Tag archives for: travel

Fedoras and Infinite Streets

As you walk down a typical street in Manhattan the first thing you notice is just how straight it is. Roads in Manhattan have actual vanishing points, like railroad tracks. You walk slowly towards this point that you will never reach, and the cross streets come up one at a time, at perfectly spaced intervals and at perfectly right angles. First you look left, and then you look right, and you're taken aback at how perfectly straight those roads are as well, and how they also seem to go on forever in the distance.

It feels like Manhattan is made up entirely of infinite streets. It's so big that you feel like you're missing out on most of it, like each road you pass on your way to your destination is a lost opportunity, a story you'll never get to hear. You feel like there are countless Woody Allen movies and Seinfeld episodes going on at the same time but you'll never know anything about them because you didn't choose to walk down those roads. The sense of loss can be very powerful.

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Evelyn and I went to Poland this past May, with her dad, uncle and cousins. Her second cousin was getting married and we were invited to the wedding.

I have to admit, I didn't know what I was going to get out of this trip. Poland was never really on my list of places to visit. The Lonely Planet guide, a book whose job is to make you excited about the place you're visiting, said that Poland "wore its charms lightly". What was that supposed to mean?

I mean...one of the main draws of Kraków is...a decommissioned salt mine? A salt mine?

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Don't Make the Joke

Visiting Greece presented some interesting linguistic challenges.

I live in Montreal, which means I have at least some knowledge of the French language. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, fluent in said language. Frankly, I'm not even very good. My French, basically, is terrible.

But while my French may be terrible, it is at least there. I'm generally able to ask for directions, order a meal from a menu, read the road signs, and even to some extent carry on a conversation, if I keep my words short and avoid slang. When someone says a word in French, I'll stand a chance of being able to match it up with a series of letters on paper, even if the word is unfamiliar.

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Nobody Drinks Metaxa

Evelyn and I decided, more or less on a whim, to travel to Greece this year. We went for ten days.

This was the first time we'd ever been overseas without knowing anyone at the other end. The one time we were in Europe together, in Lyon, we stayed at a friend's apartment.

Our itinerary consisted of Athens, followed by Santorini, Rhodes, Delphi and then Athens again. This is quite a bit of moving about and I feel like we saw a lot while simultaneously seeing very little. Greece is the kind of place where you can spit in a random direction and hit an ancient ruin. This is only a slight exaggeration. We are, after all, talking about the cradle of Western civilization. You can't hope to see more than a tiny fraction of all there is to see in only 10 days.

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