Basel, Switzerland

Living in the center of town, in a beautiful apartment near the train station. A minimization of living needs: I eat out three meals, drink lots of water, do the pushups to stay in form as I dive into the execrable task of putting all the notes into the computer. After this unenviable task,  I will work further with printouts, changing, developing, modifying, generally improving: that will be fun. For now, just the hard labour of inputting.

It’s a strange part of town. I get my morning coffee in the train station, more for the novelty of using a train station as a grocery store than for the quality of the morning drink. I like walking by all the passengers, and looking at the platforms as people pull away for Zurich, Bern, Lugano, Lausanne, Stuttgart, Strasbourg, Paris. There is something comforting about eating in a train cafe surrounded by travelers who have no particular attachment to this moment: they are waiting for the time to arrive when they leave. Until then, they sit and wait. A few train workers drinking white wine this morning at 8:30 am. I think that’s a bit much, but perhaps it steels one for the day of working with iron.

My day-trip yesterday was to the Rhine, where everyone was floating down stream, heading North, heading towards France. Looking at the river from a bridge, or the opposite bank, it looked like half of the river was covered in orange driftwood, little bobbing heads in groups. I had brought my suit to swim, and found a place to leave my belongings. The orange sacks, it seems, double as flotation device and rucksack, so one can get in the water a mile upriver and get out twenty minutes later at the old city. I walked across a bridge to go swimming; on the way back I took one of the ingenious river-ferries, whose design allows one to cross the river powered only by the current of the river. (photo)

As I write the piece, I am remembering my wonderful time in Le Puys, the little French town where I began writing earlier this month. I speak no Swiss German (yet), and so am undertaking all of my daily transactions in French, which most people find charming-many so speak it, but don’t have much use for it-though France is from here only a ruck-sack float away.

Yesterday in the news there was an item about a British tourist who locked herself in the town hall of a small French town, thinking it was a hotel. Her French was poor, and apparently went to the loo at just the wrong time. I’ve also locked myself up here, digging in for these several days of 12-14 hour workdays.

Julia and Owen are awaiting the first draft, and it’s coming right up! A few days away.

With that in mind, until Friday I’ll be in my own self-imposed monkish hideaway. Then on to France, where I’ll write in a surely new mindset.