Alabama

The nudist gathering finished up, mercifully, with one sunny, warm day on which to actually remove one’s clothes comfortably. Though the overall event wasn’t really my scene, fundamentally, I had some fun and met some good people. Among these was Paul, who most people considered my body double though we didn’t think we looked like each other at all, beyond the hair-and-beard thing. After a couple of days, we were both sick of people asking us if we were related and we started making up stories ranging from incestuous fantasies to Manson Family idolatry, and even found a few believers.

At the end, I went back to New York and hung out with Tim, who lives at Easton but also has an apartment in the city. Among other things, we went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Central Park before travelling back to Easton together. I then spent a few days helping out with a large retreat gathering, and saying goodbye to all of my Easton friends. I feel like I was there for more than just a few short weeks and I’m going to miss everyone. Perhaps I’ll have to come back next summer.

A New York image on 5th Avenue, where even the homeless are in on the patriotic action:

God Bless America

The next leg of my journey back to Vancouver was a stop in Chicago to visit Marsha, whom I met in Costa Rica in May. Here’s a picture of Marsha reflected in the “Cloud Gate“, a giant legume-shaped sculpture that the locals refer to as “The Bean”. The photographer can also be seen in the reflection if you squint closely:

Me

Here’s me with the Chicago skyline hiding in the smog behind:

The Cloud

Impulsively, we decided to take a short drive (589 miles) down to Madison, Alabama, where Marsha has a second home. It took about nine hours of driving, in Marsha’s Mini, travelling through five states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. Of those, I had only been to Tennessee previously. We stayed in Alabama two nights, then drove back to Chicago on Saturday. Here’s me and the Mini, in front of the Alabama house:

Mini

When we got back, we went to an outdoor concert by the Lyric Opera Company of Chicago in Millenium Park downtown, which was surprisingly packed.

Tomorrow night I’ll be boarding a flight to Vancouver, bringing to an end this season’s travels. Probably.

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hedley bontano