Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Tales from the road.

In Adventure, Travel, Writing on May 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1958)

Perhaps the best vacation I’ve had was when I came down with Lyme disease. (Before continuing, I should mention that vacation, trip, adventure, and travel(s) are all a different genre in the art of temporarily moving from one place to the other–I leave you to think out the distinctions by which one crosses boundary with the other.) We were in southern Spain in a rented car and were coming out of the mountains. I got sick but continued to drive, not wanting to burden Carole with the mountain driving. When we got into Benalmedna I was getting a headache. By night fall I was suffering the only migraine of my life. Terrible thing, a migraine.

We ditched our itinerary and spent the next two weeks moving from beach cabana to pension room to cabana. It was the only way I could have possibly read the complete Leatherstocking tails of James Fennimore Cooper, Library of America edition.

Dozing on the beach, reading Cooper, dozing again. It made for a perfect vacation, but for the weakness in the legs and dizzy spells. I got through Cooper and by the time I got home I was a petrie dish of infection.


Once flying back from Chile, night flight, I sat next to a Chilean farmer. He had a nice smile, bad teeth, and expressive eyes. We exchanged pleasentries then he nodded off, with a little toot-fart. Eight hours later the farting had not stopped and I hadn’t the heart to wake the poor guy. He seemed tired and worthy of a good flight’s sleep. It didn’t matter, I don’t sleep on planes anyway.


My first trip abroad, Carole and I in our youth, arrived in Jerusalem as night fell. It was the first night of the High Holy Days and the streets where flooded with pilgrims en route to the Western Wall, the only remaining portion of David’s temple.

It was a transportive experience. By midnight the crowd in the Old City was dispersing and we, six hours in a new country, where thinking of bed. Only, in our excitement, we’d not taken notice of our lodging–except that David was in the name. (It was not the famous Kind David Hotel. We did not have the budget for that.) David is to Israel as Smith is to the states. The hotels sporting the name are as infinite as loaves and fishes.

We found, finally, an English speaking taxi driver who had the requisite compassion and good nature to take two kids from the US to every hotel in Jerusalem incorporating the name David. Thus was born the spirit of adventure, a thing most potently realized in the ignorance of youth.

Perhaps we got two or three hours sleep that night. I don’t remember. I do, however, remember waking up in a major foreign city for the first time in my life. It was then that the travel virus infected me. I’ve been hosting the bug since. Like malaria, it lies dormant, then suddenly springs on one, unawares.

So sorry if you’ve received this post twice. It was supposed to go up Monday morning, the 28th. I think I hit “publish” not “schedule” and perhaps sent it out into the world without proper introduction. Oh, the plaguing details of this mission I’m on…

I should blame jet lag, but it’s been a week since I returned and how long can I claim that excuse? It’s been 56 years of jet lag, if one were to calculate with honesty. But the details are plaguing–perhaps a plague is just what I need.