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WEDNESDAY, 12/12/07: 5:35AM: Made a "Wednesday" list: 1) Breakfast with pills? 2) Turn radiator off. 3) Take earplugs. 4) Take gloves and lip balm. 5) Unplug humidifier. 6) Wash dishes. 7) Clip mustache. Do all that by 5:38AM. Note from last night: Finish with Tin Man. Take Ambien 9:53PM last night. Set alarm for 5AM. Bed 10:05. Take Valium 10:11. (Oops, took one at 4:20PM!) Wake 1:15, 3:15, 4:22, and pee at 4:23AM. Up at 4:45, eat breakfast, finish items on list, and start and finish this by 5:40, getting call from car AT THIS MOMENT! Rushed through breakfast and final packing and WP-writing until 5:40, when phone rings that the black SUV is waiting downstairs. Tell him I'll be five minutes late, because he's early. Stuff things into suitcase and jacket pockets, warm out at 48°. Turn off last things, including lights, and out of apartment at 5:48. Car goes at 5:50, me starting in front, but decide I still have things to do with my bag in back (like check for my passport!) and get in back at Remsen Street. It's DARK the entire way to the terminal on surprisingly busy Atlantic Avenue, seeming to get all the red lights because the traffic is so light? But it gets heavier near the airport, no signs of planes in the air, and get to Terminal 4 (driver phoned to find where JetBlue was and was told Terminal 4), and look and look, and told to go to ATM-like machine, put in credit card, and it gives me "A" choices that don't include Aruba. Ask the clerk and she says, "Oh, that's International: Terminal 6; take escalator down to Air Train to Terminal 6/7." Down and train comes in a minute, but no real distinction between Terminals 6/7, so follow crowd and it's JetBlue, so I go to the nearest line, announce "Aruba," and get on a very short line at 6:45, and am called to desk almost immediately. She asks only for my passport, logs it in, and gives me a boarding pass for gate 7, seat 5A, boarding at 7:45. On longish gate 7 line 6:50. Pass first check of boarding pass and passport at 6:53. Shoes off, computer out, and through at 7AM. Get bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel (for lunch?) for $4.32 at 7:03AM. Get a seat next to a guy who asks about my AlphaSmart, and type from my notes up-to-date, light bright above, few seats available at gate 7, which is RIGHT at the security post, and finish this at 7:17, feeling comfortably caught up at last. Ask guy on right (guy on left is talking on his cell to his two kids, left with grandparents at home) about water in Aruba, and he says there IS none, all is distilled from seawater and is safe to drink. He doesn't like it, only second time there, but wife loves it. Hotel coast has light waves and beaches, opposite is rocky and wild and subject to trade winds. Chat to 7:35. Forgot OLD earplugs? So look in dop kit for NEW ones, remove cotton, and keep in bag at 7:41. Pre-boarding and boarding 7:55. Board 7:59, pee, GOOD seat 5A, wide knee-room, no neighbors, not-full plane at 8:04. 8:11: captain announces 4:07 flight, bumpy over Dominican Republic, Aruba clear at 82°. Look for flight map. 10:32, almost halfway there. And SUDDEN BUMPS. My map is NOT in shoulder bag, but on TV screen. Back out 8:17. Map on Channel 13. Turn two other TVs in row off. Taxi fast. Sudoku. Off at 8:42. Big left turn, layers of clouds, to 36153 feet at 9:07, slightly bumpy in high (plane-caused?) clouds. 37897 at 9:10. 38203 at 9:11. 38265 at 9:14, 32-minute climb! 38230 (down) 9:17. 38269 (new high) 9:17. 38379 9:20, ABOVE clouds, MILD bumps. 1400 miles to go. 38501 9:25. Miles program ONLY on-line, not passed out on plane. 38588 9:29. 38611 9:32. 38619 9:46. 38654 9:49. Tonic AND chocolate chip cookies AND cashews for snacks. 38672 9:52, MORE bumps. 38743 9:54. Little brown islands? Oil slicks? East of northern Florida. 38750 10AM. 38771 10:02. Algal blooms! 38797 10:09. 38810 10:14. 38832 10:17. 38852 10:22. Two boats, probably, tiny below. 38917 10:32. 38985 10:34. 38901 10:42. Screaming kid forces me to put earplugs in. 38927 10:45, halfway there, obviously going up to get above white sheet of clouds above "tropical depression" over Dominican Republic. 38945 10:46, still bumping with wisps of clouds rising to almost outside window. 38986 10:50, still trying to get above, South America first on map, now MOST bumpy with cloud-wisps ABOVE window: obviously we can't climb above top edge of storm. Went for a tiny shit while seat-belt signs were off a few minutes ago. "White sheet" thinning to allow views of small clouds and some Atlantic below, but endless white ahead now at 10:54AM, past point of no return. New York magazine starts PHOTOS in listings on 12/10/07. 39032 10:59. 11:02: "Light chop for 30-40 minutes." Some HEAVY, too. Clouds lower. We're OVER Dominican Republic! Invisible below clouds. 39104 11:36. 40145 11:43. Still higher: 40162 at 11:45. 40180 11:46. 40192, 40233 11:47 for highest at 40250. WATER below. PAST Dominican Republic. Seatbelt sign off 11:52. Less than 1/4 to go. Eat sandwich, stomach upset. Finished 12/2/07 New York magazine, and now at 12:02 finish December (and last) National Geographic. Get orange juice to finish sandwich. At 12:16 I look at empty front john, but PILOT has it blocked. Then it's free, and I DO shit a bit. 12:20: "Down in 20 minutes, temperature 87°!" Take my long-sleeved shirt off to the short-sleeved one below as plane dips below 9000 feet. 12:33 ARUBA in view! Roll 1: #1 Aruba 12:34PM. #2 beach hotels 12:36. #3 point my home is on 12:37. #4 shaking? 12:38. #5 ship and downtown 12:39. Land 12:40 (3:58 flight). Change watch to 1:40PM. Off plane 1:45, short walk to customs, being almost first on line, and even before 1:55 to information desk, who tells me to go to DAE (Dutch Antilles Express) office, where a lovely young lady helps me, after many stops and starts, with tomorrow's $224 quadri-ticket: Aruba 8AM - Curacao 8:30AM; Curacao 2PM - Bonaire 2:30PM; Bonaire 9:15PM - Curacao 9:45PM; Curacao 10:15PM - Aruba 10:45PM. And must be in EACH airport, with passport, ONE AND ONE-HALF HOURS before each flight. I finish there, dazed, at 2:16, and get on Elvis Tromp's (loud music) taxi #322 at 2:19, to go through dazzling array of streets: some tacky, some shop-y, some out in the boondocks, to Mill Resorts at 2:35. Pay him $25 (he's smiling without a tip), and arrange that he picks me up 6:10-6:15AM tomorrow for my plane to Curacao. Check in, give a $100 "deposit" with my credit card, get a PERMANENT yellow wrist band that I must wear for ALL MY TIME HERE, or else they charge me $5 to put it back on. I ask for a wake-up call at 5:45AM, get a welcome drink that I take to my room, going down ONE way, going back and going back the SAME way around the corner, mistakenly out toward the pool, and then back inside to find 126-C, three doors inside one doorway, at 2:51, where I read brochures and settle to 3:05, seeing that I'm lucky enough for the "all you can eat BBQ" tonight at 6PM. Already I seem to have left a pen somewhere. Put off the too-cold A/C, but then have to listen to kids next door, and put on the fan, which is comfortable enough (except for the furniture moving upstairs), and finish this up-to-date at 3:25PM, tired already. Unpack to 3:52 and look for restaurant and beach-walk. Told I had to make a reservation for the "$19.95" BBQ, which suddenly transforms into a "$22.95" BBQ, and when I'm told it gets dark only at 7PM, decide to take an inside table, which, he warns me, has already had the best choices taken, but I reserve anyway. Ask at the desk how to get to the beach, but he really doesn't know, so I ask at the Tourist Desk and she gives me a better map with the hotel actually LISTED at number 30. Guy at desk told me to follow road around the Westin to "the bus stop," and I figure I find it, take #6 of what turns out to be the Riu Palace Hotel, which has DOZENS of fancy hotels in Cabo, Florida, etc., etc., etc., but soon come to the end of the fence around the Westin at what seems to be a public parking lot, and go down to the beach to pull over a log and sit in the shade of a cabana-roof to take #7 first beach-sit 4:16. Sit looking at the parasail taking off in the distance, the speedboats roaring past, one with a guy lying on his stomach with his feet sticking up in back, and various cellulite-darlings with their coffee-tanned escorts, and a pair, not speaking English, she very pretty, he sort of a lump, with the rather distinctive yellow "The Mill Resort and Suites" wristbands. Kids, beach-tennis players, a bald guy with a hunk of a body putting something into the trunk of a car that looks like it's occupied by only guys, singles who COULD be cruising if they were only gay, and old farts with young wives, many of differing colors. Sit until the sun starts to invade. The water is pretty blue in the distance, green nearer in, and brownish with sand when the three-inch waves "pound" the shore, but it's no Tahiti-beauty. Sit till 4:50, fearing I'm getting lots of reflected light even this late in the afternoon, and walk back along what seems to be a public beach-walk in front of the Riu Palace, until I get to the Radisson, and then walk down a driveway everyone's walking up, to "La Palm" whatever, and come to Irausquin Boulevard, but see a vacant lot and frighten an iguana AT LEAST a foot long into the pond that seems to circle the road, and see I have to backtrack for the Mill, and walk along the road, noting to ask how I ride the BUSES around the island, until I see a BACK entrance to "The Mill" that in fact leads to a gate open 7-7, to the tennis courts, and I can look at my "Resort Floor Plan" and easily get to my room at 5:14, hot, and yes, sunburned slightly, and take my clothes off and put the A/C on and pee and type from 5:21-5:34, figuring to do not much more before dressing in the same clothes and presenting myself at the restaurant at the dot of 6PM. Do puzzle, leave for dinner at 6PM, get a seat by myself and order a zinfandel that starts at $23, but with the "Service Charge" of $3.45 ("Which goes to the kitchen staff and the food preparers"---and without saying, "Everyone but me," so I "have" to add a tip of $3, bringing it up to $30.24, and I hope the fridge keeps it cold for TWO days, since I won't be here for dinner tomorrow! The "$22.50" buffet with -$2.25 credit is $20.25, with Service Charge of $3.04 and tip of $3.60, a total of $26.89. So $57.13 for a "cheap" BBQ dinner with about a dozen ribs, a chicken leg, a "city chicken" of chicken and beef, and a few beans, some steak, a baked potato that wasn't very hot, though it took four pats of butter, and I took my pills and came back to the room by 6:57 and finished this by 7:02, ready to digest by at LEAST 8PM before going to bed until 4 or 5AM. Try puzzles but JUST flake out at 7:25PM and GO TO BED! Look at the clock at 7:50 and 8:25, but then at 9:27PM realize I must have had a dream (or two) and record them to 9:37PM, still concerned about waking up at 5:45AM so I can get the taxi waiting for me at 6:10AM to take me to the airport! 9:45PM: Set alarm for 5:44AM and get out the Curacao and Bonaire information sheets to take WITH me on my flight-seeing tomorrow! 10:27PM: STILL can't sleep, so take Ambien. THAT reminds me to take morning and evening PILLS with me! Now 10:31PM. Start Actualism, but then add a SECOND roll of spare film to my carry-on bag at 10:37PM. Will I NEVER be settled? 10:45PM add bag of magazines and puzzles for airport 1.5-hour time occupiers!

