“And I’m comin’ home again
It’s been too long a time
Gettin’ back what’s mine
And I can’t remember why I went away” – Dusty Springfield
So, I am back on Sicilian soil again, and so happy about it, even though it has been raining like crazy off and on in Palermo this morning and the humidity is building. At noon, I am on the bus to Trapani and two weeks of Italian study. This summer I am here to research two of the books that I am currently writing – Mancia di Sanu, a travelogue / cookbook, and a novel that I was going to call The Bastard of Saint Genevra, however, my editor has nixed that title so I’m thinking perhaps The Mystic Cord or Genevra’s Tale. Let me know what you think in the comments.
It is wonderful to be back, but let me tell you, it was not easy getting here. The following is an email I sent to a group of my friends, most of whom are not on Facebook. This will tell you of my journey on Friday and Saturday.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
“It’s 6:45 am and I’ve just woken up from 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Jet lag beats out menopause, yay! The travel yesterday was long and mostly uneventful save for one adrenaline rushing event. Did I ever mention I hate Heathrow airport? Well, I do and yesterday did nothing to dispel that feeling. We landed at one of the largest airports in the world and yet we had to haul our exhausted selves down the stairs from this huge plane, squeeze onto an inadequately sized bus and drive 7 minutes across the tarmac with a driver who was having delusions of being Mario Andretti. Once inside the airport we were required to go through airport security even though we had never left the secure area. I had 40 minutes to get to my next flight. Until you go through airport security, they will not tell you from which gate your flight departs. I made my way through the doors into airport security and was faced with easily a thousand people all trying to get through airport security. This is not hyperbole – 3, possibly 4 planes equally large to my flight had all landed at the same time. As we inched forward I watched the clock tick down the time. My gate closed at 2:50. I got in the lineup at 2:10. 2:15…2:25…2:30… Finally at 2:36 I could put my bags in the large plastic trays and wait for them to be xrayed. 2:38 they go into the machine. 2:39 I walk through the scanner which I set off as I always do because of my titanium knees. 2:40 I am instructed to take off my sandals and enter the full body scanner. 2:41 – if I can get my bag and run I might just make my gate. If I miss my plane I’m really in trouble – British Airways only flies to Palermo twice a week. I discover my bags have been selected randomly for an extra security check. 2:42 I show my boarding pass to the security officer and politely ask him if he could please hurry. Yes, I really was polite – airport security is no place to lose it. He nods and promptly ignores me. There are 5 bags before mine. 2:43 he checks the other bags. 2:44 he examines a bag after mine. 2:45 he brings my bags over and opens my carry on. He pulls out my sealed baggy with my toothpaste, extra strength antiperspirant (thank god I’d used it!) and a tiny bottle of hair spray. 2:46 he puts the baggy in a scanner and watches it. 2:47 he brings it back and sorts through my bag looking for my iPad. 2:48 he says “alright.” I shovel my stuff back into my bag and run for the sign to check my gate. 2:49 I have to go to gate A1 – where is that? I run following the signs and dodging other travelers-thank god the gate is near. 2:50 I hear them announce last boarding call as I run up to the gate. 5 other people are running behind me. We are checked through by a bored-looking BA attendant and we stumble onto the plane. We are the last 6 to arrive. They close the door behind us and we all nod at each other – I can see we are all resisting the urge to high-five. I am so exhausted from the ordeal that I sleep the 4 hours to Palermo.
So I arrived. I woke up in time to watch our landing. The singular view of the mountain on one side and the azure sea on the other always makes me excited to be back. I feel like I’m coming home. It did feel strange though to not have Nick beside me. I shared a cab with 4 Italians here on holiday but I just let the conversation wash over me as I watched the familiar 37 kilometres to the city centre roll by.
But now I’m here and I can feel the heat starting so I’d better get up and start my day. Love to you all. D”