Germany 7 Comments »

The autobahn is getting tedious. The glowing yellow wheat fields that stretch far on both sides are losing their luster. Exit signs and overpasses make a monotonous rhythm. My VW bus labors along in the right lane at a moderate 100 kilometers per hour. With a thundering whoosh that rocks the van, Audi’s and BMW’s pass me on the left as if I am parked. When I don’t see them coming it makes me jump, so I keep an eye on the mirrors. My arm hangs comfortably out the window and I let my hand dance playfully in the wind. I tilt my chin up to check my expression in the mirror. It’s weary. This is lonely drive.

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Close Calls: Part 3 of 3

Netherlands 3 Comments »

Feeling a tad handy after skimming the repair manual that day, I dipped down to take a look at the underside for signs of leakage. My eyes widened when I saw a puddle about two feet wide and a steady drip coming from the undercarriage.

Hmm, that doesn’t seem right, I thought. I checked the other side and found another puddle, then sat in the van and thought for awhile.

I left the van at the pump and walked to the side of the gas station where I relieved myself into the brickwall and darkness. I tried to imagine how much gas might make up those puddles by watching how much of a puddle I was making.

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Close Calls: Part 2 of 3

Netherlands 3 Comments »

When I woke the van was an oven. I was soaked in sweat. The pulled curtains kept some light out, but didn’t help to maintain a livable temperature, so I flung them open and laid back down to enjoy the rush of cool air.

While sorting through my luggage I sensed something and looked out through the side windows. Directly across the narrow sidewalk was a giant window giving a view straight into someone’s living room where there was a couch with a man sitting on it. He was staring straight at me. I looked back to my things. While moving a stack of books, I glanced over to find him still staring.

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Close Calls: Part 1 of 3

Netherlands 1 Comment »

Going home was just what I needed. After two weeks of visiting family and friends and hitting up all my favorite spots, I’m feeling totally recharged and ready for another half year of world wandering.

My last night out at home was spent in a time warp in Boston. I went with some friends to see an old band reunited and playing for a crowd full of late twenty-something’s hanging onto their youth. The interior of the rented out church was a humid hell of 130 degrees, but the sweat soaked sing-along’s made it a good time. At around 11pm, my best friend Eric and I headed back to Rhode Island.

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Honk Honk!

Thoughts & Reflections No Comments »

On the crowded walkway escalators in international airports, there are always some people who do not obey the rule “stand on the right, pass on the left”. I must say, it’s usually Americans. We’re the only ones who don’t commonly walk on escalators. Why would we walk when we can stand still?

Anyway, there are always pilots and crew in a rush for a flight who come careening onto the escalator muttering out the rules with attitude. Recently I was walking briskly behind a wad of about fifteen people, when we all came to a stumbling halt because two women were engrossed in conversation and oblivious to the rules and the crowd of people coming towards them.

Of course a pilot came up behind me. He tapped my shoulder and started talking some business to me as if I didn’t know the rules. Did he actually think me and the fifteen other people were just parked there enjoying the free indoor breeze?

He probably honks in traffic.

Bikes in Amsterdam

Netherlands 1 Comment »

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Someone Knew

Netherlands No Comments »

The slightly older, but strong and able looking man in front of me was struggling a bit to get his suitcase into the train car. He kept looking back at me as I followed him. It was not a can you help me sort of look, more of an are you really going this way too look. Maybe this was a first class car, I guessed. Maybe he was wondering why a scrub of a man was following him into first class. Curious with what his looks might turn into, I kept following him.

When we got into the cabin, it was obvious I’d guessed right. The place was completely empty except for him, his wife and me. I went to take a seat.

“Eerste klasse,” he said, inspecting me head to toe.

“Huh?” I replied helplessly.

“Eerste klasse,” he said again, now waving his finger as if he were stirring soup in the air.

“Oh, first class?” I said with a tone that spoke, ‘Silly me, I wouldn’t know first class if I tripped and landed in it!’

“Ja” he replied with a simple nod.

“Wow. Expensive huh?” I asked while rubbing my thumb against my index and middle finger and looking around in a faux awe of what royal train travel was like.

“So where do I go?” I go on innocently.

“Second class. That way,” he said pointing and comfortable.

Shuffling out the door with an intentional clumsiness and look of tire, I left the man and his wife to enjoy their status alone.

At least someone knew he was riding first class.

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