Monday, March 29, 2010

Moscow subway bombing

This morning, two Chechen women detonated bombs in two suicide attacks that occurred in Metro stations in the touristic center of Moscow. Is this troubling to me? Yes. Will it stop me from traveling there? No. Here is my logic: if I'm going to meet an untimely end, I would rather it be on vacation when I'm guaranteed (most likely) to be happy and loving life. I would not want it to be in the cube-farm at work where, well let's be honest here: I wouldn't be so happy.

I've traveled other places that have an inherent sense of risk. Hell, I spent most of the 90s traveling to Ireland umpteen times and, in a few cases, running away from abandoned luggage that was suspected to be a bomb left in the streets of Dublin. I've been to Northern Ireland before "peace broke out" and lived to tell about it. I've flown abroad 25+ times and never batted an eye. Somehow, once I'm en route, it just doesn't phase me.

So as unsettling as this is today, staying home would only "let the terrorists win". I want to see Moscow, and see Moscow I will.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Putting Aside War and Peace

I suppose it was inevitable. I courageously made it through 219 pages of War and Peace. Book One was mostly "Peace" and I enjoyed it. Book Two took the Russians to war against Napoleon and the French and I just collapsed under the tedium. I mean, I was staring blankly out the window of the train one day, seeing landscape I didn't even know exists because ordinarily I am nose-deep in a book. Walking home, I realized I'd only read 6 pages that day, during which a courier made his way valiantly through enemy lines to deliver messages to a general. That was it. And when I say "that was it" I mean, that was all I read AND that was the end of War and Peace for me, for now anyway.

I mean, I could skip ahead to the "Peace" section again, and celebrate 1800s Russia with ladies who party hard and miss their men. That was fun reading, but those men they miss are the men at war and I feel like I wouldn't be doing it justice if I skipped over them and their stories.

So in honor of the US Congress approving the universal health care bill, I am back to reading Ted Kennedy's autobiography, and my train rides are back to their usual lightning-fast speed...I'm reading 20-30 pages a ride. All is right with the world again.

In other "getting ready for Russia" news, I am still working on the language lessons on the iPod, laughing at the impossibly consonant-heavy words that the instructor floats over while I stumble over them. I also bought a book on the end of the Romanovs, which should be a far cry easier to read than War and Peace. I hope.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Editing to add...

More additions to the bucket list. How could I have forgotten:

Provence, France
Isle of Skye, Scotland

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Travel Bucket List

A few of you have asked, so here it is...the bucket list.

1) Finland - the motherland!
2) Macchu Picchu, Peru
3) China (Xian Terra Cotta Warriors, Beijing, Great Wall, panda conservatory) - will probably be the next “milestone birthday” trip
4) Edinburgh, Scotland for the annual Military Tattoo
5) India (Taj Mahal)
6) Japan
7) Germany (Berlin, Munich)
8) Australia
9) African Safari
10) Croatia
11) Hungary
12) Greece
13) Turkey
14) Churchill, Canada (polar bear exhibition)
15) Stonehenge for the summer solstice
16) Hawaii
17) San Francisco

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things I like about the new place...

I'm taking a short break (ok, so what if a "short break" is three coffees, a Cadbury cream egg, an episode of 30 Rock, chasing the cat around the place and now a blog post...) from both planning for Russia and packing for the move to outline the things I like about my new place.

1) Location - 1/2 mile to Singing Beach, seriously? And I get a resident sticker for it this year? And around the corner from my bike shop (Scott, beware!)

2) Light - perhaps it's because where I live now is so damp and dark, but the amount of natural, bright sunlight in the new place is almost blinding. The boy (the furry, four footed one) is going to love this. There are big patches of sun all over the place most of the day.

3) Crosby's, the local supermarket - sure it's about the size of a convenience store, but it has Garden of Eatin's Guacamole chips and an impressive array of wine. Yee ha!

4) Small town - I'm noticing that there isn't the gridlock getting around that there is in Beverly. I've been more and more frustrated at getting around my hometown lately to the point where I just don't even try anymore. And drivers in Manchester are more friendly and courteous. Yee gads.

5) The building - I can't say it'll always be like this, but I've noticed crazy quietness, other than the little kids playing out front. Maybe it's because I'm up off the street and will be living on the second and third floors on top of that, but the street noise is much less.

6) The bike closet! I have two closets in the living room, and one extends all the way under the stairs. Looking at it, two words immediately come to mind: Bike Closet. Oh yeah, somewhere inside safe and sound but hidden that I can store the bike and all the bike stuff!

So while I'm giving up the shorter commute to work (Manchester adds 15 minutes each way) and the garbage disposal (I did nothing but drop spoons down it anyway) and my own laundry (which took 3 cycles to dry anyway), I think this will overall be a better move for me and the boy. It's just the packing and getting there that is getting to me.

Another coffee, a look at the Bicycling Buyer's Guide and then I swear I'll pack more...