Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Global Family

A few days ago I was in London on business. To my surprise, I appear to have taken far fewer photos than I realized, but that's probably a function of working hard and also spending time with my two surviving brothers in London.

This was my first flight out of the La Rochelle airport and while I knew the airport was tiny, I didn't think about the fact that I was going to be flying on this:

The plane I flew on
If you fly frequently, you know what that means.

While it's cool you can see inside the cockpit for the entire flight:

Being able to see into the cockpit is interesting
The fact that this tiny plane only holds 19 passengers means that it's damnably loud and even the slightest gust of wind is going to send the plane sideways while in flight. In-flight comforts include a small, boxed snack and earplugs. I do not like flying on small planes.

This tiny plane only
held 19 passengers
After work, my brother Greg took me to the Blue Anchor Pub in Hammersmith, London.

The view of the Thames River
from the Blue Anchor Pub
We had a lovely time, though I wish my brother Lewis could have made it. Sadly, he was busy and wasn't able to join us at the pub.

My brother Greg
Later, we went back to Greg's place where I stayed in the spare bedroom. Interestingly, Greg, Lewis and I not only grew up separately, we didn't even know about each other until we finally all met a few years ago. Today, Greg and Lewis share a flat in Dolphin Square, a formerly very prestigious apartment complex in Pimlico, London, but today appears to be relying on its former fame to attract residents rather than offering a quality place to live. I suspect Greg and Lewis will be moving soon.

What's even more interesting is that I used to live in Dolphin Square: with Greg. The furnishings are poor, the service abysmal and the rents astronomical. Combine that with paper-thin walls which meant that even turning on the stereo at low volume generated complaints from the neighbors (whom I could hear quite clearly when they were having intimate moments) means that I'm surprised Greg agreed to move in there again.

Grumbling aside, Lewis finally finished his work and arrived at the flat later in the evening. It was great catching up with him (but damn if I didn't forget to take a photo of him).

Battersea Power Station, the
view from my brothers' flat.
While I was there, Greg gave me this photo:

Our (deceased) brother Randy, on the left
While I'm unsure of its origin, the young gentleman on the left is apparently our brother Randy, who died in the woods under unexplained circumstances back in 1984. We never knew him, either. In fact, the first time I ever heard of Randy was in 1984 when my mother told me of his death. I have no idea how she found out, but damn, our family history is convoluted.

We have another brother, James Lewis Poe, Jr. He died in the Dalles, Oregon, just a few months old (birth defect). He died before I was born, so we never met him, either.  I have another sister, Gayle, who I grew up with and who currently lives in New Braunfels, Texas, and another sister, Lynne, who lives in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a few hours north of London. Greg grew up with her.

So there you have it: our father, James Lewis Poe (who currently lives in Idstein, Germany), has seven children by four women. He's a great guy, but he grew up in another time and traveled the world and I suspect his popularity with women might raise a few eyebrows.

And to round out the family, my mother lives near my sister Gayle. Greg and Lynne's mother lives just around the corner from Lynne. Lewis' mother lives in the southern UK (Bournemouth?) and spends part of her time in Florida.

So, from growing up with just my mother and sister, Gayle, I now have a large, thriving family scattered across the globe. Despite not knowing about each other and going from several small families to one large one, we get along great.  Perhaps in a future post, I'll detail how we all found one another.

And for your entertainment, here are two completely unrelated bonus photos.

This first one, showing "Long Bacon", is from a Belgian fast-food chain named Quick. I suspect that they could use some native speakers for translation because long pig is a slang term for "human flesh". The sandwich was disturbingly delicious.

This restaurant desperately needs
a native English translator
And here's a photo from the market a couple of steps away from our front door:

Um, no thanks.
I can't say that I've ever considered eating a pig's head, but many parts of it are considered a delicacy here in France. Don't believe me? Watch this video about how to cook one.

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