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Kam took me to the San Francisco airport on Saturday morning, and I arrived safely in Chicago on Saturday evening. Had dinner with Mary Anne, hung out with her for a while, stayed in a Holiday Inn fairly near the airport.

This morning, had brunch with M and a bunch of her local friends and (briefly) Kevin; then went with M to the first meeting of a new Desi writing workshop, where I helped her talk about various options the workshop could choose in terms of structure and approach. Napped in a nearby chair for a while, participated in one critique, then back to M's place.

For the past two hours, I've been alternately trying to find a place in the house where I can't hear the party across the way, and putting in earplugs to block out the noise. They really really really love to party in this town, apparently. I can't figure out where the party is; possibly elsewhere in this building, because there isn't a single room in the whole condo where I can't hear it, even with the earplugs in. I'm hoping they give up and go to sleep soon.

(In case MT doesn't update the time zone appropriately: it's now quarter past 1 in the morning on Sunday night/Monday morning.)

Anyway. I imagine they'll stop eventually. (Added later: they stopped ten minutes after I posted this. Clearly I should've posted sooner. :) )

The other thing I've done tonight is read the first Lemony Snicket book. I'm afraid it didn't do much for me. I kept wanting it to be funny, but there was only one line in the whole book (near the end, a meta-joke about a law regarding the author) that even made me smile. Not my cup of tea.

Speaking of tea (he said, free-associating), I found out today that the Europeans brought tea from China to Europe in the 1600s, and then brought it to India in the 1800s. It was also native to one part of India, but the British seem to have been the ones to cultivate tea and "tea culture" (as Britannica puts it) in South Asia. I'd always thought it was the other way 'round (that the British acquired tea and tea culture from India).

Anyway. General idea of rest of trip: Monday we'll go to fireworks; Tuesday we'll go to the special Fourth of July edition of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind; Wednesday I fly home.

At some point in there, I hope to do some journaling; there's all sorts of stuff I've been meaning to write here. But not tonight; gotta read some more subs and then go to sleep.


While I'm a fan of Snicket, I do acknowledge that it took a book or three before the style was fully developed. On the other hand, getting only one smile out of the whole first book does probably indicate it's not for you. If you do want to borrow a later book, let me know; I've got the whole set.

Yup, I was kind of surprised when I learnt about the history of tea as well: I thought the Chinese and Indians had been its first consumers. Given the sheer variety of tea gardens in China (my local Chinese tea shop carries at least 5O different kinds) compared with the handful in India (only six, out of which Assam and Darjeeling are the most famous), I should have suspected something was up.
Yes, I'm a tea geek, and proud of it ;)

My recollection (from a book that I seem to have forgotten to blog when I read it, and now cannot recall any particulars of) is that India turned out to be more conducive territory, particularly for the varieties of tea that were then popular in England, and particularly because (at the time) the locals were less likely to slaughter the English.

The timing is particularly interesting, because really there was only a small window of time when tea could have become the national drink of England, what with the costs of shipping, taxes, exploitation of natives, the China situation, the India situation, etc, etc, etc.

And given that timing, it was inevitable that people would attempt to get around the (egregiously high) import taxes in Britain by shipping tea directly to the North American colonies, which led of course to the government back in Blighty to notice the ludicrously low level of taxes there and to suddenly raise them to a level commensurate with the taxes back home, which seemed for some reason to piss off the colonists, who dumped a whole mess of tea into the Boston Bay in protest.

And, you know, Declared Independence. Happy Fourth!


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