A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

It's getting close!

Seeing what fits in the suitcase -- or not.

First, I had to buy a suitcase. I had a 28" wheeled suitcase that I bought cheaply for my Cairo trip. I was fine, but heavy empty and, when loaded constantly tipped over. I am a ebags customer, so I checked out their offerings first. I wanted something light but sturdy and that would hold enough clothes for at least a week. I spent hours and hours looking at luggage at ebags and other venders and finally settled on the Mother Lode Jr 25 inch wheeled duffel Quick link.. The reviews were good and the price was reasonable.

The bag arrived this week. Just as described it is light and seems to be sturdy -- we'll see after the luggage handlers are through with it! All of the stuff I wanted to bring fit -- so I'm happy.

I found a good packing list for women traveling to Europe at Rick Steven's website. Quick Link I am sure he has one for men, too. I am not going to bring too many toiletries -- they sell shampoo, toothpaste and soap in Wales! Why drag it all the way from the US.

I am renting a car and am, to be honest, anxious about the first couple of hours behind the wheel -- look out all of you in Birmingham!. I did get a Garmin GPS that supposedly has UK maps. I need to figure out how to pre-program some places. So now I just have to sit back and wait.

So here is a poem by Allen Ginsburg about visiting Wales:

Wales Visitation
By Allen Ginsberg 1926–1997 Allen Ginsberg
White fog lifting & falling on mountain-brow
Trees moving in rivers of wind
The clouds arise
as on a wave, gigantic eddy lifting mist
above teeming ferns exquisitely swayed
along a green crag
glimpsed thru mullioned glass in valley raine—

Bardic, O Self, Visitacione, tell naught
but what seen by one man in a vale in Albion,
of the folk, whose physical sciences end in Ecology,
the wisdom of earthly relations,
of mouths & eyes interknit ten centuries visible
orchards of mind language manifest human,
of the satanic thistle that raises its horned symmetry
flowering above sister grass-daisies’ pink tiny
bloomlets angelic as lightbulbs—

Remember 160 miles from London’s symmetrical thorned tower
& network of TV pictures flashing bearded your Self
the lambs on the tree-nooked hillside this day bleating
heard in Blake’s old ear, & the silent thought of Wordsworth in eld Stillness
clouds passing through skeleton arches of Tintern Abbey—
Bard Nameless as the Vast, babble to Vastness!

All the Valley quivered, one extended motion, wind
undulating on mossy hills
a giant wash that sank white fog delicately down red runnels
on the mountainside
whose leaf-branch tendrils moved asway
in granitic undertow down—
and lifted the floating Nebulous upward, and lifted the arms of the trees
and lifted the grasses an instant in balance
and lifted the lambs to hold still
and lifted the green of the hill, in one solemn wave

A solid mass of Heaven, mist-infused, ebbs thru the vale,
a wavelet of Immensity, lapping gigantic through Llanthony Valley,
the length of all England, valley upon valley under Heaven’s ocean
tonned with cloud-hang,
—Heaven balanced on a grassblade.
Roar of the mountain wind slow, sigh of the body,
One Being on the mountainside stirring gently
Exquisite scales trembling everywhere in balance,
one motion thru the cloudy sky-floor shifting on the million feet of daisies,
one Majesty the motion that stirred wet grass quivering
to the farthest tendril of white fog poured down
through shivering flowers on the mountain’s head—

No imperfection in the budded mountain,
Valleys breathe, heaven and earth move together,
daisies push inches of yellow air, vegetables tremble,
grass shimmers green
sheep speckle the mountainside, revolving their jaws with empty eyes,
horses dance in the warm rain,
tree-lined canals network live farmland,
blueberries fringe stone walls on hawthorn’d hills,
pheasants croak on meadows haired with fern—

