Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
please note the eiffelt tower is not black or rust colored it is a gorgeous cocoa color that decorators in the south would totally approve of i had planned to dislike the tower because it is so touristy but find it rising out of the trees or scenes stunning and yes it is phallic a idea i noticed in many french postcard which i will not be able to send to you folks lest the postoffice arrests me
also tons of bookstores and stalls selling books leather books picture books and beautiful stationary and pens you feel this must be q very literate society and one prone to ideas and talking because that is what cqfes are perfect for no wonder so many writers from here it is not difficult to think lofty or want to argue philosophically after a craft of bordeaux and after a couple bottles of wine of course french kissing and more
Thursday, August 24, 2006
the french women smallish often with bad hair but do they have killer shoes
the men often with bad teeth but they look and smile and wear jeans with wooly jackets which i believe looks very sexy for some reason
my french bad but i am trying and smile lots and everyone has been so nice correcting and encourgagin everyone speaks english it seems but i tell them to keep to the french and they seem pleased by my determination
went to the awesome african museum tonight a woman came up to me and started qsking me questions in french i was thrilled but told her i couldnt speqk that much and she actually looked surprised i was pleased to pass off as french it also happened this evening again lol mqybe i look like a french maven
this keyboard is very hard i feel bad i cant register ,more funny stories i ll have to scout for an english board tomorror hate to admit i had qn awesome simple dinner with great wine some cliches are true
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This is my cat. I believe I named her something cute when we adopted her a couple years ago....but like all our previous cats...her name evolves...or de-evolves back to Cat. As you can see from the picture, she's wasn't thrilled to see all those large black boxes with handles and wheels strewn about the bedroom today. This means her servants are departing....scatchies will not be available on demand and worse there will be no one to complain to about the freshness of the water or the near empty food bowl. Cat specializes in complaining so my leaving is a catastrophe.
I too was nervous when I saw our suitcases.....and still am. But something has settled in the last few hours.....some kind of resolve that will enable me to get up in the wee hours of the morning, shower, and place myself in a vehicle I don't like...I can only hope that I will have an interesting or handsome man sitting next to me so if I need to grab a knee during turbulence....it's at least a pleasurable squeeze. Of course, with all the flying I have to do tomorrow I'll be exhausted by the time I reach Paris....someone has to stay awake and keep the middle of the plane upright ...and for some reason... I always volunteer for that duty.
A couple of months ago someone asked me how could I be so brave and plan to travel so far? I told her truth....that I wasn't sure it had anything to do with bravery....and everything to do with forward momentum.....you look at the clock....you gather your stuff, you put one foot in front of the other....and you just go.
Finally....time to just go.
Monday, August 21, 2006
This is the conversation I just had.....
Husband: "You'll be in Africa next week."
Gina: "No, that's not right."
Husband: "Of course that's right, you'll be in Africa on the 29th."
Gina: "Yes, I'll be in Africa on the 29th. But that's not next week."
Husband: "Yes it is."
Gina: "No it's not.....It can't be."
Husband: (Mensa-certified brain now fully activated) "Check the calander. Check your tickets. When are you supposed to be in Africa?"
Gina: (Squirming) "How can I be in Africa next week?"
Husband: "Because you signed up for a tour and bought tickets that place you in Africa next week. "
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
The next day at the bookstore, I sat down with a copy of the book. It turns out, I rather like the word and the description of the person who would carry such a title. A maven is basically someone who loves to collect and disseminate information and knowledge. I admit...I'm happy to collect and disburse....which is probably why I've enjoyed teaching gigs, lean towards non-fiction, and like working the info desk at the bookstore.
Preparing for this trip has been a maven's dream. In fact, it has overwhelmed my maven-hoodness many days. From Tuaregs to Tubus, from regs to ergs.....there are somedays I can't even absorb all things I would like to acquaint myself before going to North Africa.
I thought I would share two things I discovered this week. First of all, did you know there is a French keyboard? Really.....leave it to the French to move just enough keys to make any English speaking person type like a fool (or maybe that was the intention!) I'll post a pic in my next blog entry so you can gaze at the trap and find the oddly placed keys. I wanted to mention this.... so if my blogs ftom Pawis look qust a vit off........you'll know its the board NOT the operator.
