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Back from Boston.

I've just returned from my vacation in Beverly, Massachusetts -- Rose and her parents, C & J, dropped me off at the corner of my building after the long, (and very hot!) drive back to Montreal; I was a bit surprised by the amount of smog that could be seen hanging over the city as we crossed over the Champlain Bridge; the high humidity, the end of the holiday weekend, and rush-hour traffic must have combined to blanket the central area of the island.

The time in Beverly was both fun and much needed. The four days that I spent dancing were not only instructive, but allowed me to relax in a way that I haven't had the opportunity to do in a long, long while. The weekend itself was set at Endicott College, on the coast of the Atlantic -- a lovely little regional university with two-dozen or so buildings strung-out along a verdant hill and down the neck of the coastline. Rose and I payed for accommodation at the Beacon Hall residence at the top of the short cliffs off of Hale Street; the Hall itself is presumably named (like most things in the area) after an historic site or personage associated with the American Revolutionary War. In the case of Beacon Hall, the likely inspiration was likely the beacons used to signal the march of British regulars on Charleston -- the same march that inspired the ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes.

During our stay there, the lack of air-conditioning in the Hall didn't prove to be of any consequence -- the breeze off of the ocean was enough to make things quite chilly at night. As a result, it wasn't extra fans that were missed, but rather extra blankets! In addition, both Rose and I found ourselves wishing for earplugs after our first night in our room; during the night, we were repeatedly (and by repeatedly, I mean on over a dozen occasions) woken by a screeching call. We hadn't the foggiest notion of what was making the racket, and we took to alternately calling the thing "the Howler Monkey" or "the Spider Monkey", or "the Soon to be Dead Monkey". I may say the we were wishing for earplugs, but we'd just as soon have settled for a shotgun or a blunt, heavy rock. Soon enough, we discovered from the locals that the mysterious Monkey-sounding-thing in the woods was not simian but rather fowl; apparently there are wild peacocks running loose in the woods of Beverly, MA, the unexpected arrivals having been left abandoned by an eccentric millionaire who found himself carted-off to jail for tax evasion some years back.

In any event, despite the nightly avian interventions into our slumber, we managed to get along with our classes, the breadth and content of which are too lengthy to mention but briefly. Among the things that we both took time to study were balboa, floorials, and basic aerials. For most of the rest of the time, we were in separate course "tracks" (yellow/4 in my case, blue/2 in Rose's), and so our experiences diverged a bit; overall though, I managed to pack sixteen or so new movements into my notes, and Rose had the opportunity to study a bit more of the charleston.

Other than that, pictures were taken and acquaintances were made. Strangely enough, we ran into some people who know Sylvain & Josee-Anne from the time that they apparently lived in Washington DC! It's quite odd the people that you run into and the gossip that you hear in the strangest of places at the queerest of times. Queer as well was the experience of flirting with an American girl by the name of Mirage. Mirage was quite cute, brunette, and shapely but petite. She also didn't seem to mind spending time with me during classes, but she seemed too spacey to catch the indications of interest that I was sending to her. By Saturday night, I gave the effort up for lost; she seemed to disappear into the fog at the end of every day, not emerging again until the morning sun and next round of classes appeared on the horizon.

After all of that, and after having exchanged contact information with as many people as possible (Pete from CA, Amy from MA, the Australian couple, Emma & Drew, from down the hall, Nick from wherever, Eric the hip-hop instructor...) we checked-out on Sunday evening, spent the night with Rose's parents at the Day's Inn in Danvers, and made use of Monday by site-seeing in Downtown Boston and Salem, MA. There wasn't the time for me to visit the various universities in the area (MIT, Harvard, Berkley...) but that only provides me with something to look into on the next occasion that I'm in the area. Having completed that stage in the journey, another night was spent at the Inn before packing up for the trail back north.

And now, as I sit at the Second Cup on Monkland, I feel soreness, a bit of fatigue, sweaty and in need of another shower, but a good deal of contentment with the outcome of the last few days. And now, time to brace for the Jazz Fest...

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