Thursday, December 4, 2008

Travel reflections

Things I learned on vacation:

1) Never drink the water. I spent an unneccesary amount of time in the bathroom because of the local water until we broke down and bought a case of bottled water. This only works well if you use the bottled water for everything... coffee, tea, cooking. However, I'm a quick learner. And once I caught on, I was meticulous about my water usage--with excellent results!

2) When barreling down the road at 70 miles per hour in a rain storm, turning the windshield wipers on high doesn't make any difference. Neither does slowing down, driving behind a truck, or moving into the other lane. Nothing improves visibility except a cessation in the rain. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a three day rainstorm so I had a lonnng wait.

3) Free continental breakfast is a phrase that covers a multitude of sins. We had everything from omelets and waffles at one hotel to cold cereal and day-old sweet rolls at another. As far as I can tell, the quality of the breakfast is directly related to the available competition. We learned to check out how many breakfast restaurants were available in the area. The lower the number, the worse the hotel breakfast.

4) Speed limit signs on the Interstates have no meaning. The third time a cop car cruised by us in the stream of cars that were definitely well over the speed limit, I came to the conclusion that we might as well have our own autobahn. For all of that, we only passed two minor crashes in our entire time on the road.

5) No matter how well I plan, I always return from a trip with twice as much stuff as I left with. Some of the more interesting things I brought home this time are: Very old New Testaments that belonged to my great-grandparents, four pieces of cedar log from a tree that my father cut down while we were there, a collection of rose rocks (state rock of Oklahoma) from Noble, Oklahoma, two "dirt" shirts (dyed with red Oklahoma mud)--one of them declares that I'm older than dirt, which was appropriate as I acquired it on my birthday, and three new wind chimes.

6) Warning people that my books have sex in them seems to make them more anxious to read them. People are intensely curious about what kind of sex I could possibly write--probably because I don't look like a woman who writes sexy romances.

7) Free high-speed internet is in the eye of the beholder. Free, it might be, but high-speed is another thing entirely. Also, most of the electric outlets are behind the bed headboard making things difficult at best. And most hotel desks are small. Writing on a tiny laptop on a tiny desk is not an ideal situation. I broke down and bought a folding table.

8) Wood stoves sound romantic. They are not. They're a lot of work and require someone to feed them on a regular basis. By the way, wood logs are heavy.

9) A series of strange beds is not conducive to sleeping well. I slept in eight different beds in seventeen days. They ranged from a double bed to a king. The house hunk uses a c-pap machine so he slept on what ever side of the bed had an electrical outlet. That seemed to change with every new bed.

10) I once read that the cleanest stall in public rest rooms was the one closest to the exit. I had ample time to observe the truth of this for myself. Most people automatically pass the first stalls and head for the last one. I wonder why that is?

I enjoyed the trip, but I'm glad to be home, even if most of our loot is still sitting on the living room floor. I've been unpacking something every day, but since the cat is a bit spastic from our absence and we will be gone over Christmas, it occurred to me that it might be best to just leave the bags out. That way she won't have time to get worried before we leave. Sneaky, huh?



  1. Well, does any of us look like we write sex I wonder?

  2. Hmm. I was actually wondering about that too!

    You had an interesting trip didn't you? Glad you're home.

  3. Here's another one: A clean hotel bed does not mean someone didn't pee in the sheets first and you're about to get a wet butt. That you won't find used tampons in the night table drawer while you're looking for a notepad. That the showers don't have an inch of black mold on the tub bottom with no where to step. That the carpet is clean and not sticky on the feet. That the air conditioning/heating unit actually works despite the promises of the front desk. OR that the front desk gives a damn about any of the above.

    Voice of experience here.

  4. Yup...leave the bags out. And as you wash, repack bags with half the clothing you think you'll need:)

  5. Sometimes the number of available outlets is nowhere near the amount needed.

  6. Oooohhh - rose rocks. I love those. They're so pretty.

    Glad you're home safe and sound!

  7. When I went to Haiti about 14 years ago, I even took my own bottled water because we were warned not to drink theirs...and I got very ill anyway. I think I still intook some water from when they washed the food and dishes.