I've also been reading about fierce landscapes. One of the reasons I've always loved traveling through deserts and sublime landscapes is I've felt they were akin to car-washes for the soul. I feel after traveling in those areas that my soul has been scrubbed, buffed, air-dryed....and sent off shiny and clean into the world. Apparently, the deserts of Africa and Middle East are so soul-scrubbing intense....the experience feels more like being sand-blasted and made-over. I was reading about this phenomenon when I discovered a website for hermits. Honestly. A website for hermits....which is a peculiar thought. If hermits are recluses...why do they have a website? Isn't that being social? The website also contains....a blog by a hermit....a forum and message board...( hermits write long thoughtful messages about very esoteric topics and even slam each other intellectually...)...and all kinds of books and reviews about eremitism---the state of living in insolation...but if you're blogging and communicating....and surfing the world wide web....are you really living in an isolated state?
Just something to go off and think about.......
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Oooh La La!!!
I couldn't believe my eyes. Right there in Frommer's (otherwise known as The Bible for Safe Travels) ....the Musee de l'erotism. C'est Magnifique! C'est Formidable! C'est Gina must see this!! 7 floors of erotic art and....appliances.....covering everything from ancient religious art and artifacts to contemporary art. I read some reviews on line and most were positive. ( Negative reviews centered around the idea that the museum made nontraditional sex...look fun....imagine that.) The museum is open till 2am (for late night study) and like most museums has a museum shop (I'm smiling now.) Souvenir anyone?
Well, there it is....that's "my bag" for Africa. All the clothes, shoes and hats I will be taking for 5 weeks. I have another bag half that size for the "other" stuff....the sun screen, the gatorade packets, bottles of deet, a small cache of plastic bags (to keep the sand out) my minature toiletries...and a bunch of "medical stuff."
The medical stuff made me realize ....once a nurse always a nurse. I found myself not only packing for myself but for the group....these unknown people I will share my life with for 4 weeks. I brought a particular type of tweezer that has a magnifying glass on it...great for pulling out ubiquitous spiny burrs found in certain areas of the desert. I packed a couple dozen of steri-strips...small specialized bandages use to close deeper skin cuts. Peroxide. Extra packets of salt, sugar...and of course a couple of syringes. When traveling to Africa, it's best to carry your own needles since clinics and hospital syringes may not be sterilized. In some sense I also packed my knowledge....I've reviewed info on heat stroke, cpr, and oh god....snake bites and scorpion bites. There are venonmous snakes and scorpions in the desert. I know the trip sponsor will also have a medical bag...but once you've been trained as a medical person in a way you're always on call. I expect to step up to the bat if needed. I know I'm rusty in a lot of things but I still carry the "hands-on" skill....the voice, the hands that aren't afraid to touch and hold, the judgement to assess. It's scary to think there is no immediate medical attention in many places I will travel....but some of the world lives without the security blanket we are so accustomed to in industrialized countries. Oh geez....I just scared myself.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Today I realized I had to get a small hairbrush. I pulled into Target and in a few minutes found exactly what I was looking for. I was about to leave the section when I felt the tug...the irresistable pull....towards... ...oh god ...no.....the travel toiletries!
I hate to admit this to y'all but....I'm addicted to the little devils. I stand there like a kid in a toy store....fingering little pink plastic packages of q-tips, smiling at cutesy bottles of hair spray, and almost squeaking with delight over a new found treasure (today I discovered that Visine makes tiny individual ampules of natural tears...6 to a box!) I feel nothing towards the utilitarian soap holders or empty bottles.....but ohhhhhhh those little sample sized wonders! I was almost gleeful when I realized that the dainty q-tips I bought last week....held only 20 q-tips. But I'll be gone for 40 days!...so another little package made it into the basket.
At home, when I added the q-tips to my personal travel pouch....I realized my pouch was all in minatures......toothpaste, q-tips, small bars of soap.....it looked like a doll was going on a trip. And maybe that's why I like them so much.....it reminds me of being a little girl and giving tea parties with little cups and saucers...... instead of playing with dishware....I'm now playing with personal hygiene products.
Good thing I already bought a bottle of eyedrops for the desert.....otherwise I'd have to go back to Target and get those little bitty ampules.
Monday, August 14, 2006
This morning around 5am I woke up ...correction....bolted upright in bed and realized that I was leaving for Paris next week. With my hair mussed and my t-shirt wadded around me, I felt like a poster girl for a B horror movie--you know the type---where there is some intensely concerned woman sitting up in bed....trying to wake up her hard-sleeping husband saying...."Bob...Bob....I hear something"....and the audience sees what she can't see.....a 80 foot salivating monster above her roof. Okay...so the point is...I woke up with a start realizing the mother of all trips was making scratchy sounds to get into my real life.
