I’ve known my buddy P.S. for longer than Americans have known terrorism on home soil. Which is to say, it seems like forever, but in a good way. This evening, as I read his farewell SMS and a flight speeds down the runway at JFK and lifts off, I am torn between sharing my friend’s elation and mourning an era that has ended. (This photo from the ‘good old days.’)

As PS raced about neatly boxing up his life, preparing to bifurcate from his Bay Area life and embark on a round-the-world trip that makes me thoroughly green with envy, I also found myself increasingly gloomy. The reason was purely selfish: San Fran would never be the same again.

I have visited that city by the bay numerous times, both before and during PS’s residency. But the best times, the ones that have defined my most cherished memories of San Francisco all lead back to my friend PS.

The technology-soaked days; the marathon gaming sessions; the even more marathon movie watching session; the unofficial clubbing; the sustaining take out mango chicken and walnut prawns that I’ve ordered off every Chinese menu since and never been satisfied with; the insanely great eats of the Inner Richmond ‘hood (where I have consistently failed to be able to eat more than $3.50 of dum sum goodness regardless of my hunger); the network of friends … and oh so much more.

phil_yasuka.gifYes, I can go back and replicate some of it, but I’m afraid that the city won’t be the same. It is the end of a fabulous era, one that will remain golden in my memories. The continent is the poorer for his departure — the America’s loss is Europe and Asia’s gain, at least for the next six -plus months! (Dude! Here he is with Yasuko and I in our community garden. We had a yummy lunch on the pair’s last day on US soil.)

I’ll be a virtual verdigris-coloured vicarious viewer on the mo-vlog — that’s the trip blog that is being entirely maintained by a nifty Nokia n95 a cellphone-cum-5 Megapixel camera and video camera-cum-GPS device-cum-PDA-cum…you get the idea). You can check it out too at http://mukumama.com

The only fact I take small solace in is that occupying a slice of that 8 x 8 x 8 storage space is the Dance Dance Revolution play mat! Send me the geo-coordinates when you reconnect it and I’ll be there :0)

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