jet lag: new york city style.

we fell asleep (after cooking for the first time in, gosh, months – we knew it felt weird….)

and then – whaddyaknow – wide AWAKE again at 1AM.

hello, jet lag.

welcome back.

ok: team gloria recipe (RX for our american friends is the usual terminology and if one is terribly old-fashioned “receipt” for recipe – yes, we know it’s strange, but that’s what they used to call them) for new york city style jet lag:

1. watch LA Story: best line: “it’s a place where they’ve taken a desert and turned it into their dreams” (#bighugesigh)

2. turn on the tweets (gosh we MISSED twitter in CHINA – all those conversations and bon mots flying around and we couldn’t catch them….) – oh dear though, it’s a TERRIBLE opportunity to “catch up” on people that one used to have a crush on without them knowing (eek).

3. coffee pot gurgling sound soothing us, windows open and the sounds of SoHo revelers/party-goers heading into the small hours

4. btw, victoria tennant’s character is an early prototype for team gloria (british, the hat, the questionable driving, the engaging naivety and clever-clogs writer)! we only just noticed….

5. it’s entirely possible that we should (horrid word) do a little work for the day job – MAIS NON.

6. because we did an astonishing amount of ordering on amazon before we left for abroad which meant we came back to LOTS of yummy packages – like these:

book #1: gully wells: the house in france

book #2: 1938 edition: irene kuhn, assigned to adventure (a RIPPING tale of a female journalist/girl-reporter)

I wanted to write and I wanted to travel.

we love it already.

ok. it’s now 2.55 AM and the heat is unbearably intense in nyc right now. back to the cool sheets and the blast of air-con/AC unit to read……..

night, darlings.

in case you want to read on there’s more jet lag stories here:

a. jet lag: italian style

b. jet lag in madrid, spain

c. walking off the jet lag in london, england

d. nihao, 3AM (beijing, china)

e. enfin, Paris on less than five hours sleep

still life in a chinese hotel room.

ok – we’re going to work now……

we’ve been up since 3AM – swam (29 mins!!), sauna, steam, the funny lightbox room that we’re not sure what it does but the blue-ness and warmth is kinda nice (perhaps it’s reading our brain waves? hell, enjoy ;-), breakfast (still on the “reduce” which is going rather well, despite the feelings……oh, those, right, we’d forgotten those…..and we couldn’t be all holier-than-thou with the “no thank you on the carbs” yesterday as there was someone in the room we had a business meeting with in Paris and we bought her a PAIN AU CHOCOLAT. she didn’t eat it (huh?) and we had to physically restrain ourselves from taking it with us when we left – she just allowed it to rest, casually, on the side of her desk. who did that remind us of? yeah, oh god, how annoying. what bugs us is what we do/did ;-)

ok – over-excited – over-caffeinated – BRING ON THE DAY JOB – we’re here in china and READY TO WORK

yes, we know, there’ll be tears and weak tea with milk by mid-afternoon.

hello, 3AM. (+ what we’re not seeing)

there’s a huge summer storm in beijing tonight – or is that today – it’s now 3AM – we are wide awake (of course) – and opened up the curtains/drapes to see the sky fill up with lightning and huge fat raindrops hit the window up here on the 76th floor. there’s nothing like a summer storm at 3AM when one has jet lag in a hotel room to make one ponder the meaning of life.

or not.

can’t get the bloody espresso machine to work (and we have an above average IQ so there’s definite frustration behind that statement although we now have a moment of self-ironic glee that we are in a hotel room with its own espresso machine so thank you for listening to that mini rant ;-)

so here’s what we’re not seeing – these are from the last (day job) business trip to china where we took three hours under hugely jet lag swamped conditions to take photographs once before. so here’s what we’re not seeing on this trip (team gloria is feeling all bruised at the idea of another nine hours in an airless room again with back to back meetings BUT we did get windows on this trip – we’ve flown thousands of miles before to sit in rooms without windows, and it was HIDEOUS.)

we’re really naughty about “marking up assets” (i.e re-naming files) but we had a quick go here – so tiananmen square (no comment, for obvious reasons, but that was a transformative moment saying a prayer in the middle and being quiet and respectful and horrified at the same time), summer palace, forbidden city and a three level high modern geisha image at the mall above.