After my successful and creative packing for Paris, I thought packing for Africa would be a breeze. It took me 1.5 hours just to figure out what modest outfit I could wear on the airplane from Paris to Tunis. 1.5 hours and I wish I was exaggerating. Obviously, there was a problem here.....I was not going to wear basic black in the heat of Africa and I had no clue how to dress tan. Guys may not understand this nightmare....but girlfriends.... you know what I mean. Faced with a color you never deal with solo.... you just don't know what to do with it. I struggled and struggled and in desperation decided if tan and blue were good enough for Micheal Palin (he wore the same blue shirt and tan pants for his entire circumnavigation of the Sahara documentary...which was filmed over a couple of months) then Gina too can travel in tan and blue.....and that's the only color combo I have. Wait till you see my pictures.
As if clothing horrors weren't enough to face....camera horrors dominated the afternoon at Best Buy. I felt like I was sidewalk art...one of those living sculptures....that performs on the street for money...... and today's theme would be: Growing Anger. With no sales person in the camera section (she had gone to lunch) and no one to cover her (a no no in retail) ..I deftly moved through many positions. See me pacing, See me standing with crossed arms over my chest, See me tapping my foot...add some snorting and viola...a work of art! Of course the sales people at Best Buy did not appreciate my performance....(or even notice I was giving it) so I stormed out without my batteries.
Next week Paris.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I decided it was time to pack for Paris. Although I was born in Chicago and still consider myself to be a Midwesterner, I have now lived long enough in the south to be part hybrid...and one of the things I have gratefully learned from Southern women is how to dress for any cosmopolitian city in the world. No kidding the "little black dress" goes anywhere. So packing for Paris was a breeze. I have skirts ...I have jackets...I have pants...I even have a Chicos down the street in case of an emergency. (And yes, this Chicos does have the little hatchet outside the store window marked "For Emergency Use Only" so you can break the glass and grab the oversized belt and matching necklace after store hours. )
All I had left to do was pack my shoes. With a three shoe limit this was a no brainer....you pack an absolutely cute unreasonable pair of high heels (I've already told my husband he will have to find great resturants within 30 feet of our hotel or plan on taking taxis to dinner). You bring along a pair of the obligatory altheltic shoes.......and of course an in-between pair of shoes.
When I went into my closet....a particular type of horror known only to women when they contemplate their shoes....hit me. I absolutely needed a new pair of functional dress-up shoes. I could not go to Paris in tired shoes. It was...unpatriotic. It was my duty to show Parisians even an American occasionally has "the right stuff" or more correctly "the right shoes."
Trouble is...it's August. Summer shoes are long gone....and the fall shoes wouldn't match my summer outfits. Finally the clerk with downcast eyes brought me a pair of summer sandals....the last ones in the store ...in my size....but they had... tan patches. Tan patches. What southern woman or even southern hybrid woman would wear a shoe with tan patches? to Paris? I was just about to walk away when I had an idea. A crazy idea....but still an idea.
I bought the shoes....and if you'll look at the picture. You'll see they're black....and you thought spray paint was only for old knic-naks.....
Friday, August 11, 2006
I'm not the best of flyers...turbulence can cause me to reflexly clutch the knee and thigh of the person I'm sitting next to....no matter if I know that person or not....(trust me it's quite an ice breaker to have a death grip on a stranger's knee) ...and I often murmur to myself how unnatural it is to be up in a metal tube...30,000 feet above the ground. When my kids were little, I was so anxious about flying, I never boarded a plane for 8 years. My children probably think all those great train excursions and road trips were part of Mommy's adventurous spirit rather than a consequence of high anxiety.
6 years ago I was faced with a big dilemna. Under the influence of a couple of potent margaritas, I told a friend of mine that I would accompany her on a trip to Hong Kong. I didn't mention to her that I hadn't flown for years. I actually remember sitting at my computer desk the next day staring at the map of the world which I have mounted on the wall....trying to figure out if there was any way to drive my suburban to Hong Kong. Oh how I wished for the the glorious days of the Ice Age when the Bering Sea was frozen and passable! In the end, I did get on a plane and the Gods were nice to me. I sat next to a rock-steady handsome man who was part of an international skydiving team who didn't mind me clutching his knee over the Pacific.
