Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lost and Found

In two weeks, on April 14th, Sarah and I will have been back home for as long as we were away. Seven months. On one hand, it feels like a lifetime ago, while on the other it's felt like time has raced by since we returned. Cliched, no?

But, while our lives have definitely been more downtempo and domestic since our return to the States, its interesting how the trip keeps popping up in different ways. When we least expect it.

For one thing, its interesting who we've stayed in touch with from our travels. A few weeks ago, a fellow Northwesterner, Greg from Portland came into town (he's the one on the far right in this picture) and we got the chance to hang out with him. He was one of the people we went on our South African safari with, and it was fun bumming around the Ballard Locks, talking about our adventure together and what we'd been up to since then.

Also, we've been in sporatic contact with Silke and Richardo who we met in Leh, and still hope to meet up with when their own round the world tour takes them through Seattle. And, hopefully, they will be only the first of several otehr round the world travellers we met and will later get to show around our hometown.

In addition, it's nice that we've been a positive inspiration for some of our other friends, two of which are now planning their own trip together. We look forward to reading their blog!

We've also had some pleasant surprises recently in terms of finding or recieving things we thought were long gone. For one, we rescued four photos from a damaged memory card that we thought were lost forever. We'd taken some photos of Carnivale in Puno, Peru. But, the next time we'd tried to use the memory card, it came up as unreadable. But, recently, I bought a new tower for my computer -what-do-ya-know- the darned thing was able to read the memory card and retrieve the photos.

Ain't technology grand?! Let's take a look at them!

The streets of Puno, during Carnivale. In the chaos of this photo, you can see one of many roving bands accompanied by traditional dancers. What you can't see is...

...the people spraying foam everywhere. People had spray cans which shot out streams of foam, and were running around shouting and spraying everything that moved. A couple of white tourists, obviously make good targets.

Me on the streets. After dinner, I just had to participate, so I bought a can of foam and joined the melee. Poor Sarah just served as a human shield for me.

Our can of foam. The stuff is probably highly toxic. But, it was also fun. I can't imagine people running around spraying each other with foam in Seattle. So sad.

But, those weren't the only things that showed up that I was convinced were gone for good. We also got out Kashmiri carpets!

As some of you might remember, while we were in Srinagar, Sarah and I decided to buy some carpets. Two large carpets. And, while I woke up the next morning already suffering from buyers remorse, we also had signed an agreement that allowed us to put off paying until we got home. So, we sort of just put the whole episode out of our minds.

But, after returning home and getting resettled, we began recieving emails from the carpet shop and so we began making our payments. And, while I was secretly convinced that we were just giving our money away with each check we mailed to India; we quickly and dutifully paid for our carpets. Then, once we were done paying, the next step was to sit back and wait for them to arrive. And, while we waited, I still thought to myself "well, that was a nice way to give away a silly amount of money." But, y'know what?

They arrived!

Just a couple weeks after making our final payments, my parents recieved to canvas bags on their doorsteps, sewn closed with red wax seals, hand written addresses and countless customs stamps and stickers stuck to them. Crazy. Just the old world charm of these two heavy parcels made the money worth it.

Here's a photo I took of them without a flash. It give you a sense of their warmth.

This second photo is taken from the same position as the first, but with a flash. It gives you a better sense of the detail, and also some of the shine of the silk.

I love our carpets. In fact, whenever I'm feeling grumpy, Sarah can pretty much tell me to lie down on one of them (just unfolding one in our tiny apartment is a feat), and I can feel my mood improve. Nothing beats a good carpet.

So yeah, we might now be seven months away from our trip, but its funny the way it continues to pop up in our lives and inform our actions. Whether it's catching up with friends we made while travelling, giving advice to others who are setting off themselves, finding long lost reminders of our travels or just knowing more about the places my new employer, the Gates Foundation, is trying to help. Even as one memory is lost, another is found.