Journalling Life Abroad
Is it true that travel vacations are kind of like dreams in the sense that we are never so interested in other people’s as we are in our own? Well I’ll try to make this interesting anyway. That photo up there was taken as we were flying over Kabul. As soon as I saw it on the flight monitor that we were flying over the capitol of Afghanistan, I whipped out my phone camera, because hey…we were over Afghanistan. How often does one get a chance to say they’re flying over a freakin’ war zone – and, you know, not be dodging bullets?
Most of the country looked like an endless sea of brown, but right there? It was gorgeous with the Hindu Kush mountain range (a subrange of the Himalayas) extending out into the horizon, dotted by white clouds.
Now, I say it’s the Hindu Kush mountain range as if I know what I’m talking about, but I totally had to wikipedia that. My knowledge of world geography is shameful and humiliating. There were two whole countries (Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) between Afghanistan and Russia that I could not recall the names of – other than to say they were a couple of “Stans.” And as we flew over Khazakstan, I thought it was Mongolia.
But, after a 10-hour flight, we landed in Moscow, which incidentally is remarkably swampy and flat (who knew?)…
…and, desperate for drinks, we grabbed some sodas and a beer at…TGI Friday’s.
The world is strange. But thankfully they took credit because we didn’t pack any rubles.
Anyway, after a 4-hour layover and another 2-hour jaunt, we made it to Berlin – another home away from home. Berlin is just so comfortably western and familiar to me that sometimes I totally forget I’m in a foreign country until I remember that I can’t speak the language and there’s that awkward moment where a salesclerk is looking at me expecting me to say something to them and I give them a feeble smile and they wonder who this dope is that’s just staring and smiling at them. Yeah, that happens often.
Lucky for me, Toby can do the talking.
So far, it’s been a busy vacation though, because every day we’ve gotten up, grabbed some coffee and croissants (with prosciutto and gruyere, or liverwurst, or fresh jam) and hit up at least two museums in one portion of the day, took a break for lunch (asparagus soup is my favorite), and then taken long walks around lakes, or in vast, cultivated castle gardens.
There was one day though, where Toby and his younger sister wanted to go to the computer game history museum. I took the opportunity to go shopping instead.
And oh, the fashion in Berlin is awesome. I could easily spend all my money there.
(I discovered a new photo filter, so please pardon my excitement as I overuse it.)
I’ve been very glad for the long walks, though, because it gives me a chance to work off the prosciutto and gruyere (and marzipan). And yesterday, we went to one castle garden modeled after English gardens, so I spend the afternoon pretending quite convincingly that I was in a Jane Austen novel.
But Toby can always be counted upon to bring things closer to home.
All right, I’m sure I’ve long abused my visit by now. Thanks for stopping by for coffee and a chat. There’s a cappuccino with my name on it. What are you drinking? Tell me what’s going on in your part of the world!
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