Yesterday's security meltdown....put me in a mental fetal position.....not only because it affected international flying ...but also because it hit on one of the other tenets of mental security I have as a mother. I don't fly on the same plane as my husband. We take seperate flights. My hub and I planned to spend a few days together in Paris before I go to Africa...I will fly from Chicago....he will fly from Dallas....and we'll arrive within 45 minutes of each other. The chances before yesterday of even considering something could happen to mulitiple flights seemed impossible. Now my reality includes there is no safety net.
I wonder if airlines would consider intravenous tranquilizer drips for passengers which could be turned on and off by flight attendants when they check you seat belts. Goodnight passenger in 25B, have a pleasant drug induced sleep. I'll see you in the morning.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Ah ...you're probably thinking I'm talking about whether or not I'm going to go on my trip. Well, the trip leader did ask me to forward $300.00, a token fee, to cover the new airfare and new itinerary. At this point, two weeks away from departure, I'll probably shrug my shoulders and just go. This isn't the first time in my life I wanted to get from point A to point B and found fate had something else in store for me. So today I'm not pondering this decision but another major decision....what type of tissue should I bring along to use as toilet paper and how much.
I can only bring one bag to Africa per trip guidelines. It can't be bigger than 30 inches by 14 inches. You can go to Dillards and buy purses bigger than that. I also have to bring my own sleeping bag so you can imagine there's not much room left...especially if you're going to bring something silly along like an extra pair of shoes....or maybe a change of clothes. So this is a big deal. The experienced folks at the travel company suggesting bringing tissues...those little kleenex tissue packs you see for purse or car use neatly positioned as an impulse buy at the cash register. There are 15 little squares in each pack. If I had just blindly listened to them...I would only be stuck calculating how many packs to bring for 4 weeks...trying to figure out...how many times a day I pee. And do I need one tissue or two? What happens if I'm drinking several liters a day to keep hydrated...do I pee more or less? And...if god forbid if I need to eliminate solid waste in the course of a month....how many tissues does that require? And let's not forget the big unknowns....what if I get traveler's tummy and or I'm with a group of mean spirited people....(people who calculated their tissue needs more precisely than I did) who won't share their supply should I run out? (Remember there are no quickie marts in the middle of the desert)
And then came the next big complication.....I discovered in the bargain bin of Wal-Mart...something that would throw my little world into chaos....packs of tissues... shaped liked Dot candy boxes and holding 70 large erotically soft tissues.
I'm heading off to Starbucks to get fortified by a double expresso and then I'll come back and face the challenge.
Monday, August 07, 2006
In fact, a couple people I bumped into this week asked me again ...why are you going? They looked at me as if I had a hatchet or some other unnatural object stuck into my forehead and questioned why a sane-looking woman didn't rid herself of this obvious affliction. Since I've been signed up for this trip since December 21st ( Yes, I made a touchy-feely decision to send off my reservation on the winter solistice), I've had enough time to formulate a definitive answer....."I saw this trip and just knew I was supposed to go on it. " It's at that point most people walk away reassessing the "sane-looking" part of their thoughts.
Last night as I watched Joseph Campbell's DVD on The Hero's Voyage. I found myself nodding at many of the things he said...there are times in a person's life when you feel called or pushed to do something. I discovered a passage in one of his books just before I went to bed which I thought summarized what I was feeling.
"...When I think of how persistently I kept going straight ahead.... it seems as though I must have known there was something fine ahead....Thinking of it in those terms, it is like a determination to be born--or rather to be born again--in a spiritual sense. Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the highroad to the soul's destination."
Saturday, August 05, 2006
North Africa. I don't know about you but a couple months ago...I don't think I really knew how the countries in Africa lined up. It's sort of like the East Coast of the United States where you know places like Long Island, New Jersey, Deleware exist and are probably happy coexisting.... but unless you live there or need to be there you are often blissfully unaware of their precise location. So here's Gina's helpful guide to Africa.
My original trip is in shocking pink....starting in Tunis moving through Libya, Niger, and then into the jungles of Benin and Togo...ending up in Lome. The trip I'm supposed to ponder...is in black...where I start in Tunis and then fly to Morrocco ...and then leap frog over the friendly states of Algeria and Libya and land in Niger where we do some large fancy circles around the the Air Mountains and then head back down. You can see the nice hunk of the Sahara I will be missing....and yes...I'm still pondering.