THURSDAY, 12/13/07: Wake at 4:20AM with a dream, and finish transcribing it by 4:34AM, yawning. 4:58AM: Not sleeping, just thinking about the upcoming airport-oriented day and the rush to see as much as I can of Curacao and Bonaire in that day, and decide to get up, pee, wash, and prepare for my taxi to the airport in just over one hour. #8 5:11AM: Flash of my unmade bed, Jacuzzi, and double-sink bathroom and closet at Mill Resorts and Suites. REALLY thinking, "Why am I HERE?" and "What am I DOING here?" Just to get three destinations out of my curiosity (adding only two to my Century Club list). Feeling the same alone-angst that I felt so crushingly last in Malta, alone, not hooked up with anyone, determining my entire day for my entire pleasure. Decided not to eat in any restaurant here before I leave for the airport, assuming there has to be SOME place to eat to pass the 90-minute obligatory presence at the airport before the flights. So it's now 5:14AM and I'll do what I have to do, including breaking in my clean khaki pants for my "day of luxury," spending well over $300 just to get to two different islands without paying the over $400 that would be needed to give each a separate day. AND, if either proves wonderful, I can always go BACK for another day! Go out on balcony after discovering the bar across the opposite window that keeps it closed when I couldn't open it at first. Ground is wet, with a large palm frond down, either from dew or rain last night, but the sky is perfectly clear: bright stars twinkling above tiny critter-sounds from the surrounding palm trees. Lots of lights from this and adjoining hotels, flags flying in spotlights. Some few bugs, too, but seemingly no mosquitoes. Still passing time at 5:31AM. Phone rings precisely when room clock says 5:45AM, so I change my watch, which seems to have been running consistently two minutes fast, back to 5:46AM. Pack everything in shoulder bag, fix up room for leaving, and am totally ready for my busy country-counting day. Then all the rest is just on Aruba. Camera-number off, so I readjust the old Band-Aid and make sure I have a spare in my bag to take with me. Decide to go to main desk to see what's going on now at 5:52AM, thoroughly finished in room. Decide to add raincoat, just in case, feeling almost LUDICROUSLY over-ready. Leave 5:59AM for lobby. Taxi 6:05-6:19, still $25. "I'll wait for you to come back at 10:45PM." OK. On line 6:20. $34.25 airport tax! To 6:38: check IN as soon as I arrive at Curacao to "leave airport" so I don't have to be back 1.5 hours beforehand. Food next door? Passport checked at 6:41: "Food inside." Through security 6:46, having to take camera out. Pee. Ham and cheese sandwich and orange juice breakfast at Sbarro in large clean underpopulated area 6:25, many shops still closed. Read giveaway papers, take puzzles and map. Take morning pills. NICE CLEAN airport. Breakfast to 7:11AM. Pee again. To gate. Puzzles, Tiara flight goes, mine announced at 7:36. Board 7:40, plane has wing ABOVE, and I'm RIGHT at propeller. Sprinkling rain. 25 minutes to Curacao. Move back 7:52. #9 Aruba airport 7:55. Something Seas was ship in port yesterday, Emerald Symphony (?) today. Long fast taxi in four-across plane, off at 8AM. #10 GORGEOUS clouds 8:08. Fill forms to 8:16, bouncing in clouds. #11 Curacao 8:19. #12 oil port 8:20. #13 houses 8:21. Land 8:22AM. Off plane 8:27. Fast immigration to 8:36. Check in with Dutch Antilles Express (DAE) to 8:38. Look for group standing at bus stop and strike up conversation with a native who's been away for many years, who knows the place, and when group rushes to a white SUV, we also go to taxi at 9:11. #14 Hi-Par (guy at taxi stop?) 9:32. $4 I pay for his and my $1.80 fare. #15 house 9:35. #18 pontoon bridge 9:37. #19 bridge OPENS at 9:40. #20 bridge closing 9:46. #23 Dutch High Bridge 9:48 built in 1960s. #25 main church 10AM. Edgar, as his name turned out to be, seemed to say he was in town to exchange coins from 20 years ago and find some new kind of telephone card that will work where the one he has now won't. Was this worth his trouble? He asks people for something like Napoleon Plaza, which no one seems to know, yet he keeps asking, finally enlisting the aid of a plump-in-pink woman who works in a bakery and gives him a phonebook to look through while I sit in a chair and watch the passing parade of people. We've long passed out of the posh waterfront re-created-Dutch-facade ship-tourist area into the "people who really live here" area. Women all ASS and TITS, and there are some VERY handsome men, but no male is nearly as sexily dressed as all the women seem to be, though there's little overt ogling of the sexual displays. Three or four types of Orientals frequent the place, too, and a moist-icing-ed chocolate cake looks very appealing. He tries many telephone calls while I sit on a semidry bench in front of an office building, watching people come and go, the round Central Market on the periphery of my view. He finally says he's done what he can do and is eager for lunch, so we go to Bieu Plasa, a barnlike open-sided multi-kitchen dining pavilion, where he chats up Yvonne (or someone who works for the part of the kitchen-complex that is named Yvonne, since there are many with that name on their blouses) and I take #25 kitchen 10:57. He goes through the menu and I tentatively decide on soup, of which the chef obligingly hands over two white plastic spoons dripping orange fat, actually quite good, of meat when I make it clear I'm not interested in fish or fish soup. They have tongue, which I guess will be OK, and he orders an aluminum-wrapped cylinder of funchi, corn meal mash, and I ask for a beer and get a pint bottle of Solar, or Polar, which is imported from Venezuela. Place begins filling up as we eat our early lunch, poor-looking thin Anglos shoveling down food as if starved, richer local women seeming to lord it over their inferior chef-helpers, and men in suits straight from business, and a few young attractive men, hardly anyone in mixed-sex couples. I ask for a toilet and have to pay 50 cents for a key, and get 1 guilder and 25 cents in change for my dollar bill. Clean, useable toilet, happy to know that all the water is distilled sea water. As I eat the meat and potatoes and banana and corn in my soup, I decide to cancel my tongue, filling up on the bread, while Edgar gets a huge plate of fish, fried banana, dirty rice, all of which he offers me a taste of, and then realizes we MUST have "tutu," which he describes as slave food composed of funchi, beans, some other grain, and assorted garbage. Not bad. Eat to 12:15 as he gobbles down everything in sight, ending with a disgusting-looking bowl of meat in pig's foot broth, which looks like glue oozing off the side of the spoon, AND he has a beer, too. He asks for the bill, clarifies items on it, and gives something like 50 guilders, which is like $25, and charges me $5 (maybe cutting down my cost since I insisted on paying for the taxi). #26 Plasa Bieu 12:17. 12:32 floating market boats as it starts to rain. I say goodbye to Edgar as it starts to pour as I set foot on the pontoon bridge, and get out my raincoat to protect myself. Dash to taxi stand and it's jammed, the first one leaves full; as for the second, I ask and they DO go to airport, it takes off with me on the transmission hump, 12 passengers in a 9-passenger taxi at 12:35. WILD ride in hills, seeing windmills both wooden and modern, cactus, traffic jams, rushing torrents of rain in roads, individual stops for the mostly kids on board, with two VERY handsome young men, and I get $4.50 Dutch change for my $5 bill that he has no US change for. His last stop is at the airport at 1:20, through pee number 2 and $8 fee to security check at 1:34. To passport check and told to hold on to Curacao form for RETURN tonight. Pee AGAIN and drink lovely cold tap water and sit at 1:43 AS flight is called! Stopped raining for the moment. Out door at 1:44. #30 cloudy sky from Curacao departure deck, loud and humid at 1:47. Board 1:49, LAST seat on right; 15-minute flight to Bonaire. Move at 2PM, off at 2:05. #31-32 at 2:06. Take #33 and film rewinds! Roll 2: #1-3 leaving Curacao to 2:10. #5-6 Bonaire coming into view at 2:18. Land 2:19. Off plane 2:24. Stewardess asked woman who asked ME for "local time" at 2:40. Taxi is $25/hour, taking half an hour to Goto Lake, two hours round trip. Head driver waits for local guide to come from bar, and into taxi 2:44PM. #6 town at 2:51. 14-15,000 people. #8 sea erosion 3:14: Bonaire ROSE from sea floor over millennia. #9 "curtain wall" oncearts (?), rivers, Carea (?) 3:20. #10 Devil Mountain 3:27. Troupials brilliant orange! #11 first pier built in 1970; for oil storage. Wild donkey shit on road. #12 swimming flamingos 3:40. HUNDREDS with binox. #14 century plant 3:42. #20 Rincon 4:02 oldest settlement in Caribbean. #21 cactus fence 4:11. #22 museum time line at 4:15. #23 whale 4:21. #24 His and her toilets 4:23. #26 gumbo-limbo 4:51. #27-28 Millennium Cross and view 5PM. #29 harbor 5:24. #30 Sea Cloud 5:28 (Marjorie Merriweather Post's old ship?). Off taxi 5:40, deciding NOT to stay in town and be picked up later to be taken to airport. Paid $80 for JUST under three hours: 2:44-5:40! 5:50 walk to beach to get away from screaming kids and loud guys in airport, at sunset. #32 sunset 5:53. #33 at 6:04. Color gone by 6:20. Back to airport, sand flea bite? Withdraw $200 from HSBC at 6:30, since I have hardly any cash left. 6:41 order Pizza Supremo and large Balashi beer from Aruba. Finish 5/8 of pizza by 7:35, paying $19 (including $2 tip) and get to DAE desk. They can't give second boarding pass because "computer is down." I go to gate and can't figure how to correct only 2-star sudoku. CALL to board at 9PM. Sit at 9:05. 15-minute flight. Move at 9:11 and off at 9:17. BRIGHT two islands. Land at 9:32. Off plane 9:38 and STAND. To immigration line 9:42, and past immigration at 9:47. Pee. Go to desk and find flight has LEFT at 9:30! Try to force my way past guard, but he points to board that says flight has DEPARTED at 9:30! Scream at clerk, who says she can do nothing; office has closed at 10PM, nothing she can do, nothing she can say; I can sleep on floor if I want, but maybe I could get a taxi and find a hotel room. Get to group clustered around Edsel, and he says he'll help me. Into taxi at 10:09. 10:27 stop at hotel and there's no room. BLASTING music in van. Stop at Clarion and they want $148 before tax, too expensive for couple from Venezuela who gratefully accepted my three slices of pizza, since they were hungry. Back into taxi 10:48. 11:12 to room 107 in tacky Lido Hotel, $90 on visa, phone number for Edsel for taxi to airport tomorrow. Fuss with A/C and john and drink water and turn down sheet, and bed at 11:25, exhausted from VERY long day.

