Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Progress on both fronts

I've always said that once you book a safari (or any package tour, I now know) there isn't much to do but wait.  I'm in that position again for both of my big trips.

On the Cuba front, I found my own airfare that would get me from Boston to Miami and back on American Airlines.  OAT offered to book it for me for $500.  But I found it for $250 and got to pick my own seats.  Why wouldn't I do that?  I also just made my last payment on the trip, so we're about 95 days out from departure now.  I have nothing left to do on that front but read.  I have some fiction and some highly recommended non-fiction to get me ready for this.

On the safari front, I found out that I do need a typhoid booster.  It really cracks me up that most people never need a typhoid vaccine, or if they do, they only need one.  And here I am getting a booster.  Ah well.  So I've scheduled the appointment for the travel clinic in August and will see if there's anything I need for Cuba at the same time.

I also picked up some hiking gear at an Eastern Mountain Sports summer sale.  This was fortuitous since finding summer gear around here in December or January would be near to impossible.  So I now have a rain jacket, hiking socks, gaiters and breathable, long-sleeved summer weight t-shirts.  I may still get a new pair of hiking boots, but that remains to be seen.  And I need a good pair of gloves, as I've been warned about stinging nettles.  Best of all, Mom footed the bill for all this at the register saying this is my birthday gift!  So score all the way around.

I paid all the deposits for safari 2017 and got the airfare from Rwanda to Kenya.  So now, in terms of that too, it's all over but the waiting and the final payments later this year.  I've been losing myself in trip reports from Rwanda, which always fascinate me with wonderful (and close!) photographs of the gorillas.  I just can't believe that will be me!

All considered, I realize how lucky I am to be taking these "bucket list" trips (for the lack of a better word).  There are still so many places I want to get to, but I've started taking them in order of "better do it while I'm young and spry".  I'll save the US and easier European trips for when I start to slow down.

But the mere mention of a bucket list today cannot pass without mentioning Turkey.  I've been so troubled lately by all of the violence: the bombings in the historic quarter, attacks on tourists and even a recent attack at a concert given there by a US band.  But the bombing at the airport really takes it to a whole different level.  We spent a day there in Istanbul on a layover last year and both of us vowed we'd go back.  It was a fascinating time spent with some wonderful food and friendly people.  Unfortunately the violence is keeping us away.  I'm at the point now where I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable enough to go there in the foreseeable future.  And that makes me sad.

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