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The "spring part" of my winter trip...

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This continues my blog from a couple weeks ago. Monday and Tuesday (March 20, 21) were largely business days; I spent about fourteen hours those two days going through records. Monday afternoon I went over to the house of one of my customers, met his wife, and we just talked about stuff. Later Monday evening I briefly met another of my music customers. I stayed at Tom's house again as well, and hugged Tom goodbye Tuesday morning as I knew I'd likely not see him again this trip.

After the business on Tuesday (which didn't wrap up until after 9PM), I found my way to O'Grady's on Church Street, a smallish but renowned gay pub - and, oddly, I only went there for the food, as I needed to be in Hamilton 8 or 8:30am Wednesday. I had never heard of the place until the Friday night birthday party on the 17th, and true to somebody's recommendation, their soup was to die for. There were a couple people who wanted me to stay around more, but I truly wanted to be up early Wed., and I was. In fact, I've never been a person who cared much for pubs (gay or straight), but I really like THAT place!!

It was a hoot to visit with this Hamilton friend I hadn't seen in at least eleven years (but thinking it was the 1989 trip, making it 17), a guy I met in college. He's a little older than me, and still quite good looking, a Black guy about 6-foot-3. He still works in the finance business, and I think he was relieved to see there are actually Americans who think sort of like Canadians politically. He took me around for breakfast, his job, etc. until he had an appointment around 1PM, when I did some internet at the library, then visited another person I've known most of my life. Both of these guys are gay, though anything sexual was decades ago the last time. This made for a very pleasant day in Hamilton, almost unexpectedly so, and the day was full by the time I finally left. I reached Port Huron around 2AM and, after about an hour of intense scrutiny at Customs-Home Security, I was back!

I got a room in PH and slept sensibly, then only a little later I booked into the room in Southfield (at the Marriott) that I had rented via Hotwire. (I am satisfied, and I'm sure I'll use Hotwire in the future!) Getting a nice room at that special hotel was indeed intended for a special occasion. The old college buddy Jim, who I mentioned in my February "just had a fantastic weekend" blog, came by to meet me at 6pm, after he finished work. We had delicious Pakistani-Indian food in Berkley, then back at the room we had no shortage of stuff to talk about, and a couple hours of marvelous, hot frottage-sex. We slept in the same bed until he had to get ready for work, so he did take my earlier suggestion of just bringing his stuff along and preventing major commuting as well - something I never knew ahead if he'd actually do.

This got me into Friday, and after chexcking out I did some internet time at the community college in Royal Oak, then took off for Toledo, making sure I just beat rush hour going through Detroit. I was in Toledo just after 5, and got over to Gary's apartment, he showed me some silly and/or great internet stuff and we went out to eat at a great family restaurant (Maggie's in Perrysburg). Their ocean walleye was delicious, and even better yet their escalloped potatoes (which are NEVER, EVER on any menu!) were the best I've ever had. Back at his apartment we watched the new War Of the Worlds, until his bear Brian came home from work, and we all talked. And Gary had just gotten news that week that his new job DOES want him to become permanent, a nice jump from the position he had as a Temp from a work agency. I was there 'til bedtime, when I left and got a room in Dundee, Michigan.

Halfway to Ann Arbor...but I wanted to go to Tecumseh first to check something out, and I did - then got to Ann Arbor around 12:30. MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS of the rest of the day was spent inside the historic and elegant movie palace - the Michigan Theater - where I attended the next-to-last day of the Ann Arbor Film Festival. This is a highly-renowned fest, and one of the oldest ones out there, and it consists entirely of INDEPENDENT SHORT FILMS. The program is entirely free-form, and it's a marvelous cross-section of culture, art, documentary, stories, and sometimes whimsy. I had also made arrangements to meet up with a straight guy Phil, who I met at the Saturday night party mentioned in my February blog...he's the political science professor who I so much enjoyed hanging with at that party. He showed up at the theater, and we watched all these films together, what a great shared experience. During the long dinnertime interval we went to eat at Raja Rani, the best Indian restaurant in Ann Arbor. (I've really developed a soft spot for Indian food in recent years...)

I got a room in town, and AS PLANNED i was at Seva Vegetarian Restaurant at noon, and in several minutes Jim walked in. Yes, the same Jim from Thursday night, the same Jim from Friday night and Sunday in the February blog. We ate and talked, and got to the 3PM films, also watching the 7PM showing. He didn't want to do 6 hours of film and that was OK, so we ended up in a sandwich place before 7PM, and he left for home before the 9PM showing also as planned. (I stayed for that showing, though.) Sunday was the day of the WINNING FILMS, so it was the best part of the festival! Sharing the Sunday films with Jim was great too, and I'm very happy he was able to see "BACK HOME" a film by J. B. Rutagarama - a young man's journey back home to Rwanda to find his long lost mother. He had witnessed the butchering of the rest of his family. It portrayed the 1994 genocide intensely and very well, and as such it was very hard to watch in places and it made me cry, and it has to be one of the best documentaris I've ever seen...PERIOD. This film is highly recommended if you ever get the opportunity to see it! And I think that many of you WILL get that opportunity. It's 53 minutes long, which was NOT lost on me...that is the perfect length for, perhaps, PBS' Frontline or a special on HBO or BBC. (I think the latter is pretty much guaranteed, as he was befriended and taken-in by two UK female journalists who were documenting the genocide in 1994.) This epic film also took the TOP PRIZE as the best film of the Festival, and deservedly so, and Jim was in thorough agreement with me.

My trip was pretty much over. All I did was to get a room in Jackson MI, and drive the 400+ miles home Monday.

I guess that I'm done seeing Jim for a good while, now. I don't plan to get back to Michigan until midsummer at the earliest, and it's highly unlikely he'll get out this way because of financial challenges he's dealing with right now. I am more than happy that he was able AND willing to meet up with me every chance that availed itself, because there is no question that I am quite fond of him - and, among other things, he's helped me learn how to eat more healthily. If there is ever to be something that can fully be called a "relationship," it will take a good while, but I'm cool with that, and the friendship is a true blessing itself.

This is being written on 04 April (wee hours), and I'm now firmly back to work, which will be the case for a few weeks. I am hoping to traipse out to the West Coast (northern CA, southern OR, via whatever routes crossing from and back to IL) berfore summer, but I need to work if I am to in turn make that happen! I am thankful for trips like the one I just finished, even if there were some real problems with it the first several days.