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View from a tuk-tuk, Phnom Penh.

 

We arrived late on a Saturday night, by way of Seoul, a 12-hour flight followed by a 5-hour one. We’d elected to have a car pick us up from the airport, and pressed our faces against the backseat windows as we drove to our hotel, watching the landscape.

What was most surprising was that it didn’t look all that different, or that foreign. It reminded me a little bit of South Africa, and both of us of Peru, only it was … well, Asian. It was sweltering hot and humid, something that I’d anticipated but still wasn’t quite ready for; when we’d left Seattle, seeming ages before, summer had not yet hit, and it was chilly and rainy.

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Inside the Schrannenhalle Marketplace in Munich’s Old Town.

 

As an American, it’s often weird going to Europe, because their consumer culture isn’t anywhere near what we have at home. There are shops, sure, but there isn’t the same onslaught of … stuff.

In the U.S., we understand that you haven’t really had a proper vacation until you’ve purchased at least three shot glasses, four shirts, one bottle opener, and a teddy bear all emblazoned with the name of the place you visited. If you don’t have those things, how will anyone know you went there three summers ago?

They won’t. And that’s just tragic.

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Note: I realize that the title of this entry is grammatically … problematic. But I’m crazy tired and really, really jet-lagged. 

Last week, when working on this post, I wasn’t all that surprised to find that most eponymous airports are named after aviation pioneers and politicians (the vast majority of whom were men). But I soon discovered a handful of airports that were named for a rather unexpected bunch. Celebrities, musicians, and the occasional hero of Sherwood Forest. And they were all just too great to keep to myself.

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The motivation for this post begins nearly a decade ago, which is kind of amazing, if you think about it, because Rand and I were very much a couple, even then.

Back when we were these people.

 

Can you imagine being with someone for more than a whole decade? It’s pure madness, and not at all the point of this post.

Anywho, it was ten years ago or so, and Rand and I were in a teeny tiny one-bedroom in North Seattle trying this newfangled service called Netflix. I was going through a phase where, for reasons that still sort of make sense to me now, I refused to watch any movie that didn’t star Cary Grant.

I’m sure you’ll agree: that was a reasonable and somewhat noble demand on my part.

So Rand went through Netflix’s entire library and queued up practically all of Cary Grant’s canon. It was wonderful, particularly when the 20-something iteration of the man I later married would drop a quote into casual conversation.

“Hasn’t it occurred to you that I’m having a tough time keeping my hands off you?”

Cue lots and lots of swooning. (more…)

This is my thousandth post.

My thousandth.

I can’t really get my head around that number. There are few things, short of bodily functions and actions taken to sustain my existence, that I have done a thousand times.

Oh, and I’ve apparently taken 34,000 photos, too.

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I mean, doing a thousand of anything is a lot. I’ve struggled over writing a thousand words, before. Ask me to do a thousand sit-ups and will laugh, heartily, for so long that it will grow really, really awkward. So you can imagine that a thousand posts (from someone who can’t spend five minutes on the internet without wandering off to Zappos to look at shoes, or checking Facebook to see which of my friends have dressed up their pets in hats) is kind of a miracle.

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Paris, like most European cities, is a barren wasteland on a Sunday. The shops are all closed, the pastisseries boarded up, the streets empty. You can walk for hours and not find anything open – not even a grocery store at which you could possibly buy a roll of crackers to soothe your growling stomach.

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Tip: #56: If you can’t find a chair, improvise.

I really wish someone would have joined me.

(In case you want to see travel tips 1-55).

I know I owe you a few stories out of Sydney, but I absolutely have to tell you about something that happened to me – TWICE – in Paris. We’ll get back to Sydney later this week. I promise.

The first time this scam was attempted, I wasn’t far from here.

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Remember the movie The Matrix?

Please, please say that you do, and that you weren’t, like, in the womb when the movie premiered, okay? Because I recently had an exchange with the lovely girlfriend of a friend (both of whom are slightly younger than us) and even though I consider us contemporaries, I realized that I saw Jurassic Park in the movie theater as a teenager when she was 2 years old.

I dealt with this revelation in the mature manner, adding a couple of tablespoons of metamucil to my vodka soda and whispering something about how the music was too loud.

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