My father has finally finished his two-month, four-continent adventure he has termed his “victory lap around the world.”  He retired from his job of drudgery as a database programmer at a California hospital back in April, and has since been traveling to various states and countries to visit family and old friends before settling for good in Bangkok , Thailand.

I have been in contact with him on and off for much of his travels,  but I couldn’t be able to do justice to the many stories he has from his trip.  He was thinking about starting a blog (yes, I told him, blogs are awesome!), but I think he was so busy experiencing these crazy things that he didn’t really have time to document it.  Most likely he’ll have something to show soon, maybe on his site .

In the meantime, I know that some of you are actually following my blog, not because you know me at all, but because you’re friends with my dad, so I’ll fill you in with some (highly abbreviated!) stories that he told me along the way.

His trip across America was quite tiring:  a lot of driving, which he wasn’t so thrilled with.  He called me from New Orleans, where it was raining and the Jazz Festival was going on.  He turned out to have a pretty good time there, although when he talked to me on the phone, he was pretty disappointed with the Jazz Festival in general.

When he arrived in NJ to visit me, we had a pretty nice time together, if I don’t say so myself.  He dropped off a truckload of boxes (mostly old books that he didn’t need in Thailand), and we drove to Long Island to visit the Long Island Montalbanos.  My brother joined us for that leg of the journey.  Then he stayed in NY at my brother’s house for a week, visiting friends in the city.

He next called me from Oslo at the house of a guy for which I have very fond memories.  Drew had rented a room in our house in San Francisco when I was very young (I must have been 4?  Maybe 5?).  He and I used to play pretend all the time (this made a big impact, because my dad never liked to play pretend), and I have so many great memories of climbing into the recliner and pretending to blast off into space.  Anyway, he teaches in Norway now, and the last time I saw him, I was 9 years old, the summer that I spent with my dad on the Norwegian Star .  Drew had picked me up from the airport in Oslo (I was an unaccompanied minor) and let me stay in his guest bedroom until my dad’s ship docked.

I say all this because it was such a thrill to actually see Drew for the first time in way too many years.  My father’s laptop had a webcam attached to it, and since I called on Skype , the webcam automatically let me see both my dad and Drew as I talked to them.  Alas, my computer does not have a webcam, so they couldn’t see me…I may just have to remedy that soon.

The next call I got was from my dad in Nice .  He was bummed because his laptop had been stolen a few days prior at a busy train station in Barcelona .  So, not only did he no longer have his fancy (relatively new!) laptop with all his information and documents, but he also lost all the pictures that he had taken up until that moment!  Of course, if he had been writing a blog this whole time, he would have had the pictures somewhere in the blogosphere…but I digress…

After Nice, he had traveled to Sicily to jam with Giuseppe Montalbano (no close relation, that we know of anyway…) and his band .  Then it was on to Egypt , where he stayed with an old Peace Corps friend and her husband.  On his way to Cairo, Egypt Air lost his luggage, so he had to delve into his friend’s husband’s closet.  He sent me this picture, with the following caption:

“Ever since I arrived in Egypt , I’ve realized I have always had a mission in life, and it must be to struggle for the One True Way, and the One True God. I know you will follow me in this quest. Meet me at the second pyramid on the left. The Sphynx has a riddle for you.”

Those of you who know my father will appreciate the humor.

I just heard from him yesterday, and he told me that he was safely ensconced in his new home in Thailand.  If you wish to contact him, send him an email (no, I’m not going to broadcast his email on this blog!  What kind of a dope do you think I am?) or give him a call…his old cell phone should forward to his new international phone.

He’s the Sheik of Araby (without no pants on!)
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