House of Clubs

Do you like to travel? Do you long to see the world? Do you want to travel alone, with someone, with two someones, three someones or maybe four someones? My favorite mother-in-law always said three-day visits were max. When Jane Marie couldn’t use her ticket, I went to Adana solo and it was like shopping getting to the store, asking “where was it that Saul converted to Paul and how do I get there?” In this latest episode of Travailing with Jane Marie we were a five some teamed-up with Tamara, Lawrence and Uncle Vic, in London at 39 Godfrey Street.

Previously, all except Uncle Vic, had occupied an uptown apartment in or is it on Malta with access through the Texas Bar & Grill. I’m not sure if we broke the three-day stay rule, because I could always go for another round of rib eye’s, bacon burgers and Zero while the other three were out there walking, climbing Olympian class steps taking ‘I and sometimes we, were here’ photos.

39 Godfrey Street in Chelsea was three floors, three bedrooms, two baths and homey touches like a real living-dining-kitchen first floor. Frugal chef Jane Marie stocked the lader before the Tres Americano’s arrived while I nestled into my sedentary perch at the dinner table.

I resisted all invites to tour the city-scape under the excuse that it could never measure up to the photos displayed in every ESL Training school in China.


However, Uncle Vic sprung for tickets to the Broadway musical Kinky Boots with songs by Girls Just Want to Have FunCyndi Lauper. Again, approaching our three-day expiration date, we took the ferry to Jersey. Somewhere between here and there we got the word that Turkey was not issuing visas to Americans. Thus, the frequent topic of conversation changed to, does that mean us? What if that does mean us? If money wasn’t a problem I think we all move to the island of Jersey, just for the ice cream.

The Original Jersey Shore

Doesn’t look like much when the tide goes out, but you must rent a car to appreciate the countryside. After conferencing with the Polish and Romanian hotel staff the key insight for me was all the street signs were in French and 80% of the population originated in Portugal. I swayed the where do we eat committee to go Portuguese because Tam and Lawrence fish & chips pubsters got the same tip.


Ever on the lookout for somebody stealing my food, I was thankful that Tam was a veggie lover and Jane Marie chose fish. I needn’t have worried I was awarded the Over-meat eaters Anonymous trophy, the churrasco skewer.

Jersey is named after the Jersey cow or more likely the cow is named after the island because Guernsey is next door and they don’t call their cows jerseys. My English neighbor has never been to Jersey, but he says they’re famous for Jersey cream and new potatoes. The ice cream and driving the Jersey Garden State alley parkway are worth a visit and a millionaire residency permit.

Three’s Company in the Frog Loft

We got off the ferry from Jersey to St. Malo and switched drivers from English right Lawrence to French left Tamara. I tried to help the navigator role reversal by informing all that Malo meant bad in Latin. This unsolicited message seemed to fall on deaf navigator ears both front and back. The Frog Loft destination in St. Malo’s old town was GPS’ed like astronauts on re-entry. The contrast between 39 Godfrey and our French accommodations were quickly spotted by Victor, “where are the doors?” The short answer, not since 1971 after “Light My Fire“, Jim Morrison died. The draw curtain motif for bedrooms and master shower gave it that, you’re no longer in 39 Godfrey Street anymore feeling.


The Bagged Lunch at Normandie

The gang of Clubs visited the Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach. Our adult leader, Tamara was nice enough to take us to a real live raw cheese factory where I purchased two months aged mildly stinky and three month ripened stinky-stinky varieties. After which we proceeded to look over the D Day cliff while eating my stinky cheese sandwich. Now, I have to re-watch saving Private Ryan and the longest Day.


Paris for Two, What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Uncle Vic, the James’, Tamara and Lawrence, left us for London and America after dropping us off at the train to Paris. Saying goodbye to our adult leader meant Jane Marie took over charting a course utilizing the all forms of public transportation, including walking, even up and down steps.

The second day plan: take the Metro to the Eiffel then an hour boat cruise on the Seine. Trudging up the steps behind Jane, the buzzer went off and a fellow straggler and I jammed ourselves in the closing doors in a lose-lose access situation. The look on Jane’s face as the train left the station – what could possibly go wrong?

First off, no cell phones, let alone smart phones; second Jane Marie had no money. Thus, began a personalized episode of What Would Two Semi-Adults Do if they got separated in Paris with no phones and no money? I got on the next train, however, it wasn’t headed for Eiffel. Consulting the onboard Frenchmen, I made a mid-course transfer and arrived 20 minutes later to no sign of Jane Marie. Maybe she had gone off to the Tower entrance. A kilometer later no Jane Marie at the North entry. Poured my sad tale of losing my wife in Paris to the non-English speaking security twosome- “can I walk under the tower to the south entrance?” Go ahead: “Do you have a knife?” “No wife, no knife.”

South Eiffel no better, maybe she went on ahead to the cruise ships? Had no idea which boat Jane had bought tickets but when the sign read 69€. My recollection was in the 30€ range and a Blink scan of the brochure of the logo. Walked bridge to bridge up and over the Seine. Thought for sure a blond sitting on the steps of the main boat ramp had to be the Jane Marie. Got within 30 feet spotted the white ankle socks – no Jane Marie I know wears white ankle socks. After my two and a half hours search I was ready to call it a French Mis-Connection go back to the hotel. I reached in my back pocket for my Metro all day ticket, retrieving two. Sure, hope Jane has money to buy another one. Up to the room 30 minutes later and there’s Jane Marie.

So, where were you? “I got off at the next stop, crawled under a turnstile because you had my ticket and I had no money. Got off at your stop but you weren’t there. Got back on the Metro to the Eiffel stop. Looked and waited, no teg, so I sneaked through entry’s and favor scanned exits – no ticky, no exity –  for free return trip on the train back home.”

Outside of that Ms. Kennedy how was your second day in Paris? “Got to go on the boat cruise at dusk making for great photos. Did Notre Dame, the Arch de Triumph, Moulin Rouge, and polished it off with the best French meal right here at the hotel.”


Now all we need is for them to let us back into Turkey.