FRIDAY, 12/14/07: 4:56AM have dream. Back to sleep after tiny Actualism start. Up at 7:32, dress, wash face, shit a shit that clogs the toilet after at least 9 flushes, call Edsel at 7:53, he says 20 minutes, I do puzzles, he comes at 8:10. To DAE office 8:37AM. "Supervisor in at 2PM." Give 12/13 schedule. 8:45: Next flight at 2PM. 9:03, after screaming at three people, I leave office in ANGER. To check-in 9:10 and complain: "No one to help." Get seat 5F, boarding at 1:30, at 9:12AM. Only earlier flight was at 7AM! 9:16 earplugs in, sit with puzzles. Do BOTH Sunday puzzles (20th ELF a challenge!) to 11:04, hungry at last. Good tuna baguette and lemon ice for $10 and some Dutch change. Up at 11:51 for another departure tax of $32! Past immigration at 11:55. To gate 6, OTHER air flights to Aruba, at 12:04. "Let It Snow" on Muzak in Curacao at 12:51! Reading New York magazine from 12/17/07. Call at 1:41. Stand outside, hot and loud. Inside in cool. Call for about EIGHT people: as driver later said: EIGHT during day, when they have time, is OK, but one, at night, when pilots have to get to sleep to start early the next morning: leave him! Board 2:12, free seating! I bitch to guy in 5F but move to 4F. Mad as hell at 2:15. Shoes off 2:19. Right propeller STILL still. 23 minutes at 8000 feet. "Last three passengers now boarding" and move at 2:24. Off at 2:27. Land at 2:46, good views over both islands and spectacular layered clouds and whitecapped sea below. 2:55: "Sorry, no bus." Off plane 2:59. Off bus 3:06. Off immigration line 3:14. On taxi 3:19, telling him story, and he suggests letter to Ministers of TRANSPORT and of TOURISM of Antilles, in Curacao, copies to all. Boca Catalina is best snorkeling in Aruba. Old Cunucu House recommended for chicken pie. To main road to Wendy's, right and go up second street, with sign of Old Cunucu. Millennium across street, make left. Off taxi 3:46, paying the government-set $25, to room, cool, at 3:48. Take AM pills, pee, drink lovely cold water, unload part of bag, start typing at 3:59. Tired of typing at 4:33, not even half through note 3. Lie down for some minutes, sort out rest of bag, making souvenir bag, looking through Aruba books to find nothing about Old Cunucu House, to 5:09, and get back to typing, finishing to date at 5:46, ready to ask information desk for more directions, but prepared to take my chances and walk back the way the taxi came in, hope for a Wendy's, and someone to ask. Constant AMPED music and EMCEE and SCREAMING from outside. Wash face, pee, take pills, and leave 5:55PM to register for tour tomorrow and ask for directions. Find that out Information Desk closes at 5PM, so one of the desk jockeys phones and finds that I have to go IN PERSON to the Radisson Hotel to register for the tour I want. He draws me a map to get to the Old Cunucu House and I take off at 6:06, happy that everything's in roughly the same direction. It's about a ten-minute walk, have to ask twice for the Radisson main desk, then for the tour desk, and find that the "varied snorkeling with lunch" tour has been cancelled because the open-top bus is being repaired, but he recommends the Palm Pleasure Snorkel Adventure for $69 (is it a coincidence it's up from the cancelled tour's $55?), snorkeling from a catamaran, and it DOES go to the recommended Boca Catalina, I now see! But I have to walk to the Palm Pier at Radisson Beach by 9AM tomorrow morning, taking bathing suit, sunscreen, towel, and an extra shirt. Then on Sunday reserved the Discover Aruba Tour for $49, where we see the main island sights and we snorkel at Baby Beach and I get picked up at lobby at 9:15AM. So my Visa bill is $121.54, what an [start file 2 at 9:33PM Friday, 12/14/07] expensive trip this is turning into! Leave hotel in almost-dark at 6:36 and follow easy directions to Old Cunucu House by 6:50, streets somewhat dark and wet, but I'm OK with that. One couple, he white and somehow arm-disabled, she black and very chatty with him, is at the next table. The hostess is cheery, telling me that bakiwa, or something like that, is kiwi juice, so I just settle for "Sex on the Beach," taking #35 of the hostess, the house, and it, which is mild but tasty, and the veal scaloppini is good smothered under a lavish cream sauce with onions, green peppers, and lots of other stuff, served with one broccoli sprig, a few carrot rounds, good pancake wedges and warm toasted roll with extra butter, and a plate of rice and a scoop of mashed potatoes I eat about half of. Then decide I want a Cunucu Special, dim-ish green with blue Curacao mixed with the green kiwi juice and other things. Note that I STILL have that tiny red dot that Dale and I got way back in Antigua Guatemala! When I leave, after depositing the paper in the neighboring can, reminiscent of the Maya trip, there's a couple eating outside in the humidity and probably mosquitoes! Constant jazzy island music, and a cute waiter serves my second drink and returns my Visa bill for $53.05. Leave at 8:01 and am back in the room by 8:27, not bad at all. LOUD music outside! Shower 8:35-8:54, amazed that the trip is just now half over, and then brush teeth, quite bloody behind my upper right remaining last-rear tooth, while reading Scientific American, the LAST magazine to read, to 9:21. Pile things around, leaving my raincoat out to dry, since I put it on for a few minutes after leaving the Radisson, and finish this at 9:46PM, quite ready for bed, with my trusty laptop ready to record whatever dreams may come. Hair almost dry from shower; looking forward to earplugs to shut out the thumpy music outside. AND clean socks and shorts tomorrow, sorry I didn't bring an undershirt for snorkel-sun protection, but I'll simply use my now-dirty shirt, taking my last clean one to change into. Lots of preparation tomorrow, and then there's breakfast! Thankful that the evenings are COOL and not nearly as humid as the day. Room quite comfortable at night without air conditioning, unlike the stuffy Lido last night. Now 9:55PM on room clock. Wake 11:30PM, sour taste in mouth.

