a lot less than a taxi, it felt closer to the point of traveling to actually see what real life is like on the island. We told another honeymooning couple we met in the hotel that we had taken the bus, and they didn't even understand what we meant.
But besides my disappointment that we wasted a meal eating absolutely terrible Thai food in a virtually-empty tourist trap (where the wife in the family at the table next to us announced "Pad Thai -- I wonder what that is -- they don't have dishes like this at the Thai restaurant near us!" and the husband ordered a mojito, telling his wife that's a traditional Thai cocktail), the trip was actually a lot of fun, and very relaxing and beautiful and the first time I'd ever been to a "nice" beach and gone in water that you could describe as clear as opposed to murky. We hiked a little mountain, saw some waterfalls, visited the world's only drive-in volcano (??), and only checked e-mail four or five times a day.
I'd recommend St. Lucia for a honeymoon, because there was enough to do for when we wanted to be doing things and exploring, but not so much that we felt like we had to be busy every day in order to cover everything there was to see. There was probably 3 or 4 days of "stuff" to see if it was a regular vacation -- we did an all-day cruise to the southern part of the island, seeing the volcano and botanical garden, going snorkeling and swimming in a nice bay on the way back; we spent a day in the capital, Castries, wandering around and exploring; we spent a half-day at Pigeon Island, hiking and looking at the old military ruins; we spent a half-day at a chocolate plantation -- but in a honeymoon context, we spread that out over the 12 days, and mixed in beach and pool and it made for a pretty laid-back and relaxing time.
And now, wedding and honeymoon over, it's back to real life... or at least figuring out what "real life" is going to look like now that I'm back in New York...
I'm interrupting my blog-free honeymoon in St. Lucia because I felt compelled to post about a bizarre soda I just tried called Mauby Fizz. The label told me it was made from the bark of a tree (along with sugar, vanilla, and spices). I assumed something root beer-esque. Which it is, until you swallow it and are left with a strong, bitter, truly bizarrely awful aftertaste, unexpected since the beverage is made by Pepsi in Trinidad so I assumed it would be, if anything, too boring to be worth buying. (Wikipedia confirms the aftertaste and also, as a bonus, says the drink has a laxative effect. Fun.)
Besides Mauby, honeymoon is a lot of fun so far. FIve days still to go. Internet-enabled computer in the hotel lobby has enabled me to be a lot more connected than my wife (still very new to write that!) was hoping for, but she's been checking e-mail just as much as I have, so she doesn't have too much standing to complain....
Everyone in St. Lucia is on a honeymoon. Our flight was entirely made up of couples, every guy playing with the wedding band he is still uncomfortable wearing and every girl still wearing her wedding makeup. They made an announcement apologizing for the layout of the plane (3 seats on each side) forcing them to have to split lots of couples across the aisle.
We have become addicted to plantain chips. The supermarket bananas are really amazingly good. And despite insane taxi prices, there is a relatively easy to navigate bus system that we have become frequent users of. We have not seen any other tourists on the bus, which is unfortunate, since everyone on the bus is friendly, and it costs about 2% of what taxis do.
Lots of birds and lizards and frogs, and also a fair number of stray animals coexisting peacefully among the humans. Dogs, cats, goats, horses, chickens, and a bunch of what might be small llamas but are more likely just something we don't know the name of.
The beaches are nice. Paddleboating is fun for about five minutes. And we visited a volcano that smells like sulfur. Tomorrow we are going to a chocolate plantation, which should be fun. (Odd, however, that the local chocolate doesn't seem to be sold anywhere -- it's all Cadbury Dairy Milk in the stores).
More when I get back on Sunday. Or maybe before then.