Out, out on the hillside, into the ocean sound, into delicate gusts of wet air,
Fall on the ground, O great Wetness, O Mother, No harm on your body!
Stare close, no imperfection in the grass,
each flower Buddha-eye, repeating the story,
myriad-formed—
Kneel before the foxglove raising green buds, mauve bells dropped
doubled down the stem trembling antennae,
& look in the eyes of the branded lambs that stare
breathing stockstill under dripping hawthorn—
I lay down mixing my beard with the wet hair of the mountainside,
smelling the brown vagina-moist ground, harmless,
tasting the violet thistle-hair, sweetness—
One being so balanced, so vast, that its softest breath
moves every floweret in the stillness on the valley floor,
trembles lamb-hair hung gossamer rain-beaded in the grass,
lifts trees on their roots, birds in the great draught
hiding their strength in the rain, bearing same weight,

Groan thru breast and neck, a great Oh! to earth heart
Calling our Presence together
The great secret is no secret
Senses fit the winds,
Visible is visible,
rain-mist curtains wave through the bearded vale,
gray atoms wet the wind’s kabbala
Crosslegged on a rock in dusk rain,
rubber booted in soft grass, mind moveless,
breath trembles in white daisies by the roadside,
Heaven breath and my own symmetric
Airs wavering thru antlered green fern
drawn in my navel, same breath as breathes thru Capel-Y-Ffn,
Sounds of Aleph and Aum
through forests of gristle,
my skull and Lord Hereford’s Knob equal,
All Albion one.

What did I notice? Particulars! The
vision of the great One is myriad—
smoke curls upward from ashtray,
house fire burned low,
The night, still wet & moody black heaven
starless
upward in motion with wet wind.

July 29, 1967 (LSD)—August 3, 1967 (London)

Allen Ginsberg, “Wales Visitation” from Collected Poems, 1947-1980. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Buy or borrow this book:
Source: Selected Poems 1947-1995 (2001) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179386

Posted by bczlapinski 16:42 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

Cairo, Egypt April 2009

Dazzled with Antiquities and Architecture

Last Spring (2009), I traveled to Cairo, Egypt with a group of teachers from New England on a trip organized by Paul Beran, the Director of Harvard;s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. We gathered several times in Boston to prepare for our trip, and just after the volcano in Iceland erupted standing thousands of travelers, Paul worked miracles and we were able to get a different flight avoiding the European hubs which were shut down. We spent a week in Cairo, a thriving, teeming city which several months later began the "Arab Spring." We visited the pyramids and, of course, the Egyptian Museum. Both places we breath-taking. The pyramids for the sheer immensity and power of the monuments, and the Egyptian Museum for the precious antiquities and the fabulously golden treasures of King Tut. We visited Coptic Cairo and enjoyed the new museum and the ancient churches/synagogues. No visit to Cairo is complete without a tour of Old Cairo with its beautiful mosques and myriad vendors. My eyes ached after this day of splendors.

Posted by bczlapinski 16:05 Archived in Egypt Tagged and cairo alexandria Comments (0)

Getting ready to Go!

To Snowdonia and Beyond!

I have long dreamed of traveling to Wales and seeing the magnificent castles, forests and mountains, but I procrastinated and postponed. This fall, a friend and colleague who recently retired was diagnosed with lymphoma. Feeling numbed by the perversity of the universe, I reflected on my life and the fleeting nature of the world. I decided to postpone no further. I began planning my dream trip to Wales and parts of England.

I have had fun looking up places to visit, planning an itinerary, and mapping out my trip -- quite the antithesis of lostness, I know. But I foresee some moments of lostness both physical and mental, and I look forward to them.

P.S. My friend is doing very well!

Posted by bczlapinski 12:47 Comments (0)

“Half the fun of the travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” –

Getting Started

===It seems that starting a blog resembles travel in that one needs a little planning, a willingness to embrace chaos, and an appreciation for the impishness quirks of moth machine and software. I liked the quotation by Ray Bradbury so much that I decided to use it for my blog title. What exactly are the aesthetics of lostness?

Posted by bczlapinski 10:40 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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