Thursday, April 05, 2007

He’s impossible. Except when he isn’t.

Last night we celebrated our first month in London, dinner and drinking at the local and then home to be ravaged :)

Raymond is doing fine. As we hoped, his company's London office has contract work for him and they referred him to a business partner who is suffering with a couple of problem installations. So he’s busy doing what makes him happy, solving problems.

He’s made a couple of acquaintances, both expats, a New Zealander and a South African. Interestingly the three are all from small towns and would have been happy staying, if there had been some opportunity. They are already having discussions about visiting each other’s home and doing guy things.

The apartment is nice, but small and you really need to leave if you’re in need of some alone time. It’s also much further from the center of London than my uncle led me to believe, more like an hour and forty minutes, rather than forty. The train station and a few shops are close by but not much else so I brought Waldo over to ease the hassles. R has teased me about Waldo, referring to him as a pedal car or a matchbox car, so I had some fun with that and made him apologize to Waldo in the driveway before giving him the spare key. But it freaks me out, driving on the left while steering from the left side of the car.

Waldo gave R a lesson in metric conversion, exchange rates and the vagaries of using credit cards overseas. Waldo barely made it to the gas station, on fumes as R put it. After filling the tank R calculated the cost and thought, “this isn’t so bad.” But he had suffered a bit of brain fade and had figured two liters equaled a gallon, not four being almost a gallon. Then there were the exchange rate follies and bank charges. First he had it in his mind that the pound was equal to about $1.80, when it was more like $1.98 and on top of that his credit card company nicked him for service fee to exchange the currency. I suggested that he pay cash for most stuff and get a card denominated in pounds or Euros in the future. He agreed.

He’s also muttering about England in the US being two countries separated by a common language and how in some ways it’s easier to be in France because he doesn’t expect to understand anyone nor they, him. Saturday we took a day trip and got a bit lost, we stopped at a filling station to ask directions. When R returned to the car he said we needed to ask somewhere else, noticing that I was perplexed, he admitted that he could understand the man through his accent, which he thought was Scottish.

Me? I have to admit that I prefer Paris to London. Part of it is where we’re living and part is the lousy transportation infrastructure. Compared to the continent, England’s rail service sucks and I much prefer the Metro to the tube. But London does have those cute taxis.

My original plan was to spend 2-3 nights a week in Paris and with the odd business trip, but that has been blown up. Since we arrived, besides the time in Geneva, which we planned on, I’ve been to Amsterdam twice, Brussels and Milan, plus time in Paris. April already has me in Madrid, Berlin, Milan and Amsterdam. These trips are easier from Paris as I usually take the train and I can set up my mobile office and work.

From London air is often more direct, with the attendant hassles of clearing security, boarding and disembarking, plus stowing everything prior to take off and landing. The time is simply less productive.

The travel is good, since it mean business but I’m concerned on the toll it will take on R and my relationship. To this point he’s been a good sport but one day he may realize that I dragged him to London only to abandon him here. He is accompanying me to Milan and to Amsterdam, the erotic expo which he wouldn’t miss. Also we’re planning on going to Monte Carlo for the grand prix and Le Mans for the sports car races, he loves automobile racing.

I’m finished whining.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, as somebody who has never posted but read this for years. But with you no longer escorting, this is going to get pretty dull, pretty fast. Great news for your personal life, but not great news for voyeuristic readers!

9:52 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Well good relationships are well known to be the death of blogging. Then again Kim's not put on earth just for our enjoyment. Real life is dramatic, just in smaller doses, and in more prosaic circumstances. For the first serious 'straight' relationship in possibly years, I'd say it's going about as expected. And 2 ex-pats living abroad should provide plenty of material, again, should we ever hear of it. But it's nice to hear that R's making friends in London. It's a good sign. And of course the world needs more Waldo's, not less. The conversions will come to him eventually, and there are traveler sites that can provide quick conversion tables. It's quick enough to find on the net too. Just wikii it. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

7:47 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I definitely agree that Paris is easier than London. It just seems like London is so sprawling and there is no quick easy way to get around. Anyways, it seems London might be a good transitional situation for Raymond, until he finds something permenant, hopefully in Paris. Originally it sounded like getting him to London was the goal, but actually this is just the beginning of the big project, isn't it?

1:52 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Anon: C'est la vie

VJ: thanks

Nicole: The initial goal was to get R to Paris, but that proved to be a bridge too far. London was a compromise. A project, yes.


5:42 PM  
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