Friday, March 02, 2007

The Bus to Cartagena


When I was little, I read "National Geographic" like it was my job. Bro hoarded all of the issues featuring naked tribal women in Africa, and I coveted the maps of all the places in the world. I also liked any feature involving space and solar system.

I can't remember when it started, but I used to look at these maps and dream about escaping to remote places like some little girls dream about their wedding day. My friends had lists of boys in our fifth grade class that they wanted to marry; I had a long list of places that I wanted to see. I'm yet to check off Alaska, Iceland, Vietnam, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil and India. I've also added a few, too, but this will do for now.

My favorite movies of all time? It was a short list of "The Princess Bride", and all of the "Back to the Future" films. Honestly, I knew that I didn't like Wesley so much in "The Princess Bride", because even then, I didn't like fair-skinned guys, but I did love the way that he loved Princess Buttercup. I'm still waiting for the one to come along and lovingly remark, "As you wish, Namaste, as you wish..." But I digress. At the very top of my favorite movie list was "Romancing the Stone" with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Like, whoa, that was a HOT movie. Way hotter than "Dirty Dancing", although I will put that up there on my list of hetero-sexually-awakening movies at the time, may the goddess bless Patrick Swayze, his muscles and his many, many talents.

"Romancing the Stone"...mmm...I still get a little breathless then I think about how much I loved that film. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was deeply attracted to Joan Wilder, Kathleen Turner's character because she was an otherwise brainy and naive type who became transformed in her moment of adventure with a really hot, eccentric type of guy who carried large knives and knew how to show a lady a good time, and had no issues whatsoever with his masculinity. In the film, she was a successful writer of romance novels who started off by living with her cats in NYC, and ended up writing her own life adventures into her books. Aside from wanting blond hair, blue eyes, and long legs, I wanted to be Kathleen Turner because of her adventures in South America with Michael Douglas. He was so sweaty and sarcastic and hot. I could sit in front of the television and bask in his phermones. He's the type of guy that I still lose my rational marbles over, even though I know that he'll never really allow himself tied down, but he's a great travel companion...among other, more salient things...

One of the best lines from that movie is, "Is this the bus to Cartagena?" Bro and I still use it from time to time today. We mostly use it when situations are on the verge of freaky. We also use it literally. A few years ago, we were hitchhiking on a country road between Florence and Pisa in the rain. We'd been trekking for a while with our thumbs out and not saying much because the rain was so cold and horizontal, and we had a bad disagreement in Pisa, and the thing about me and Bro is that we hardly ever disagree. Finally, after what seemed like forever, a random public bus slowed down for us. We jumped on, and suddenly realized that we had no idea where we were going. Both of us struggled to understand the Italian dialect in that region, so the other people on the bus weren't very helpful. Bro looked over at me with a sparkling mischeviousness in his eyes and tauntingly asked in a faux-Spanish accent, "Is this the bus to Cartagena?" This dissolved the tension between us, and a few hours later, we were dumped out in the pouring rain in the heart of Rome. God, if we didn't stink on that trip...

Oh, and yes, I still look at maps. But now, I take my addiction a step further by gleaning the pages of airfare travel websites a few times a week. My latest muse is finding a way to Tel Aviv via Spain or Italy this spring, so that I can take a few days off and kick around between flights.

This, my friends, is why I can't live without a large map plastered somewhere in my living quarters, why I will be the first one to make a committment but the last to "settle down", and unless I meet Michael Douglas on my way to Cartagena, and he saves me from the jaws of a vicious alligator's grip, why I'm most likely I'm not going to get married until I'm 70. Maybe 75. Ok, 80. I'll settle on 80. Unless, I can find someone who wants to come with me.

The end.

3 comments:

Kathryn Is So Over said...

"You're the best time I ever had, Jack Colton."

My sister and I loved that movie, too. I can recite pretty much every line, accents and all. But I never liked Michael Douglas like that - my mom liked him more than enough for everyone in the family. :)

We took my best friend to see it in the theater, and in one steamy part, she said, "I don't think I'm supposed to be watching this!" and proceeded to cover her eyes. She is now a missionary in Kazakhstan or somewhere similar.

Namaste said...

Dude, Kat. That scene with the cheesy 80's music in the background when they're dancing and then get all hot and nekkid?? Yeah, this is why you and I were hanging out in spirit in the old days in the RIC. Heck, we were probably in the same movie theatre...

Class factotum said...

I was googling "Is this the bus to Cartagena" to validate it for an essay I am writing. It's one of my husband and my favorite lines and can reduce us to laughter, especially when one of us asks it and the other answers, "Cartagena. Siiiiii." Something about that line resonates!