Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

climbing the domes from firenze to orvieto to rome

passport fiasco ended in true fiasco. didn't get it and had to miss my flight to italy. then had to reschedule through san francisco basically taking a risk that i would get it before my flight took off at 2. a russian man in a gold mini cooper dropped it off, and i managed to get here. we had to miss the amalfi coast, which was really sad. but anyway.

we are now in firenze *oh how i cant resist using the italian spellings* and we love it. charity was a real trooper climbing up the 500 steps to the top of the duomo dome--well, she climbed it far more easily than myself, but then discovered she had vertigo, and since i was the one who wanted to go up because i read that stupid book about its architectural genius, i felt it was my doing. after reascending like 50-100 steps to get various different aspects of the architecture, we decided my new motto is: i like to climb shit. i pay to climb shit. i.e. the 101 and the santa maria del fiore dome. though if i really liked to climb shit regularly i would be a hell of a lot thinner.

the food has been fabulous, but expensive, of course. we are walking my ass off. rome was incredible. everywhere you turn there are ruins. it is surreal and gorgeous and cool. i saw the Pantheon! (which i kept awesome calling the parthenon because...well, i know more about chinese history than western it seems.) and the colosseum. there were little kids on field trips at different places. i cant imagine going on a field trip to the Forum where julius caesar gave speeches. so neat. also went to st. peter's and the vatican museum. st peter's is ENORMOUS (but i like st paul's better :). there is an awesome tim burtonesque sculpture with a skeleton holding an hourglass emerging from under some people. the sistine chapel really is impressive, the characters actually sort of look like they are climbing out of the ceiling. and you can't swing a dead cat around without hitting some form of catholic clergy of all races and sizes. we actually took a picture of a store that outfits priests. i noted today, while looking at a mosaic on a baptistery of the devil eating people (yes, eating, like a half eaten person falling out of his mouth) being thrown into hell, that i used to think the buddhist/taoist folk religion was incredibly vioent, but thatthe many asian tourists might feel right at home in italian religious institutions. eek. Orvieto is where i would really want to be for the long haul if it were to come to pass, though :) Lauren really chose the most wonderful and charming town to stay in. it is exactly what you would think of in an italian movie where people know each other and there is a little chocolatier and adorable cafes and old churches and cobblestone streets and wineries. for now, i am drinking cappuccinos, taking illicit pictures of the David(10 euros??) and getting into the swing of things. I am really looking forward to when Lauren comes to meet us tomorrow. we are going to go to the uffizi and then tromp around town--hopefully making illadvised leather and stationery purchases for which firenze is known. more whenever possible,julie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

italy and india prep. drama

The Indian consulate is holding my passport hostage in San Francisco. Our visa service failed to realize that I would need my passport for my thanksgiving travels--on the one hand i guess not many people go abroad for thanksgiving, on the other hand it IS an international visa service-- and so didnt give it much thought, believing they could overnight it to me wherever i was in the country. so i am in scary limbo. yesterday i thought i would have to hop a flight to SF. Then we realized it would be easier, and cheaper, for the passport to hop a flight. hopefully that comes to fruition.

and vaccines are a no go for this leg of the india stint. i guess i'll be using mosquito repellent and prayers. we'll see how that works for avoiding malaria.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

prep part one

India and Italy prep.

When preparing for grandiose trips, and the addition of india to my life melee definitely qualifies, you have to wrap up as many loose ends as you think you would possibly have to wrap up in the duration of the trip (5 months.) i need to give my old car to charity, for instance. There are things i need to return that i keep forgetting--shitty target shirt, for instance. also, i desperately needed a haircut for which i went to supercuts and did not wear my glasses and was therefore not able to see that she cut my hair about 3 inches shorter than i had asked. and when that difference means your chin or THREE INCHES ABOVE YOUR CHIN, it is damn noticeable. and frankly, stupid looking. but whatever. i never like new haircuts as much as i may have despised the old one. also needed to use magic mountain tickets before tehy expire at the end of year.

tangent: magic mountain. i love rollercoasters. and what they have done with rollercoasters these days is amazing. rollercoasters where you stand up while you go on corkscrew turns, rollercoasters where they lift you on your belly and make it seem like you are flying as you are upside down and all around. big drops, little drops. ahhh.

the list of things i need to take with me. there are many things you can get abroad that are just fine and add unnecessary extra weight to your luggage if you bring them from home. tampons are not one of those things. they are to be lovingly packed and admired as something that the USA does really well.

i don't have a digital camera. i almost bought one at a too-good-to-be-true price when, feeling sort of scorched by my car purchasing experiences, i checked the site out and sure enough there were lots of complaints about it being a scam--reminds me of my first temp job after college... so now i am going to go buy a digital camera. things i don't need to do are spend a lot of time thinking about which one to buy. and yet, for at least a half hour yesterday...yeah.

i got together a few days ago with a former student from taiwan who lied to her mother about going to study in LA and instead shacked up with a childhood friend and got married. when she told me she was married i thought it was green card thing, but actually they totally work. they're sweet and yet edgy, you know, wong kar wai lovers. and despite the fact that she is by far one of the hottest chinese women ever (someone i would expect to see in mean girls, for instance) she's totally sweet and makes some rad chinese food. i momentarily missed taiwan, and then i thought "even better, taiwan in america".

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Travel Plans

So I'm taking a vacation to Italy on Thanksgiving Day. And then i'm going to Mumbai, India for 5 months to work on a software implementation. And this is the very feeble start of my recording of the whole experience. so far it has been full of visa frenzy because it was sort of last minute. more details to come! but if anyone has travel tips, experiunce, friends in mumbai--please share!