The Vicarious Traveller

Posted: Dec 2, 2003 6:25:40 AM

It's nice to be able to remember what it was like (and also what you were like) when you first started your trip. I had that opportunity over the last few days only because I have been wandering around Florence with Siobhan.

I have of course wandered around many different cities with many other people, who have all been wonderful hosts, but this time is a little different because it was Siobhan's first time in Europe. She was not a local, and so was experiencing this place just as I was: as a stranger in a strange land. It is nice to have that fresh perspective. For a number of reasons.

Firstly, her enthusiasm. Despite eating very little and shivering throughout the city (about which more later), Siobhan was enthusiastic about everything that has almost become blasé to me through overexposure. I have seen many cathedrals, but the number of photos she snapped of the Duomo (two whole rolls; one in the main hall and the crypt, one in the dome and from the top of the dome) reminded me of just how cool the soaring arches and medieval tombstones could be. I have seen many palaces, but somehow the sumptuous Palazzo Pitti and the 'thuggery' (Siobhan's most apt description of the location where the Medicis plotted and schemed) of the Palazzo Vecchio seemed different when being viewed with her.

Secondly, she knows more about the Renaissance than I do. I have wandered through many galleries with so many religious scenes that the experience had begun to lose its patina of astonishment (as in, oh great, there's another Caravaggio, and another Rubens, and another Giotto, and another Michelangelo...). Thanks to Siobhan, now I know how to spot St. John the Baptist (he's always wearing fur), Mary (she's wearing blue and red and has her hair chastely covered), and Mary Magdalene (uncovered long blonde hair, which I am told is very common in first century AD Mesopotamian women). The Christ child is always easy to spot, as he's usually the fattest one with the most disgruntled expression on his face. Our walks through the Uffizi and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo were greatly enhanced by this knowledge, and I wouldn't have even gone to the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella to see the painting that basically kicked off Renaissance style without her urging.

Thirdly, her amusing comments. One of the big disadvantages of travelling alone (as I have said before) is that there is no-one that you can lean towards, and - in a hushed tone, as this is an austere and venerable place - comment that this Mary Magdalene looks like she's doing a pole-dance on the cross, or that this Saint Sebastian has nowhere near as many arrows in him as other depictions of his martyrdom, or that this fragment of the One True Cross is a different type of wood to the last three you saw. You can imagine what it was like to see Michelangelo's David in the Galleria dell'Accademia. Well, he has been standing in the cold for a very long time.

Fourthly, her presence. There are some things that it is vaguely embarrassing to do alone, like go to a restaurant or a movie theatre. When you have another traveller available, you can go out to eat pasta (incredibly, the first time I've had pasta in Italy) without being dropped into the spare seat at someone else's table. Yes, that has happened to me. It's not quite so awkward watching the film 'Love Actually' dubbed in Italian when you can show off by guessing exactly what is going on (incidentally, can anyone who has seen that movie in its original language fill us in on exactly what was going on?).

Fifthly (and this is my favourite), she has been able to experience all the unpleasant aspects of travel for me. I have been travelling for more than three months now, and she travelled for five days, but for some reason everything that could go wrong for her did somewhere. She didn't sleep on the plane over from California, and was horribly sick once she arrived (I was sick at the start of my trip also, but at least I wasn't throwing up). She complained quite a bit, and although that didn't bother me at all she also complained about how much she was complaining, which was amusing. It drizzled down basically the entire time we were in the city, and one at least one occasion (our first foray to find a cinema) Siobhan was completely soaked. Best (worst) of all, once she just wanted to get home at the end of it, her plane to Frankfurt was cancelled and we had to queue to get a redirect sorted out. For. Three. Whole. Hours. The circuitous route that the hard-working airport staff came up with involved her flying from Florence to Munich, Munich to Frankfurt, staying the night in Frankfurt (hopefully at the expense of Lufthansa), and then flying on to San Francisco the next day. All this allowed me to appreciate just how bad things can get, without it actually happening to me.

Despite this last point Siobhan assures me that she had a great time on her first foray into Europe, which brings me to my sixth and final point: once she gets back home, rests and recovers, and returns online, she can offer you her (undoubtedly completely different) perspective on this portion of my journey.

Once I saw her off I was eager to get going again, but instead of telling you where I went I will show you and let you guess. A bus, a train, another train, and another bus took me here, and then a bus, a train, and another train took me back to Florence. But where is here?

