Friday, October 4, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation...

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this post. I forgot what I was planning on writing about. But I promise I have a better excuse than "the dog ate my homework"...or maybe not. Maybe "jet lag ate my brain" is just a grown up version of the same thing.

Either way, it's true. I remember sitting on the plane home...the second flight, some eighteen hours into a Very. Long. Day. making notes for the various blog posts that all happened to be due this week. I swear I had an idea. But it disappeared somewhere  over Oklahoma...or thereabouts. I'm not really sure. After about 28 hours of being awake (thanks, hurling fans, for that 3 am wake up call!) everything tends to take on a surreal quality.

It was an interesting trip...but more surreal than usual.  In New York, for example, in order to get from one connecting flight to the other we had to leave the airport, walk through the parking garage, and go through security...which meant the water we'd just bought in the airport and forgot about in the course of our trek was still in our carry-on luggage. uh...ooops?

Customs and immigration officials ask the weirdest questions. While looking at my passport they've asked me my name. And here I'd assumed being able to read was surely a prerequisite for the job!

After learning that we were flying back to San Francisco, one customs official asked if we were Giants fans. What makes that surreal is the fact that I grew up on the east coast, where the Giants are a football team. Out west, it's baseball. I had no idea what sport we were talking about. In either case, the answer is no. I don't follow sports. Luckily, I let my husband field the question.

Every time we flew on Aer Lingus, they tried to give us fruit plates. I'm not sure what that was about since we were both pretty sure we hadn't ordered fruit plates, so...yeah, that was weird. Also, the tea in Ireland and England must be chock-full of caffeine. I went weeks without a single cup of coffee and didn't get a single headache.

Also, despite the fact that we moved from town to town pretty much every day while we were in Ireland, we kept running into the same people at each stop. From Galway to Inish Mor, to Killarney, to Cork. I'm reasonably certain that all these places have multiple places for tourists to stay. But no. It was just like being on a tour...only none of us were.

Oh, and speaking of tours--they're all completely nuts. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

While in Dublin we witnessed the most bizarre "air show" ever. I wouldn't have known it was an air show if the tons of people lining the bridges, gazing at the sky hadn't tipped me off. It seemed to consist of commercial jets flying over the city, at odd intervals, en route to...wherever they were headed.  Top that Blue Angels!

Irish ice cream. OMFG. So good you don't even know.

Paris has undergone a weird transformation. For one thing, there's a large, extremely ugly structure, consisting mostly of bleachers and an elevator, that's been built directly in front of the cathedral, obscuring the view of it from almost every angle. Apparently it was built to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. I could think of better ways to celebrate.

The second's a two part change, actually, having to do with the upswing in petty crime. Thieves and con-artists are everywhere. They're not good con-artists, I have to say, and I don't think they're particularly good thieves either...which is a blessing of sorts. But they're so very bad at what they do that it's kind of a wonder they don't just give up. The way they do it, it can't possibly be lucrative. On the plus side, the formerly aloof Parisians seem quite annoyed about it. To the point where they will stop if they see you being harassed and warn you to be careful. Last time I was in France, they liked to pretend they didn't speak English. This is better.

One of the more amazing things I saw on this trip was the cathedral at Beauvais. It's huge. It's the tallest cathedral in Europe...I'm pretty sure that's what I was told. And stumbling across it while strolling around town was probably the most surreal moment of the trip.

I'm sure there were more surreal moments, but that's all I can think of right now.


Kelly Jamieson said...

I don't care, I'M STILL JEALOUS!!!
Sounds like an amazing trip PG!

Kate Davies said...

Sorry about the exhausting travel home. But the overall experience sounds awesome!

(Know what you mean about tours, though. LOL)