Travel stories

I returned to Florence yesterday afternoon and am still a bit jet-lagged. Zzzzz! Easy flight, though. Thanks to strong tail winds, the flight (Boston-Zurich) was over before I had time to finish watching a second movie. Drat, I hate to miss movie endings… Plus, the first movie I watched, as you will soon read, was a huge disappointment. 


But first, have you ever had the experience of having perfect strangers come up to you and recounting their life stories? That happens to me all the time, I have no idea why. Yesterday was no exception. While waiting to board my flight in Boston, I sat down to read Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, vegetable, miracle.” An elderly Greek man chomping loudly on some cheese chips sat down next to me. He began chatting to me (i.e., not to the other person on his right). I had to put down my book. During our wait, I learned intimate details about his wife and her recent thyroid operation, the expensive birthstone necklace he bought for her birthday, the cousin who was going to meet him in Athens and accompany him to the island where he was born, and his family and life in general. He seemed to have popped right out of one of my favourite movies in the universe, “My big fat Greek wedding.” I was most amused. A lovely encounter.


During the flight to Zurich, I watched the “Sex and the City” movie. I almost turned it off several times, bored to death and extremely annoyed at all the waste and silliness and unconvincing relationships, wondering how I ever managed to watch the entire first season of this series, and bits and pieces of subsequent seasons. Yep, I used to enjoy watching “Sex and the City,” and I was looking forward to seeing the movie. Well, perhaps it was just that yesterday I was in no mood to watch something so dim-witted. I mean, would you build an entire enormous walk-in closet just for your expensive designer stiletto heel shoes? Perhaps I don’t “get it” because I am a flat-heel, comfy shoe type of gal. And I definitely do not follow the newest fashion trend. Well, whatever the reason!, I thought the movie portrayed enormously wasteful and superficial lifestyles—all the fashion shopping, extravagant dinners, fancy drinks et similia made my stomach turn. But, come to think of it, there was another thing that made my stomach turn…


The young woman sitting next to me on the Boston-Zurich flight had some sort of terrible intestinal ailment, poor thing. Early in the flight I got a whiff of an appalling smell. More than a whiff, actually. At first I thought it was drifting down from the toilets but soon realized that this dreadful stench was in fact originating from my quiet flight companion. At one point, through my earphones, I even heard her happily tooting away. She made no attempt to get up and search for a more secluded place…nope, Fart Vader sat right next to me the entire flight, blasting away and clogging up my breathing space. The only thing that kept me sane was the happy thought that no germs could possibly survive in that fetor. We were surrounded by people coughing and sneezing, you see. At any rate, I tell ya, I was mighty happy to get off that flight! 


Back in Florence. For different reasons, Stefano and the cats were sooooo happy to see me. Piccolo hasn’t let me wander out of his sight in the past 12 hours. If I move, he moves. Right now he is pretending to be asleep on my scanner, but I can tell that he is keeping an eye on me, making sure I won’t escape again. As soon as I walked in the door yesterday afternoon, he rushed up to me, rubbing and banging his head against my legs and telling me about all he has had to put up with during my absence. Seriously, he sounded just like a whiny little kid. Meow meoooow brrrrr rauhhhh whirrrr, he complained. Too cute.


When I turned on my computer this morning, I found close to 700 new e-mails. Aaargh! A bunch of folks have written to me through my blog Contact form, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but please give me a few days to sort through this huge pile of messages. I will answer, or try to answer, everyone’s queries at some point. But if you don’t hear from me in the next day or so, and you have an urgent question, please contact me again. Okay, I’d better get to work. I also have to prepare my English classes for tomorrow. Ciao!


  1. Margaret you’re a hoot! I needed a good laugh! Bathroom humor always cracks me up! Maybe you should have pulled down the air mask! : )

    Please tell Paul for me that there was no space available at the end of that blog for me to respond to his last email. Just as well. I appreciate our “fiesty” political debates. It’s apparent that we both feel strongly about our convictions and we only want what’s best for our country. I appreciate that! Take care, Donna

  2. Margaret,
    If you enjoyed “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” I would like to recommend “Prodigal Summer,” also by Kingsolver!

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