Mystery Destination


Aan`allein   Dec 2, 2003 8:31:02 AM

Dude, this one is resonating with me on soooo many levels. Thanks for putting lots of those things into words.

Traveling alone is probably the worst. And then of course I'm a loner, and have been taking vacations by myself for nearly forever, but still... All those sights you wish you could immediately share with someone, the "wooooaw, did you see..."
Not that I've yet for a moment regretted setting out... :)

Which leads me to a question I meant to ask you here before I ever read this entry anyway - I just realized that I'd already passed the point of being on the road for two month, and never even thought about it until now, several days after. Nor have I grown weary of traveling at all; the way I feel now, I could easily keep going for another two years (which is a good thing, as I will).
But since you've been at it for quite a bit longer than me, did you ever reach a point where you wondered why you were bothering? Not just homesickness or anything, and not just something momentarily, but having had enough of the entire way of life? Or is eternally backpacking really sustainable (aside from the whole money issue)?

Sahi   Dec 2, 2003 10:19:13 AM

Great report once again. And I'm ever so jealous of you two. I'm almost wishing I could have come along. *sigh*

But then there's this whole boyfriend thing. ;)

Charlotte   Dec 2, 2003 4:27:33 PM

*laughs* I just spent an amusing half an hour looking through pictures of Italian castles on the internet with no luck in identifying the one in the picture. There are just too many of them!

A good report. I look forward to Siobhan's version. And why on earth didn't you lend the poor girl your jacket instead of letting her get soaked!!

Damon   Dec 2, 2003 7:39:23 PM

Er, because I don't have a jacket. I know, I know, I'll catch my death of cold.

Aan, it really is sustainable, as long as you have the spirit for it. At no point have I really had a 'oh my goodness, I really want to be home now' moment - I think that if you have survived for two months then you probably won't have a major one. Of course, Siobhan had one after a few hours, so your experience may vary.

And I shall give you all a clue about the castle:
I have been in four countries in the last twenty-four hours.

Captain Roberto T. Fruitbat   Dec 2, 2003 9:31:17 PM

It´s not an Italian castle, it´s the castle of San Marino.

Where are you headed now, Damon? Hopefully not Marseille. There´s some major flooding going on in the south of France, towns under water, people drowning etc. Better make for Barcelona straight away.

Binky   Dec 2, 2003 9:31:56 PM

Aan - I hope you made it to Wellington for the parade the other day. It rocked muchly.

And travelling on your own (well, I've been on my own for a short total of about 24 hours) is infinitely better than travelling with someone bad. There are all sorts of ways someone can be bad to travel with.

Siobhan   Dec 3, 2003 1:37:39 AM

Home finally. Ill put up something (maybe?) coherent later when I've rested.

David   Dec 3, 2003 1:50:45 AM

Check this out: h/LOTDETAIL.ASP?sid=&intObjectID=4205385

Claudia   Dec 3, 2003 2:46:31 AM

Love Actually - haven't seen it, but its about the Prime Minister falling in love with the tea lady. And everyone elses love triangles/issues etc.

Siobhan   Dec 3, 2003 10:15:21 AM

I keep going back to the airport. In my sleep I mean. Gah. Coherency, yes.

Okay, Im not going to put up a blow by blow of, as Damon would say, whichever what. Im just going to point out that one thing, and one thing only made this trip tolerable, and fun, for me. That thing is: heroin. No really, it was Damon. He was so entirely excellent. Im very cogent of the fact that I was basically babysat the entire time, so there was a buffer between me and as many annoying things as possible. Not that the buffer was always successful, as you have all read, but that's no fault of Damons. But if it werent for him, I would be whining right now about how much I hate the rest of the world and how Im never setting foot outside California again; instead, despite all the badness, I had tons and tons of fun, and am pushing everyone I know to go too. Words cant express how thankful I am. Much love kiwiboy.

Shads   Dec 3, 2003 1:01:54 PM

Glad you made it back alive, Siobandita.

I think that was what made my tentative foray into the States such fun; I was romping around with friends the whole time. And probably made things interesting for them too. (It's a BISCUIT!!!)
I think I was also lucky, from the sound of it. Wasn't a single hiccup in my travels. 'cept for the whole getting to New Orleans bit.
But as I said then, it's the drama that makes for good story telling later on. :)

Damon   Dec 3, 2003 7:00:17 PM

Oh, she made it. Thank goodness! And I'm glad to hear that she enjoyed herself; someone has to stick up for poor ol' Europe.

