Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Taking Stock



Well, it's been a hell of a ride.

To be specific: Providence—Miami—Tokyo—Beijing—Xian—
Shanghai—Kunming—Guilin —Dali—Lijiang— Hong Kong—
Ho Chi Minh City—DaNang—Hanoi—Seoul—Miami—Gossau—
Hamburg—Rome—Lecce—Garda—Abruzzo—Lecce—Rome—
Lecce—Rome—Geneva—Annecy —New York—Lecce—Corfu— Patra—Peloponneseus—Lecce—Milano—Zurich—Geneva— Annecy—Charleroi—Tournai—Bruxelles—Paris—Bruxelles— Barcelona—Bruxelles—Annecy—Charleroi—London—Oxford —Cambridge—London—Charleroi—Cairo—Assouan—Abu Simbel— Luxor—Bruxelles—Gossau—Boston—Providence— New York
—Miami—San Francisco.

Thirty-five flights (when you fly cheap they fuck you on the stopovers…), over eleven trains, countless buses. A ferry across the English Channel (the white cliffs of Dover!), a boat ride up the live, lush Nile, a rickety tin dinghy on the Yangtze.

An overnight train up Vietnam in a four-person cabin shared between seven, an overnight ferry to the Peloponneus on a ghostly vacant, rusty Greek liner, an overnight train to Milan. A Chinese taxi we had to get out of and push.

Pho (beef soup) for breakfast in heat that made the air throb, melted asphalt. Kilos of British cheese. Little yogurts made in the morning, eaten on a dock lit by moonlight.
Transport food: a gooey, oozy Cinnabon in the Phoenix airport. Cantuccini nibbled on the train from Lecce to Milano. Swiss bread and chocolate from Zurich’s airport Co-op.

Getting so lost on my way to the train one morning that cops took pity on my overstuffed suitcase and looming departure time (5:30 a.m.) and drove me to the station. Buying a Barcelona-Bruxelles plane ticket for the wrong date and not realizing it until I’d gotten to the airport. Flagging down farmers in rural Belgium to help me fix Amélie’s broken-down wreck of a car.

Seeing Emily in Brussels, John in Vietnam, Judy, Alex and Mike in Korea, Alisha in London, Eric and Andrew at Oxford, Russ and Tris in Cambridge, Justine in Geneva, MPJ and Cecil and Crystal and Chris Blair in Barcelona, Alex in Greece, David, Jess Grose, Laura, Russ Baruffi, Meg Robson, Seb, Matty, and Jamie in New York, Josh and Ben and Josh Gang in Boston, Lizzie and Tibet and Wilson in Providence, Kevin in San Francisco, Gordie and Shantal in Los Angeles, Benita in San Francisco. (Friendship transcends place.)

I’m surprised I was able to afford it this long. The secret is limiting expenses to food and transportation tickets; I can’t remember the last time I bought a t-shirt, and I think only like three pairs of my underwear lack holes.

I took 3,590 pictures. Posted 36,898 words on the blog. Slept in fifty-two different beds.

Damn, guys. It’s good to be home.

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