March 26th, 2007

Tea-drinker par excellence

Favourite Cities

Here are 10 favourite cities with key memories, in no particular order, and not including the cities where I have lived (London, Bordeaux):
1. Barcelona - Barri Gòtic, magic shops and xocolata
2. Berlin - Ice cream on Unter den Linden at midnight
3. Paris - Out with the crowds looking for dinner in the 5ieme
4. Leeds - Walking through the markets on a crisp Northern morning
5. Edinburgh - Looking for ghosts in the haunted kirkyard
6. Reykjavik - Soup in bread with snow outside
7. Louisville - AAA baseball with Jake the Diamond Dog
8. Lisbon - Sporting v Juventus, a cheering sea of green and white
9. Athens - Mrs Mop cleaning round the soldiers' feet outside the presedential palace
10. Vienna - Dr Strangelove in an art house cinema on the Ring

American cities seem somehow rather souless to me. I've not been to New York, Chicago or LA yet but they seem to be more like large monuments than places to live in. So whilst I've enjoyed DC, Boston and SF, even Indy, they seem as real to me as, say Stonehenge or Machu Picchu. I'm surprised that there are people in them at all. On the other hand, small places like Roaring Camp, CA, Truth or Consequences, NM or Bardstown, KY seem to me to be teem with a sense of community and represent much of what is good about America (from a very casual visit).

When I've been to European cities, the sense of community, or at least what the community values, is much more immediately apparent to me. It might be that the US is less foreign and so I expect it to be more immediate than say Lisbon where I can hardly understand a word that anyone says.

As you can see from my list, I've not been outside Europe and the US and I'm sure my perspective would be different had I visited Kinshasa, Chongqing or Mumbai.