Areas of Unrest
16 September 1999 - Dragon Teeth
QOTD: "A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring." - Ambrose Bierce
Reading: Sue Grafton, N Is For Noose
Listening to: Gavin Bryars, The Sinking of the Titanic
As I was leaving the office a few days ago, I had the following
conversation with one of the Air Force officers I support:
My meetings the past couple of days were sort of like that. I was almost surprised that nobody poisoned anybody else's coffee. Oh, well, another week, another 5000 frequent flyer miles.
Coming back was particularly annoying as the plane seemed to be full of ill-mannered louts. I don't really care if you and your seven other friends think that it's horribly amusing to put in false bad teeth and make puppets out of the barf bags and declare that you are the king of air travel, but I do object to your doing so loudly. Especially when you are in the row immediately behind me and half of the friends you are showing off your alleged wit to are six rows in front. It probably isn't funny to begin with (though I might just be in a humorless mood; I also laughed exactly once through the two episode premiere of Action, which all the critics have been so wild about), but even if it were, if I wanted to see a comedy act, I'd go to a comedy club.
On the plus side, I got together with Marcia and Jim for dinner while I was in Colorado Springs. We went to Marigold's which is essentially a bistro and was quite nice. I had a risotto which was really a sort of Italianized jambalaya, while Marcia had salmon en papilotte and Jim had something that called itself Amish pizza (blue cheese and bacon and other unlikely pizza ingredients). It was all quite pleasant, but I don't envy them the summer they've had. Between repairing house damage from a bad hail storm, a cat undergoing chemotherapy, and a houseguest who collapsed with pneumonia the day after he arrived, they've been a bit swamped.
Of course, one of the topics of conversation was my vacation plans. Jim had an interesting idea for a new travel obsession - namely, all of the countries that were once part of the Roman Empire. I'll have to study some maps to see what exactly that implies, but if I recall correctly and the Romans never got east of Vienna, I wouldn't have a lot left and could probably do it in one fell swoop.
In the meantime, I've been pursuing two other thoughts. I called up for info from a company that organizes arrangements for the trans-Mongolian railroad, among other things. They actually have a tour that takes in Siberia, Mongolia and Tuva, which might be a possibility, but I am still leaning towards semi-independent travel. (Some things need to be organized as transit in Mongolia and Tuva is limited.) At any rate, the same company has a number of other tours of interest and does customized packages, so I will almost certainly talk further with them.
Quite by accident, I ran across something else of possible interest. In a moment of idle curiousity, I looked up air routing to Paramaribo, Surinam. And discovered that, while there are flights via Trinidad, the major flight search engines wanted to route me through Amsterdam. This intrigued me enough that I searched for ships to Surinam and discovered a freighter cruise from Southampton (England) to Surinam and Guyana. When I followed that link, it led me to a fruit importer. In other words, the cruise is literally a banana boat. I think that may just be too good to pass up.
Lonnie also had a suggestion for new travel obsessions, by the way. He suggested the Moon, Mars, Callisto, etc.. Essentially, he said that I should aim high.
In other news, I was concerned about my mother with Floyd battering the Northeast, so I called when I got back from Colorado tonight. She said it hadn't been too bad, though they'd had a brief power outage. I mentioned the trans-Mongolian railroad to her and she told me again how much she'd like to take the Orient Express. I pointed out that, if she really wanted to, she could. "But then I wouldn't have anything to look forward to," she replied. This from the same woman who swore she wouldn't ever be like her aunts who refused to use the good china or the new linens, saving them for some mythical special event.
I am definitely my father's daughter. Or a changeling.
Copyright 1999 Miriam H. Nadel
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