…and sorry, the serious travel blogging won’t start until the next post. This one’s all about me and September’s bout of angst…travel angst in this case. I promise next post there will be photos of plov.
Tuesday morning. Practically packed. New city walking shoes (Tashkent), big warm sweatshirt coat-like thing (plane), books (everywhere). Flight to Istanbul leaves this evening from LAX, change planes with a few hours layover, then on to Tashkent. Love to write that…
So this is my big birthday trip, ‘celebrating’ the day last spring when I ‘got old.’ My bro, sons and a granddaughter purchased this ticket and now two of them will do the heavy lifting on this trip. No, I do not mean carrying my bags or helping me up the stairs…I mean finding the right cab and knowing when to turn left on the way to the museum. I am fine at dealing with big planning stuff and, thanks to my gym, okay with lifting bags into overhead and squatting to pee, it’s just those small but essential details like directions back to the hotel or which cafe OR… slightly bigger…the energy and will to (ad)venture forth every day …after all who would know if I just skipped ‘traveling’ this one time and stayed in bed with a good book! (which, Bad Marj, I’ve been known to do now and then).
This trip is also a keeping-in-travel-shape exercise so that muscle and brain don’t lose too much journey-strength before the giant 2020 African Thelma&Louise-ish odyssey with Celia and a varied cast of characters. It’s like going to the gym…if you skip your daily/weekly/yearly regimen your important parts will atrophy. With travel the most important ‘part’ is probably curiosity with will and energy running closely behind.
Scott and Lace are putting in last mornings at work, Scott at his lab and Lace at the dining room table. Me…well I’m putting in a last few hours making lists of stuff I must do upon my return. It’s what I do best…make lists. Later then…Now we’re off…where IS that wizard?
Thursday. 4pm in Albuquerque, 3pm Friday morning in Tashkent (I think). Hotel room, can’t sleep since already did that from 6pm to midnight. Catching up here in order to post first Tashkent musings before the adventures become too exciting/exhausting. So far this trip is proceeding according to plan. It was a 12-hour flight on Turkish Airlines, LAX to here. Excellent food (for the first time on an airline within living memory—well, I do remember a few great moments with chewy baguettes in Air France but they probably stopped doing that about 2009). But today, tender flaky white fish and butterly-rich mashed potatoes. Squash, fresh salad, moist carrot cake…only the dry roll disappointed. Breakfast of juicy scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes, nice cheese, fruit. Turkish would be my new favorite airline except for the cramped, oh-so-cramped, seating space. I know that’s the norm…but this seemed to go above and beyond…be even more-claustrophobic than the average. And…to continue this gripping travel doc…the plane was actually warm…almost too…and I was prepared for the worst with a backpack of fleece pants, that giant sweatshirt and brand-new REI wool socks. Hopefully it will snow at least once in the Tajik mountains so Scott and Lace will stop making fun of me.
I am so confused this damnably difficult birthday year. Travel for example. My love. Still my love…but now there’s an additional burden beyond time and money. There’s ‘can I do it?’ As in who am I? A traveler who can scale tall buildings…conquer snowy peaks…eat Mopani worms…? I have always been half intrepid, half bumbling; strong and brave enough to stumble through the awkward situations in which I put myself—sometimes just barely. On this trip, I should practice being the new me.
This is the new travel me. I accept help gracefully—from food advice to lifting heavy bags; no pretending I know all or can do it all myself. I’m a sweet thoughtful little old lady (in way above-average tennis shoes). On the other hand, like all those blue-jeaned hiking-booted elders wandering the mountains and trails of northern Europe, I’m tough enough to carry my own weight, fight my own battles, find my own new local delicacy (I found the rotted shark restaurant didn’t I?). Can you see why I’m having a hard time settling in on my new persona? How to be both is the question. But I’m sure I can do it with some smoothing of the edges, tweaking of the attitude, enough coffee and good drugs.
Hey, I’m in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with a couple of my favorite people in the world. I can relax and enjoy the view.
So complain about that you big dummy.