Friday, August 04, 2006
I talked to the wilderness travel folks running the trip today and basically they have decided Algeria is too dangerous to cross. Even though the majority of my group (wow.. who are these people?) voted in favor of going through the country, the company conferenced with other expeditions groups and the consensus was even with "an armed escort" ( I always find traveling with one useful on vacations ...don't you?) it was still to dicey. The French are still going through....and a few Brits...but apparently with Iraq and the war in the Middle East, Americans are at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of human value and at the top of the pole for prize targets. So the option is to get on a plane in Tunis and fly over Algeria/Libya and land in Niger and go from there...leapfrogging the upper part of the Sahara. It sounds logical but in a way..I feel very disheartened..losing that upper part of the Sahara is significant to me...irrreplacable culture and sights....and how am I going to write a book about going through the heart of the Sahara when I simply played around in its spleen? Perhaps there is a marketing niche for failed or almost made it adventure trips that I don't know about. I'm supposed to ponder the change over the weekend..... Interesting isn't it?....we think the war is over there or someone else's problem....but in small ways like my trip or in significant ways like the loss of a loved one....the effects ripple throughout the system that connects communities.
And Speaking of Wars.......
Do you know what really surprised me when I held that semi-automatic in my arms in yesterday's picture? How perfectly simple it was to use...(probably the point...). With less than a few minutes instructions.....you can see how the bullets fit in the case, you can see how the case fits one way onto the gun, you cock the gun , you push the safety down....and you're set to go. Even I could do this.....and you only have to shoot the gun once or twice to understand the beauty of and the desirability of an automatic weapon. A semi-automatic pauses....and it helps to aim....but if you have an automatic gun that fires continously.........tat...tat...tat...tat...tat..tat ..tat ...you can pepper an area with bullets. Ideal protection ...Ideal killing power.
Dan did something interesting when I shot that Valmet. If you can believe this...he had lined up a few milk jugs and filled them with water. "Go ahead ...go ahead...see if you can hit it." And I did. My first shot hit the jug. It exploded and leaped up into the air. Dan was so excited for me. "Great! Great! Good shot! Do it again." But he wanted me to wait a minute so he could realign the jugs. He picked one up and put it on his shoulder. " Look the jug is just about the size of a head." He grinned and posed with the jug against his face...then put it down. My next shot blew the jug apart. You can imagine what I was thinking. "Is that what happens to a head?" I asked Dan....he's a forensic pathologist and thinks about these things for a living. "Not quite...you skull is stronger than plastic....but let's just say....you can lose chunks of your head."
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Guns but no Roses....
I think we have a rifle/shotgun in the house maybe two. My husband was born in Idaho. At birth, families place a tiny rifle in the hands of their baby boys and replace them each year with bigger and bigger models. When your first pubic hair sees daylight, around age 12, a boy is given a shotgun. Chin hair is rewarded with a rifle...for deer hunting, squirrel hassling and bird mayhem. My husband doesn't hunt now but there's no use telling a man he should rid himself of his birth right so I know his old guns are around for "home protection" and I'm quite sure they will be quite effective as long as a burglar makes an appointment well in advance of his anticipated heist.
So my experience with guns is limited to a passing glance at old weaponry in my house which is why this weekend I asked a friend to show me how to shoot a gun--- specifically a semi-automatic. Guns are prevalent in Africa. Every travel book I've read from Theroux to Tayler to Salek mentions folks toting guns. Military folks, bandit folks, regular folks, friends of Hezbollah folks (An AK-47 graces the official Hezbollah flag) and anyone left not in those categories. I even read that some men in Africa are named Kalash in honor of Kalashnikov who created that famous gun. One day after I received a booster Polio shot (admittedly something that I have only a very small risk of acquiring in Africa) it occured to me...perhaps I should get a gun immunization....a little taste of gun safety and use.....to cover me in the event that I might have some contact with them or someone carrying one of them.
Dan is a great guy with lots of acreage and lots of guns. He finds them "fun." I watched him pick through his safe stacked with guns and rummage under his sink through his duffel bags of ammunition for his guns and pull out gray atheletic socks harboring guns....and believe me...that's exactly what I thought...oh boy ain't this fun.
He set me up with a 1917 Colt revolver and told me to take aim at a black chimney cap about 30 yards away. I squinted and took deep breaths and carefully pulled the trigger--wounding a fine oak tree. My second shot hit the target....to everyone's surprise. Someone in the background (husband, friend, or one of his familiy members) mumbled something about "Annie Oakley" which I am ashamed to admit filled me with pride.
