Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Tell her she's dreamin'...

I had another weird dream last night. I actually have 'psychic' dreams (of sorts) more often than not, and I derive comfort from most of them. Last night I had a really strange one that didn't really become clear to me until I talked it over with Dad this morning.

The dream last night focussed on Dad and I riding our new Vespas to the shops (neither of us have Vespas in real life of course), and I was finding mine really hard to ride. It was hard to control the gears and I kept feeling like I was accelerating too fast in spurts. But I had put that down to being an inexperienced rider. When we pulled up at the shops, Dad parked his bike and went inside. I removed my helmet and stopped to look at the bike to see whether my problems with it were the bike's fault. Then a guy materialised, who would have been about 40 years old, and introduced himself as Sam. He said he was a bike mechanic, and the problem with my Vespa was that the back wheel was hanging too low and was out of alignment with the rest of the bike. He said he could fix it, and I wouldn't need to worry any more. I was so comfortable with him, so I took his business card and agreed to take my bike to see him.

So that was basically the dream, and I woke up feeling quite OK. Talking to Dad about it this morning, he thought that the new bike had something to do with travelling by myself (given that you drive motorbikes alone more often than not), and I was feeling apprehensive because I'd never ridden a bike before, and I've never travelled alone for so long before. Okay I understand all that. But what about the mechanic?! Well my uncle was named Sam and he passed away about 2.5 years ago. Was he telling me through my dream that everything was going to be OK and he'd look after me while I was away? I don't know, but I think I feel good about the idea...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

It's a Manolo thing

After a too-long hiatus, finally the girls from NY are back on screen and I could not be happier. Unfortunately I could not remember where "Sex & The City" finished up a few months ago, but it didn't matter. The "first" episode last night was just so good - the fashion, the men, the humour - it was all there. I am intrigued to meet Petrovsky, whose liaison with Carrie is being touted as "the romance of the series". No pressure there, kids. But I'm not sure, because I'll always carry a flame for Mr Big. And if Carrie chooses the Russian fella, she can slip Big my number any day of the week.
Oh and the return of Carrie et al reminds me that it's been a long time between cosmopolitans for me. I must address that....

Monday, September 27, 2004

J'adore Paris

I have decided to curb my addiction to the online Lonely Planet Shop and have instead rediscovered the (far cheaper) pleasures of armchair travel through photo albums. I was looking over my European vacation from May - June 2001 for inspiration. Okay so I will probably own up right here that when I say "European", I really mean "France and Italy". But come on, let me sound cosmopolitan just this once.

So Paris, just the one picture for now - no point showing you everything first up, right?

And if you're a fan of Dan Brown's work, or if you're a plain old travel fan, you'll recognise the picture above. Pretty impressive photography to capture the lamp posts, don't you think? Stupid things.

I loved Paris, and I spent a whole day at The Louvre, wandering its many corridors, admiring its countless works of art. And I have to say, I'm not normally an art buff, or much of an art gallery fan. However, I was bowled away by how easy it was to spend the entire sunlit day wandering up and down, in and out of the exhibits. Given that I speak French, I refused to pay the exorbitant fee for the CD-ROM Louvre guides. However, I am intrigued by egyptology exhibits and the Egyptian artworks in the Louvre are just breathtaking. Problem is, my French studies focussed mostly on conversations, social settings and such. Never did we undertake a unit on Egyptian tools and art media. So needless to say, I hadn't brushed up on my vocab. Was I wishing for the CD-ROM? Perhas a little bit. But I nodded to myself, and looked impressed at the workmanship, pretending that I knew what I was looking at. Because to me that's what Paris was about - looking busy, looking the part, and trying to look at everyone else at the same time. Phew, it was exhausting. But I loved every minute.

My kingdom for a chaperone?

I visited my Granny's place last night for dinner (a once in a fortnight ritual) and announced the impending travel plans. I am not sure how much of the actual itinerary sunk in, but Polish granny seized on the "travel alone" part. The world is not safe for a young woman travelling without a chaperone, she thinks.

Obviously a chaperone in this context is a male and hey, that would be really sweet. But come on - does she think that even if I met a man now I'd want to travel with him? And does she think I actually want to travel alone? I'm not sure I do. Certainly if my friends didn't all leave the country a few months ago (and yes I'm taking that personally?), I might have had someone with whom to traverse the world's hot spots. But alas, that is not to be.

So I am left to journey solo, and pay a fortune for single rooms, taking photos of myself with my automatic snapping function on the camera, and "ooh" and "aah" at signficant monuments to the nonplussed strangers around me. Oh and just think - I can spend my travel time being perved at by smelly passengers on sub-standard foreign public transportation systems. What joy! Oh and there's more. I must learn to deal with the pitiful glances from lovers at restaurants as they gaze at the single seductress dining alone. They will wonder, "has someone stood her up? Does she always dine alone? Are her table manners really that atrocious?".

But how will I deal with all this social inevitability? Will I smile to myself? Or will I be shamed by their stares, and consign myself to eating canned food in a dingy rental apartment to hide away from the social stigma of singledom? Will I fade into the background and be miserable? Not a chance.

After all, and this is where I get slightly "Hallmark meets Disney", surely life (single or couple) is about being happy with who you are. And isn't that what grannies everywhere want for their grand-daughters? I think so.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Where am I anyway?

The world really is a big, weird place - and this has become more obvious to me in the past few months, while I'm making the final plans for my overseas trip.

I have been poring over maps and brochures aplenty, and even though I'm expecting an itinerary to materialise, it eludes me with the turn of every page. Sometimes I think the world gets bigger as I go, just to spite me.

And everyone I ask has an opinion about where I should go, or where I shouldn't go which just serves to make me more confused. The best advice I have been given, I must say, is about not planning too much. By nature I am a planner, so leaving some part of my itinerary in the proverbial lap of the gods leaves me a little wiggy. But I am resigned to trusting the words of wise sages who've travelled the world before me, and leave some things up to chance.

First things first, I need to get myself to the travel agent and confirm my tickets. I leave Australia on 19 February and it is inching ever closer. How will I possibly leave this beautiful face behind though???

My baby boy Barkley, the best looking labradoodle around
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