btw, we were also very naughty last night and skipped out of the business dinner – we used tobias and september 9th as an excuse. and then sunk into a massive depression at the very thought of tobias and september 9th to be honest. lots of nightmares about heads being cut off and throats slit. but the main reason we just couldn’t do the dinner (despite legitimate tiredness and tobias feelings – we know that we have to be somewhat fit for the surgery in order to recover properly)……..ok, deep breath……we couldn’t go to the dinner because we overheard someone saying “the coach will pick us up in 30 mins”

we don’t do coaches-to-dinner.

unless they come from the cinderella era.

seriously.

but dear god don’t tell them.

we’ll be in terrible trouble ;-)

 

a fashion moment in CHINA reminiscent of Monocle.

so the good news is that team gloria has had 6 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours.

the bad news is that those 6 hours were spread out in 3 blocks of 2 hours each.

scratchy eyes. a bit grumpy and yet zingy from the morning walk, swim, sauna, steam and a few minutes in the light box room (we’re not sure what it does but it makes us giggle being inside it before we shower and get dressed)…..

…………..yet in the pool this morning there was another human.

we were a little perplexed by this as we are generally alone at 7. 25AM while doing lengths.

the other human was STRAIGHT OUT OF A MONOCLE FASHION SPREAD – it was too utterly amazing (you haven’t seen one? – oh – ok – think about a slim, professional Japanese man wearing the sort of elegantly cut swim shorts one buys between flight changes in Zurich).

here’s Monocle’s site – we couldn’t find a fashion spread (we thoroughly recommend buying a copy of the magazine anyway – we’re a HUGE fan) but we did find their “guide to summer” here ……yeah, it’s an old guide to summer, but who cares? for a brand that is so definitely inspired by northern europe circa 1948 mixed with japan circa 1982 and a dash of monaco (pre-Grace) we’re not sure it matters….

ok – one more espresso in the hotel room on the 76th floor and we’re off for a day and evening of (day job) meetings.

time to put the interested-frown-and-slight-head-tilt-at-curious-information-before-speaking-look.

works every time.

the weather disrupted the planned croquet on the lawn

Although the weather disrupted the planned croquet on the lawn, it certainly did not dampen spirits at the Head Master’s Garden Party…

as you know, team gloria is currently in CHINA.

so we were tickled pink to get the newsletter (so clever, by digital means, an “e-newsletter”) from our old school (as in high school for our american friends OR the land of cold showers, hockey on the top pitch in freezing cold michaelmas term and latin for prep to our Brit chums).

team gloria is “of an age” that the old school sends letters which read:

would you join the headmaster for tea on his visit to new york?

we giggled massively at that one.

why yes!

we said.

and then got a horrid shock upon entering the hotel lobby to realize we were virtually the same age AS the headmaster.

he is terribly youthful, we had to admit, thank god.

btw, the old school association has updated its “website” (so modern) and done a “tag cloud” (almost TOO modern) and, sadly, the most popular tags include not only:

the headmaster’s garden party         events        gallery       rugby

but:

deaths and obituaries

ouch.

sigh.

on the plus side, the old school’s new site is also providing an “ecommerce service” (stop!) and we COULD buy the old school scarf…..

isn’t it lovely the way it is draped over what looks like a cricket stump? perhaps while the owner has dashed off to grab tea and strawberries like a ripping chap for his parents visiting from Hong Kong (“father is in banking and has a terrible gambling habit, mother does a lovely line in importing silks – so enterprising and necessary so they don’t lose the house – doesn’t she look well? almost radiant, one would say, Diana!”)?

however, the color/colour scheme bugged us at the age of sixteen and we never looked good in navy and burgundy, despite the light-bouncing-like-a-string-of-pearls thin white stripe. and they aren’t offering the bulky socks that made our poor teenage calves look so CHUNKY.

shudder.

not such happy memories.

on the plus side – we can wear what we want these days. so it’s the patent leather doctor martens and a very beautiful cerulean blue scarf from shanghai tang to get into the whole Orient theme. or not really theme, as it IS the Orient, one presumes.

or the future of the world’s economy.

which is why we’re here in the first place ;-)

nihao, darlings.