SATURDAY, 12/15/07: 2:14AM: Type dream. 3:37AM: Finish typing a second dream, and will pee for a second time, too. 4:37: type dream 3. 4:43AM, finish typing and don't bother to pee or drink water this time, hoping to sleep until it's time to get up around 6 or 6:30AM. 5:18AM: Type dream. Finish typing another dream at 6:29, debating getting up, but decide I can nap briefly. Up at 7:05. Get ready to 7:30. Leave for breakfast 7:36. Large ham and cheese omelet with a stack of yellow-greased potatoes, two good little sausages, and tons of over- and underdone bacon. The little yellow birds eating sugar like crazy were "yellow birds," with doves and little birds that weren't yellow. That goes to 8:15 with hot chocolate that wasn't worth it, signing an extra $1 tip for just over $10 for breakfast, cheaper than the "Continental" for $13 and the "buffet" for $16. Fuss with camera Band-Aid to 8:32 and leave at 8:35 after a last pee and luggage check: raincoat, cash, (leaving some behind), spare shirt, snorkel stuff, towel, sunscreen. Add water at last moment. To De Palm Pier 8:45, "early," and get a GREEN wristband. Put on sunscreen to 8:55. #36 catamaran 8:58. #37 snuba (maybe) and Riu 8:59 just to put in fresh roll of film. About 25-30 board 9:30, given size 10-11 flippers, which I think might be too big, but he says they're OK. Try them on and they seem to fit OK. Off at 9:35, some fat girls talking nicely to me, but mostly I'm ignored, except by staff to make sure everything's OK. Roll 3: #1 Chest and Riu at 9:36. Second, even more spectacular, chest not really available for photography, but WHAT pecs and back-silhouette and height and a nicer face than the nose-mouth scrunch of the first chest. #2 beach and tree (?) 9:40. #3 kite-surfing: they can even take to the air, at 9:48. Stop at Arashi Reef at 10AM, which he calls Boca Catalina, but I don't see that name on the map. Go in at 10:05, lots of fish, particularly a school of yellow-gray fish by the hundreds floating just above a few blowpipe corals and one large brain coral, but otherwise the bottom is either rocks or dead coral, not much to see except for fish. Then I flip around and my flipper comes off, producing agonizing moments as (thankfully it FLOATS!) I struggle to put it back on, trying to find a place to stand, and cutting the inside of my right knee and right ankle so that they're bleeding when I go back aboard, difficult with flippers and my waning strength, and change for size 8-9 flippers. That's a much snugger fit, so no more trouble there, and the additional salt water heals the cuts from bleeding; later, the one on the knee is barely visible, but I put hydrocortisone on those and another on the outside of the right ankle. Someone next to me mentions the jellyfish that swam right up to her mask and then stung her, so I probably got a sting when I kept looking at the inside of my left forearm to see what the stinging sensation was, but seeing nothing. Great black fish with sapphire-blue edging, and a pencil-thin yellow needlefish. Some few speckled coats, larger yellowtails, then in the second site, over the Attila, abandoned by 140 Germans (imprisoned on Bonaire, he said), great flocks of pink and blue fish swimming directly at me, sun reflecting off them. Out at 10:45, tired from struggle, start with an Aruba Ariba, POTENT, and then Sprite---both tasting oddly of coconut. #5 lighthouse and kite-surfing, which can FLY. 11AM to wreck 11:15-11:30, great fish, even a jellyfish sting, but I feel sick as I drag myself out of water, avoiding any food except for a small ham and cheese sandwich and part of a decent apple pie for dessert, counting the minutes until we start back to pier, finally doing it at 12:55, thank God. Back at 1:20, to room by 1:30! Rinse stuff off to get salt out, lie down at 1:42, hardly napping, thinking, still feeling poor, then up at 5:30, TV to 6:12, seeing end of Fools Rush In, with soupy baby-makes-everything-better ending. Shower and fuss to 6:41. HA! The red spot from Antigua Guatemala is now GONE! Start typing 7PM. 7:15 decide on Pago Pago at the Westin for dinner. At 7:24 decide to stop typing and dress for Pago Pago early. Leave 7:30. Glass of sparkling white zinfandel $11 OK but overpriced, Caribbean Lobster Bisque with a dough cover, with not much lobster but good cream for $9, and half a roast duck with orange and cherry sauce for $29, and good warm rolls with lots of butter, BUT at least FOUR screaming babies, and I actually have to tell "Grandma" NOT to sit next to me with her baby. It's not crowded at the start, but begins to fill up as I ask for the check as ANOTHER baby comes in after 8PM! Leave at 8:31, leaving no tip over the 17% service charge and NOT staying for dessert. "Men's room in casino," and they direct me ACROSS room when it was right down the SAME SIDE. I resisted bitching. Decide to check on the Mill Resort dinner menu, and there are GOOD choices at LOW prices, so I know I'll eat HERE tomorrow night, giving me a chance to finish my bottle of wine, too, so I don't "have" to drink it tonight. Back to room at 8:47, and the doorknob pulls off. Actually FIND the temperature control on the A/C. Decide to check through TV before typing, finding a Discovery program about the Bermuda Triangle that looks familiar, Ben Affleck not very handsome in Surviving Christmas, and end up typing this while watching some of the (mostly not even SHOWN) 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments, hosted by Jerry Springer, and my shirt and trunks aren't nearly dry yet; hope they dry overnight. Put some things away, turn off A/C, and finish this at 10:24, debating whether to watch the last 13 moments to 11PM. Can't resist, even though they continue NOT to show the moment, only photos of it. But don't need to get up early, so watch till bed at 11PM. Bathroom LIGHT burns out! Fall asleep after some time: night after tomorrow night I'll be sleeping at home!