Fruitbat is entirely too clever; it is indeed San Marino, and I have seen both it (a couple of days ago) and Monaco (yesterday and today). Tomorrow I shall explore Nice (where I am right now), but I'm not quite sure what to do next seeing as there may be no rail passage through to Barcelona, which I was planning to overnight to tomorrow evening. Will go and ask the rail people.

Dave, I am afraid that the link's not working for me.

Clods; we guessed *that* much. 10 Downing Street was a bit of a give-away.

Shads, we had the same debate! Well, sorta.

mother of pearl   Dec 4, 2003 12:32:34 AM

:/ I'm so sorry that Europe was such a sore experience for you. But I trusted in Damon to make it a pleasant stay, and I'm glad you lived up to my expectiations, my dear boy...*err*

*goes and looks for her fried brain*

*gives away her sleep for tonight to bandit*

...'coz tonight I'm not having *any*, baby...project due tomorrow! ouch...

(just decided I'd do a little piece on 'weekend' by walter ruttmann and the '98 remix

Fraz   Dec 4, 2003 12:42:26 AM

i be a UniverCity Stu-dent now, ... massy University School of design. wellington campus!!!!!!! YUS

Charlotte   Dec 4, 2003 12:44:04 AM

Nice: one of my ancestral branches originates from Nice. Apparently my great-grandfather's family were minor French gentry and had a big ol ancestral home somewhere around Nice. The Catholic church probably owns it now since my great-grand father was disowned by his parents and he was the only child. My sister and I used to talk about visiting Nice and trying to find out where he would have lived. Heh!

Don't drown!

Claudia   Dec 4, 2003 12:54:54 AM

Love Actually. OK, more then, if I really must! Vamp woman starts at office. Alan Rickman strays from happy marriage. Woman at office told to declare her love for work mate who she has secretly been in love with for years, and to tell him she wants to have his babies. Porn star stand-ins fall in love while performing a ... something.

No... still haven't seen it. Even though I have a healthy obsession with Alan Rickman.

Damon   Dec 4, 2003 6:34:05 PM

Wow, congratulations Fraz! (everyone else: this is absolutely awesome news). Does this mean you're moving out next year?

@Charlotte: interesting - I didn't meet anyone with your last name, but as far as I know it could have been a great grandfather on your mother's side, so that doesn't prove anything. And seeing as I'm apparently distantly related to German nobility does that mean we have to start a war now?

Claudia: I'm afraid we guessed all that also, but thanks for trying! *grin*

And good luck with that project Lian!

Damon   Dec 4, 2003 6:44:54 PM

Oh, and I should probably update you all on my progress. Nice is awesome (had a shopping day today, put a dent in my suffering bank account), and tonight (beginning in about four hours) I will be on an overnight train to Barcelona, which is apparently unaffected by the floods hereabouts. Depending on how well I sleep I may try for Andorra tomorrow; otherwise I'll just check out all the gaudy Gaudi on display.

Captain Roberto T. Fruitbat   Dec 4, 2003 8:45:01 PM

Great news about Barcelona. Try some Catalan pastries (yumyum) and the chocolate part of the churros con chocolate at El Casa Ingles was extremely good when I was there. Thick and extra sweet - yumyumyum! Rats, I want to go to Barcelona.

Btw, apart from reading Gormenghast, I´ve also gotten myself hooked on the Discworld series in a big way - and it´s all your fault, all your fault! What about my poor suffering bank acount, sigh ... ;)

Have fun climbing the Sagrada Familia.

Claudia   Dec 4, 2003 9:43:28 PM

And they all lived happily ever after - to varying degrees. *pouts*

My brother arrives home tomorrow morning after 4 years living in England. Looking forward to a wonderful family Christmas this year.

Are you home for Christmas, Damon, or still travelling the world? Would be interesting to see how someone who is used to a warm Christmas day, would take the cold, the dark, and possibly the snowiness of a Northern Hemisphere Christmas.

Siobhan   Dec 5, 2003 1:20:23 AM

Kay I feel normal enough again to at least try and get something out. Apologies if I'm hogging up too much of this report; I sort of rambled, so if you want you can just go ahead and trim it as much as you like.

