LATELY — 20 January 2001

Street Crime

20/1

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.