Street Crime

20 January 2001


It snowed in Cam­bridge today, but that wasn’t the most note­wor­thy event of the day: my bike got nicked! At 2:45 I left my (hired) bike just outside the en­trance to Mag­da­lene College (pronounced “maudlin”; Caius College is pro­nounced “keys college”). At 3:30 it was gone, stolen (I later found out) by two snot-nosed kids as I was inside ad­mir­ing the Pepys library.

This is my first run-in with crime. At the hostel in Barcelona, in just about every room, someone had been pick-pocketed. Scott, in my room, had his wallet lifted by a hash dealer who’d pushed up against him as he made to demon­strate how he’d sus­tained a soccer injury. (This ex­pe­ri­ence lowered Scott’s opinion of hash dealers. Previously, he told me, he’d held them in high regard, since they were the providers of an im­por­tant and nec­es­sary service. But this side-line they have in petty crime didn’t go down well.)

Cam­bridge was fun. I stayed there for 10 months when I was seven, so I went back to the flat where I stayed, checked out the trees I’d climbed (now unclimbable–they’re covered in vines), and rode my red bike (with nifty front basket attachment) a few miles down Maddingly Road to Coton, the village where I’d gone to school. I was a little sorry I only re­mem­bered these places about as well as if I’d studied pic­tures of them–I didn’t re­mem­ber any­thing new, or get any new sensations. The col­leges are grand, and pretty. It would have been nice to study some­where sim­i­larly august. But, no regrets: I’m 24, that should be quite enough to start “producing.”

I’m kinda getting into Madonna’s “Music” album. I heard most of it in a bar in Am­s­ter­dam and I have to admit that there, at least, it “worked.”

Misc. travel notes:

  1. You see a lot of nuns in Spain.
  2. Many Spanish women dye their hair, often inappropriately.
  3. You see a lot of people on in-line skates in Paris.
  4. Dog turds are common, in France, and Spain.
  5. The French for “SALE” is “SOLDES.”
  6. There are many motor scoot­ers in Spain, and many bi­cy­cles in Amsterdam.

I go to Prague in a few hours.