Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jason Robards Helps Me Smuggle - England II

MANCHESTER

I sat in the back seat, Raz drove, and Dr. D sat in the front. As we hit the highway we noticed the highway cones. Here, in the US, highway cones are placed far enough apart that if you had to pull your car off the road in between them at highway speed you could. But on this particular road, the cones so close to each other that they were almost touching. There were multitudes of them in multiple lanes and it was comical. As if suddenly you were in a Monty Python film. For miles and miles they went on and even funnier was that we couldn’t even figure out what the construction was. Guess you had to be there.

It was getting dark by the time we rolled into Manchester. We pulled up to the Thistle Inn and registered at the desk. Raz said that he thought it would be nice for us to stay at an old inn, rather than at a brand spanking new place. He had that right and it was a very pleasant old place to stay with wood paneling and four poster beds. I love old buildings.

Then, Raz said that he had a special treat for us for dinner. He would take us to his all time favorite Indian restaurant for dinner where the food was just like home. And, it was close enough to walk. So, off we went to Gaylord’s. Oh boy, I thought, this ought to be really good!

We let Raz order everything in his native tongue when we got there. Dr. D and I smiled at each other. Raz waited eagerly with anticipation while the food was served. He asked that we both try the lamb vindaloo first. So, we did. My eyes instantly went to Dr. D. We grinned at each other in a pained way while sweat broke out on our foreheads, tears poured from our eyes and our tongues and roofs of our mouths burned.

“How is it? Isn’t it really good? Don’t you just love it? It’s just like my Mom used to make for me at home.” exclaimed Raz.

We both looked at him and grinned and nodded enthusiastically that it was through our tears. It really was very good once you were past the third degree burns. I guess they spiced it for him and not for us non-Indians. I frantically reached for my mango lassi.

Eventually we got used to it and the dinner became close to palatable. I must say that to my surprise it did not make my stomach upset at all. Here I was prepared to waken in the middle of the night with a highway flare in my chest.

The next morning we drove to the investigator’s site. There we met with our colleague Kate, who would be monitoring the site when it opened. She was petite and cute, just like me, but with shoulder length brown hair while mine is short and dark ash blonde. The meeting went well and we potentially signed up another investigator. Then, all four of us piled into Raz’ car, the boys in the front and the girls in the back. Off we went to tour the country side and see the shore.

Instantly we left the country and drove into green hillsides dotted with trees, houses, and coastal views.

Eventually we came to a sea side town and had lunch at a pub. It was solid British fare, meat and potatoes with a pint; very traditional indeed. Then we walked around the small town and got ice cream. I love the charm of small timeworn coastal towns like that and in fact I live in one now albeit here in the US. All in all, it was a very pleasant afternoon.

But, we had to be on our way to make our next country: Italy. So we all piled back into Raz’ car and after dropping off Kate at the investigator’s to get her car, we drove to Brighton’s Airport to catch our flight. We made our farewells to Raz; hugs all around. He really was a gracious host.

Next time… The Eternal City

2 comments:

David said...

I'm joining this story a little late, but it all sounds lovely.

Sue said...

You absolutely MUST go back to the beginning to read the whole thing!