Monday, May 02, 2011

smelling the past

Lt. Col "Bill" Kilgore may have loved "the smell of napalm in the morning."

My military tastes were more catholic.  At least, more aeronautical.

For me, it was the smell of JP4 in the evening.  A muggy Texas evening walking the flight line and listening to the engines run up.

That memory came tumbling back to me Sunday evening while I walked back to the motel from dinner.  The road borders on the end of the night's incoming flight path.  Watching the cyclops eye of the landing aircraft drug me back down the time tunnel.

In Laredo, I needed to watch my step for tortoises and rattlesnakes.  My only wildlife companion last night was a frightened swamp raccoon.  Not even mosquitoes.

Sunday was my first opportunity to meet a group of people I have come to know over the past year.  I have never met any of them in person.  They are members of a message board dedicated to the cruise that starts Monday afternoon.

We met at a traditional tourist haunt known for its crab choices.  I ended up walking down the airport road because the restaurant was less than two miles away -- and I could use the exercise. 

It even gave me an opportunity to use my GPS in walking mode.  The fact that the trip was almost a straight line is irrelevant.  I wanted to use my gadgety boy toy.

I am rather snooty when it comes to eating crabs.  Golden and blue soft shells may have their advocates, but I have never found anything tastier than a dungeness.  The restaurant kept me from choosing my favorite.  They were out of dungeness.  So, I tried a bucket of garlic blue crabs.

I should not have bothered.  The taste was fine.  But I had forgotten how much work it is to get at the small morsels of meat embedded in those shells.  I have eaten meatier insects.  (And that is what crabs always remind me of.)

Simple food is my favorite.  Deboned chicken being the very symbol of what simple food should be.

And I ended up wearing a good deal of the butter on my dockers.  But that is what the laundry is for on the ship.  I am certainly not going to worry about the possibility of wearing spotty pants.

But I did not really go to the restaurant to eat.  I went there to meet some of the people I will be spending the next 13 nights with.  So far, the group is as you would anticipate.  A mixed bag.  With lots of great potential dining and adventure partners.

Sunday was my last night on land.  Monday I will get on the ship around noon and be on my way to Italy by 4.

I look forward to talking with you again -- on the high seas.


NWexican said...

Ah, the awkward, "you don't look like you sound" (or in your case write) moment. I hope they were a pleasant group; any uh oh's? Tour groups can be interesting and sometimes just a bit confining. Bon voyage new friend.

Jackieinpdx said...

Those of us in or from the NW seem to be crab snobs. The worst crab I have eaten is Lump Crab. The taste was nothing like I expected after being spoiled with dungeness.

ANM said...

Italy. Let's see. Fascists? Communists? The Pope? Enjoy the art, but avert your eyes. And don't drink the water.


Tafreeburn said...

italy has great water! i lived there for 2 years and never had any problems, nor did i have problems when i went there on vacation. just wondering about your experience.

teresa in lake stevens

ANM said...

No bad experiences. I have the greatest respect for Galileo and his telescope. And, ala Monty Python, I am thankful to the Romans for education, government, roads, aquaducts, military strategy, and principles for imperial management. ANM

Islagringo said...

You're a brave man! You wouldn't catch me on a cruise...but then you know that. I do hope you have a very good time though and look forward to your reports. (and I would not have let that tongue comment go unsaid...but you know that too!)

Bruhof said...

 Someone broke the rule about petting the black kitty with the white stripe down its back... upwind of my open window.  Smells like Powers, Oregon.

Steve Cotton said...

Sir -- Powers never smelled liked skunks. Well, matybe, a little.

Steve Cotton said...

All went well with the cruise.  That is one good reason to drag good friends along. 

Steve Cotton said...

Spoiled we are.  But I like to try new crabs around the world.  So far, nothing beats ours. 

Steve Cotton said...

 I am still amazed that Italy continues to hold its own as a nation state.

Steve Cotton said...

Italy has always been a mixed bag for me.  I love its chaos.  But I would gladly trade a visit to Riome for one in Florence. 

Steve Cotton said...

I had plenty of opportunities on the cruise to hold my tongue.  I will fill tou in on the details when we next meet.