SUNDAY, 12/16/07: 12:25AM: Type dream 1. 3:17AM: Odd how my first thought might be, "Oh, no dream this time," and then the memory of a dream emerges. Type dream 2 to 3:25AM. Then start Actualism, going through in loving thoroughness, but finally, at 5:15AM, not having managed to drop back to sleep: thinking, mentally listing, appraising, critiquing, I decide to write (after having a pee). After all, I LAY for 3:48 yesterday afternoon, almost equivalent to a nap, or a sleep, which, added to the 4:25 (maybe minus 13 minutes for the first dream, leaving 4:12), added to the 3:48, comes out to eight hours' "sleep." So what did I think about? This trip, for one thing: what a CONTRAST to the successful Mayan trip: catch-as-catch-can Netherlands Indies touring versus great preplanned Mayan destinations; me alone with my constant self-considerations versus not only my roommate Dale but a whole group of engaging people (for the most part, anyway) and a superb guide (at least I had a good Bonaire guide, and a few good bits of advice from an Aruban taxi driver); multiple expensive tours, taxis, hotels, meals based in Aruba, versus almost everything (except excellent, reasonably priced, illustrative tour books) paid for in Meso-America. The Mayan eighteen days could even have been longer, while the Aruban six days could have been many hours shorter, except that hours like sitting at the surf-line outside the Bonaire airport, hours doing puzzles waiting for flights, hours idly watching TV in Mill Resort, finishing magazines on flights or between flights---these are hours which MOST people would call VACATION: idle time idly spent, particularly for someone like me at a tropical resort who doesn't really like the sun, pools, or beaches (except to watch the always-too-few attractive male bodies: the two chests on the catamaran, with the two hosts' chests thrown in; the umbrella-hole digger seen only from a distance; the blue-suited beach-walker who turned out to be not that attractive in closeup, and some of the distant coral-cliff divers seen from the catamaran, or on the Curacao hill taxi, or on the "native" streets of Willemstad itself). What did I mentally list? I thought back to my long-ago "list of five": 1) a book, Love in Time, which I finally in fact got and read; 2) a movie, The Way of All Flesh, which I managed to see the only known final reel of, though of course I'll be eager to see more of it if anyone FINDS more of it; 3) a place, at one time Antarctica (and Australia), which I finally got to, followed by specific cities, first Vienna, now satisfied, then Prague (maybe out of chronological order), now St. Petersburg. It had included the ABC of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, now accomplished, and the Guianas, hopefully completed by April 1, hopefully with Paul. Then VERY odd additions like the Azores and the Balearics, hopefully part of the El Bulli/Barcelona trip; and then the distant wish-list: Petra, possibly with Egypt with Dale; the five Stans, with someone; islands east of Bali, Dubai when it's "more completed," and India, hopefully with Fred or Ken. 4) a book published, now replaced by the humungous task of the website, and 5) a play produced: I'm constantly reminding myself of my promise to devote the $10,000 I did NOT spend to help produce The Producers, (and I STILL believe they would have found a way to NOT pay me back, since their expenses were great and it's CLOSED already). But the plays will end up on the website, proofread by Marj eventually, which I fantasize, VERY eventually, would lead to her agreeing to direct, say, The Director, since I believe she's the only one (except perhaps me, but I don't have her actual theater-producing and -directing experience) to direct it successfully, with some hope of favorable reviews and predispositions to produce MORE of the plays. The appraising and critiquing I've already applied to the Maya-Aruba comparison. Then I thought of being back home---starting tomorrow!---and looking at my new camera, seeing about getting a new Sony videocamera with my Best Buy four-year guarantee, and other projects farther into the future: 1) getting the latest Bjorn from World of Video, exhausting what I believe to be the end of that subscription, 2) getting more movies from video-across-the-street, recently supplanted by the endless tapes from Ken, 3) editing more "choice" orgasms from my tape porn to add to my DVD porn, 4) if the current DVD STILL doesn't supply the Galapagos slides to Tris, re-scanning them at a lower density and sending them on a more-agreeable CD, 5) re-surveying the website and putting the pages in new and better order, and seeing if Tris managed to include a "something here" map on the site, 6) checking my HDL/LDL levels with the increased fish oil, and my prostate with my temporary lay-off on Proscar, with Chin---not to mention finally getting the cystoscopy and urology endlessness ended, 7) doing a "Spartacus" in preparation for what seems to be the end of VHS in 2009 by going through all my VHS tapes and saving the "good bits" onto DVDs for much easier access. Well, those should take at least twenty years! And now that my apartment is DEFINITELY mine by taking my name off the in-house move-list, and getting the curb-cut to the balcony, and thinking of putting up a second Door Store bookshelf somewhere in my entranceway for MORE shelf space, sorting through the at-least-two caches of "yet to be moved" bags from 167 Hicks and incorporating them permanently into 101 Clark. But maybe I can store some of the stuff out of sight in the still-empty twenty-or-so printer-paper boxes taking up room behind my living-room mirrors? So what HAD been THREE "infinite do-lists" of 1) website, 2) travel, and 3) getting my plays onstage, now includes 4) fixing stuff in my apartment better, like 1) my never-yet-done good-idea idea of gathering the GREAT books (the Angkor walls, the Victoria and Albert Art Deco catalog, the ethnic Thai catalog, the definitive guides to Tikal, Copan, Prague, Vienna, Egypt (looking to the future), India (looking to the farther future) into one place for easier access, 2) making the 167 Hicks stuff more accessible, 3) consolidating the pages-for-the-website from the living-room bookcase, and the bedroom top-of-cabinet, and the bedroom file-cabinet of lists and Indexing Handbook stuff, and the play-file-cabinet contents coordinated with the still-unorganized (particularly all the "Direct" files) computerized play files. Well, now at 6:17AM I've gone even further into detail (excepting thinking of 1) the stack of pages still to be scanned atop the scanner, and 2) the videocassettes to be processed with Pinnacle, or whatever will do it for the website at a Tris-acceptable format and speed, and 3) getting even MORE of the files in Word format to Tris for the website before Marj proofs them, not to mention 4) establishing the order of Marj's proofreading itself. Then there are the ADDED tasks of 1) finishing 2007 Christmas cards and letters, 2) transcribing the 2007 LIFELIST, 3) catching up from the Aruba trip with journal pages, slides, souvenirs, 4) preparing for NEXT MONTH'S Patagonia trip, 5) following up on the March Guianas trip, entrancing Paul, for one thing, 6) extending the El Bulli/Barcelona trip to the Azores and Balearics, hopefully with MORE frequent-flyer miles, 7) finally organizing (and maybe cancelling) all the credit cards with their associated or non-associated frequent-flyer miles, and 8) whatever comes to my mind NEXT, tired of typing now at 6:24AM. 7AM: record dream 3. 