Yes, the inevitable (or at least probable) is finally upon me: I am burned out on travel. The schlepping, constant reorientation, and lack of stable q-tip supply has finally worn me down. I'm shopping for plane tickets. On the upside, I've landed in a cozy country retreat--my "uncle" and "aunt's" house outside Paris--while I sort out my return.
Funny story about my bicycle...I was planning to ride it around Spain, but the box I picked up from the bike guy in Jerusalem was made to fit a nine-year-old's ride, not so much my big touring bike. I managed to wedge most of it in, but one entire wheel had to be left behind in Kyle's dorm room. The rest of it spent a month in my buddy Pablo's Madrid apartment, until Kyle came to Spain with the orphaned wheel in tow. Poor bicycle.
Thus, deciding to leave unicycle touring for another time, I was obliged to travel around Spain like normal folks: on the bus. Since I left you in Granada, I've endured 36 cumulative hours of bus rides to Valencia, Barcelona, back to Madrid to meet my gf, then with her to Sevilla and back. The worst, by far, was my ride with Kyle to Madrid. The entire bus reeked of pork products. A weird dude across the aisle from us stared at our chests for about four of the six hours and then ate a whole package of sausage slices, without separating them, directly off the plastic wrapper. With his mouth. It was enough to turn us off of jamon for the rest of our trip.
Speaking of ham, did you know that Spaniards enjoy several varieties of ham-flavored potato chips? There's even a picture of a little ham leg on the bag. French potato chip flavors include mustard, ham-and-cheese sandwich, and herbed rotisserie chicken.
Oh, another quick, weird bus story. On my way to Barcelona, I had to ask some chick to move out of my seat. They're assigned, and I like to have a window to lean on when I sleep. She moved over to the aisle and forced me to climb over her to sit. I made myself cozy, then noticed that she was using a crochet hook to dread a long, blond, severed ponytail that was bound with a white scrunchie and held between her knees. Is this the revenge she takes on people who ask her to move on the bus--to chop off their ponytails while they snooze? Thank heaven for my short hair.
I'll be posting some photos and such before I make it back home, so stay tuned.
Hey there, I´m sorry I´ve neglected you for so long! My very valid excuse is that I was stranded at a beach resort on the Costa del Sol with my dad and his gf, and we were busy dodging Brits. The only internet at the place was in the office, which was open six hours per day. The computers were coin operated. Picture me feeding euros to a computer while trying to do my taxes and find a place to stay in Málaga, and maybe you´ll be more sympathetic about my lack of blogging.
Well, I´m in Granada now. Today I went to the Arab baths, which is a spa lit by candles and star-shaped ceiling lights, with beautiful tiled walls, fountains, and arches. For 23 euros, I got to soak in all the tubs, hit the steam room, lie on warm marble slabs, and get rubbed down with oil by a masseuse. If you come to Granada, GO THERE.
There´s something about Spain that makes me want to go shopping. I can´t resist the colorful clothes everywhere, and the huge Zaras in every city don´t help. Consequently, I´ve totally blown my budget and am going to have to scrimp if I´m to keep traveling until July! Fortunately, I´ve had delightful couchsurfing hosts in Málaga (an American who teaches English) and Granada (a Spanish guy who is a day trader), so I haven´t had to lay out too much cash for housing. Hopefully my couchsurfing luck will continue this week in Valencia and Barcelona!
Vagabond Reads: books that have kept me company on the road
A Guide to Elegance, Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
Le Mariage, Diane Johnson
The Nanny Diaries--it was so bad I won't even tell you who wrote it
A Simple Act of Violence, R.J. Ellory
Tales of the Alhambra, Washington Irving
Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
The Accidental Zionist, Ian Pear
The Israelis, Donna Rosenthal Candy Girl, Diablo Cody The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel The Cleft, Doris Lessing Outside Inside, Gila Manolson mudhouse sabbath, Lauren F. Winner The Yellow Wind, David Grossman Judaism: a very short introduction, Norman Solomon Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert French Milk, Lucy Knisley
Dykes and sundry other carbon-based life-forms to watch out for, Alison Bechdel
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle
What the Buddha Taught, Walpola Rahula
Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, Antonia Fraser Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez Le Combat Ordinaire 3: Ce Qui Est Precieux, Manu Larcenet and Patrice Larcenet
Americana, Don Delillo The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt
The BFG, Roald Dahl Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan Neither Here nor There, Bill Bryson