It is Day 4 of the Great Adventure. We are still working on establishing Base Camp, but we’ve succeeded in unpacking, and actually finding places for the heaps of things we brought with us from the US. (We’ve also already started the list of critical things we forgot to bring.) We have also successfully used all of the major appliances in the apartment at least once (admittedly, the oven was only used to make toast; we haven't actually cooked a proper meal yet). We don't have Internet yet—except for the irregular interludes when we can mooch off some neighbor's unprotected wireless signal—and it won’t be set up until after I leave (which means that if you are reading this I have already returned or I discovered an Internet café somewhere nearby). Since the Adventure has not exactly generated much of a narrative yet, I'll fall back on making a few random observations at this juncture.
- I have caught myself conducting a series of odd little rituals—spreading my possessions around more thinly than either necessity or practicality demands, rearranging things like the utensil drawer in the kitchen, poking around in random nooks and crannies for no particular reason—that I suddenly recognize as being my standard reaction to inhabiting a new space. It's strange that I never noticed before because it now seems rather exaggerated and not a little compulsive, and I now feel embarrassed after the fact for every hotel room, apartment, and house in which I’ve taken up residence.
- The lack of an internet connection has given me a remarkable amount of free time: time enough to write blog entries again, obviously, but also to read (I finished Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree  in just a few days), and to finally watch episodes 3-6 of the BBC miniseries Jekyll, which have been sitting in my iTunes library for seemingly forever. At the same time, I feel vaguely uneasy about being disconnected. Since getting my iPhone, I've become accustomed to having ‘the Internet in my pants’, so it’s especially hard not having that crutch to fill idle minutes.
- Just a thought, but could it be that a there's an exact correlation between civilization and the ubiquity of sidewalks? (By which measure, vast swathes of the USA earn, at best, only developing nation status.)
With that, I’ll call it a night.