Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Via, via!

Folks, it's vacation time. Finally. Time to cash in that euro bank account (sagely set up back in 2000 when the dollar was king) and return to the ancestral homeland. I am also doing the unthinkable and vowing to stay unconnected during the trip. How's that for trying to go back in time? Honestly, being unconnected is the new luxury and I'm going to indulge.

First stop, a short stay in Pisa and Lucca. Then on to Bocca di Magro in Liguria (see marina photo) for visit with friends. Back to Lucca for visits to the Garfagnana, after which we spend a few days in Cremona of the photo above (I have a sentimental attachment to the Emilia-Romagna province, not to mention to its food and wine), before visiting friends in Mantova and Verona, some of whom will join us on a hiking expedition to San Candido
in the Dolomites. All in all, six provinces, some old favorites, and some new discoveries.

Will it be hard to return? What do you think?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Airport Madness

Had a rush trip to NYC last week. Flew out Thursday morning from PDX, arrived late afternoon in Newark. College roommate friend picked me up. Visited a couple of hours, then was on the New Jersey train into Penn Station. 7:10pm, checked into hotel. Met client for dinner and crashed around 11pm EDT. Up early Friday, joined my client at 7:30am, left for meetings at Strategy+Business, Business Week and American Craft. Strolled old stomping grounds on West Broadway, Houston, Bleecker and Thompson for a half hour, then crawled through 3pm traffic back to Newark.

Beat. Hot. Grimy. Eager to slump into my little airplane perch and let sleep and fatigue take over.

But nooooooo.

Just prior to boarding time, hear that our plane had been taken out of commission. We wait. Our senses are drummed into pain by the merciless, mindless TV, incessant boarding announcements, screaming children and other airport gate din.

I buy food and water. I change into shorts. Wash my face and hands a few times. Read my suspense novel to stay awake. Try to get online but Wi-Fi is not free. Wish I could lie down and sleep but the carpet is dreck and I might miss some important news about my flight.

I think: Why doesn't some intrepid entrepreneur open up a super short term mini-hotel in airport terminals? Why aren't there neck and shoulder massage stations all over? What about emulating the services of Asian and European airports and installing super clean showers in the most congested airports? Hey, a small movie theater showing short films is another idea. Especially if wi-fi isn't free. (Which bonehead came up with that?)

We board three hours later, wait to get to the head of the runway line, then just prior to our turn a woman takes her two kids to the bathroom and we go to the end of the line again. No one yells. What a miracle. Another miracle: none of the babies on the plane cry during the flight.

The plane lands in PDX. I feel as though I've flown to Europe and back. Get home and take a soak and crash.

I think: "I don't like travel. I never want to be on another airplane. I'm tearing up my mileage credit card and getting a cash-back reward card instead."