Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crises just spice up your travel. Oh Sure!

My experiences with travel have really been positive, but have you ever noticed how you remember those trips and events when something went just a bit wrong. As I think back about all the family vacations, business trips, foreign travel, and road trips the ones that come most readily to mind are the ones where there was a problem or crisis. Maybe you can relate to some of my most vivid memories.

“And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.” ~Dave Barry

Traveling with children can always be interesting and exciting. Being a soft touch for my children if they were not with us, I would frequently say, wouldn’t Katy and Amanda just love this? Some of those vivid memories come from the trips to Mexico. I recall arriving back just before touch down at SeaTac Airport, when Amanda who had been fine the whole flight, bent over my lap and vomited all over me. The lesson to be learned was how fast flight attendants could exit a plane and completely ignore a father in deep distress!

Little did I understand how travel can teach your children the laws of physics. Amanda will always remember the dynamics of gravity as learned in the Puerto Vallarta airport. Mom on each trip to Mexico always picked up several bottles of Mexican vanilla – far superior and cheaper than the U.S. store bought variety. These were carried in a carryon cloth bag because of their fragile character. Amanda was put in charge of this bag. Hmmm, maybe this was a mistake on our part. As we were waiting to board the flight Amanda couldn’t be bothered to carry the bag any longer and proceeded to drop it from a height of about two feet. Vanilla from the broken bottles was flowing in every direction. To this day I cannot recall how we cleaned up that mess.

Back in the old days of sleepy Mazatlan, when exploring the city, we noticed the hospital, and at that time it seemed like a primitive institution particularly when it appeared to have no electricity at night. When Katy was parasailing on the beach she dislocated her shoulder (a problem from previously falling frequently off the parallel beam in school gymnastics) and luckily it quickly popped back into place. However, when at the airport, just leaning on a railing again caused the shoulder to dislocate, but it did not go back into place. Mother and father were madly trying to weigh the alternatives for Katy, not wanting her to be in serious pain all the way to Seattle. Mary Ann finally said that there was no way we were returning to that hospital and what might not be the greatest of health care. Thus Doctor Death (as the children refer to her) moved into action by moving Katy’s arm around, up and down, and finally succeeded in getting it back into the socket. One thing we did learn was that Katy has a really high pain threshold! I wonder why the kids very rarely ever reported any injuries or illnesses to their mother. I think her philosophy was if you are not bleeding it is not important.

I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full. ~Lord Dunsany

One of the most frustrating experiences when traveling is the missing of flight connections. Mary Ann and I are convinced that all flights out of Italy are delayed and result in missing a connection. Our first trip to Italy was a group event and because of some fog in Amsterdam we were unable to leave Rome on time and thus missed our flight connection. The good thing was that we had a great tour director who got us all rebooked, and that Mary Ann and I were put in business class for our first experience of the good life (or at least better life). A couple of years ago when returning from Tuscany the airport in Florence was fogged in and we were bussed to the airport in Pisa, and that delay caused a missed connection in Paris. Gosh…we had to stay overnight in Paris and fly the next day. The bottom line is that you can’t leave Italy on time! I can’t wait to see what happens the next time we return from la dolce vita.

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~ Lin Yutang

(Published in the Fall 2006 issue of the Judicial Division Record)

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