• James Eric Fristad

Just One Thin Mint

Fighting the urge to dissolve into a cascade of giggles and helpless shouts of mirth.

Rember Mr Creosote on Monty Python? The immensely rude, fat guy at the restaurant who protested, "Not another bite, I'm stuffed!" and the solicitous waiter insisted, "Oh sir, just one thin mint?" To which "Oh very well, put it in my mouth." KA-BLOOIE! as Mr Creosote explodes. So why is that weird anecdote here?

Because some days ago I added another day to the beginning of this planned adventure -- one extra overnight in Miami so we could maybe visit the Everglades and have some extra hours to relax before we find ourselves checking every horizontal surface in our motel room for stuff we really would prefer to take with us rather than lose forever, to cram it all into those fairly-forgiving suitcases, then trundle out the spring-loaded door and into the courtesy van or taxi, whichever, for our ride to the cruise port. Just one extra day at the beginning, hmmm, yeah why not?

Need to reset the countdown thingie in the webpage footer to reflect the new departure-date.

"But wait, there's more!" pleads the Ginsu Knife salesman on the 1950s late-night TV infomercial. My guess is the colorful photo I've stuck into this little essay has made for mild curiosity. It is a screen capture of the tail-end (!) addition I made to the Adriatic page of the GoingAgain website. Well ....

That final week-long cruise, from Rome and around the boot of Italy and along the east coastline of the Adriatic to Venice, which is itself an addition to our four days doing semi-awesome stuff in the Eternal City ... it just kind of ends with Holland America's Westerdam tied up next to arguably one of the most romantic cities in the world. We'll trundle down the gangplank and bam! it's over. Missing the canals; the gondolas whose gondoliers, with their striped tee-shirts, really can be persuaded to sing, for a negotiated fee; missing the countless pigeons swarming on St Mark's square, and all those 14th century buildings slowly dissolving into the Adriatic's salt water. We won't realistically disembark the Holland America ship until 0900. Run to get a taxi to the VCE airport in time to catch Lufthansa whose latest outbound flight connecting to Chicago and points beyond (that's us) leaves just after 1100.

So, that was Venice, we think, watching it receding into the hazy distance as our Airbus 319 climbs into the clouds bound for Munich.

"Please, just one more thin mint?"

How much better to take just one extra day, you know, to walk those odd sidewalks beside liquid streets whose floating vehicles do everything that our more mundane cars and trucks do rolling on asphalt, except there they all kind of bob along?

So yes, we inserted another overnight there at the end, for breathing room. A pleasant stroll (remember Venice by definition has no hills, other than an arching footbridge here and there) to a B&B for the nonce. Stash the suitcases at the front desk then shoulder the camera-laden messenger bag for me, and cinch up the ever present Mary Poppins-valise Baggalini for Michele. And catch the next vaporetto for the little island of Murano. They do glass there, lots of glass artwork. Some is kitchy, but much of their output is truly beautiful, one-of-a-kind creations. Walkways and canals and buildings are similar to those in Venice, but we'll be amongst mere crowds of tourists, having mainly escaped from the hordes of cruise-people milling around back there in Venice. Hopefully when we return there that evening, much of that bunch will have retreated to their cruise ship cabins or on-board happy hours, or maybe have caught an outbound train to Milan or wherever, leaving us with some solitude. Next morning plenty of time to make our way to that Lufthansa plane on the tarmac, right across the lagoon from the City of the Doges.

No explosions yet in this virtual restaurant, but I'm developing an awareness of a certain pressure building somewhere.

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