Monday, June 12, 2006

Dolce far niente

Darlings,

We're...oh, hell...somewhere off the coast of Sardinia. There's a lot of water all about, and stars.

Just a couple notes, as much for me as for you. Always best to write down the momentary impressions as soon as possible or they evaporate, no?
  1. International music moment: walked into Orpheus Room (club room at the fore of the ship) last night to find 12 British suburbanites doing funky chicken to "Achy Breaky Heart" as performed by Croatian dance band.
  2. You know you've traveled far from home when you realize it's been four days since you last saw a McDonald's.
  3. You know you've not traveled far enough when you pause on picturesque street in Sicilian fishing village and from behind charming lace curtain comes the unmistakable melody of "My Humps" by the Black Eyed Peas.
  4. My little secret is still safe. There's a very large deluxe spa whirlpool on the prow that nobody else seems to know about. To get to it, you have to go through the changing rooms attached to the fitness center and pass spa reception. I think most people assume that to use it requires a spa appointment. They are wrong, but I am not a big enough person to tell them so. When you lie in the whirlpool floating on the bubbles, the sea spreads out around you 180 degrees and it feels as though there's not another soul on the planet. The space is so private that I've been able to tan without getting a tan line.
  5. If you're sailing on the Minerva II and reading this, I'm just kidding about number four. There is no whirlpool on the prow. They just store mops and buckets out there. You should continue to use the chilly and miniscule jacuzzis on the pool deck.
  6. I've been walking so much every day that I'd be down to 120 lbs except that I've taken to eating dessert twice at dinner. So much for my "no sugar" experiment. I find I am constitutionally unable to face winding up a meal with a nice piece of melon. Especially when requests such as "I'll have the bavarois a l'orange and the Paris-Brest, please," are received without comment and quickly fulfilled.
  7. When we arrived in Kritsa, in early evening, all over the village women had pulled chairs out in front of their houses and were crocheting. Every one of them. I photographed one group, and then pulled out my work-in-progress and was immediately pushed into a spare chair and plied with tea and candies. Learned that language barriers do not affect a stitch-n-bitch in the least.
  8. Then I went along the main street of Kritsa and all the lady shop-keepers were sitting in front of their doors working on new pieces. Their finished works were beautiful and shockingly inexpensive. When I showed my own knitting, prices were cut further. My resolve to buy nothing for myself crumbled. And I'm not sorry I spent the money. These women work hard and deserve an appreciative market for their product. I should mention their technique of choice is crochet. If you think crochet is inherently ugly, wait until you see what I bought and you'll change your tune.
  9. Frame count so far is approximately 2,000. Out which I've probably, if I'm lucky, taken four keepers. We shall see.
  10. Minorca tomorrow. Corsica follows. Am looking forward to Corsica. Have always had a soft spot for Napoleon, as fellow shortie.

Have to head to lounge now. Croatian dance band has asked Dolores to join them for a set of Cole Porter standards. Have had to deal with her gargling and spritzing her vocal chords all damn day.

24 comments:

Kathy Merrick said...

Love, about #8.
Please stop saying such things.
Crochet is not inherently ugly.
Many of its adherents make hideous great uglies.

Thanking you in advance.

Anonymous said...

Sitting here thinking about #4 . . . and better say no more.

-that cowboy who reads Dickens

Rachel H said...

I absolutely love #7 and #8. Can't wait to see what you bought.

Anna said...

Oh, I am sooo jealous and can not WAIT to see what crochet'd items you bought. I am so desperate for lovely crocheted items to start appearing in American magazines and pattern books.

Anonymous said...

*Snif* Had a moment much like #7 long, long ago in a small village in Vilnius, Lithuania. It was magical.

Thanks for the fabulous travelblog.

-Lynn in Tucson

David said...

All over tan? Some photos maybe? Hmmmmmmm?

Ben said...

Franklin,

You bring an almost 'spooky' Edwardian sensibility (with hints of the Victorian, a touch of Hemmingway, along a heavy dose of the Grand Tour) to your travel writings. Perfect for a dull monday morning in 2006. My travelogue would be much more down and out a la Orwell...

I'm in the mood for shortbread.

Cheers
Ben

Ellen said...

What will Dolores do when she finds out about the non existing tanlines, I wonder?

Paul said...

Again, beautifully written travelogue. You have such a gift for language and description, and we thank you for painting these wonderful pictures with your words.

Hornblower said...

Hey look, the Minerva II webcam is here http://www.swanhellenic.com/minervawebcam.asp
It's all black at the moment. Did you just throw your towel on it before getting into that jacuzzi?

Lee Ann said...

It's a very good thing you didn't combine #4 and #7. You think language barriers were dissolving with just crochet, honey...two desserts or not, I'm betting those women would have resorted to tactics you might not want to know about...

Anonymous said...

Please post a photo of the women crocheting in Kritsa. I would love to see it.
Sherri

Knitting Painter Woman said...

I worried about those women plying you. Glad you spun things to the positive.
I don't know WHY you'd want to come to Dallas, TX, but if you do, we'll straighten the spare room and take Dolores to see the alpacas down at the corner.

marie in florida said...

crochet is my first love. you're on my list of loves too, so; "float away to happy land on the bubbles" ... that's a movie paraphrase dear.
99.44% of the ladies i worked with at the packaging plant, those who were immigrants, could crochet and knit.

Nancy said...

Crochet can be lovely. I'd take a pineapple tablecloth anyday.

Agree -- you must post photos of the items you bought!

Whining Procrastinator said...

All I could think when I read #9 was that this is why you're the professional and my blog photos are of socks with red eyes. Wow.

janna said...

I can't wait to see what you've bought. My German grandma and greatgrandma both crocheted the most gorgeous lace. I'm not sure why I haven't crocheted in 20 years - well, except that thread they use to crochet lace terrifies me....

Anonymous said...

I want to travel just anyplace in Europe again....Your writing makes me ache for a looong trip. Thanks for writing so wonderfully...
Sara in WI

mrs Nito said...

Darling if you saw Irish crochet lace you'd never think ill of it again .Why I was married to my late husband in it or I would have been if he hadn't been late by about four years .I'm afraid I probably agree with Schiller about the short Corsican .Mrs Nito.

Ellie said...

Blimey. I'm 5' 3" and 120 lbs. That'd be pretty skinny for a bloke!

(And since you've been exposed to British suburbanites, I'll leave the English words in there...)

Steph said...

The mental image of the ladies crocheting in Kritsa and welcoming you to join their group gave me this deep feeling of joy.

I'm checking the internet for information on Kritsa right now!

pamela said...

Can't wait to see pics of the crochet ladies. I knit and crochet, I don't think crochet is inherently ugly. They each work best for certain things. I must admit though, that some of the things I've seen made with crochet makes me cringe.

Kristin said...

I'm very excited to see this not inherently ugly crochet! I personally love crochet, but find that most of the patterns I find are just lacking something that knitting has.... It's good for afghans, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what else I can make with it that I actually like and will use.

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