Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ye Olde Countrie

Laura is in a minor panic. She leaves Saturday morning for her trip. One minute, she's ready, the next, she'll never be ready on time. Par for the course. She has her wardrobe planned, but not packed. Shoes selected (comfortable for walking long distances, something nice for special occasions). Since she hasn't practiced using her new camera hardly at all, I will sneak the instruction manual into her suitcase. We ordered pounds and euros from our bank, I picked them up yesterday. With apologies to our cousins across the ocean, it looks like monopoly money. (it sure as hell costs more, though. The exchange rate is kicking our ass. Good ole' US dollar.)

Antonia (bless her pea-pickin' heart) has prepared a few sightseeing suggestions for Laura and her sisters and has posted it for everyone's edification. Laura is now officially excited. Outside of London, they are planning to go to Bath and, come hell or high water, Stonehenge. There is a 3 day trip to Paris which is to include Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and what ever else can be done in 3 days (which probably isn't much).

Laura is collecting addresses for postcards and requests for items to bring back. If she doesn't watch out, all she'll be doing while there is buying tourist trinkets and writing post cards. (although that does sound a lot like the family vacations I've been on in the past). She's asked me at least 5 times what I want her to bring me, so far all I can think of is a beefeater hat. I don't think it'll fit in her carry-on, though. So, I guess she'll have to just surprise me. Having her home safe, sound, and happy will be gift enough.

While there, Laura has promised to go to a pub and drink a beer - for me. She CAN'T STAND beer, but knowing my penchant for it she will have one and I will have to enjoy it vicariously. There is also the promise of having some "traditional" English food. Bubble & squeak, toad in the hole, fish & chips, bangers & mash. I don't know if (some of) these are really food eaten by the indigenous population or a practical joke on visiting Yanks. Food in France is a no-brainer. A chocolate croissant & cafe-au-lait for breakfast; a baguette, cheese and wine for lunch; and something fabulous for dinner. (Laura looked up horse in her phrase book, it wasn't even in there. She's a bit worried that their trying to hide something.)

So, she'll be gone two weeks and I will be......mowing the grass, feeding the cats, playing with the dog, trying to keep the plants alive until she gets back. Last year while Laura was in Kansas City nursing her mother most of her plants, well, didn't to so good. But this year I have the incentive of fresh tomato sandwiches, fresh sliced tomatos with mozzarella and basil and a touch of olive oil, fresh tomato in my salad, bruschetta, (sense a theme here?) so I will assiduously water and weed the garden, the first crop should be ready when Laura gets back. Kris is taking classes during the summer semester, but since classes are only two days a week she'll be living at home - so no bachelor parties for me. (right. these days I have one beer and I fall asleep watching TV.) Since Zack works swings, I never see him until the weekend anyway, and then he's usually going somewhere. I am working on relearning arabic anyway, that'll keep me out of trouble during the evenings.

So, keep your fingers crossed for safe, on-time flights, no missed connections, sunny MILD weather, no snooty french waiters, and a minimum of misunderstandings (have a fag? no thanks, I'm straight - and married).

Cheers & bon voyage.

19 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

meno said...

I am the worst pre-traveler. Anxious, obsessive, worried, thinking of awful scenarios. But then i have a lovely time.

I hope Laura has a wonderful time and that you survive. :)

Mother of Invention said...

Sounds fabulous.. (for Laura anyway!) I love the excitement preceding a plane trip! The food in France I'd love and I'd love to hang out at outdoor cafes. I remember the English eating fish and chips wrapped in newspapers soaking up the oil! And all the custard sauce they put on everything. And, (you'd love this!)baked tomatoes and eggs for breakfast with toast and delicious marmalade!

I hope she has a wonderful trip and can figure out the camera. It will be just a neat thing to do with a sister. I'm excited for her!

Hope you're okay too while she's gone and are gearing up for your upcoming trip!

patches said...

