It's gonna take a couple of days for my body clock to reset. I was up at 3 am, and only managed to catch another 45 minutes more of sleep - but it was good sleep, with a satisfying snippet of a dream. So I am not complaining. It's 6:30 am here (8:30 pm on Vashon), and we have to be ready to get on the road this morning at 8 am for a day of driving into the Transylvania Alps.
At the reception dinner last night it hit home that we are on a tour. Not that I was delusional before arriving here. I see it as an opportunity for sociological study (not of the countries we are visiting so much, except for the tourism industry, but rather of the tourists themselves - I being one of them - and I've been making lists of what draws people to tours and what the pitfalls might be. Both may be obvious to the readers of this blog but I will list them nevertheless. But before I do that I just want to share some other fragments of yesterday's blur.
Waiting for our flight for Bucharest in the Charles de Gaulle airport gave me such a kick. Each gate represented such adventure (yes, I am a romantic): Beirut, Riyahd, Lagos, Bogota, Tunis, Algiers - I looked over the faces of people sitting in each gate - mostly serious men - and wondered what pain or corruption they were returning to. Yes, I can be the queen of projection.
Last night at dinner, with all ten of us sitting in a circle, was quite something to see. My sister-in-law Pat noted the plethora of men. Only one female offspring in this Naidus clan (me) and sadly no nieces. But I was feeling quite happy to be with everyone, and I could see that my mom was as well. I sat next to the queen to soak in her beaming energy. Sam was eager to have a legal glass of wine, but after a short time at the table he realized he had no appetite and was ready to fall over from fatigue. My mom seemed distressed by his lack of appetite, but I was glad that he knew his limits and went upstairs. He is sharing a room with my mom, and not complaining too much yet. Everyone is glad of that.
The tour folks all made speeches and announced who had been on this companies tours multiple times. There are 99 of us on this trip. Many more than I had imagined. Mostly older folks. There are many 5 people in their teens or early twenties, traveling with their families. I will have more to say about them at some point.
Here's a photo of the star of this trip, our soon-to-be 90 year old mom and grandma, Rhoda Naidus.