Sunday, July 31, 2005

You know you're a backpacker when . . .

-you can identify people's incomes by their smell.
-the smell of wet wipes turns you on.
-you see water pouring out of a statue and get really excited.
-you decide what beer to buy based on price and quantity, not quality.
-you spend more on liquid than lodging.
-your idea of a good time is taking a nap.
-you try to find the worst location to eat, because that's all you can afford.
-seeing a lot of pigeons is suddenly a good thing.
-every guy who walks by seems gorgeous. (Monaca's addition)
-you start throwing away clothes, etc., because it makes your bag lighter.
-you have no trouble falling asleep on the floor of an airport.
-your most common phrase is "Parla inglese?"
-dirty lake water actually looks refreshing.
-you cry with joy at the sight of towels and sheets.
-beer is cheaper than soda--and tastes better.
-you give people several options when asking what language they speak.
-you can barely resist the urge to "fall" into every fountain you see.
-you can identify the city in which you received each injury.
-you have no trouble finishing 1.5 liters of water in a few minutes.
-you actually consider peeing into a jar on a crowded bus.
-when the guy at the hotel tells you you can leave your bags there all day, you have to resist the urge to hug him, and you want to take a picture with him. After all, he's the nicest person in the world.
-you'd rather shower than eat.
-you want to write the editors of Let's Go and thank them for saving your life.
-you rejoice at the sight of one small toilet in a room the size of a closet.
-you've memorized the phone number for a calling card you can only use in one country.
-you can recognize dog species by their poop.
-you don't care if people bump into you, as long as their limbs don't stick to yours.
-you know how to say "exit" in at least four languages.
-you stop wishing your liquids were cold and just start wishing you had liquid.
-the feel of air conditioning coming out of a shop you can't afford seems cruel.
-you get really excited when a hotel has A/C, and for minutes on end you stare at the little oscillating mechanism on the unit.
-you start feeling like other people sleeping in the airport are family.
-eating at a restaurant for the first time in a week makes you just about die with gustatory delight.
-raw gnocchi, lettuce, green olives, and a plastic-wrapped slab of cheese make two meals.

Friday, July 29, 2005

jeudi, le 21 juillet 2005

I'm in Europe for the next two weeks. I'm here with my friend Monaca. She's been here all summer, working as an intern for a church in Madrid. I met her there on Tuesday. We're setting out on a two-week backpacking trip around western Europe.

Today (Thursday) we arrived in Geneva. We'll be here till Sunday. Then we're going to Rome; after that, to Venice; then to Paris; then to Dublin; then to London; then back to Chicago. We're just doing this for fun, and so far it has been. We've had several glitches that we've laughed through; we'll have good stories to tell when we get back.

Unfortunately, Steve couldn't come because of his work schedule (only two weeks of vacation--typical in the U.S. but despicable in my opinion). So he's back in Aurora, but he has Jackson (our dog) to keep him company.

Being in Europe is amazing, of course. I love it just as much as I did the last two times I was here. Having so many opportunities to speak French is heavenly. If anyone has suggestions for things we should see in the cities I listed (besides obvious things, like St. Peter's in Rome), let me know.

I would welcome your prayers for safety, grace, and opportunities for me and Monaca (my friend and traveling companion) to bless others. Okay, think that's about it. I'm paying for Internet access, and my 2-Swiss-Francs-worth is just about up.