The weaponry kept coming and kept getting bigger in size....until he handed me the Valmet semi-automatic which I have cradled in my arms in the picture above. I'll save that part of the story for tomorrow because the wilderness travel company just called and they want to have a talk with everyone Friday. It doesn't sound like good news.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I woke up early this morning...frightened.. my heart beating wildly. I lifted up my head to look at the clock--2:46 a.m. My heart beat even faster. Months ago my teenage son went to see the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose and mentioned to me that one of the tenets of the film was that if the devil was going to pay you a visit he would do so at 3 a.m. Prime time visiting hours. Well of course I know that's silly....illogical...but every time I wake up from a nightmare...damn... it always seems to be around 3 a.m. and last night wasn't an exception. I touched my husband's leg to make sure he was okay and then mentally figured out where my children should be at this hour. I waited for the phone to ring...but it didn't...so I assumed all my loved ones were sleeping--and safe. I tried to reassure myself that everything was okay...but it wasn't...and it had something to do with my trip and travels. I had been shooting guns this weekend (more on that later) and figured this was the culprit...because when someone hands you a semi-automatic ....it takes you only a couple minutes to realize it ain't for shooting deer..... and how many times in my normal daily routine do I actually touch and feel something designed specifically to kill someone? Finally, after much tossing and turning, I went back to sleep.
For some odd reason, I googled "3am devil" this morning and a reference did come up to the movie but further down the list another odd reference....this one from Pastor Art and Sister Sue from an evangelical church in Houston. Pastor Art contends that God comes a-visiting-folks between 3-6 a.m. Hmmm...All these late night visits are news to me and now I understand why I don't sleep so well some nights--too many angels and demons jostling around. But I couldn't help wondering....how did they divide the night up....are demon visiting hours between 12-3a.m.? and angels 3-6 a.m.? and who exactly claims the coveted 3 a. m. spot? Do they have a lottery? Take turns? Or do they have a check-in and check-out system?
So how does this tie into my trip? Well, about a half hour ago I received an email from my trip leader. Libya has closed it's borders in the south and to U.S. citizens probably because of the war in the Middle East. Our group was to meet in Tunisia and cross Libya to get into Niger. Now that's it's a no go.... the trip leader has emailed us two options...cross Algeria (there's a travel advisory/warning for Americans going into Algeria) or fly to Niger and then continue on to Benin and Togo (with a hefty increase in the price tag and the lose of a significant part of the Sahara). Yikes....I'm not going to bale out....and yes I want to cross the Sahara....but I've known about travel alerts because of terror organizations operating in that area for a while now.
I guess we're going to resolve this question some time today or tomorrow. I wish I knew at 2:46 a.m. who was trying to visit me.....angels or demons....and with what...an encouragement or warning.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I decided to keep a blog... a diary....of the comings and goings of what I jokingly call..."Gina's Big Adventure." Those of you who remember Pee-Wee Herman...know I've stolen the name from his movie. Unlike Pee-Wee, I hope my adventure doesn't conclude with me being arrested for masturbating in public. No... I'm sort of hoping for something more grand than that...maybe a book...or two? or perhaps a few great essays or articles. But even if I didn't write a word about my upcoming journey...I'm at least hoping for transformation...and a bit more texture in my life. I like texture... and transformation always sounds hopeful.
Just so we're on the same page...I'm leaving in 23 days for Paris and then I'm going to cross the Sahara desert starting in Tunisia and ending up in Togo. For the record, before this trip, I'm not sure I knew Togo was a country (Do pogos come from Togo?) and quite frankly although I knew the Sahara was the mother of all deserts..wasn't it mostly sand? and somewhere south of Morrocco? Okay...I didn't realize I was so completely ignorant about Africa and there are some days I even admit to not knowing exactly what signing up for a 30 day camping trip across this rugged environment might entail ...but a life too sane and safe ends up ....just that ...safe and sane....and who wants those words to be inscribed as your epitaph on some urn? (For those of you going for a "green " burial...picture a discreet cream colored printed card pinned onto your canvas shroud.)
So that's the kernel of this big adventure....a week in Paris... a month in Africa...but to tell you the truth I think since the first day I've signed up for this trip the adventure started....so that's what I'd like to talk about and share over the next couple months.