7:11AM: decide to get up, shit, wash face, dress, and have breakfast after preparing for the morning tour that starts at 9:15AM. Watch end of Kate and Leopold to 8:04AM. To breakfast at 8:11, order ONLY the ham and cheese omelet with ONLY sausage (and I get three, rather than two, as yesterday) and water, drinking three glasses as "requested" by my mefloquine this morning, and eat a VERY filling meal STILL, getting back to room at 8:48, the brief but beautiful sun-shower ending by that time. The headwaiter agreed that the little yellow bird was a "yellow bird," the dove was a "turtelito," and the long-legged black-and-gray bird with distinctive white wing-edging---he didn't know. And neither did I. Back to room stuffed, finishing this to 8:51, ready to wait over twenty minutes in the lobby. Brush my teeth, take another small, smelly shit, and my stomach is REALLY gurgling. Hope nothing's going WRONG! Now rather on time, leaving room at 9:02AM. Find a housekeeping person and open my door to show her the bathroom light is off, and she has to call an engineer to fix it. Just about to lock the door when the phone rings: "The bus is early," and I say, "I was just leaving when the phone rang." Onto bus at 9:06, two busses there. At 9:27 it rains as we pick up last people. We're on bus #5, and tour starts at 9:33. 21 people. California, which rescued survivors from the Titanic, hit a rock off Aruba two years later and the lighthouse was built 1914-1916. #10 from lighthouse 9:45. #11 California Lighthouse (1 on map) 9:47. #12 Happy Holiday exhibit in Italian Restaurant right next to lighthouse 9:54. At 9:58 we get a "pastechi" treat, cheesy and drippy. Leave 10:03. Pass Tierra del Sol Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, watered by recycled waste water from island's hotels, since desalinated water is so expensive. #13 Cunucu house, with typical cooking chimney, at 10:17. They were Arawaks from Venezuela. To Alto Vista Chapel (2) 10:23; #14 chapel inside 10:25. #15 Peace Labyrinth, and I go out and find that the trail leads through ALL paths. Lots of rocks and cactus on this north shore: salt winds kill all vegetation, and storms break waves on the coast. #16 chapel at 10:30. Most people back on bus on time. About 200 wild donkeys on island, left by Spanish. Papiemento spoken only on ABC islands, combination of English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, German, and a few words of Indian. Then we get good meat croquettes for a treat, and can get drinks from under bus. Leave chapel 10:34. We're 20 miles from Lake Maracaibo oil field in Venezuela, making this the second-largest refinery in the world, closed in 1985, reopened in 2002 as Valero. Tourism is now Aruba's main income. To Paradera, which means "buried standing," as Indians did, "We don't know why." Frogs on lawns at night, cats wandering all over island. #17 Santa Philomena Cemetery 10:49, buried above ground because lava is so hard to dig into, and they don't do cremation at all. Ayo Rocks (3) VERY imaginative: shark, King Kong alive and dead, dolphin, snake swallowing egg, rabbit's head. #19 devi-devi tree 11:04. He picked cashews and their ripe fruit to pass around. We pass the Ostrich Farm twice, looking grungy. #20-21 Malo Bay 11:08. #22-26 attempts at fabulous SURF on north beach 11:12. Rule of surf: "You NEVER get the best ones." Try to 11:17. To Natural Bridge (4) 11:22 #27-28, fell on 9/2/05. NEW natural bridge forming at 11:28. Distant Hoolberg is known as "Haystack," unique here and in South Africa. More surf through #34 to 11:35, trying for some young bodies getting sprayed, too, but missing their drenching. Leave 11:42. To #37 surf at inlets to 10:45 to clear camera for next roll. Roll 4: #1-2 surf to 11:48, most from moving bus and probably all ineffective. #3 Bushiribana Gold Refinery (6) ruins 11:51. Long drive to Baby Beach 12:29, passing Balashi Gold Smelter Ruins (7) and Savaneta (8), first capital of Aruba and still official home of Governor. Clouds graying, passing desalinization plant and taking notes on map, which I transcribe as I go along. Long drive to Baby Beach at 12:29, 50 cents for john, and I drink a Diet Coke and can hardly wait to get into water to pee. We're due back on bus at 1:30, best fish is where water rushes in from left rocks. I'm in at 12:40, leaving bag with couple from Chicago, stubbing toe on the way out, then walking back to separate shoes and towel and shirt into one bag and ask her please to take bag back to bus if it RAINS. Into water, not as cold as before, even warmer in current with fish, and for a first bit I'm in a cloud of middle-sized and LARGE rather colorless fish, but feel I have to struggle to stay in the current, then follow people who are seeing other things. All coral at the bottom is dead, and the water is murky from sand and from lack of sun. Try and try, seeing only typical fish, some odd little ones at the very bottom, get close to rocks once, try more, but then it starts to rain and I decide it just isn't worth it anymore. Out about 1:10, helped dry and dress by humorous couple who hold up towel so I can take off bathing suit, and then they go back to bus at 1:15 as I finish dressing even to shoes and socks and get back to bus at 1:20 and I'm on LAST. Then it REALLY starts raining! Leave 1:25. #4-7 at Lourdes Cave (9) and details from across way, looking for place to pee but finding none. Bus leaves at 1:53. Desalinization plant built in 1937 (only three natural wells before, all still in operation), supplies 20 million gallons per day, and some enormous figure like 400 megawatts per day for island's entire electrical and water supply. Hope it doesn't BREAK! Drop first couple at Renaissance at 2:19. Volendam is today's huge ship in port. Leave off few others, and then to Mill Resort at 2:30PM exactly, and dash to room to pee for a count of 170 by 2:35! Whew! Then undress and pee for 35 count at 2:45. Rinse salt out of clothes and hang them to dry. Start looking at TV 2:56. See poor Phantom of the Opera (Rossum) [Oldest living man died at 116 in Ukraine, oldest living now is US woman at 115: thanks to BBC World on TV.] Skim Meet Joe Black, still compelling. Shower 5:13-5:33, then watch National Geographic and decide to go to dinner 6:41-7:43, arguing that I was TOLD I could finish wine, getting refused by THREE people before cute waiter says it's CERTAINLY OK and then a supervisor comes over to apologize. Get enormous mixed grill of veggies, ribs, steak, huge piece of chicken, and good final wine with pills. Watch American Pie, which I think I've seen before, with VERY well built, handsome Chris Klein, who was goony guy opposite Reese Witherspoon in that school-election thing. That ends at 9:47, still full from dinner over two hours ago! Take Ambien and go to bed at 9:53.

