The Scruffman in Europe

Old Jan 29th, 2010, 09:29 PM
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I have resent the photo with a different email.
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Old Jan 29th, 2010, 09:35 PM
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It just appeared. I'm trying to decide if that wink isn't maybe a little mischievous? I'm about to post it on my profile page, so you can all let me know what you think. (Those not in the know will now think I'm a young male hippie.)

But honestly, it's a great photo. That's my boy!

I can see that his fashion sense has evolved a bit - and I mean that seriously. It's one of the things about him that I find weird. He does have a certain style - I guess I see a bit of why you described him as "elegant." As mentioned before, he looks very, very much like his father, and his father was the world's biggest dork. Whatever a person would make of Greg, he's NOT a dork.

Other comments for the peanut gallery: He's also grown a more comprehensive beard, not just the goatee he left home with, and he looks to be in good flesh, so I know he has been getting enough to eat. When he was out of work for several months, he decided to economize by not eating and became a skeleton, and I know what that looks like on him!

(That episode came to an end when I took a look at him with his sunken cheeks and my hair stood on end. I went out and bought $200 worth of high-nutrient groceries and told him he had to eat, that otherwise he would be eating out of <i>my</i> pocket because I could not bear to see him looking like that. He discovered, once he began eating again, that his disposition improved remarkably - !!)

Thank you so much, kerouac, for passing this on.
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Old Jan 29th, 2010, 09:38 PM
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I'm not sure why, but the previous photo of Scruffman on a mountaintop is still showing. Perhaps there's a delay? Anyway, I hope it will show up soon in its proper place!
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Old Jan 29th, 2010, 10:03 PM
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Scruffman in Paris now on display!
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 03:37 AM
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He looks just as I imagined, artsnletters! What a great expression. His email and K's account of the Paris meeting really are treasures, very insightful & touching.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 05:53 AM
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What a great photo!
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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Thanks to both of you for the visual. He looks really happy!
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 08:43 AM
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Great photo! Now I can put an image to the way I imagine him. This will help me vicariously share his adventures as he continues his odyssey.

You are going to continue to give us updates, aren't you?

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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Yup, Italy update coming soon, and then we'll have to shift forums. As long as I'm hearing from you, I'm afraid you'll be hearing from me.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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I love this! Scruffman reminds me a lot of my son. In his beliefs (and appearance). Once I asked him why he was (is) this way and he looked surprised and said, "Because of you, of course!" Which took me aback I must say. I wish he could have had some of your son's adventures.

Looking forward to the next installment!
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Artsnletters: We will keep following SCRUFFMAN and you, so let us know if you change forums! Thanks for the photo, and waiting for more. this is a lovely story.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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If you change forum, could you please post the link to the new thread here for us? That would make finding it easier.

Yes, thanks for the photo. I had imagined him, well, scruffier... What a cute young man. An intelligent and sensitive face. Shame I am more than twice his age... (No worries, he'd find me totally boring even if I was 20, LOL.)
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:02 AM
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AnL:
I noticed your question on the India forum entitled "Flying Thru India without a visa?)
Is that for the Scruffman?
It's a pity if he's thinking about missing India (a far richer cultural experience than Nepal IMHO) (Although I'd personally prefer Nepal's mountains I've imagined him more into people's cultures-ways-of-being).
Is there not some way he could get a visa?
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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That is a great picture! And yes, artsnletters, please do give us a heads up if you switch forums. I'd hate to miss out on the rest of Greg's journey!
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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<b>The Scruffman has a vertical visit to Florence and finds serendipity in Milan</b>

The Scruffman took the overnight bus from Paris to Florence, leaving behind his new friend Kerouac and the joys of the City of Light. In Florence, he was finally reunited with his friend who is studying architecture in Florence this year. For some time he hadn’t been able to reach Russell, and it wasn’t clear if they were going to connect before he had to leave. This was troubling in part because I had mailed the infamous guitar to Russell at his school, lo those months ago.

Unfortunately, the guitar has not <i>yet</i> made it to Russell’s hands. Greg reported that it was hung up at customs and, try as they could, they could not shake it loose in time for him to carry it onward. While I’m sure Greg will miss his guitar, which he may be lucky to get back once he gets home, and his iPod, which was in the guitar case, my great sadness is that his camera cable was also in the bag, and despite my instructions to go buy a new one, I will bet dollars to doughnuts he didn’t. He had reported that his flash card was about full three or four weeks ago, so I’m afraid he isn’t going to come home with many photos of his many new friends.

His first day in Florence, they began by going to La Specola, the Museum of Zoology and Natural History . This involved many animals preserved with taxidermy, plus wax replicas of human corpses, all over 100 years old. Somehow this one never made it onto my list of must-sees in Florence! He reported he was getting ready to go the Uffizi. This is really not the sort of museum I can picture him enjoying. I wrote and asked him, how did he find all those scores of Madonnas-with-child? However, he almost never answers any questions I ask him until I ask them the fourth or fifth time, in bolded capital letters, and then it's usually just a few words. (On one occasion, I sent ORDERS to respond to four important questions, and got back an e-mail reading in its entirety: <i>"Okay, yes, yes, I dunno."</i So this will remain a mystery for many months more.

