8/29/Wednesday morning. On the road (sea actually) again. I set the alarm for 5am so I would have more than enough time to putter, shower, last bit of packing (hard work with all of those #$@%^&*#$ souvenirs to squash/push/crush down. I was tired…stayed up a little late watching “Retribution” on Netflix. Then some more chapters of the Dylan bio—with which I’m quite bored, almost two-thirds of the way through the book and we haven’t moved past 1965 yet…so I’ve downloaded a couple of Nordic police procedurals for the next few days. I’m hoping friend Bob will give me a crash course on the Dylan phenomena before the October concert.
That was the opening paragraph of my midway-through-a-trip post about being tired of traveling. And I was. From 5am until I checked in on board Hurtigruten’s MS Nordnorge at 8am, got some coffee, and claimed a comfortable seat overlooking the harbor while I waited for my room to be ready for the nap to which I intended to treat myself. The trip won’t hit the halfway mark until Sunday, September 2nd in Stavanger. Let’s see if my travel ennui extends beyond three hours at a time by then.
Damn, people settled in next chairs over are Americans. I hate being subjected to others’ conversations. When you don’t understand the language it’s all just pleasant white noise; this on the other hand is a husband and wife having one of those excruciatingly boring chats about some miniscule matter that no one else could possibly care about. “Did you remember to call the plumber before we left?” “No, I thought you did…” Darn it, Matt, you know you were supposed to…at the rate it’s dripping our water bill will be at least $3.50 more next month.” “Well that wouldn’t be such a big deal if you hadn’t bought that third toaster last week…” “Blah blah blah blah………….” Phew, they’re gone.
Hurtigruten, this coastal passenger ferry service was founded in 1893 as the best way to get up and down the length of Norway. It’s been in business ever since as a working cargo and passenger service, although since the advent of an airport in every town it caters more to tourists—still without the razzle dazzle of big gambling/entertainment cruises. I would never set foot on one of the giant cruises, and would prefer sailing around the world on the Linden with 15 or so people, but the Finnmarken with up to 1000 passengers and the Nordnorge capable of 700 feel somehow doable for me. I guess it’s the lack of noise and neon, making it feel human even to a serious introvert.
I saw on HuffPost that Sleazy T. is threatening Google. The thought of the-master-of-pout-and-whine trying to wrestle an Indian tech genius to the ground could be quite funny. Unfortunately there’s nothing to laugh about as long as Sleaze is in the White House…even at this distance it’s sad, scary, embarrassing.
I’m sure I could live on the water. There’s no better thinking, planning, dreaming, relaxing, sleeping platform than the soft roll, gentle wave, friendly swell of the sea. The big San Francisco earthquake’s first wave felt the same—innocuous, non-threatening, just a swell, but it wasn’t water, it was the floor of my office. Just another random travel thought.
It’s taking my cabin a long time to warm up so I tried napping. Didn’t sleep but it was a great relief to leave Bob Dylan for awhile and hit the Oslo streets with a Norwegian detective. I have been youtubing some of Dylan’s less familiar songs from those early years and I’m better understanding Dylan-as-poet…at the same time Dylan as human being is getting more difficult to comprehend. Saying he’s strange is understatement isn’t it? That’s what growing up in northern Minnesota can do to you…
My last night on water for this trip. I’ll go get some soup, bread and butter, maybe a beer soon, then hole up in my Deck Three cave.
Later: I’ve been up to the café for my meal of the day. Wholesome. Salmon, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, all bathed in a lovely pool of butter. A refreshing IPA to wash it down and now I’m fine until breakfast. I have a bit of instant coffee in a baggie and the tap water’s boiling hot. I might buy a Snickers bar later for dessert. It is just so glamorous on board a big ship. I saw the ghost of Ingrid all swathed in wooly blankets out on a deck chair in the chill northern air. Waiting for Humphrey who was, in spirit, up on Deck Seven at the fancy bar getting quite sloshed and babbling on about Marrakesh and stuff. Hey dude, it’s Bergen we’re headed for…Marrakesh was then, this is now.
So I’ll post this…obviously not for worldly words or fine photos. It’s travel babble, not an inconsequential part of every waking moment on the road. Cheers y’all.