Friday, June 24, 2005

I got you a gift, but ..., it was a matter of life or death.

[file under: Back to The Real World]

So, it's done. The Travels of Thousand5, Part One.

I'm sitting at my desk back at the job, and I can't get the trip out of my mind. There are drinks lined up with friends so that I can regale them with the stories ... and feel ever more depressed that I am back. Ah, but such is Life.

A colleague of mine asked me not to return without bring her back some chocolates. And, the gentleman that (I think :) I am, I obliged. I picked up a pack of six of these things called Dreamers they had at the Australian Chocolate and Ice Cream place in Berlin. The last leg of my trip I was in Madrid and I had read about this tiny place called La Violetta that sells candy that supposed to 'look, smell, and taste' like violets. Found the place and picked up a few boxes of those, just in case I needed to, you know, i don't know. One of them was a little glass box package with a nice bow knot tied on it. One of those can't not come into use someday, ya.

One of the reasons I hate planning is that things usually don't go according to plan. But I did want that my last train ride be a chill, best-of kind of thing. Say Au Revoir to the Old Continent in style. Got myself a first-class seat in a train bound for Frankfurt, (just barely made the train again), and settled in. It was a really hot and humid day in Paris and I was so looking forward to the air-conditioned ride.

The train starts, and pretty soon I get very hungry, and ask the conductor for directions to the Cafe Car. And what do you know ? there was none on the train. excuse me, i thought I had misunderstood. Nope. Wow. A 6-odd hour train ride without any food or water. No vending machines either.

I figured I could sleep my way through the journey and dream about things other than hunger and thirst. The only thing I could dream about? The Dreamers :-) Didn't help that the group across the aisle were having a little picnic. A 3-course picnic, it seemed like. So, I check my pack again to see if there were any leftover chips or peanuts or anything else at all. Finding none, I reluctantly opened up the bag of chocolates. And was on a strict ration. One piece of chocolate every 15 minutes past the hour. That way, I could maybe survive the ride without passing out.

I did, with one solitary piece of chocolate left. And I gave that to my friend when I got back :-) We had an awesome laugh about the entire episode, and I think that made that much more memorable than just me bringing back a box. And, of course, to make up for eating all her chocolate, I pulled out the fancy-shmancy box of violets. See, told you they would be useful. Rico Suave, she now calls me :-)

This will definitely rank among the best trips I have ever taken. 8 countries in 19 days. It was a wonderful mix of periods of solo travel interspersed with meeting interesting people; half the places I explored myself, others I had amazing local guides. It was awesome to hang out with Suzy, Farbe, and 3app. Thanks for all the hospitality folks, and you know you are always welcome at Casa Yogi.

So, was it an adventure? Well, Viljhalmur Stefansson has an interesting perspective.

"Having an adventure shows that someone is incompetent, that something has gone wrong. An adventure is interesting enough in retrospect, especially to the person who didn't have it; at the time it happens it usually constitutes an exceedingly disagreeable experience'.

I will not disagree that most of the 'adventures' I've had on this trip were due to things going wrong, maybe even incompetency in planning or some such, but I will have to disagree about one thing. I found all the mess-ups to actually be exceedingly agreeable experiences. Then again, that's just me.

I'd love to go do it again. With some extra food, maybe. Or, maybe not :-)
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