On a Bucket List in SoHo

When can somebody call themselves ‘well-travelled’?  I’m reminded of that old John Denver lyric: “I haven’t quite been around the world, But I’ve been around the block”, and this is how I feel about my travelling life.  I’ve not been to many countries — the South African Rand only stretches so far — but I’ve been to a few interesting places.

Ironically, the places I‘ve been to are fairly obscure for the average South African, and the places your average South African has seen, I’ve not been to.  And admittedly, some places were bigger mindfucks than others.  Las Vegas freaked my noggin!  (That’s me in Vegas pretending to be a high roller.) How the heck did a broke 27-year-old from suburban Joburg end up in Vegas of all places?  I have no idea, but I was there!  Same with Oslo.  I still find myself thinking, “Wait a minute, I’ve actually been to Oslo!”  But I’ve never been to England.  Or Thailand.  Places many of my fellow citizens have visited often.

Oslo Marina
Oslo Marina – three days before I got married

I’m turning 50 this year and flying a fantasy flag of taking myself to someplace special – if budget allows it.  Kicking ideas around: where would I want to go to, and why?  I thought about my value systems, my goals in life, and where would I find a place that can tick all my boxes?

First box: food!  I love good food.  I never get the “food is fuel” brigade.  So, where would a guy taking himself out for his half-century birthday go?  First stop: Madeira.  I love Portuguese cuisine, and Funchal, Madeira, has always been on my foodie bucket list.  Then Spain.  They held the world’s best restaurant for a while, and I think French cuisine – as great as it is – is a bit too fancy for its own good.  I won’t say no if I get offered a lift, but I won’t go on my own steam.  For food, I think the Iberian countries will do me just fine!  Spain will do.  And then somewhere in the east – Vietnam, maybe, to go experience the street food cultureJapan, too.  And how can I go on a culinary tour without visiting a good old-fashioned British pub?

Second box: art and culture.  There’s still a bit of the boho in me.  I may be a world-weary and cynical capitalist, but there’s still enough of the free-spirited art student in me to go to the great art galleries of the world.  The Louvre, obvs.  The Belvedere in Austria: I always wanted to see Klimt in real life.  And how about the National Portrait Gallery?  Well, I’m going to a British pub, may as well go to the Portrait Gallery!

Third box: my alternative lifestyle.  Where are all the interesting kinky places?  Japan, for sure!  Would love to do a proper kinbaku workshop somewhere in rural Japan.  But the language barrier gets in the way.  I may need to think closer to home language, and I found a few interesting places in England.

Jeez, now that I think about it… a few great pubs to have a few great pints at, a place to gawk at galleries, and a place I can indulge in my kinky ways…  I think I know.  I need to haul my ass to Soho.

I mean, I need to get some Beef Chow Mein following a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand walking through the streets of Soho in the rain.  And As Shane told us, one can take shelter from a shower and fall into someone’s arms on a rainy night in Soho.  Kirsty MacColl told us about freezing names on empty Soho Square benches, and The Killers would have Natalie Believe to forget what they said in Soho

Soho has a special place in the heart of artists, and this may just be where I’ll go explore when I turn the big five-oh.

Now, anyone wanna buy 50,000 copies of my books so I can have the budget to goho to Soho??

Photo by Seva Kruhlov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/soho-neon-at-night-16515513/