Where to start. Okay, so throwing up. Much throwing up. Vomiting at Florence's many historic sites. Enough so that I lost enough weight to have dropped a pants size.

Also there was sitting on many of Florence’s most important benches. The bench outside the Uffizi is particularly important, as it was the first bench built that incorporated the previous stylistic elements of the Romanesque period with the new revolutionary modernity of the Renaissance. It was rumored to have been built by Michelangelo himself, which explains why the genitals were so small.

Damon and I had a running nun count which I totally won (in your FACE.) I think the final count was either 7-8 or 6-7. But most importantly, I totally won. Me. I did.

The streets in Florence are so narrow as to be unbelievable. They're like our sidewalks. In fact, when the taxi driver first took me from the airport to my hotel (I was so out of it by that point that I forgot to tip him, despite him carrying my luggage in the rain. I'm such a schmuck.), I thought he had turned down an alley.

We spent lots of time in the common room of Damon's hostel, due to the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have guests anywhere near my hotel. Which explains why there was no foreign booty call, despite my very best efforts, consisting of standing around looking available. At one point in said common room was a very amicable pair of seeming Americans; but lo, after speaking with them for a time, it occurred to me that something was a Maybe it was the cheerfulness, or maybe it was the sickly hockey stench. They were Canucks dammit. I felt so betrayed. Also they made me talk about Ahnold.

This is the same common room in which I had my first experience with wine in a box. It's wine. In juice boxes. I had three of them. Quickly. Also, I think they may have been expired. At any rate, I was stinko. And probably all loud and obnoxious, and american to boot. Im lucky the nice little old lady running the place didn’t stick a fork in my eye or something. Many sage and mysterious things were revealed in the depths of my drunkenness, including, but not limited to, the fact that I was like, really drunk you guys. "Really. Like here's tipsy. And here's uh oh. And BAM! there's me way past all of that! Hee! *hic*"

Much time was also spent trying to identify where exactly parts of the film Hannibal were filmed. I felt like it was my duty to my patron saint to at least leave a bottle of chianti somewhere appropriate. But that didn't work out, so I just ate some tourists instead.

There were some things we saw that I never would have seen without Damon's urging. I don’t think I would have climbed the Campanile (stairs!), especially the day after climbing the Duomo (stairs! the horror!); I wouldn’t have seen the Boboli gardens, which were very nice. Quiet. I cant stress that enough. For a girl from a small hick town, quiet can be a very desirable thing, especially after wading through crowds all day long. Also I wouldn’t have even known about this small chapel where there's Gregorian chanting. It was really important and unexpected for me to see that, for reasons I'll leave undisclosed. It did leave me in a bit of a funk, but that was remedied when I was almost run over by a cyclist, which I thought was very funny.

Santa Maria Novella was the best place I went to, I think. I cant really describe why, except that it was warm, and quiet, and pretty, and there was a totally bitchin rave going on all night long. Okay not so much the rave part.

Love Actually was the worst. movie. ever! Maybe not the worst, but it was pretty bad. Apart from this little girl with a knockout voice. Name of Olivia Olson. Keep your eyes peeled for that name, there's more talent in her little self then in 20 Britneys. And there was Alan Rickman and Colin Firth, so the drool portion of the brain was nicely serviced. On the downside, I did have to see Laura Linney's naked boobies. Not really something I wanted to experience. Damon apparently did though, he was totally yowling and throwing panties at the screen. Unseemly. I wonder whose panties they were?

It was pretty cold, with this wickedly nippy wind whipping across the city. I think it was further chilled by flowing across the Arno, because it wasn’t nearly as cold on the other side of the river as it was on the more touristy side where we spent most of our time. On the upside, once I got back home, it seemed almost warm by comparison. That was nice.

