Wednesday, August 27, 2008

International travel

Here are the ingredients.

4 bags to check, weighing 17, 16, 14, and 23.0 kg respectively.
One four-year-old.
20 hours of travel time.
Three buses, two airplanes, customs and immigration, six hours of airport time, one hour in a car, a terminal change, two carry on bags, and jet lag.

And just me.

Mix and stir.

Just for fun, add in the following. Third bus, after a half hour wait, I hang towards the back of the queue as I try to unload my four suitcases from the cart. The four year old waits patiently by my side. No one makes eye contact, much less offers to help. The driver shuts the door in my face. "Full," he says, as he drives away.

Yes, these people were all part of the human race. Sometimes I want out. Of course, as a human myself, instead I stood at the curb wishing them all a flat tire.

Fifteen minutes later, as the next bus pulled up, a kind man in a huge rush offered to help with my bags. A kind woman with two young children pointed out my stop. And the four year old stayed close and waited as instructed as I dealt with unloading. I decided the human race was ok after all. But I still looked, and nope, we didn't pass a bus with a flat tire. Dang.

Otherwise, the travel was really quite smooth. It was a miracle. The four year old stayed nearby as instructed. He liked having his "telly" (television) on the international flight, although even the novelty of picking your own movies and cartoons wears off after several hours. He interrupted my movie so often to take walks to the toilet or up to get a drink that I still don't know if my movie had a happy ending. He liked watching the airplanes during the layover. He enjoyed the moving sidewalks. I did have to finally tell him sternly that it was time to sleep on the final flight after 17 hours of travel time and only happy bright eyes from him. That meant two hours later I had to wake him up and tell him it was time to leave. He cried and fussed and tried to punch me into letting him stay on the airplane, all the way out to baggage claim.

Other passengers turned and stared and asked themselves, "who is that nightmare child?" and "why does that mother stand for that behavior?"

And I thought all the way, "who is this amazing miracle child who just traveled 19 hours and is only now fussing?" and smiled broadly at all the other passengers and offered soothing words. I am such an enabler.

And we made it.

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