I mentioned in my last blog post that sometimes words escape my gob and I’m not entirely sure where they came from or how they *es-cah-payed* my mouth. Because they certainly weren’t intended!
This isn’t a new phenomenon for me. Unfortunately, I have a track record. There’s one embarrassing episode I recall quite clearly.
It was back in the day.
Back when I worked for Peter Piper Pizza in Prescott Valley, Arizona.
The Peter-Piper-Pizza Days!
Feel free to skip this embarrassing story to scroll straight to "Shit we say in the Travel Center" below!
I must have been 19 or 20 years old. I used to make pizzas for a living. I’d grab a previously prepared disc of dough, spread on the sauce, sprinkle it with cheese, and then add the toppings: mushrooms, beef, jalapeños — or whatever was indicated on the particular order.
Sometimes, shit comes out of my mouth, and I don’t know where it comes from. I’ll be thinking one thing, but something completely different will escape my gob. Usually it’s something embarrassing.
Does that ever happen to you?
A random Intro!
Maybe that’s why I like writing as a form of communication. It gives me time to think about and to craft exactly what I want to say. I’m not a fast enough thinker to be able to come off as elegantly in verbal communication!
Therefore, I really admire those who are gifted orators. For example: the genius that is Russell Brand. I appreciate his quick wit and the vast trove of vocabulary he has at the tips of his clever-little neurons.
See exhibit A: an interview improvisation where Brand brilliantly impersonates Willam Shakespeare. True genius. (He really starts to get warmed up a few minutes into it — worth watching the whole thing if you’re fascinated by verbal gymnastics and equally captivated by the bizarre.)
Perhaps I have a somewhat decent-sized vocabulary (nothing compared to Brand’s), but at times it takes me ten-plus minutes to think of the word I want to use! Which isn’t very conducive to verbal dexterity! The darn words often get stuck at the tip of my tongue, and — “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Recently I found myself back in Germany, only two-hundred kilometers northwest of my birthplace (Mainz) in the city of Düsseldorf, strolling along the Rhine River with my friend,Tracy. I’d first met Tracy at a German-language meet-up in Seattle over seven years ago, before she moved back East, to Boston.
These days Tracy’s been living abroad in Deutschland, working on her PhD, and exercising her general awesomeness in day-to-day life. So, I was super-excited to be able to catch up with her in Düsseldorf — a Germanic metropolis I hadn’t yet visited. Being able to explore a new town and meet up with an admired friend makes a great travel twofer in my book!
I arrived in Düsseldorf on November 20th, and my plan was to spend a little over a week in Germany, visiting family as well as some parts I hadn’t wandered through in over 18 years — back when I was learning German in Limburg an der Lahn and in Wiesbaden.
I recently returned from an eight-day solo trip to Morocco, or al-Maghrib as it’s called in Arabic, meaning the place-where-the-sun-sets. Morocco is a country I have wanted to visit for most of my life. Or since I was eight years old, to be precise.
There are many wonderful reasons a person would want to explore Morocco, such as to do any of the following:
Trek across Morocco’s diverse countryside, climb its craggy mountains, or meander through one of its sun-kissed beach towns
Join a camel caravan making its way through sandy Saharan dunes
Experience the famed imperial cities of Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes, or Rabat
Partake of delicious cuisine while sipping on Moroccan mint tea
Marvel at the existence oftree goatsand snap their pictures
Or, perhaps, simply to rock the Kasbah, rock the Kasbah
Another compelling reason for visiting would be to experience Morocco’s rich culture, which has been influenced by so many peoples: the Arabs, Sub-Saharans, Romans, Andalusians, and originally, the Amazighs (also known as Berbers), who are the indigenous people of North Africa.
These are all pretty dang good reasons to go.
And they all sound very appealing to me too, now that I’ve written them down! But they’re not why I went. They’re not why I’ve spent thirty-two years thinking about going to Morocco.
Before I talk about my recent experiences in Morocco, I figured I should first explain my reason for going. That’s what this blog post is about.
Although the review in my handyRick Steves’ England guidebookwasn’t exactly a glowing one, I decided to make the visit anyway. I had grown up on Jane Austen novels and their television and film adaptations. Besides that, I also thought the underappreciated 2013 comedic film,Austenland, was rather a hoot. So why not check out the Jane Austen Centre as well?
After all, it’s not everyday I get to visit the Georgian-Era spa town of Bath, which my guidebook tells me has more “‘government-listed’ or protected historic buildings per capita than any other town in England.”
In fact, I had only ever visited Bath once before, on my thirtieth birthday, to be precise. I had managed to escape from the seafaring toils of my then floating home and workplace, the RMS Queen Mary 2, by escorting a passenger tour from Southampton, where the cruise ship was docked for the day.
This May, almost exactly ten years later, I was looking forward to revisiting the lovely English city, including the Royal Crescent, which had left quite an impression on me the first time around.
The Royal Crescent is a Georgian-Era row of 30 terraced houses — the seven-year-long construction of which was completed just two years before the US gained its independence in 1776. (Back when it was still just an unruly colony.)
From the expanse of manicured green lawn within the embrace of the crescent’s arc, one enjoys a fine example of the beautiful symmetry you’ll find all over Bath.
Georgian architecture, incidentally, gets its name from the time span of its reign, which coincided with that of four successive “George” monarchs: George I, George II, George III, and George IV, between 1714 and 1830.