In general, the Scruffman’s experience of Florence was very, um, vertical.

He took in the evening view from Piazzale Michelangelo. At some point during his stay, he and Russell also hiked up to a massive and <i>”quite spectacular”</i> graveyard. On a day when the sun was out, he decided to take a hike around the hills of Florence and check out the Boboli Gardens. <i>"I really wasn’t expecting to be very impressed by manmade nature, but I must admit that I was quite moved. If you look at the gardens as a building as opposed to a garden it is really quite spectacular, not to mention the unbelievable views from the top. WOW!”</i>

Another day, he and Russell woke early and took the bus to Fiesole. I’ve heard lots about the Roman theater and so forth, but did Greg go to see these things? Nope. Because most of the stone to build Florence was quarried in Fiesole, there are many caves carved into the hillsides, and this is what they had come for. They paid particular attention to the ones taped off and labeled “do not enter,” as he reported that these were the areas of interest. Scofflaws!

Feeling stressed out about his lack of preparation for India, he spent one day walking all over Florence, mapless, getting as lost as possible. When he returned to Russell’s, he found a huge e-mail from his couchsurfing host from Oslo, one of the half-dozen people he has met in his wanderings whom he now considers a lifelong friend, giving him <i>”tons of useful tips for getting through the first few days. There was info on hostels, guesthouses, transportation, food, and overall the hustle (negotiating prices). I feel much better now.”</i>

All in all, he found Italy quite relaxing – until it was time to leave.

His departure day from Florence to Milan was the day when almost everything went horribly wrong, but then somehow didn’t. The bus he was to take left outside of Florence, and by the time he got to the bus stop, he was already five minutes late, and couldn’t <i>"for the life of me find the bus stop – it was on a huge four way highway intersection with a roundabout ... pure chaos!"</i> (Note: Mom had told him about three times that the bus stop was not in downtown Florence and to ask about this when he bought his ticket, but then … the Scruffman is not a practical or detail-oriented guy.) He finally found the stop, but ended up waiting alone for about 45 minutes before the bus finally came - <i>"good thing it was Italy (where nothing happens on time)."</i> By the time he got to Milan, it was 11:30 at night and snowing. Then, because the driver didn’t speak English, he couldn’t figure out where the bus was going to drop him, so he couldn’t plan a route to his host’s home. Fortunately, he was dropped off next to the Cadorna Metro (which I also told him, but why remember everything in that e-mail …), which was on the exact line he needed. Then, the buzzer was broken on the apartment building, but luckily a couple English-speaking people who lived there let him in and took him to his host’s apartment – but not before taking him to the apartment of someone else with the same name. (Boy, that must be confusing for the postman!) Finally, he was bedded down for the night.

Crazy, but wonderful, Italy.

As I write, the Scruffman is on an EgyptAir flight to Mumbai, via Cairo - $435 one-way. Boy, this would have been absolutely impossible to manage just a few years ago!

Total expenditures to date, about $2,500 since the end of September, including airfare.

Anyway, he will arrive tomorrow. So this story will take up in a new thread on the Asia forum, once I have news to report. I will post a link to the next thread as soon as I set it up.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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elbegewa, not to worry. He has a visa good until April 6, and yes he is hoping to see Nepal. I'm thinking ahead about how he will go (1) Kathmandu to Bangkok and (2) Bangkok to Istanbul, if that ends up being the route he chooses, and both of those routes appear to involve plane changes in India.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Just in case you want to fill in the details without waiting for months, I suspect the cemetery was the one behind San Miniato al Monte, quite near Piazzale Michelangelo. There's a photo at the following link (scroll down) that gives an idea.

http://www.sacred-destinations.com/i...niato-al-monte
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 12:13 PM
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About that full flash card - I used to have mine dumped to CD. Shouldn't be that expensive in India - any Internet cafe or photo store should be able to do it. (I had a second CD cut so I could keep one until the first one was reported to have arrived in the US, but know that won't fly!)
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Personally, I just make sure I have extra flash cards when I travel (they have become quite cheap) since they take up absolutely zero space and weigh nothing.
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Old Jan 30th, 2010, 03:53 PM
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<<I had imagined him, well, scruffier...>>

Well, he does have the world's ugliest dreads covered by a scarf (well, it's possible they look better now than they did four months ago). I'm surprised his beard is so neat - he has a beard trimmer at home, but it's electric so he didn't take it. I thought he might be working a big Santa-style beard.

And of course he may have tidied up for the big dinner so I didn't get a bad report about him.

The whole "scruffy" thing started because I thought he might give the impression of the sort of shiftless, social-support-draining ne'er-do-well the Brits don't want to let in, but really he is a charmer and didn't have a problem in the end.

<<What a cute young man.>>

Thanks for saying that - I think so too, but then I'm partial.
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