Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig!

I got back from Buenos Aires last Sunday, after a 24 hour journey during which I catnapped for about half an hour or so, sustained during the rest of the time by Isabel Allende's new novel for the most part, and a couple of toothpicks for my eyelids. 

I tried not to think about how cramped I felt, that there were x number of hours to go over an empty ocean, and the passenger in the seat next to me was a strapping lad in his twenties with an outsize bladder and an astonishing capacity for deep slumber, with head draped over the back of the seat and mouth open like one of Stephen Hawking's black holes.  The only way he fitted into his seat was to spread his knees either side of the seat in front, so naturally I was lucky enough to play host to one of them.  The couple in front reclined their seats as far as they could, so I found myself playing relaxation games involving deep breathing so as not to give way to screaming at the three of them to run away and die.

However I'm grateful for the competence of my Spanish airline pilots (as I said to the handsome Qantas cockpit crew who were hovering on the fringes of the security queue at Ezeiza airport when they thanked me for letting them go before me and said how 'nice' of me it was, "I'd be even nicer if you were from Iberia, so I could ask you to get me home safely").

I had a wonderful three weeks, with hardly time to draw breath, much less to sleep in or have more than the odd hour alone, but I discovered a side to myself I never knew existed.  With the help of a prepared PowerPoint presentation, I did my best to sell the idea that the book about Patagonia which I've been translating into Spanish in my spare time over the past two years is worth publishing because it's part of local heritage and social history during World War I and the twenties. 

Of course I was not alone - it was a joint effort with Ramón Minieri, who would start the presentation by talking about the background to the British sheep farming industry in Patagonia of the time, about which he has written a book, and all wrapped up and introduced by Carlos Espinosa, journalist and writer, whose whole idea this was.  In the photograph below, taken by Carlos, is also another much respected writer I was lucky enough to meet, Don Elías Chucair, one of the kindest and gentlest hosts I've ever known.

Poet/author/historian Ramón Minieri, myself and
Don Elías Chucair, author/poet/raconteur,
 in his study at his house in Ingeniero Jacobacci,
Province of Río Negro, Argentina, November 2009

I'll carry on next time - there's lots to tell, and I took 800 photos - no don't worry, most of them are probably crap anyway. 

Weight wise it's not as bad as it might have been:  I had an unfill before leaving because I couldn't cope with restriction when I had so many challenges to face, but I realised there would be a price to pay.  I was tempted by the wonderful foods of my youth - barbeques, steak, beef schnitzel, deep fried spicy beef pasties, and the most stunning selections of freshly made icecreams you could hope to find - all available in every village and town.  The result was that I gained half a stone, or 7 lbs, or 3 kilos - not as much as expected.  Tomorrow I'm going to Taunton to be filled - not sure how much yet - because I'm happy to go back to the routine of losing weight and gaining hope once again.

Nighty night.



The Dash! said...

Hey, great to see you back, Caroline.
What a success your trip was and I totally get the airplane frustration: been there before.
I think once you settle back into your routine and maybe get re-filled, that 3 kilos will just blow off. Glad you had fun. :)

Zanna, travelling tart said...

Welcome back - I've missed you -great to hear you had such a good trip and looking forward to hearing more. Zxx

Simone said...


Lovely to see you again, I popped over a couple of times you see if you were in :)

I did laugh at your description of your flight, sounds like me, I would feel like that too, I am not the greatest flyer, especially when I am squashed in next to strangers.

I cannot WAIT to hear more about your trip....what an amazing thing to do, I am full of admiration for you.

Best wishes,
Simone :)

Tina said...

Finally your back :))))) I missed both your posts and comments! I am thrilled you had a good time though. You look great in that picture!!

Diz said...

Girlfriend, you certainly lead an exciting life! Looking forward to the pics. Sounds to me like you did a great job keeping in control for your trip. 7 lbs is nothing in 3 weeks. It won't take you long to take it off.

Roo said...

Caroline, so glad to see you back online...Can't wait to hear about your trip, it sounds so exciting! Don't worry about the small gain, you did very well with all the local foods to be enjoyed...won't take you long to get back on track....catch up soon. Roo

Lonicera said...

You are all far too nice to me! Thank you so much. I'm planning what I'm going to say, what photos to show, to be entertaining or informative but not boring... but had to call a halt for a few days because I caught flu or something very like it from someone on the plane sitting in the row ahead of me. He sneezed in fits all night - strange I thought. Four days later I knew how he felt, as for three days I've sneezed 'like I've never sneezed before' - anything from double ones to 7 or 8 at a time one after the other so fast that I couldn't prepare myself!! And I don't even suffer from allergies. I even scared the cats away.
I'm better now, and going back to work tomorrow, and have been downloading Google pictures to illustrate the Buenos Aires bit, when I was far too nervous to manage anything without camera shake.
Please bear with me for a bit while I get myself into gear - I'm looking forward to telling you all about it!

Tina said...

well there was your new post right at the bottom here :) I was beginning to worry! Glad you are better from the sneezy flu! Post something please inquiring minds want to know what you are up to.


Nola said...

I enjoyed your description of your fellow passengers!! I got quite a laugh out of your expense:) Sorry to hear you haven't been well. I hope you are feeling much better now.

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