To a Briton, the scale and form of this place is hard to identify - the sun is turning my skin ruddy while the mountains remain snowcapped and there were even drifts blowing around like smoke from lava this morning. Every few blocks the same names repeat themselves - there are more MacDonalds than in the Aberdeen phone book. I'm eating well - Agilent Technologies' lunchtime burritos and Ruby Tuesday's sublime salad bar being good opportunities to avoid those staples, beef and cheese. And I've consumed 2 glasses of wine and 3 pints of cider (cider! yes! at Jack Quinn's Irish Pub) and no more in the last week.
All this vocational and epicurian distraction leaves little room for immersion in the cultural bivouac I packed, although I was adequately entertained by William Boyd's Armadillo (although it's very much in the Charlie Higson or David Baddiel mode) and am presently being drawn in to The Rotter's Club by Jonathan Coe, which I bought solely because it contains a fictional review of Tales From Topographic Oceans.
Speaking of music, currently on heavy rotation in my brain (and occasionally on MP3) are
- Trey Gunn - Raw Power
- Suzanne Vega - Songs In Red and Gray
- Tony Levin - World Diary (and I've just ordered his other two)
- JS Bach - Goldberg Variations
I have been saving all my quarters to use in the laundromat at the place I'm staying, and left them in a neat pile in my room. Whoever cleaned my room today assumed they were a tip and took them. Try doing that in Britain.