Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cinq choses

Watch out or he'll pull your hair!
The lovely and aromatic Kate tagged me for the "5 things you didn't know about me" (actually she had six on her list, and some of them were doozies) meme. Once I got started I realized I could embark (har har) on a travel theme.
  1. I've hitchhiked exactly once, from Grenoble, France (where I spent a semester abroad) to Nice. I was with a male friend and the last person who picked us up was a priest. He dropped us off at a convent (no, really) where we had dinner with the nuns and then caught a bus for the last 20 miles or so of our trip.

  2. At the Singapore Zoo, my siblings and I lined up with other tourists and ate breakfast "with" an orangutan. (Click on the cheesiest picture in the world above to read more--you too can try this on your next trip to the city-state of Singapore!) Better yet, the following spring my aunt immortalized the scene with a set of Easter eggs, one each of me, my brother, my sister, and the orangutan. They were the kind made from just the shell (with the yolk and white blown out) and my mother still has them, plus their little paper palm-tree backdrop.

  3. Jeff and I once spent the night in a yurt alongside a cross-country ski trail in Maine. In February. COLD.

  4. At a night market in Taiwan, I tried taro-root ice cream. Not bad, actually. We also bought the most awesome little car air freshener. It was shaped like a plump little airplane, with a propeller that actually spun to act as a fan, and had a clip so it could be attached to your car's air vent. In the belly of the plane was some goo that carried the so-called "fresh scent." It smelled awful, so we took it out and just enjoyed the cute plane. We're still mad that we didn't buy a whole bunch of them.

  5. I have witnessed the Race of the Saints in Jessup, Pennsylvania, just steps from my mother-in-law's door. (Please, abandon the video after the first 30 seconds. It only goes way downhill from there.) As ridiculous as this event is, it does have a historical antecedent (see "La corsa dei ceri") both in Jessup and in Gubbio, Italy. Viva Sant'Ubaldo!
In lieu of tagging anyone for this meme, I'll open the floor for wacky travel tales, either here in the comments or on your own blogs. Bon voyage.


Lady M said...

In preparation for bargaining and shopping at a street market in Taiwan a bunch of years ago, my father had worn his simplest clothes and left his nice watch at home. He asked the vendor how much a toy cost and then blew it when he showed shock at how cheap it was! Couldn't even begin to bargain.

Nancy said...

Gee, you have some interesting stories. I don't think I could compare.

Wait, I stepped on some gum once in London... ;-)

binkytown said...

Mayberry Mom= International woman of mystery. Who knew? Glad you did this!

Kate said...

Wow it seems the mayberry gal has traveled. And ALOT!! You have so much more of an exciting life than me. I was too busy skinny dipping....

Thanks for playing!! This was fun :)

Mayberry said...

Don't be deceived, Kate -- all of these except #5 took place well before kids!

mothergoosemouse said...

I can vouch for the coolness of that airplane. I totally want one, but the trip to Taiwan will have to wait a while longer.

And I have NEVER hitchhiked. Gotten into cars with strange boys - yes. But actually thumbed a ride? No way.

movin'mom said...

You are so well traveled.

A bit envious over here...but how many can actually say they've traveled to Mayberry?

Tree said...

I enjoyed your stories immensely. Your aunt cracks me up.

Damselfly said...

Oh, I'm so jealous! I have severe wanderlust but am afraid to fly. How's that for warped?!

Karianna said...

Yup, have no stories to top those.

My best include:

1) A friend being mis-diagnosed by three different doctors in Argentina and Brazil before finally getting the proper diagnosis of "step throat" (It was obvious to the rest of us.)

2) Another friend being thrown from his horse inches from mine. He broke his collarbone. Given adventure #1 which had just occurred, we were scared of the whole hospital-situation. Thankfully, he healed fine.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Mayberry! Spill! Why did you travel so much and when and how -- ?

Btw I put a tiny travel story on my blog for you.

Deborah said...

Okay, here are some of my travel experiences:

1. I've hitchhiked more times than I care to remember, but this was in the late 60s and early 70s and I didn't necessarily have full control of my faculties. Let's put it this way, I'm glad to be alive.

2. My zoo story: Once at Busch Gardens in Florida with my uncle and then 9-year-old son, he (my son) insisted I go with him on the Death Wheel or whatever it's called. It's this catepillar-like ride that twists around really fast and you're upside down alot. I had to lay down for 30 minutes afterwards just to keep from puking.
Oh, here's another good zoo story. Outside of Austin there's this zoo for all these crippled/disabled/nobody wants 'em
animals, so you'll see like a giraffe walking with a giant crutch or something. It's a noble cause, but definitely an odd experience.

3. One time I was visiting Alberobello (in the south of Italy) which is known for its distinctive trulli houses. A little old lady was sitting outside of hers, and she invited us in to see it. It was like a mausoleum....small, quiet, as neat as a pin, with ancient family photos displayed all over. I felt sad for her...I knew she was lonely...but what could I do? We thanked her profusely and then moved on.

4. I've eaten alot of gelato in Italy, and also they make these little creme puffs, another one of my favorites. There's also this really delicious ice cream cake--I forget what it's called, but you can buy it at the local market. I used to take one to my husband's cousin's house in Spoleto when we went there for lunch or dinner. They would always protest, but everyone ate it, too!

5. I've witnessed the Running of the Brides at the Filene's in White Plains, New York. I went for a story I was working on. It's really a bizarre experience. There were all these women lined up from like 3 in the morning waiting for the doors to open. But once I saw how it worked, going to that much trouble to get at the front of the line didn't make much sense to me. Here's how it works: All the women with their friends/moms/other relatives go running inside and literally grab as many wedding gowns as they can off the racks(they're not really looking at styles or finding sizes). They then find a "spot" to retreat to and start trying on the gowns. Since this is all down out in the open, some of the women wore bikinis under their clothes, some wore work-out type clothes and and just went for it in their skivvies. But here's the thing: The women consider and discard the gowns quickly, so that 90% of them ARE BACK ON THE RACKS an hour later. So basically you could waltz in an hour after the store opens and pick through the stuff in a saner and more leisurely fashion. Still, while I can understand the appeal of a bargain, I had to wonder if I would really want to shop for my wedding gown that way...

That's all, folks! Who's next?

Her Bad Mother said...

What do orangutans eat for breakfast, exactly?

MotherPie said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes! A little jet-lagged here, having returned late last night to NYC.

I also studied in Grenoble and have great travel memories. I had no idea taro-root was indigenous elsewhere. It is the traditional staple food of the people on Kauaii (sp), one of the Hawaiian (sp again?) islands.

One travel memory from the Grenoble days... training up spontaneously to Chamonix one weekend and having no place to stay with all of the local hotels full and having to sleep in the spare tent (owners off climbing the glaciers/mountains) of some guys who were illegally camped.

Au Revoir. A bientot.

TB said...

I don't know if I can top the Race of the Saints, but when we were in Belize, we headed out to a Mayan ruin on the border of Guatmala. Because there had been some bandits in the area, we were escorted by three Belizian military guards. I rode in a mini-van with three 18-19 year old kids dressed in camo and armed with loaded M-16s.

Jenny said...

That photo looks like it could be pulled straight out of a Macy's catalog.

Except for the um...giant monkey behind you.

I'm not a traveler but I did once cave snorkel in the Yukatan.

It was freaking amazing.