-Subject: Latest from travelers....
# 2 sent Oct. 18, I think
Oct. 3, 1997 8 am Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (rec'd Thurs. Oct. 16)
Dear family and friends,
It's another beautiful day here on the road: sunny, warm, and dry at 1300 meters in W. Zimbabwe. We're well, having the time of our lives, and have seen and done almost all we expected. The trip so far is all we hoped it would be, and more.
Favorites So Far
Tomorrow marks the midpoint of our trip, so I'm catching up on my journal & taking stock. My favorite tourist sites were Newton & Darwin at Westminster Abbey, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, especially the Imperial coronation circle, and the first 24 hours in Kruger Nat'l Park, sitting amidst herds of giraffe, zebra, Cape Buffalo, and a troop of baboons. We've had such an intense travel schedule that we've needed vacations from it, sometimes a day, sometime three. Our favorite vacations were at Cirali, S. of Antalya, Tur. (four days on the Mediterranean) Candarli, Tur., (2 nights on the Aegean) and Kyle Recreation Park, Zimbabwe (a lakeside lodge in a game park almost to ourselves & quiet & beautiful)
Our quick stops in Britain and Greece could easily have been twice as long. Our stay in Turkey was long enough... it wore us out... but we would do it again in a heartbeat, tho, same way. Everything works, the people are wonderful, the country is beautiful, and the sights are myriad & fascinating.
Some other memorable moments: caught in a thunderstorm at the Acropolis; our first swim in the Mediterranean after a tough, hot drive from Konya; the Giza Pyramids at sunset; and sitting on horseback watching 5 rhinos from 100' away in Kyle Park, Zim.
We've lost only one day to ill health (Pharaoh's revenge in Cairo) and none to weather. We've lost several hours a few times trying to get $$$, buying plane tickets, or place phone calls. Our bank [BankBoston] has done several things to complicate our lives, and we made a couple of mistakes (mis-timed payments, got an ATM card eaten) but they haven't stopped us from anything beyond a trip to Luxor. Cairo was the worst so far, like New York City for someone unprepared. We "winged" London and Athens and were O.K. But we would plan more before returning to Cairo. The people were the least friendly we've met, and things worked there the worst.
The day that German tour bus was bombed in Cairo [Sept. 18], we were wandering around trying to get $$$ from an ATM. We spent 4 hours at it [going from bank to bank, trying to get money] and met a Canadian couple in the same spot. We heard from them that a tourist had been shot. Frazzled, we went to McDonald's (my 1st since Boston) and saw there on TV the picture of the bus. We'd been at the museum 5 days earlier, and were within a mile of it when the bomb went off, but were unaffected.
Our time in S. Africa was almost all in the Kruger Park. We felt euphoric to be there after Cairo... the food and language were familiar indeed. Seeing the animals was like living the video. We're looking forward to getting out further and smelling & hearing from beyond the car. We love Zimbabwe so far and would come here again w/o hesitation.
It feels fantastic to put images, scents, and sounds to the volumes of abstractions I've absorbed over the years on the history, geography, and food of all the places we've visited. Yet it feels harder everyday to get up and do it again to go further outside my private box. We started this trip in part because we felt stale and trapped in boxes of our own making, but they were comfortable boxes. Those are being worn away every day. But the box metaphor is limited. Sometimes the trip seems more like a winnowing or a sifting. It's still sinking in that all the worldly possessions we need can be carried all at once by just us. Our home is wherever the two of us are. Our personal 'bags of tricks' have been frequently exhausted, and we've had to learn new ones far more than we would in America. Our sense of who we are as Americans, as people, changes every time we meet someone new and different... every day.
We miss being able to see you & converse with you. We miss American music (tho hearing Percy Sledge at Heliopolis in Turkey was magical, and Elvis is everywhere singing 'Are you Lonesome Tonight' as we crossed into Zimbabwe over the radio. A clerk in a S. African store was named Elvis, too) We miss vehicle emission controls, working phones, and the variety of food at home: though pizza is everywhere... we had some last night... getting non-local food is hard. The choices we had in Somerville... Indian Chinese, Thai, Korean, Mexican, Portuguese, American Noveau, Italian... are nowhere to be found. Though we're happy to be abroad, we're appreciative that America is the flawed, complicated country we call home.
Love Tom and Carol
P.S. We'd love to hear from you. Please email Mom: SewNSusan (at) aol.com to either relay messages or give you an address to write.
(transcribed by Sue Lum)