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Rand always tells me he envies my palate, which cracks me up because it’s such an unlikely compliment. But it comes up time and again, whenever I identify a spice in a dish that he’s unable to, or I catch a whiff of a bakery blocks before he does. Others who’ve noticed it have commented as well, and I usually smile and tap the side of my ever-so-prominent nose and say, “It’s not just for show.”
Goodness, it really isn’t. Sometimes it feels like a superpower. I am the amazing girl WHO CAN SMELL EVERYTHING (note: superpower has very limited application. The X-Men aren’t calling, unless they need help determining whether or not the milk has gone bad).
Note: I know the last few weeks haven’t been fun or light reading. Cambodian history isn’t fun or light. I appreciate you guys sticking with me while I’ve waded through it. This will be my last post focusing on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. There is more to the country than this dark chapter. I just wanted to make sure I treated the topic with the gravity and attention it deserved. Tomorrow, I swear, I will post something that will make you smile.
After we went to Choeung Ek, we headed back to town, straight to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. We paid $2 for admission, and another $6 for a guide. His name was Samnang, and he was my age – born in 1980, just after the Vietnamese Army arrived and liberated the country from the Khmer Rouge. His parents had survived the KR labor camps.
“I don’t know how,” he said.
When he was a child, he explained that Phnom Penh had been a ghost town. It was only in recent years that people had started returning to the city. The Khmer Rouge had emptied it out within a week of taking power.
Note: Today’s post goes into detail about the brutality of the Khmer Rouge, and specifically what happened at the Killing Fields. There are also images of human remains (mostly bones and skulls) towards the end. I just wanted to let you know beforehand. Also, I’ve listed this under tourist attractions, because I guess it is, but that just feels … wrong.
Ravello sits just behind Amalfi, further inland and up the mountainside. You can get there by walking, I suppose, if you don’t value time or your life all that much. The more practical options are to crowd into a bus with a bunch of local kids who don’t understand capacity limits, and tourists who don’t understand Italian (so that when you are screaming, “Per favore, fammi uscire!” they stare at you with blank looks until you yell, “I NEED TO GET OFF THE BUS.”); or you can get swindled by some cab driver.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Bavarian, and all Rand wanted to do was go to Garmisch. He wanted to sit in the sunshine in a picturesque Bavarian town and do nothing all morning, besides eating a pretzel or three.
“But we’ve been to Garmisch a dozen times,” I whined.
“That’s because Garmisch is amazing.”
And that’s fair: Garmisch is lovely. But I wanted to see what else this corner of Germany had to offer. So when my stepmother suggested we visit the AlpspiX – a viewing platform high up in the mountains, reachable only by cable car, I insisted we go there.
“For the blog,” I said. And poor Rand, he caved, even though all he really wanted to do was sit around. He is a good man.
A good, patient man who deserves lots of pretzels.
The drive from my father’s home to the Wetterstein Mountains, where the AlpspiX can be found, is as lovely as a postcard.
I had been to Neuschwanstein once before, in 2005. I went with my parents. Both of them.
I do not recommend going anywhere with my parents. I love them both – I really and truly do. Without them, I would not exist, and I am such a huge fan of existing.
But good heavens, there are the two most incompatible humans on the planet. I’m not surprised they got divorced. I’m shocked they were ever together.
If my recent posts seem anachronistic, there’s good reason: they are. Rand and I are on the road for a while, so I’ve been scouring my Flickr stream and the Drafts folder of my blog for old photos and stories I haven’t yet shared with you. This is a post I never got around to finishing from our Milwaukee trip in October, 2012.
I’m not a big drinker.
I’m sure some of you reading that are thinking, “Yeah, right.” But it’s true. The cursing and the brutal honesty and the divulging of way, waaay too much personal information to an audience of strangers? That’s me sober. (I once had a waitress cut me off. When I told her I was drinking water, she just stared at me blankly.)
That’s part of the reason why I don’t drink. I can’t imagine all the horrible things I would say if I had a bit of alcohol in my system. (more…)