By the third day, the binging and relaxing had begun to fog my brain. Returning from the extensive and impressive Museum of Wine Culture at Dinastía Vivanco, I was struck by the beauty of the scenery. “Just look at it, beh beh. Our timing was perfect to get here during harvest season, so we could see all of the colors of October,” I said, sounding halfway intelligent. I should have stopped there. “I mean, look at them all, all those...what are they called?”
“Wineries?” David offered.
“No, no, the...”
“Vineyards?” David tried again.
“No, the...the...wine bushes,” I said, finding the words at last.
David tore his gaze away from the road to shoot me a bemused look. “You mean the vines?” he said.
“Yeah, sorry, don’t know what’s wrong with my brain. Look at all those wine vines. It’s just beautiful.”
“Barb,” David said, now laughing at my sudden onset of senility, “they’re called grape vines. Wine comes from grapes, remember the tours?”
“Right,” I said, turning my head back to the window. “I was just kidding.” Then, eager to change the subject, I said, “I’m really sad about leaving. I don’t want to go.”
“We could never afford to stay,” David said. And there it was. A sullen heaviness settled over the car as we were reminded of the craziness that awaited us back at home. But I wasn’t ready to think about political frustration or economic alarm. The trip wasn’t over yet. In a few days, we’d have a hotel room overlooking the river and be touring the port caves in Porto. Sure, we faced months of canned soup and shopping at discount stores as penance for our irrational exuberance, but I wasn’t done escaping, and I didn’t want to think about returning to reality.
Using David’s step back to give myself a running start, I said, “You know, it’s funny. We’ve tasted the fruit of wine bushes in Provence, France; Montefalco, Italy; Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico; Rioja, Spain; and soon, in Porto, Portugal. And yet we’ve never taken the short drive up the coast to Sonoma or Napa.” David turned to give me a look that inspired more hope than Obama. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I asked. David nodded. “Great, then it’s settled. After we get home...I mean, after we recover from this, and let’s not think about that part, but after that, we’re totally going to California wine country. Just think of how fun that’ll be!”
For the remainder of the drive, the car was silent and calm, as David and I gazed upon the landscape and thought only happy thoughts.