Monday, February 20

Carry On -- The Cranberries

She had once read a book called Experimental Tourist or something like it, and it had given her a lot of ideas; there was something odd about the way she traveled from that week on.

Her rucksack was neatly packed with a change of clothes, the necessary paperwork, and her computer. She also stuffed her current read in a pocket and carried her journal in hand, a thin black volume that might have been a guidebook or map, or a travelers' art history book, or an appointment book. However, she always left her rucksack in her hotel room, neatly repacked and put somewhere it wouldn't harry the maid service.

The hotels she stayed in were nice enough, and sometimes quaint, but she never tried to find ruthless bargains and sometimes treated herself to a comfortable room in a well-situated place. Staff at hotels found her unintrusive and serious, but unusual since she seemed to go forth alone and absentminded, returning early in the evening.

Once, at one of her favorite hotels, the clerk saw her leaving at 9 p.m. and couldn't stop herself from blurting out "Where do you think you are going?!" but luckily the girl had been her typical absentminded self and walked through the double doors as if she hadn't heard.

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