On the Pretentiousness of Travelers #8

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Do you think he’ll notice if I snap this picture?  It’s an atmospheric shot of this cafe, you know.  It’s not that he is one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen.  Although, you know, he is.

If I had an Eat, Pray, Love life, he would smile and say hello.  He would ask how long I’ve been in Cuba.  He would laugh at my Spanish and say it endeared me to him.  He would brush the bangs away from my face and stare at me in that way, you know, that way. He would repeat my name when I introduced myself and it would sound beautiful on his lips.  He would smell like bourbon vanilla.

We would have too much to say to one another over just one espresso.  We would spend the whole week together and he’d show me the real Havana.  We would walk down the narrow streets and lean into one another.  He’d kiss me and I would finally understand what living in the present means.

And you know, then he’d ask me to move here and I’d write a book about our love and I would make a million dollars.  Elizabeth Gilbert would call to congratulate me and we’d be best friends.

Okay, I snapped the picture and I see that he’s glaring at me.  That’s not good.

I am going to back away now.  I am going to slowly back away before anyone yells like last time.  I am not going to trip and fall and rip my skirt.  Because then, you know,  I’d have to walk all the way to the hotel with my underwear showing.  What’s the chance of that happening twice?

Bookstore Therapy

A punch of depression.  That was what I felt last night in the twilight hours of the day.  I was early meeting a friend and so I wandered into a bookstore.  I touched books and connected with authors I had forgotten. (Amazon’s recommendations aren’t as tactile as a pile of books.)  I read a Nikki Giovanni poem and missed my mother.  I saw Cathleen Schine had a new book out and bought it. I have followed her writing career novel by novel. Awash in the smell of paper, I sat in an aisle and read two chapters of a fantasy book.  I let my fingers run over the impulse buys on the counter—all the knickknacks my mother would have bought to stuff my stocking.  I smiled.

Bookstore therapy. It works.

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On the Pretentiousness of Travelers #7

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Yesterday at the Louvre I saw twenty tourists taking pictures of a picture of the Mona Lisa.  It was so cute how they all obeyed the no photographing the Mona Lisa warning.  But why snap a photo of the tiny photo on the placard?  Why do people do that?  Silly tourists.  Go buy a postcard.

Today, I went into the cutest little market that sold fowl, just fowl!  Can you believe that?  Everything looked so fresh.  It almost made me want to cancel my Blue Apron subscription and cook for myself.  Why don’t we have fowl markets in the States?  I suppose we need the super-supermarkets so we can just work, work, work.  The French are just so much more civilized, yes?

Anyway, do those people who take the picture of the picture of the painting put it in a slide show?  Do they show their children?  Do they look back on the picture of the picture with nostalgia?

Well, I am sure everyone will love this picture of chicken.  It’s just so artistic, and I mean, it’s educating you, yes?

On the Pretentiousness of Travelers #6

Look at me! IMG_0909.jpg No makeup. No fishface kiss at the camera.  You won’t see this picture on instagram.

Do you see my pants?  I think they’re made of burlap!  If Mom saw me, she’d tell me I looked like Gravel Gertie.  Yeah, I don’t know who that is either.

I ripped my only pair of pants jumping off a milk truck.  A milk truck!  Actually, that’s a whole other story.  I bought these pants at a market—like a Target, but outside.  Pots and pans, and pants and shirts, and sandwiches—little buns with slices of pig’s head.  No, really, they were yummy.

My teeth have a cruddy film on them because I just can’t brush them well in the jungle. And do I care?  No.  I’m in the jungle!  I’m sleeping in a hut on stilts—with no electricity, no plumbing, and an outhouse.  I feel like Robinson Crusoe!

I do have four mosquito bites on my ass.  They itch so bad.  I need to remember to DEET my butt so when I pee in the outhouse at night, I don’t get malaria. Now that would suck.

You know what’s most amazing?  I haven’t looked in the mirror in days, days.  Days!  And it’s interesting, I haven’t, not once, compared myself to another person, noticed my short legs or my squinty eyes or my big calves or even felt fat.  Actually, to tell you the truth, I haven’t once felt bad about myself.  Actually, really, I haven’t thought much about myself at all.

Why do you think that is?

On the Pretentiousness of Travelers #5

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Hi hi.  You probably aren’t up yet, but I just saw a bear.

Did you drink a lot last night?

I saw a moose yesterday.  Did you get my snapchat?  I thought of you when I saw it.    Didn’t you like that cartoon moose when you were a kid? That’s why I added that animation.  I guess it was silly. Sorry.

I haven’t seen a soul on the road.  I stopped for lunch after 25 miles and that’s when I took the selfie.  I know you hate selfies.  Don’t be worried.  I really did plan this trip to be alone…aren’t you proud of me?

I saw you were out dancing last night.   Looks like you had fun.  Remember your friends instagram even if u don’t.

Well, I see another bear.  I’m gonna hop back on my bike.  Don’t worry about me.  #loveu4ever

Sorry, I know you hate hashtags too.  lol