A year ago today, I landed in Tokyo to start my bar trip. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday, but when I think about how much I’ve grown as a lawyer, it makes a bit more sense. I was pretty bad about posting on this blog while I was on my trip, because I didn’t have enough time to write both in my paper journal and on here, and I prioritized the paper journal. But now I’m on vacation (and it’s a real vacation! Because my big case settled at 3 pm on Friday!) and I am finally going through my pictures, and the circumstances are perfect for me to finally put in some updates.
(I took almost 5,000 photos on my trip, between my phone and my DSLR, but my computer can’t sort them in chronological order. So these photo-and-story updates will be thematic more than strictly chronological.)
This is kind of self-evident, since it’s been six months since the last time I wrote a post, but there you have it. One thing I have learned about being a lawyer is that just because something is super obvious to everyone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it down, because you never know who is going to need that contract, or deposition transcript, or whatever, weeks or months or years down the line. So. It has indeed been a while since I’ve updated the blog. I’ve been busy lawyering, and I haven’t really been bitten by the travel bug since I got back, except for a few days of shameless lobbying to get sent to Norway to defend a deposition. That failed, and I ended up defending it over video conference at 4 am. Also a useful life experience, but with significantly less herring and funky brown cheese involved.
But I was having lunch with a friend today, and we were talking about what books we were reading now that work had calmed down a bit, and I remembered that I had this whole creative outlet that I had been completely neglecting. And that I actually really enjoy writing things that aren’t memos or motions or briefs. And here I am!
I think I may have mentioned in one of my earliest posts that a friend had suggested I do a spa spin on my trip, and given how much my feet hurt just two days in, I eagerly took her up on that idea. I will (eventually) write longer posts about many of these, but here is just a brief list of all the ways I attempted to pamper myself on my trip:
The foot massager machine in my hotel room in Tokyo. A special perk for the “ladies only” rooms. It… sort of worked…? Ish. I still had a cramp on the bottom of my foot for a week.
The three different styles of hot tub/onsen at the ryokan in Hakone. One a mix between a (slightly moldy) indoor stone waterfall and a 1920s shower; one a giant wooden barrel sunk into the floor, with a copper bottom; and one a flagstone tub that was too hot to touch.
The foot onsen in the Hakone sculpture garden. In retrospect it looked like a feeding trough with pebbles on the bottom, full of feet.
A foot reflexology massage in a dingy hole in the wall in a rundown mall in Singapore. It hurt, a lot, for an hour, as he basically just ground my tendons into my feet, but I think it helped.
A traditional Cambodian massage in Phnom Penh. A unique experience (and they had goldfish swimming around in the floor), but because they use a mattress on the floor instead of a Western massage table (in order to be able to sit on you with more pressure) there’s nowhere to put your face and I spent most of the time trying to figure out how to breathe.
A foot reflexology, and also shoulder massage, in Hong Kong. Bliss.
A sauna in Helsinki harbor. Cons included the fact that the place had just opened the day before, so there was still sawdust everywhere, and also people could wander around without paying and, I’m fairly sure, see in the window to the sauna. Pros included the refreshing feeling you get after swimming the length of a pool filled by the North Sea, which is 17 degrees Celsius, so all of a sudden the air feels balmy. Also the amazing views. And the awesome hats that Finnish ladies wear in the sauna. No clothes or bathing suit, just sitting around chatting completely naked except for a giant felt-y, bobbly thing on their heads. With flowers.
Bath #1 in Budapest, originally built by the Turks, which had something like four different saunas (including a salt one and an aromatherapy one) and 6 different pools, and a great view from the rooftop hot tub out across the river and the city.
Bath #2 in Budapest, a giant yellow building with two enormous pools outside (one regular and one hot), and at least 17 pools inside, as well as saunas and steam rooms. I tried to up the relaxation quotient with a massage, but should have been warned by the fact that there was a place fill out how many physical therapy appointments your doctor had prescribed you: it was a very cursory medical massage in a wooden cubicle which was clearly over 100 years old, on a massage table that was so hard I ended up with bruises on my cheekbones.
Lots and lots of swimming in the Adriatic (in Croatia). The beautiful, bright blue, absolutely crystal clear, very chilly Adriatic.
Nothing in Scotland, but I did try to take a bath (full of Epsom salts, to try to help with the itching from the allergic reaction I was having to the flea bites I’d gotten in Dubrovnik) in London. The little lever thingy to raise the drain plug was broken. I had to bail the tub by hand, with a mixing bowl. It was a large tub: 42 bowls worth before the water pressure let up enough I could pry the plug out with a spatula. Kind of cancelled out the relaxation…
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland, fancy mud masks and all.
And there you have it! I relaxed in every country except Scotland. 🙂