Wednesday July 21st
The following day we wasted much of the morning haunting the lobby and indulging in small talk, saying goodbyes. I went for a drink with a deflated Doug who was lamenting the fact that for him the adventure was over. Then it was off to the bus-station to see off Daghmar Baron and Kay. Daghmar was homesick and was cutting her holiday short to see her boy-friend back home. That was beyond me. I’m not that romantic and have never been homesick. It’s always there, sometime or other. But Daghmar was beautiful and the boy friend was immensely lucky – unless she took another look at him and realised what she had just given up.
After they’d gone we decided to clear our heads from the night before and walk the Golden Gate Bridge. The sky was a soft blue, the air crisp and we hiked twelve miles along the coastline checking out the mansions.
It was thirsty work and we fantasised on our big farewell meal later that evening - down to the very last noodle. China town was going to be good.
But, as John Lennon said, ‘Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.” When I got back to the hotel there was a note from my cousin Kathy. She and the family were driving down from Seattle for another, perhaps final re-union.
It was an immensely generous thing for her to do, but also, for me, a Frasier moment, when two sacred moments over-lapped. Much neurotic pacing followed as I worked out the options:
Not seeing Kathy and family – unthinkable.
Not attending the final farewell dinner – almost unthinkable.
I watched the group leave the hotel en-route to China-town and the Far East Café. I'd come up with a plan. The two celebrations could converge and an extra table was booked.
Life is what happens etc. Kathy was unavoidably late. Worse than that they’d already eaten and had no room for anything more. Their ‘can do’ attitude resulted in them finding a table in the adjoining bar whilst I went to the other end of the room to booths reserved for the Aventours trip.
The evening was spent with me flitting from one emotional centre to the other – my cousins who likely I wouldn’t see again - and the group I’d travelled halfway across America with. It meant twice the drinking as the tears, farewells and toasts became more intense in the booths, and the beers continued to pile up on Kathy and Rick’s table. Between Dim Sum and beer I didn’t know whether I was coming or going or what I said or did or how I got home. At last the evening ended and, nursed by a hundred angels, I eventually found my bed