A long time ago, in a faraway land called college, I made a new friend, Alexandra Watkins. We just clicked one day, senior year, and for a few months we were inseperable. Then something happened–graduation–and I’ve not seen her since.
But Alexandra remains in my memory because I went with her to see “Out of Africa,” a movie that makes colonialism look incredibly elegant. I mean, let’s face it, if colonialism means Meryl Streep and Robert Redford wearing linen outfits and reclining under picturesque acacia trees, then really, where’s the harm?
After the movie, Alexandra and I started almost every conversation with “I had a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills…” (even if we were talking about what to have for dinner) and we decided that we should start a bar/bookshop/restaurant/performance space called “The Ngong Hills.” Doesn’t that sound great? We figured Cambridge’s Porter Square was the perfect place for such a spot, we planned the decor, the menu, the drinks, the kinds of books we’d sell.
Only thing we didn’t do is actually go into business together. But it was a lovely dream, nevertheless.
Fast forward a scary number of decades. I still haven’t opened a shop that combines pretty much everything I love (food, drink, books, theater, parties); I have no idea where Alexandra Watkins is; and I’m pretty sure that no matter what you wear, colonialism is not elegant.
I am, however, going to Kenya.
Yes. Me. On safari, just like Baroness Von Blixen, if she traveled with two young children and carried her own suitcases (one of which contains an emergency jar each of peanut butter and Nutella, in case of child-related menu crises). Continue Reading →