MONDAY, 12/17/07: Wake at 4:10AM, over six hours' sleep! Type dream. Take Valium at 4:20. Then look and it's 6AM! Up at 7:11, wash, look at TV to see (correctly??) that the temperatures in Boston and NYC are 61°! CAN'T believe it. Leave BBC World on as I start typing 7:40 and finish now at 8:21, caught up, and have task of proofreading to pass time at airport or on plane. Pee, put some things away, and check TV listings at 8:26 to see if I'm missing anything. 8:31: Good Morning America says it's 26°, much more believable. Leave for breakfast 8:40 (7:40AM NYC time), finding what seems to be LAST blue toothpick! Back from breakfast 9:13, not eating last TWO of SIX sausages the guy gave me, who remembered I wanted water and no bacon. Still stuffed, and only one "foreign" meal left: lunch at airport. Check TV listings. Nothing on. Check that flight DOWN was only 3:58. Hope for same going back, though we're going a BIT west. Going VERY slowly. Flip through TV while brushing teeth 9:26-9:57. Temperature in NYC up to 33°. Partly pack to 10:21, NOTHING on TV. 10:40: Went to desk to ask if there were a bus or shared taxi to the airport, and they kept saying the ONLY way I could have gotten a "deal" (aside from an individual $25 ride) was to have signed up with the travel agent. I DO remember her saying something about "a $21 taxi voucher," but I figured 12 miles couldn't possibly be as much as $25 and that they were making money on it. I should have ASKED for more DETAILS! Will complain to JetBlue anyway! Told the impassive ("It ain't gonna happen," her expression said) desk clerk that "If anyone wants a taxi to the airport, and is willing to share, between 11:30-12:30, please get in touch with me." Sure. Watch CNN, lacking anything else to watch. Put A/C on, and at last get a "Do Not Disturb" tag for my door: didn't even know they existed! Ask for bill and get one for over $90 that DOESN'T appear to include today's breakfast, though there are 3-4 CHARGES for today. She tells me that all I have to do is drop off the key. Look in all the drawers and closets, and finally, now at 10:58AM, put this into my shoulder bag to find how easily it'll fit into my black bag. Leave room 11:30, and clerk has the courtesy to remark that "No one else wanted a taxi to the airport." Get a ticket for taxi 11, which pulls up almost immediately, a quiet young woman who lets people pass, and leave at 11:37. P&O ship Arcadia in port. To airport 11:54 and I hand her $40 and she says, "It's $20." "I thought it was $25." "Only on Sunday." So HOW many $25s did I pay when it WASN'T Sunday? On check-in line, NO one waiting for JetBlue yet, at 11:55. Check in by 11:59. Boarding at 2PM, she says. Can take THREE bottles, after passing immigration. Through THREE securities: 1) outside for passport and boarding pass, [start file 3 1:04PM Monday, 12/17/07] 2) inside for passport, 3) luggage, by 12:11. Buy THREE bottles (after looking for Amaretto, I realized, when I saw the bottle, that I was looking for SAMBUCA, which I bought for $20, along with Frangelico that looked cheap at $18, and a local Ponche Aruba for $9, for a total of $47, truly tax-free. Then stop at Sbarro and buy a sandwich identified by counter-woman as tuna, but punched up on the computer as ham and cheese, for $3.75, for which she would not accept my "Antillean guilder," which isn't legal in Aruba. All this by 12:41. Was handed an immigration form, and ask a fellow filling it out what the deal is: "This IS US customs, you get out of the airport at JFK and just GO HOME!" So, I guess, I can put my passport away. Fill out the form to 12:49, present it to the officer, who says he likes working in foreign countries, but as for now: "Welcome to the United States!" Through SECOND baggage check, this time camera can stay in bag, but computer and shoes go in tray, and I forget my change in my pocket and it passes through without a beep. I now have TWO carry-ons at 12:55. To gate 6, crowded with people waiting for a Boston flight due to leave at 1:30, at 12:57. Think to start Scientific American, but decide to put things in sequence, in order of concentration needed: 1) catch up on journal, which I do now at 1:14, Boston flight having been told 5 minutes ago that they'd be boarding in 5-10 minutes, 2) finish Scientific American, 3) puzzles, 4) sudoku, 5) proof AlphaSmart, which I can do in my sleep, but I hold out hopes for SOME views, though skies are getting grayer rather than clearer. 2:25PM finish December Scientific American. Boarding started. Board at 2:31, GREAT seat 3A. LOUD kid in 1F. I pee. 4:13 flight with small winds. Back out 2:50. Plane LOADED with kids. Off at 3:02. #8-10 taking off to 3:04. The Seeker on TV, weak, but Garfield is even worse; at least it's picturesquely cloudy, not bumpy, and sun not NEAR setting at 5:20, over halfway. 5:24: "Choppy for 8-10 minutes." Sun stays UP to 6:02, or 5:02 Eastern Standard Time. Pee at 6:05. Get orange juice and brownie cookies, having EATEN my tuna sandwich after I had a bag of munchies and a bag of salted cashews from the "goodie box." 30° in NYC at 6:20. Changed watch to 5:21. NYC weather "clear 20°, 15-minute delay at JFK." Lights of New Jersey at 5:30. Put on cold, clammy shirt at 5:45. Land at 6:11. Dock at 6:16. Off plane 6:20 (nice being in front, remembering to take my carry-on out of the overhead and stuffing my now almost empty shoulder bag into it). Pee at 6:22. Into taxi with almost no wait at 6:30. $43, including tip, and home at 7:25PM. Open boxes I had waiting for me: camera and cookies and chocolates from Susie. Get Times from Bill, phone three people (note somewhere in stack!), dinner to 10:15, j/o 10:20-11:25: sublime! Bed 11:40PM, tired.
TUESDAY, 12/18/07: 2:42AM type dream and pee. Eat orange and pee. J/o 5:52-6:54, TV to 7:10; TV all day: Next Stop, Greenwich Village, with John Ford Noonan's name frozen on TV when MARJ calls! Circle of Deceit, House in Jerusalem, and News from Home; News from House, trying to catch up with Ken's tapes. Talk long to Marj, finally solving why her view of my NOTEBOKA was so large (on 148 magnification!), and leave word with Tris and Susie. Egg foo yung dinner from Great Wall. Bed 11:59PM, eyes weary.

