Under The Radar

by | Jul 28, 2023 | And Now

In 2016, when Penelope retired, she saw an online ad for Under-the-Radar Geological Wonders Most People Have Never Heard Of. She’d just come into a hefty ton of money when her cardiologist husband fell off a Vail chairlift after a heavy lunch of Harvey Wallbangers. Penelope had never ventured beyond Willamette. She wrote down a wish list of seven possibilities, not in any particular order:

Pamkkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Verdon Gorge, France

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

Pembrokshire Coastal Path, United Kingdom

Gruner See- Austria

Sala de Uyuni, Bolivia

When she had completed her last tour, news had spread among the Willamette community and she was asked to present an evening of slides called Traveling with Penelope at the Town Hall. Among the flora and fauna and interesting tidbits, Penelope did not censor her talk one bit. The intrigued audience found out she had horrible non-stop flatulence from the Turkish baths. In Tanzania, she went to a spa only to doze off and upon waking, her clothes were not to be found. In France, there were horrible leeches the size of earthworms in the gorge. Standing at the falls in Laos, Penelope felt the urge to jump, and in a rush of panic, told their guide. She was forced to sit on the bus for the remainder of the day. While on the Pemberton Path, she lost her way and ended up in Stonehenge for a half a year. In Austria, her host took her to a Bavarian Beerhaus and she performed songs from “Oliver” with the oom-pah-pah band. Arriving late into Bolivia, Penelope felt reckless and fled into the dark evening in La Paz. That night she met Ernesto, never making it to Sala de Uyuni (she didn’t mention Ernesto at the Town Hall.) After she wrapped up, during an impromptu q & a, Mrs. Stokes asked, “What was your favorite part of all of your travels?” People expected “the food,” or “The people I met on tours or along the way, maybe the views?” Penelope with a sparkle in her eye, said, “when my husband fell off of that chairlift.”

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