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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

From Russia, with Radioactivity 

Thank you, Comrade Stalin! You are the gift to your people that keeps on giving. I’m leaving tonight for the Journey of the Czars, which I am secretly calling the Stalin Trail. Some of the incorrigible Lefties that frequent this branch got a little misty when they heard I was traveling to Mother Russia.

My grandmother is taking all of her grandchildren on this trip. She is 86 and intrepid and has taken her grandchildren all over the world. She’s like Auntie Mame but a lot more reliable and lot less dangerously madcap. Fifteen years ago she was scrambling up Mayan pyramids in the Yucatan with one grandchild, 10 years ago she was chewing Coca leaves in the Amazon with another (complaining to the guide that she wasn’t ‘feeling anything yet’) and a few years ago she was wheeled through the ruins of Pompeii by yet another grandchild. Pompeii is far from 'accessible;' in fact, it is one giant boulder field. She had poor circulation in a leg and it was bothering her so she insisted on wheelchair. The astounded Italian guides said, “But no! Thees has never been done before…” But my cousin Rae determinedly pushed her through in the chair on one of the chariot ruts and my grandmother didn’t miss a thing.

Au revoir! I don’t know if I’ll have access to the internet, or if I can even get off of the boat to find a cafe that won't have all cyrillic keyboards, but I’ll try to send travelogues. Then, if we aren't all detained by an international incident caused by one of my relative travel companions, we should return on the 24th.

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