Thursday, June 01, 2006

Byzantium or Bust

I'm sure it was extremely unpleasant at times for my immigrant ancestors to cross the Atlantic in glorified tin washtubs with only one small satchel and a change of underwear. On the other hand, just at the moment it seems that it must have been wonderfully simple.

How many times I've read that piece of travel advice that chirps, "Pack your suitcase, then take out half what you put in." Whose bright idea was this originally? Most likely a WASP travel writer who was built, like so many of her brethren, without sweat glands.

When you're a mixture of Mediterranean and Semitic peasant stock, you can't recycle shirts three times without becoming an olfactory nuisance to every person within a fifty-foot radius. And I'm bourgeois enough to wish not to be remembered by my university travelers as "that smelly dwarf with the knitting needles."

My bag is full, but not stuffed. After five of these trips I know enough to leave room for whatever flotsam I might accumulate along the way. (I'm not a souvenir hunter, as my favorite souvenirs are photographs. But I'm on a mission for bellydancing clothes for Susan in the Grand Bazaar. And of course, books fly off shelves and cling to me like lint, even when they're in languages I don't read.)

Dolores, meanwhile, has managed to whittle her absolute necessities down to the regulation one suitcase, one carry-on, and one purse. We nearly came to blows over the issue of paying extra so that her seven vintage Lily Daché picture hats could come along in their own boxes, but a bottle of Stoli liberally applied helped her to see reason. (Well, sort of. After she passed out I smuggled the hats up to Buzz, who is going to hide them in his apartment until after we leave.)

This is the part of traveling I detest. When I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go, with no fooling about. Once the stasis is broken, I 'm certain I'll feel better and stop trying to bite people.

Guest Writers

I may blog a little while I'm away, but rumor has it that Web access on the ship runs about $15 for 30 minutes, none of which I can expense unless I'm engaged in university work.

So, to keep the place lively, I've invited the Wolverinas–the jolly band that I met at Rhinebeck last year–to chime in as they wish on whatever topic they choose.

Consider yourselves warned.

Next stop, Istanbul. As they say in Turkey, "Peace out."

33 comments:

brewerburns said...

Have a good trip and bring back something pretty. For Dolores. Really.

moiraeknits said...

Safe journey, and we'll look forward to seeing you on the flip side!

turtlegirl76 said...

Have a fabulous trip! Try not to strangle Dolores along the way.

Nelly O said...

Oh oh oh! Bite me! Bite me!

Rebecca P. said...

Have a wonderful trip, Franklin! I hope no one breaks a hip or has a heart attack (or even worse- breaks a hip while having a heart attack caused by over anxiety from the lack of "American" food!) I can't wait to see the photos!

cindi said...

Look forward to seeing what I'm sure will be amazing photos, but will miss your humor and insights. I just found you a couple of weeks ago and now you're leaving. Sigh.

SamD said...

Oh Franklin, I'm gonna miss you and Dolores something fierce--she'd better realize what a gem of a companion she has in you.

PS--pack a flattened-out empty duffel bag in the bottom of one of your suitcases so you can have an extra checked bag of goodies for the return trip.

Carol said...

Can you take knitting needles on the boat?

Buzz said...

Is that's what's in those boxes? Well i hid them in my closet, under the laundry...so they might appear again by Fall...2007

Cheryl said...

Most cruise ships have washing machines (and room service for laundry)....I think I paid $30 for the whole week of internet service...but phone calls were $16.95 a minute....
I think Buzz would be a fun guy to be "in cahoots" with.
Have fun, we will miss your posts.

Liz said...

Have a wonderful time! Bon Voyage!

Lucia said...

I go absolutely insane when I travel with my family because I am exactly like you: I want to go, not spend weeks obsessively listing and packing and days waiting for everyone else to get their act together. (Why does DH wait until I am in full frantic mode to spend three hours taking a full inventory of his 3000+ CD collection trying to decide which 20 to take? Why? I ask you.)

Carrie K said...

Have fun! You can always ship your books home.

Mel said...

Okay, so I'm jealous, but it's only 5 more weeks 'til Hawai'i! Shall I bring you something back? Anything you miss?

Anne said...

Thank goodness I put my glass down, I would've lost it at "smelly dwarf with knitting needles".

Though I guess it'd be worse if it were the "smelly dwarf with knitting needles who kept biting everyone"?

Have fun, and don't shove Dolores into an overhead compartment, even if it does seem like a good idea at the time!

Emily said...

Have a wonderful trip!

Fyberduck said...

Pack an empty bag for yarn! Even *if* you only hit one yarn store, you'll need it. Yarn is the perfect souvenir!

I had the misfortune of having to buy another bag in Italy, which my friends NEVER let me live down.

Vintageme said...

Hum..Mum is White ..bit of Slav ,Quaker ..guessing a lot of anglo-saxon yet she over-heats in England.Anyhow Dolores's hats will be quite safe with me and will save hours of sewing Vintage hats from Voque patterns.If she has any 50's Dior I'll look after that too . Holly

Debbie said...

Have fun and good luck with Dolores. Hope both you live to tell about traveling together.

Sarah R said...

Have a wonderful time and come back with lots of stories...oh, and maybe some yarn.

Necia said...

traveling mercies, Franklin. Some of my kin still lives in Instanbul. My greatgrandfather is rumored to have sold black market kerosene to supplement his college professor salary there. Some things never change.

Norskybear said...

Have a great trip, Franklin!

Keep Dolores away from Greek men with velcro gloves...

rho said...

Keep a good diary so we can get all the details of the trip when you get back...we have to hear how Delores and you made out.

rene said...

Have a fantastic trip! I can't wait to see the pictures and hear about Dolores's escapades with the sailors.

Lisa said...

Have a wonderful trip, Franklin--take lots and lots of pictures.

David said...

Ooooh I wish I were going. Have a splendiferous, and not odoriferous, time, from a fellow semitic perspirer.

witchypoo said...

Bon Voyage Darlinks! Have a marvelous time.

LisaK said...

Have an awesome time!! We'll miss you and Dolores.

Debbie said...

Rug shops! The Grand Bazaar! Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace...any room in the luggage for a stowaway?

Ah, well, drink some apple tea for me.

Mama Lu said...

Some lines from Nöel Coward keep running through my head:

Everyone's here and frightfully gay,
Nobody cares what people say,
Though the Riviera
Seems really much queerer
Than Rome at its height,
Yesterday night —

I've been to a marvellous party
With Nounou and Nada and Nell,
It was in the fresh air
And we went as we were
And we stayed as we were
Which was Hell.

I'm sure you'll have a truly marvellous time.

Joanna said...

Be safe! Have fun .... take lots of great pictures!

Nit One Perl Two said...

I am so happy I found your site. It appears we have more in common than knitting! I'll let you know when I complete the "world renound" triple lindee patern. It will be soon!

www.asturias-3d.com said...

This can't truly have success, I suppose so.