June 11, 2009 at 7:45 am
Before my recent vacation, I suffered from Paranoid Traveler’s Syndrome. Now I’ve come down with a case of I’ve Been There! Disorder. When I read an article about the Obama’s visiting London, I shouted “I’ve been there!” I scanned the text of the article and then pulled up my mental map of London to locate the pub where they ate. When I read about their trip to Paris, I knew exactly where Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower were in relation to one another. Now that I’ve been to these cities, I look at photos from them differently. I don’t just see the Arc de Triomphe, I think about the crazy traffic circling the building and how you can get there by taking the Metro and what the view down the Champs-Elysees looks like.
I first experienced I’ve Been There! Disorder after a trip to New York after my college graduation. When I watched David Letterman on TV afterward, I’d clap my hands when I saw the theatre front or the Hello, Deli, thinking, “I’ve been [...]
May 24, 2009 at 9:26 am
The plane dipped up and then down like the Thunder Run roller coaster at Kentucky Kingdom. I pulled down the arm rest by the empty seat next to me so I could grip it tightly. Whatever happens will happen I told myself as I breathed deeply in and out. You are not driving the plane. You are not creating the winds. It is out of your control. The plane jittered and bounced as it hit the runway. Then it swerved slightly to left and right. If we crash into a ball of flames at the end of the runway, at least I’ll have seen Europe. And then the plane stopped and there was silence broken by the sound of the whole plane applauding. “As you can tell, we have most definitely landed,” the copilot announced over the intercom and finally I breathed out and was relieved to be back on the ground again in the US of A.
Any complaints I might have about spending 21 hours traveling are dampened by the knowledge that 100 [...]
May 21, 2009 at 9:44 am
May 19, 2009 at 6:05 pm
It was raining and the sun was trapped behind a blockade of grey clouds, but I was in Paris, damn it, and I was going to walk the Champs-Elysees. I only had a hat and a water-resistant jacket, but at least this statue knew how to dress for Paris weather.
My two-day museum pass would expire tomorrow, so I declared museum mania on Sunday. I’d planned on waking at seven o’clock to finish my walk down the Champs-Elysees, through the Tuileries, and directly into the Louvre as it was opening at nine o’clock, but once again my body had other plans. I dragged myself out of bed by eight and had the hotel breakfast again because it was quick and easy, but swore I’d hit a patissiere for some pain au chocolat tomorrow.
Several runners jogged past me as I walked by the obelisk at Place de la Concorde and through the green gardens of the Tuileries. These people were running past famous landmarks in sweat shorts like it’s no big deal! There is so much grandeur [...]
May 18, 2009 at 2:42 am
I wasn’t sure why the train started playing accordion music on the way to Versailles, but on the ride back I figured it out when I saw a busker hop on at one stop and play us some tunes before collecting tips and hopping off at the next stop. He must hit a lot of trains a day and the man was just an example of how many more buskers and beggars I’ve seen in Paris than London. Twice at tourist spots I’ve had a woman come up to me with a card and ask, “English?” The first time I said yes and was presented with a card begging for money, but the second time suddenly, “Je ne pas parle anglais.” Some of the beggars sit on the streets with cute little sleeping dogs which they probably keep to increase tips.
I wanted to arrive at Versailles, the ornate palace of Louis XiV, right when it opened at nine o’clock to avoid the crowds. My body had different plans and I didn’t crawl out of bed [...]