Top Ten Important Factiods:
1. Pack less stuff. I thought I was pretty good, but I still brought too much stuff by far.
2. Bring a damn jacket. I had these flimsy little coats (the better to look all cold and fragile in, leading to the aforementioned foreign booty call.) that are okay for 50 degree California winters, but not for chilly and rainy Italian ones. Stupid Eye-talians.
3. Sedate parents beforehand. Not that I blame them, because I was pretty sulky and homesick too, but the cost of telephone calls was staggering. I’m afraid to see what my parent’s phone bill for next month looks like.
4. Smart boy who knows stuff makes things better. That’s because smart boy can successfully navigate without getting lost; smart boy picks up loads of useful Italian while dumb Cali girl’s brain freezes somewhere between English and Spanish; smart boy provides entertainment and fun and companionship; smart boy is smart enough to know when to talk and when to shut up and let dumb Cali girl have some quality moping time.
5. Lufthansa is the unholy airline of the devil. They didn’t put any of us up anywhere, so all of us stranded folk had to venture out into Frankfurt at night, in the dark, and find our own accommodations. I was very very very lucky, and got a hold of my mom ahead of time, so she booked my stay at a very nice hotel (too nice actually, I was going for a hostel but as far as we could determine, they were all full.), so all I had to do was wander around trying to get currency exchanged, and then stand on a street corner screaming until a cabbie came and got me and took me to my hotel. Where there was a minibar.
6. Damon owes me cookies. Many of them. Don’t think I forgot! I was just letting you off easy, due to the fact that you waited in line with me at the airport for three hours.
7. The Medicis are the Renaissance Osbournes. I want to know everything about them now, and astound people with analogies between Cosimo and Ozzy.
8. Young thin men with good metabolisms stay warm while chubby girls shiver. What is this world coming to?
9. The Italians apparently have no concept of what “too much starch” means, as they will happily serve you pizza with fries, or pizza with a roll. Bread with a side of bread. At least there was coke.
10. America the beautiful. I complain so long and so loudly about these here parts I forget that they are, in fact, my home. I missed thanksgiving while I was away, so indulge me for a moment while I give belated thanks. Im thankful for our wide comfortable open roads, our wide sidewalks, our wide cars made for our wide butts. Im thankful for McDonalds and readily available Mexican food. Im thankful for television that isn’t 90% gameshows, and A&E for showing Horatio Hornblower. Im thankful for sleeping in my own bed. Im thankful for our stupid American security that allowed me to go unchecked through customs, so that my contraband muskets and Cuban cigars remained unseized, and my cookies untaxed. Im thankful for Dubya, who made even Billy Bob Thornton as our president seem relatively well adjusted and intelligent. I’m thankful that there were people on both continents who cared enough to try and ensure I had the best time possible. But most of all I’m thankful for the opportunity to actually venture out and try something new. Other people may have handled my petty annoyances with more grace, but the fact that they were mine, and that I was allowed to have them, I am thankful for.
11. (shut up, I cant count.) Online and offline experiences are nothing alike. At the risk of sounding extremely sappy and cloying, I’ve been missing offline Damon for the past four days. Although at this point, I doubt the poor boy was missing offline me particularly. Hee! Poor poor lad. This leads me to my final thought, that spiffy people are spiffy everywhere. But especially spiffy when they move in next door to me so I can wander over and pester them whenever I like. The house is pretty big, I think it could fit a bunch of you if you wanted. What? Just saying is all.

Siobhan   Dec 5, 2003 1:21:02 AM

Wow, that really is pretty long. Really, whack it if you want.

Siobhan   Dec 5, 2003 1:39:42 AM

Oh yeah, and I forgot to add that I apparently yelled "Goddammit!" in the Duomo after tripping. I heard a distant rumbling god-like laughter, and I knew I had just been punked...

Binky   Dec 5, 2003 2:46:05 AM

My favourite Duomo moment was watching the guard tell off the young Japanese girl when she tried to write her name on the top like thousands of people beforehand.

And laughing at the medieval visions of hell on the inside that would easily get banned from modern television.

What I really want to know is, between the art and shivering and vomiting - did you get to try bistecca alla fiorentina? Damn, I want to go back there.

Binky   Dec 5, 2003 2:48:22 AM

Actually, I would have most liked to have gone there and hung out with you guys. I can barely tell a Rubens from a Rembrandt, and whiny Cali girl sounds like lots more fun than whiny ex.

Charlotte   Dec 5, 2003 4:14:43 PM

No, no! No trimming or whacking of this report allowed!

Heh! You had a running nun count? I've never even met a nun spritely enough to put up even a slow job and I've met more than my fair share of nuns. Must have been fascinating to see them all running through the streets of Florence. Did they wear Nikes?


Ok, so enough of the bad nun jokes, I don't want to make a habit of it.....

Charlotte   Dec 5, 2003 5:03:57 PM

He, he, typos! JOG! Fortunately I got the 's' in slow correct, otherwise my reputation could have been seriously compromised!

