Thursday, April 1, 2010

!slooF lirpA

My Chinese lessons are going so well that I've decided to drop everything and take a slow boat to China. I admit, a boat seems an unlikely mode of transportation for me, given my sorry history of motion sickness. But wait! I've undertaken a regimen of inner ear balance exercises, extensive whole body acupuncture, and transcendental meditation. I'm convinced I've got the seasickness thing licked.

Just to make sure, I rented a sailboat from a local marina the other day and sailed due south for Cuba. I couldn't get E. to accompany me, so I had to go it alone. I only capsized once, after I stood up to do my balance exercises. When I arrived in Cuba, my Spanish came in handy and the locals were happy to accept my (waterlogged) dollars in return for arroz, frijoles negros, y platanos fritos. Thus fortified and newly confident of my ability to conquer seasickness, I returned to port in Miami and began to pack for my voyage to China.

I won't be traveling to China on a sailboat, though. I've booked passage on a Chinese freighter. The accommodations may be a bit rough, but I'm a hardy soul. The vessel will make a few stops along the way, so I don't expect to arrive in China for several months. Meanwhile, I intend to practice Chinese by conversing with the crew members. I'll disembark in Hong Kong, where the locals speak the Cantonese dialect I've been studying. There, I hope to enroll in a Chinese cooking class. As my friends know, cooking has not been a passion of mine. But it's never too late!

After my stay in Hong Kong, I'll embark on a journey up the Pearl River up to Guangzhou, where I may take a job in a factory. By then, I expect my Chinese to be fluent and I'd like to experience life as a factory girl, albeit a rather old "girl."

During all this time, I plan to keep in daily touch with E. and Cosmo through email, Twitter, and webcam. They'll watch my transformation from suburban matron to intrepid traveler. When I return, next April 1st, I anticipate a hero's welcome. At the very least, I hope they'll let me in the door.


  1. Good grief. I kept waiting for the catch. You are a very brave and determined soul Barbara, but what does !slooF lirpA mean? ~bonnie

  2. Okay, you got me!!!!! I'm a little slow this morning. For a moment there I was truly worried about you.

  3. Congratulations on your first attempt at fiction!

  4. A brilliant conceit!: On April 1, write a fantasy that is the exact opposite of your comfort zone -- an anti-interest cloud! Of course, the process is really about coming to understand the boundaries of your comfort zone, as seen through the looking glass lightly.

    John J