Sunday, August 12, 2007

Soft Closing

Ian and I are due back in Seattle on August 31, about 2 ½ weeks from now. Tonight, however, is our last night of independent adventures. Tomorrow we go to Sweden where we’ll meet up with my brother and sister-in-law. We’ll spend about 2 weeks with them, and also visit a dear friend from graduate school and his wife (who’s Swedish), who have just moved to Härnosänd. With Deane and Erika we’ll go to Finland for 5 days or something, then they head back to the US and we spend 3 more nights in London with our bed bug-free friends before we go home.

So how, you might ask, have we spent our last hours alone? I’d like to say we spent them romantically, and successfully achieving lots of sightseeing and exercise and tasty meals and exciting adventures, and actually, those things are all true. However, my body seems to have decided that it would be best for me to stop traveling for awhile, so nothing we did the last couple days was entirely the way we’d pictured it.

First of all, about the time we left London last time I developed a toothache. I seem to have an infected gum somewhere up around my molars on the left side. There’s always been a big gap between these two teeth, and I floss every day, but stuff gets stuck there. I don’t know if it was popcorn or something else, but evidently something got there and went a bit off (I know, disgusting, but you only have to read about it). Anyway, I’ve found that if I floss religiously after every meal instead of merely once a day, I can keep it pretty well under control. It’s pretty amazing, actually, how much goes in there—it’s like a black hole in my mouth (actually, maybe it is). I can run the floss through 7 or 8 times and still come out with stuff. I don’t know where it’s all coming from. I expect I should make a dentist appointment for soon after the 31st.

Second, it’s been that unmentionable time, which is always fun, particularly when traveling unknown numbers of hours on public transportation.

Third, two days ago in the evening of the day we arrived in Cesis, I realized I was coming down with some sort of cold. I had a sore throat, and it boded poorly for a good night’s sleep. I was right, I didn’t sleep well. And so yesterday morning, instead of being excited and gung-ho about touring “Latvia’s most Latvian town” and maybe taking an afternoon bike ride around the surrounding countryside, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed and into town to hobble around for 3 hours (including an hour sitting and eating lunch). One of the reasons I left the room was that my throat hurt too much to sleep, so I thought I might as well go do something.

When we got back to our room after lunch yesterday I decided I’d had enough, however, so I pulled out my handy pack of extra Tylenol with codeine from my surgery in January, took 1 ½ pills, and slept for several hours in the afternoon while Ian worked (Ian made up a story for me to distract me from my awful, awful throat while I was waiting for the drugs to kick in. That part was very romantic and sweet). After dinner last night we shuffled around our neighborhood (strange, strange Soviet ruins and crumbling “tractor parking” sheds and whatnot from the old communal agriculture practices), I took another 1 ½ pills, and slept well all night long. This morning my throat was fine.

But, fourth, I noticed my left hip bothering me a bit. It really wasn’t too bad until we’d arrived back in Riga after our one adventure. Being the practical people we are, we’d purchased train tickets for our return to Riga upon arriving at the station on Friday evening. The train had been FULL, and we didn’t want to miss our chance to get back to the big city. This morning we checked out of our hotel at 11:00 and the agent called a taxi for us; at 11:20 she called another taxi for us; at 11:35 it arrived and took us to the station. Only a few people were waiting on the platform and we had about 10 minutes until our noon train, so I went off to the WC, which was the most disgusting thing I’ve seen since being in Kenya 11 years ago. It was just holes, and they were “piled” with filth. Blech. Anyway, just before noon a train arrived with RIGA on the front and everyone got off. We got on, assuming it would reverse direction and go back to town. But then we saw two conductors through a window so Ian asked, and they motioned us frantically “get off the train!” They managed to explain that the next train to Riga was at 3:00; we showed them our tickets, and they said “Autobus!” and so we grabbed our bags willy-nilly (not in the balanced and practical way I carry them when I’m being photographed) and ran out to the parking lot. For some reason, the bus driver was still there 1 minute or so after noon (they are very punctual leavers), and waited for us to fling our back packs under the bus and pant on. The bus evidently got very full as well; I wouldn’t know, because I managed to sleep for 1 ½ hours of the 2 hour journey. When we got off the bus in Riga, my hip was suddenly killing me.

We caught a taxi to our hotel where the elevator was broken (in the newest place we’ve stayed, after all our worry about the spectacularly ugly place in Lithuania), so we hauled our bags up to the 5th floor (which, I remind you, really is the 5th floor in the Baltics), washed a bit more laundry, and collapsed on our beds in the humid heat and I slept another two hours.

And tonight, our last night on the road alone, of course I’m typing away on my computer and Ian’s across the room typing away on his.

Things are good.

1 comment:

KateMV said...

Well, it sounds like a good time for you to come home for a little while. :) We're excited to see you.