WEDNESDAY, 12/19/07: 5:20AM shit. 7:37 type dream, pee, pick up Sun, and start up at 7:46AM, STILL sensing the absent yellow "Mill Resort" band on my right wrist! Send TWENTY Christmas cards, start proofing travel files until I realize at 1:30PM that I have a 1PM appointment with Mallett! Do that (notes in Medical), then see Sharon, then Sweeney Todd and watch Execution of Justice to get comfortably on the way of finishing Ken's tapes for Friday!

THURSDAY, 12/20/07: Bed 12:40AM, type dream at 6:20 and pee, up at 7:08AM. Gym. Watch Firefly and Taking Off and Mystery of Picasso.  Bed at 11:59PM.

FRIDAY, 12/21/07: Pee 6:50AM. Up at 8:06 after Actualism. Send card to Victoria Mamora when I pick up four days of meals at 3:10PM. Paul C. calls in morning, and Laird W. in evening! I read in AlphaSmart files, catch up on notes from trip and finish this at 6:20PM, exactly on time for the Beard with Ken tonight.

SATURDAY, 12/22/07: Somehow gained five lines after proofing, so I can add that today I spent time doing the Times puzzles, playing Spider, and proofing this until 5:40PM, totally dark out; solstice at 1:08AM this morning, so it'll only be getting lighter morning and evening as the days go on over the holidays.


WED,12/12: Breakfast at Sbarro at JFK. Fly JFK-Aruba 8:42AM-12:40PM (3:58 flight). Schedule Curacao and Bonaire flights. Beach sit. BBQ dinner in Mill Resort restaurant with half-bottle of zinfandel. Sleep after 10:45PM

THU,12/13: Up 4:58AM. Fly Aruba - Curacao 8-8:27AM. SUV to town with Edgar. Walk with him in Willemstad. Lunch at Plasa Bieu of meat soup and beer and tutu. Fly Curacao - Bonaire 2:05-2:19PM. Three-hour $80 taxi-tour of all of Bonaire. Watch sunset from beach. Dinner of Pizza Supremo in Bonaire airport. Fly Bonaire - Curacao 9:17-9:32PM. MISS flight to Aruba. Taxi to Lido Hotel for $90 room, bed exhausted 11:25PM.

FRI,12/14: Up at 7:32AM, taxi to airport, next flight at 2PM! Puzzles and lunch at Curacao airport. Fly Curacao - Aruba 2:27-2:46PM. Taxi to hotel. Buy two day-tours at Radisson Hotel. Dine at Old Cunucu House. Bed 9:55PM.

SAT,12/15: Up at 7:05AM. Breakfast at Mill Resort. Walk to De Palm Pier for catamaran for snorkel trips to Boca Catalina and Attila ship and lunch, feeling nauseous. Tour 9:35AM-1:20PM. Nap 1:42-5:30. End of Fools Rush In on TV. Dinner at Pago Pago Restaurant at Westin Hotel. Start Surviving Christmas but it's awful. Watch 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments, poor. Bed 11PM.

SUN,12/16: Up to type at 5:15AM. End of Kate and Leopold on TV. Breakfast at Mill Resort. Tour bus picks me up at 9:06AM. To California Lighthouse, northern tip of Aruba, Alto Vista Chapel, Paradera, Ayo Rocks, Natural Bridge (old and new), Bushiribana Gold Refinery, Savaneta, and Baby Beach for snorkeling. Then to Lourdes Cave and pass desalinization plant, off bus at 2:30PM. Watch poor Phantom of the Opera (Rossum), and skim Meet Joe Black. Dinner at Mill Resort and bed at 9:53PM.

MON,12/17: Up at 7:11AM, watch various news programs, breakfast at Mill Resort.
Taxi for $20 to airport, fly Aruba - JFK 3:02-6:11PM (4:09), watching The Seeker, poor, and Garfield, worse, on tiny TV. Taxi 6:30-7:25 for $43. Bed 11:40PM, tired.