i've loved geography and it's really fascinating for me to find out where i'm going, where i'm heading to, trotting on places that were just lines on maps when i pretended i owned a kingdom somewhere in the world atlas. a long time ago, there were just games like civilization or one of the sim series, but i know i'll always love just sitting on the bus to somewhere.

this week, somewhere was cambridge.

wait, let me fuck with your brains a bit. if never never land is never never land, does it mean it's always land?

studying in london is one thing, but city boy like me finds things like cow and grass very alien, foreign and exotic. that's why even though there's musicals or plays to watch, my desire to always go where the grass is greener (it's easy really, london doesn't really have green grass) brought me to cambridge, where i took advantage of chan lek's humongous room.

cambridge is a really nice, quaint town, what you'd really like when you're studying and everything, and of course lovely architecture and famous heads on statues gazing down on you and reminding you how painfully pathetic you are in this great institution. (or at least that's how i hazard the students must feel, not being in this institution). all this is remedied though, when you see your name in bright gold letters on the first floor of your halls proclaiming "I stay here at XXX college in Cambridge, and I have arrived). It doesn't say that, you know, but you know how in children's books the walls of boarding schools always talk and the willow in the middle of the courtyard can turn into a monster.

but yeah it is my first experience of famed traditional english countryside, walking through the fens, sitting by the river cam, punting, watching swans, and weird random people wanting to talk to us because her friends are dickheads and the odd person on the bicycle asking if we had weed. (son, do we look like weed smokers?) yorkshire pudding, cows, yes! even the drunkards in the bar curse in verse (iambic pentameter, according to chan lek). but a pity he was calling the students opposite him lesbians for reading astrology signs aloud.

food food food food. had plenty of good food. brought some fudge back to my hall to spread the joy too. and of course, it's really grand and all sitting in king's college listening to the choir do Te Deum and other assorted canticles for the matin mass. It's always nice to re-encounter beauty especially when it is forgotten in other parts of the world. no matter how you think this part tries to be smarmy and cling onto its traditions, it understands perhaps that these things are beautiful for smarmy people along the world and you may not give a flying fuck if you're homeless and selling copies of the big issue, but beauty is beauty is beauty.

i guess i was thinking sometimes, and maybe if i took one theme out of my thoughts it was 'greatness' or 'inheritance'. maybe it's the largeness of the place. i was thinking why people are great. and maybe some you think don't deserve to be great are great. and if you look around at cambridge, i think there is a sense that environment matters a lot, place matters a lot. where you are, where you are situated does matter. occasionally, and maybe today it's easier to cross boundaries but when you think about it place does matter.

oh yeah a bottle was hurled at us by some louts. about the only time we felt unwelcome in cambridge.

and so it was back down the m11 and m25, through the east end, which really does have a certain "charm" of its own, dark streets, halal restaurants, unswept streets, and back home. must thank chan lek for the generous accomodation (and episodes of family man) and i hope to continue travelling. if anyone wants to donate to the jesse travel fund or hire me as a travel writer, fuck you! you can't be serious, but if you are, give me a ring on my now non-existent handphone. ok. i'll get a number soon.

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