Hope Laura has an excellent time, but if she gets cold feet I'll happily go in her place : )

Stonehenge was one of the most memorable places I visited, it felt like it had a separate energy from the rest of the world. I don't know quite how describe it without sounding like a lunatic. May the travel spirits smile upon both of you!

Bob said...

Meno - I don't any more. I guess too many business trips. Although I expect that I will get a little anxious before going to Bahrain or Pakistan. Those are a little outside of my travel experience.

MoI - Laura's vocabulary lessons have been concentrated on food and wine. 2 of her 4 sisters are going with her, so double the fun.

I think I am almost as excited about her trip as she is. I will be fine while she's gone. I've already planned to get together w/my college roommate while Laura is doing the tourist thing.

Patches - we've been reliably informed that "it's just a pile of rocks, why bother stopping? You can see it from the road."

Laura insists that she WILL be going, and promises to document her trip to the rock pile.

By the way, almost everyone where she works has already volunteered to go if she suddenly gets cold feet.

jen said...

bon voyage, indeed. so happy for her. and enjoy your bachelor time, tomatoes and all.

Bob said...

Jen - I will pass on your well wishes. As you have detected, I LOVE fresh tomatoes. I HATE those sold in grocery stores, they have absolutely no taste.

Anonymous said...

Bob, if you feed the cats, you have to change the litter box.

We honeymooned in England. We got to Stonehenge after it "closed," but you're not allowed to actually walk there any more anyway. We like Avebury Circle a lot - it's really big and, hey! there's a pub right in the middle. I had a warm Rum and Coke which was actually just right for that January day in 1991.

If you have time for reading one more part-time blogger, I'm back in business on Blogger and would love the company.

urban-urchin said...

If she doesn't like lager but is determined to have a pint for you she can get a pint of cider (or a snakebite which is half lager and half cider).

I concur with Antonia's list. She should also check out the Tower of London. Down in my old neighborhood (Marylbone High St) there is Wigmore Hall for afternoon concerts. Covent Garden is fun (touristy but fun).. The Tate and the Tate Modern, The National Portrait Gallery- all worthy of a visit.
*sigh* I'm jealous.

thailandchani said...

Best travels to Laura.. and I do hope you'll have a good time being a bachelor. You might just be surprised. :)



Antonia said...

Stonehenge - well, the whole surrounding area - does have a special vibe to it. I can't say more without using the word "energy" and sounding like a total hippie, so I won't.

Bob said...

De - Yes - I am more than familiar with cat boxes.

YES! welcome back. we've been expecting you.

Urban-Urchin - I will pass on the recommendations, she will be taste-testing her way across south England.

Chani - I think I will manage.

Antonia - neither of us can figure out how anyone can see them as a rock pile. it's like saying that notre dame is just a country church.

Anonymous said...

I'm such the pre-packer...I pack a week in advance for trips, it's sad.

- Jon
- Daddy Detective

Antonia said...

We were out having a coffee on the South Bank earlier tonight and I thought of Laura: she's probably over here by now! She picked a beautiful day to arrive.

Lee said...

I thought "snooty French waiters" were part of the charm? Hope she has a fabu time.

Bob said...

Daddy-D - we so AREN'T advance packers. I admire anyone so organized.

Thanks for stopping by.

Antonia - She actually arrived in the wee hours on Sunday. But I fully expect the great weather to hang around for her.

Lee - charm? so that's what it's called. Yes, a fabu time will be had by all.

Antonia said...

Next time Laura rings home, tell her I apologise on behalf of my country for all the crap weather this week. Splosh.

Bob said...

I will pass that on, but she has been in Paris since yesterday morning - she's due back tomorrow night, so make sure you get the weather cleared up for Saturday forward.

mist1 said...

Sinuses are always revolting, aren't they?

(In response to your comment: I recline/Ira Klein)

Bob said...

mist1 - oh yeah, especially since these have been reamed out twice.

(I shoulda got that....)