 

looks familiar…..

Looks familiar?

Yes, we’ve popped into a starbucks in beijing before our next meeting………….but they have very different food and beverage choices here:

like green tea rolls and peanut mocha on ice

curiouser and curiouser

No, darlings, we didn’t eat either option.

We had an iced tall americano – straight up, no dairy (chinese starbucks don’t have the canisters of milk anyway, you have to ask – and we didn’t because we’ve swam everyday and are eschewing such things to “reduce” as the french put it so kindly…..)

On the subject of dairy – ask a chinese person what they think of cheese and you’ll see an expression of pure horror ;)

Just so you know.

Off to more day job now.

Cultural reporting courtesy of team gloria shall return later.

yonghe gong (lama) temple visit

never one to miss a cultural experience, team gloria set out on an intrepid adventure (see earlier post on bejing subway)

the look?

…..not so good…..

hat on head against the burning sun, glasses on against the “no mascara or other make-up possible in this heat” look and floaty cotton shirt which was soaked through within a few moments……not “super cute” as my friends in the Valley would say.

sure we looked ok in grainy b&w of CCTV.

if you know what we mean.

so – the yonghe gong (lama) temple (chinese site here:) – a maze of interconnected wooden buildings from 1700s (our favorite/favourite period) and extraordinary vast overpowering buddhas in each one (three – past, present and future) and a cloying smokey haze pervaded the entire compound (we speak wisely and carefully) of incense (not the kind one had in one’s dorm-room/student housing at university either, huge thick burning columns everywhere in iron braziers).

now the more observant among you are probably saying:

“but where is the famous blue, red and vivid yellow color/colour scheme of buddhism?”

forgive us.

it’s just not our color/colour palette.

and if you read the earlier post on the subway, you’ll know we got a cab back.

eccentric? yes/

certifiably crazy. nope.

beijing subway tales

whenever we travel for the day job, we always squeeze in a few things – see a museum (about to post on the lama temple), catch local transport (see below) and visit a supermarket to understand more about the culture (and stock up on fruit for jet lags hours – hello – like now – sigh ;-)

beijing subway = oh lord. CRAMMED. orderly. the only sounds coming from handheld devices on which people were watching television/movies as we shuffled in a very long line upstairs (no moving staircases here – everyone looks very fit as a result) and down corridors and up more stairs and down. weirdly (bet this was for the olympics in 2008) the audio track on the subway is in both mandarin and then heavily accented american-style perky “the next stop is for the lama temple!” but the strangest thing is how organized everyone was. as soon as the crowd surged (silently apart from the handheld devices burbling out chinese movies) down onto the platform, a long orderly line formed, as if by magic, there was NO LINE telling people where to arrange themselves (for the subway doors) – they just know. or perhaps that’s what the people SHOUTING IN THE MEGAPHONES (oh yes) were telling them (“LINE UP IN FRONT OF THE L’OREAL AD PEOPLE!” maybe ;-)

btw, team gloria adored being stared at.

especially by the children who are so frankly fascinated (any attention, people, we love it, don’t tell anyone) and just gape.

and then the groovy-out-there-punk-t-shirts-and-pink-hair people – we love them too – they recognize a kindred spirit as soon as they spot the doctor martens. we grin. and nod. in a “hey man” kinda way. it’s gorgeous.

so – once on the subway – crammed into a tiny space – anti-perspirant alert! there’s no actual personal space. and no one seems to mind. no creepy stuff. just squished up against everyone else. and nobody talks. people just watch the television promos on the subway car walls (yup, moving images are everywhere). and then – halfway through the tunnel something fabulous happened……….

ADVERTS APPEARED MOVING ON THE TUNNEL WALLS!

yes! projected onto the tunnels outside the train – actual television ads!

you know what……? this place is exactly like Bladerunner.

it’s like someone from the Party (and we don’t mean up in the hollywood hills) saw a screening of Bladerunner back in the 80s and said to his/her (hey optimism – Mao said that women hold up half the sky) compatriots:

“wow. doesn’t that look cool? let’s build that!”

and – people – they did. right here.