Monday, February 28, 2011

Where Am I Going?

        Lately, I have been asking myself this (complex and confusing) question.

        To clarify my thinking, I begin by asking myself, "Where am I not going?"

        I don't think I will be returning to Washington, D.C.  I have a mixed-to-bad history there, the monuments generally leave me cold (not the personages memorialized, however), and I go around-and-around on the Beltway, invariably ending up in the Pentagon parking lot, shaking and sweating, on the verge of fear.


        Tripoli (see above and below) is fascinating and appeals greatly for many reasons, but at least for now seems to be out of the question.  (Tunis also; I have a friend who was on his way to spend the rest of this winter there, but now finds himself unable to do so.)  

        Philadelphia, a city I have loved, seems permanently afflicted with a weakened pulse.  One-party political rule over a prolonged period (it doesn't matter which party is ruling) will do that to a place.  So, while I am in Philadelphia at the moment, Philadelphia sometimes seems not to be here.

        Manhattan betrayed us all by becoming tres ordinaire -- just another big, ugly mall, but one with no free parking.   Contrary impressions, if any, are the result of the city's television omnipresence, the blinding agents the mayor adds to the water and, sadly, pre-9/11 nostalgia.  Science can disprove these. Keep away, I say.

        This "water hole" in Ottawa:

 is to be avoided unless you wish a one-way express ticket to:


         On a more positive note, I would very much like to journey with my family to:       


      Santiago (and the rest of Chile) and finally to --


        I am currently planning a trip to Los Angeles to visit old friends and familiar places, revive memories and show Jane the La Brea Tar Pits.


        I will always return to Los Cabos filled with Hope and Joy because Los Cabos has always given me such Hope and Joy.      

      Loch Ness is good, always.

        Xanadu (aka Shengdu, a possible future UNESCO World Heritage Site) sounds nice (on John Speed's 1626 map below, it is located near the Cathayan metropolis of Cambalu, in modern Inner Mongolia) and like a worthwhile destination.  ("Where did you go on your last vacation?  Oh -- Xanadu.  Yes, that one.)    We have wanted to visit Mongolia since 1998 when we read about it (specifically the Yurt Room lounge in the Ulan Batoor Holiday Inn) in Fodor's China.   The Yurt Room seems to have closed since then and Ulan Batoor has modernized to the extent that a very attractive Louis Vuitton store recently opened there.  Unfortunately, that decreases my interest in visiting.  I would hate to think of Ulan Batoor becoming another Manhattan.

            Kubla'i Khan (1215-1294)

        Street Scene  -- Ulan Batoor

               Eadward Muybridge, Camel Racking (Please click on image for animation.)


  1. I found this very helpful (although I expect the water hole to take up residence in my unconscious). If you're so inclined, guidance would also be appreciated on related questions, including but not limited to: D'Ou Venons Nous? Que Sommes Nous? And: How Can I Wake Up?

  2. I'm working on all of the above, but not as well as I would like because I'm currently feeling very, very annoyingly out of synch. Andy Warhol once (possibly more than once) observed that he preferred working on commissioned projects selected by patrons to setting his own agenda because it provided a structure that relaxed him to do the work, which he liked doing and liked being paid for. I'm similarly inclined, so I find a lot of what I'm do daily headache-y and I have difficulty finding myself on the map. It could be worse, though. As for waking up, I really have no idea. The wake-sleep thing has been confounding me lately. Jane has started keeping track of her dreams, which is great -- a new phase for us. Curtis

  3. I know what AW means about the comfort of commissioned projects, but as always there are downsides. (Related to wakefulness.)

  4. I'm not surprised that Notasetanimal got to this post first -- both the subject matter and the selection of images really resonate. But it makes me realize I'm lucky to have found a sense of home in Berlin & Brooklyn - I recommend them both!

    Also, I feel that a meditation on this theme requires at least mention of this painting.

  5. * sorry, poorly phrased! The mention has been made by aforementioned Dad, but I wanted the actual picture to be linked to this wonderful piece.

  6. Hi and thanks for your kind words and the picture. We would like to go to Berlin a lot. I've lived in Brooklyn and was happy there once. At this point, I'm interested (as far as places to live go) in sunny climes where I'm unlikely (as in guaranteed) not to be either kidnapped or attacked for my vital organs. Curtis