“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.”

It rained last night. I didn’t hear it, but I saw the street still wet along the edges when I went to get the papers. Back inside the house again, I opened the door for Gracie who dashed into the yard. I followed but only stood on the deck for a while to gauge the day. Nothing is moving and the sky is cloudy, but the sun seems not so far away.

I have a doctor’s appointment in Hyannis today. I dread the ride. On cloudy days the roads are jammed with cars filled with tourists looking for something to do. Hyannis is a prime destination with its Main Street filled with stores, candy and ice cream shops and t-shirt emporiums. You can even play miniature golf.  Some of the restaurants have outside tables where tourists can sit and eat their hamburgers and watch the crowds pass by. All of those attractions beckon tourists, but they make Hyannis the last place to be on a day like today.

I’ve become insular. I used to go to Boston all the time to see plays or to have dinner, but now I seldom go. I am content to sit on the deck with friends, play a few games and enjoy a barbecue or even just some appetizers. Most nights I watch baseball though that has become painful this summer. When the Sox are down by 5 or more, I have no guilt about changing the station. HGTV and the Food Channel are my escapes from endless reruns and a disappointing season. I even find myself talking HG. My master has no en suite!

I am traveling, and that will give the summer a bit more dimension. When I was teacher, I used to travel every summer usually for at least five weeks. When I become an administrator, I had to work summers so my travel was limited to a week or two at most and usually to only one country. Now I have all the time in the world to see the world. I just need to win the lottery!

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10 Comments on ““The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Foggy start here today but as soon as the sun broke through it became warm and nice. I like the fog but it is unusual to have it in July.

    I rarely go anywhere now days, the occasional trip to Gothenburg but that’s it. I forgot that once every second year I go north to friends for a couple of days 🙂

    But if I won all those millions I once dreamed I would I would start to travel. My first choice would be Brazil and the rain forest, it would be fun to see it before its all gone 🙂 After that I’ll go by steamboat up Mississippi, I’ve wanted that since I was a child 🙂 After I had done those trips anywhere would be fine for me 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      I love your fog pictures. Those are some of my favorite mornings-the ground covered with fog which lifts with the sun emerging.

      If I didn’t go to Africa last year and now in August, I’d have gone only to Colorado to visit my sister.

      I’m with you in wanting to go on the Mississippi on a steam boat. It has long been a dream of mine. I keep looking at the price hoping it might go down. I have been to Brazil but not the rain forest. if I had money, I’d travel to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

      Hope you Saturday morning is a great one!!

      • peterrocker Says:

        Vietnam Kat??
        Been there & I ain’t going back. (lol)
        Seriously tho, so many people from here go there these days & just love it.
        But, I feel Africa is so deeply embedded in your soul, that’s where you’ll always go.

  2. im6 Says:

    Apparently it’s just too hot and muggy for Coffee readers to post today! Just checking in to bitch about MDH flaunting it. Tacky! Scores 1, 2, 1.5. 1, 2, 1.5, 1. No medal for Hedley.

    • Kat Says:

      im6,
      Hedley did at least send pictures so he is thinking about us when he is not distracted by the spectacle he is lucky enough to witness while we stay home!!

  3. Zoey & Me Says:

    We all need to hit at least one Lottery for bliss in retirement. I would retire tomorrow if my numbers came in. I had no idea you did so much traveling in your off summers. That’s a dream come true. I would love to be in London this week and next. I still think our first trip in retirement will be to cover the big cities and some small ones in Canada ending at the Alaskan border. Then hit all the cities we haven’t been to visit on the way home here in the U.S. although I think we can pass on Arizona. Good post Kat.

    • Kat Says:

      Thanks, Z&Me,
      Yup, I saved my money all year so I could travel summers. There was a gap for three summers just after I bought my house, and I felt totally deprived and couldn’t wait until I hit the road again.

      I backpacked and stayed in hostels and traveled on night trains and busses to save money. One summer was South America for 8 weeks but mostly it was Europe for 5 or so weeks.

      When I got to be an administrator, I traveled on some school vacations or in late June. Now I can go whenever!

  4. Birgit Says:

    I’d love to hear from South America sometime
    as well as I’m excited to hear from your upcoming Ghana trip.
    As the lottery isn’t dependable, I’ll probably never visit these countries and other places are higher ranked on my dream list: Iceland, the Azores, Grand Canyon, … and -never come true- a spaceflight 🙂

    The olympic opening ceremony on TV was very impressive. Must have been a great experience to attend it.
    Incidentally found an old song for british Olympia enthusiasts 😉
    Great Britain’s Olympic Team With Pangbourne Digital Silver Band
    – Go For Gold (1984)
    http://lordofthebootsale.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/great-britains-olympic-team-with.html

    • Kat Says:

      Birgit,
      I’ll do a South American recap in a later post. It was an amazing trip. We land in Caracas and 8 weeks later took off from Rio. I’ve verb to Iceland, and I loved the country. I’m with you in wanting a trip into space.

      I love the song-great find!! Thanks!!!

      I was out last night, but I DVR’d the opening and watched until 2 in the morning. I too thought it was impressive.

  5. Kat Says:

    Pete,
    You said it best about Africa being imbedded in my soul. Last summer it all felt so familiar as if I’d just been there instead of forty years earlier. My friend, with whom I served in Ghana, said not a day goes by without him thinking of Ghana. He and his wife, with whom I also served, are hoping to go back in the fall.

    I have never been to Asia which is why I’m hoping to go at least once.


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