Damon   Dec 5, 2003 7:53:16 PM

Hah! Great report. I shall defer commenting on everything, but I will point out that I saw another nun today, tying up the score. And I still have Rome and the Vatican to see...

Damon   Dec 5, 2003 7:53:46 PM

Oh, and I made it to Barcelona. And it is very cool, and I have not yet been mugged.

Siobhan   Dec 5, 2003 10:27:14 PM

That doesnt count! Twas only while I was there to verify it. Cause I don't trust you. Filthy foreigner. *takes bite of Big Mac* Good thing you like Spain. If not I would have bitten your ear off. I would have come at you like a whirlwind made of hair and teeth. And fingernails.

Siobhan   Dec 6, 2003 2:00:56 AM

*blink* Wait a minute, your favorite part of our whole trip was that you got to witness my discomfort? What what? Hey time to go home, ha!

Siobhan   Dec 6, 2003 2:06:01 AM

Also (gah, I wish there were an edit button so I could just ad stuff. Or I could just shut up I guess.) I feel obliged to point out:

Things That Didn't Go Wrong
My passport was not stolen
Or my tickets
Or my money. At least, not in the traditional sense.
I was not assaulted at any point
Or arrested
Or deported
Or kidnapped
Or injured (other than my pride)
Or seriously ill
Or robbed.

To conclude -
Dear Self,

Shut up you whining prissy ass. Lots of people would give their left arm to have been in Europe. I should slap you like the beyotch you are.


Damon   Dec 6, 2003 8:42:37 AM

Heehee - yes, it is fun when Bad Things Happen to Good People. Nah, seriously, I had a great time as well. But if you get to count nuns that you see in pictures I get to count nuns in Rome, so either way I'm still going to win all the cookies.

My Entire Schedule now: see the rest of Barcelona today, stay here tonight, visit Andorra on Sunday, take the overnight train to Nice Sunday evening, wander around Nice for a day, take the overnight train from Nice to Rome, then stay there until I fly out. Crazy, but fun.

Siobhan   Dec 6, 2003 3:52:03 PM

Or, When Bad Things Happen to Tired People. Or, Shut Up. I'm not counting any nuns you see that I can't see too, so you'll just have to buy your own damn cookies. Yes, that includes invisible nuns too, I never bought that whole, "They have super powers!" thing for a minute.

That's quite a busy next week you'll have.

Damon   Dec 6, 2003 8:55:05 PM

Yep, I shall be on a four-hour bus trip starting at 6am, another bus back at 1:15pm, and then on a train from 7pmish until tomorrow morning at 8am. And I finished reading 'Don Quixote' today, so I only have Eco essays to read.

Hey, what happened to everyone else? Volcanic eruption?

mother of pearl   Dec 6, 2003 11:04:26 PM

*smothered in lava* yep. had a busy week and am now even busier doing exactly nothing. It's a real shame. I'm so inconsistent. I can't even be a porper lurker.

on the whole, I've been enjoying reading Siobhan's causticly witty account so much that I did not mean to spoil the fun by adding yet another unqualified comment.

but here goes "oops I did it again"

Siobhan   Dec 7, 2003 12:15:21 AM

;p you're hardly unqualified. And I'm hardly witty. I do like to think I'm caustic though.

@D: I wish I had thought to get you something lighter to read. I hope that book's not too terribly boring.

Captain Roberto T. Fruitbat   Dec 7, 2003 12:19:54 AM

A volcanic eruption of Chrismas shopping probably, hehe but I´m not going shopping, I´m busy playing with my new cuddly Shoggoth monster.

David   Dec 7, 2003 3:09:21 AM

Re: the link -- Christie's recently auctioned a 1,800 year old d20 (numbered in Greek) used in an unknown Roman game.
("Brutus sneak attacks Caesar... Natural 20! Hoody-hoo!")

Damon   Dec 7, 2003 4:47:54 PM

Re: the Eco. It's actually very similar to what I studied third year at university, so it's actually quite fun. And helpful if I ever have difficulty falling asleep ... kidding!

I liked S's account heaps also: finally, another perspective of the madness of travel!

Dave, that is far too cool. I actually saw one of those dice in a musuem - I forget which exactly.

Peter   Dec 8, 2003 9:51:44 AM

I am still alive as well...

Just don't know what to say. (yes, that happens. sometimes...)

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