Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Academic Intercontinental Woes

Even I, the cruel and heartless elder brother, felt sorry for Academic Bro last week.

He was due to go to Serendipity, I was jealous. I think that summarises things. I get my frequent but short trips, which I love, but Academic was going for a whole just under four week spell, though largely work based. He does academic stuff, handy really as it fits his pseudonym perfectly, and had to go to do research and take pictures of food, as that, as everyone knows, is what all academics do.

You can imagine my feelings of envy. I had only just returned after my sojourn and, if it had been a person other than my younger brother, I'm sure I would have been full of abundance and happiness. Bollocks to all that kind stuff, this was my little brother. Jealousy, envy and spite were the order of the day even more than normal.

I told him that I'd drop him at the airport last Wednesday and he had travelled down to London from Sheffield on Tuesday to get the Wednesday flight.

Wednesday evening saw me steam over to pick up the girls, then go to my (parents') place to chill for half an hour before departing to the airport. I asked the girls if they wanted to come with me to drop Uncle Academic at the airport and they expressed about as much interest as you'd expect. We set off on our own.

And on the way the bro told me that there was a chance that he'd have to shorten the trip by a week or so. He had a work type of problem, one that required him to go to New York to sort out and he needed to leave Lanka after a mere two and a bit weeks instead of the longer period. My heart bled profusely for the fellow as I drove the car through the freezing fog, snow and sleet.

I deposited him at the airport and headed back to be bullied by the girls.

On Thurday morning I sat at my desk, this very one, and thought about things I could blog about and the fact that I really hadn't done enough practice for that night's gig. It was okay though, they loved me, even after the drum solo.

Sometime during the thinking about blogging, the slight worrying about practice and the bass drum foot practice which accounted for the banging under my desk, I received a phone call. Then I received another one. The first one's none of your business really but the second was my Mum calling from Colombo. I did that sighing and holding my breath thing as she was put through.

She asked how I was then didn't listen to the answer, that's what they do, these Sri Lankan mothers. Even before she had stopped listening to my answer she started with what she wanted to ask me. That's also what they do.

"Has Academic spoken to you?"

It was a tough question that required lots of thought before I answered. I felt as if I knew what it must be like to do exams and things that they do at University. To you, if you're a normal European type with a normal Mother, it seems simple, requiring just a yes or a no as an answer. To us, as Sri Lankan children of Sri Lankan parents, it's an entirely different matter.

Vut to do? I thought to myself in a Cerno accent.

Of course I'd spoken to him. Was she trying to find out what was going on, as she had smelt, as her species usually do, that something was amiss but didn't know any more? Had Academic told her everything and she was was trying to tell me? Or, had the little Bro been held in immigration, perhaps for crimes against fashion, and she was looking for him?

The above, as I'm sure you realise, are only a few of the thoughts that were going through my head. I decided to be evasive and told her that I'd spoken to him the night before. She told me, proudly in that Mother knows more way, that things had changed and he was now trying to get a flight back in a week or so. My heart bled a bit more, but it was actually becoming a bit genuine.

Some hours later I managed to get hold of the intellectual. He was holed up in the Galle Face Hotel after some hours of rapid flight booking and feeling a bit narked and a bit happy.

The situation had got worse and he had decided that he needed to get to New York as quickly as possible. I mean his situation, not the general economic and political situation in Sri Lanka, even though some would argue that had got worse too.

He'd just booked a flight home for the following afternoon and was pleased that he'd be able to go and sort out the stuff, gutted to leave Lanka. I was getting close to sympathetic and told him I'd pick him up at the airport on the Friday evening.

"I can't believe it bruv, I've just watched the sunset and realised it's the only one I'll see while I'm here." he said, though he doesn't call me "bruv", he actually said "son", but I don't want to tell you too much about us. I was engulfed in pure sympathy.

The next evening, the Friday, I collected the incoming incontinent intercontinental traveller from Heathrow. As brothers go I reckon I'd been quite the decent one, and believe me brothers would like to go if we could. At lunchtime I had given thought to what I'd he'd like for dinner. I contemplated making some rice and curry but rejected this as I didn't know if there'd be time.

I decided on proper English sausages, mashed potato and baked beans. It would be quick, hearty, pretty delicious and also something he wouldn't have eaten in Sri Lanka nor would he be likely to have in the U.S. And I fancied it too.

The journey back home was funny really. I asked him how Sri Lanka was, but he'd only been there for a day and I probably knew more about the Country from reading the blogs that day than he had learned from being there. I was amused that, on the one evening he had had there, he had gone with the parents and some friends to......the German restaurant. I am also fully aware that that sentence has got a few too many "had"s in it.

I was astounded, as most people who I share this nugget with are. Cinnamon G, with all of its restaurants is just there, as is the rest of Colombo. Raja Bojun, with its delicious rice and curry is there too, but no, he ate German food. Gott in Himmel!

Then on Saturday morning I woke up at 4.30 AM to drop him back at Heathrow for his flight to New York. He arrived there some hours later.

So his week was like this:

Mon - Sheffield

Tuesday - London

Wednesday - Leave for Sri Lanka

Thursday - Arrive in Sri Lanka, dinner at German restaurant

Friday - Leave for London, sausages for dinner in London

Saturday - Leave for New York, arrive there.

Wow - and he got me another little tri shaw, a silver one.


Anonymous said...

Re:Your comment about the Sri Lankan mothers and "have your spoken to your bother ?" .
A very dangerous question indeed.

Whenever mine asks that question I ask her "about what ?"

Note- Do not mention the time, date nor topic just those two words.

Makuluwo said...

Haha hilarious observation about Sri Lankan mothers! Oh so very true.