Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Joys of Long Flights and Late Landings

Amman Arrivals

Trapped in the air next to coughing, snorting, gouging, yakking. I clocked one span that spluttered on for 40 minutes without pause. On arrival at baggage claim, this overfed champion of the people, earning more money a year than the average wage earner here sees in over a lifetime, refuses to shell out five bucks to a baggage porter to wrangle luggage for the three of us. The vehement grounds? "these guys just rip you off and you know it."

Clearly, I have different criteria for what constitutes a rip-off. Old enough to know better and disinclined to reprise the role of my undergraduate self, I was also disinclined to endure a late-night scene in the Amman airport. So, with out argument, I grabbed a bag stuffed with books and security gear, yanked it from the carousel—and felt a white-hot tear sear through my left shoulder. It's a rotator cuff. I know it. I can't raise the arm. The third in our party was thankfully sane enough to quietly snag a baggage cart.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Let the Adventure Begin!


Of all things, Peet's coffee at JFK! A whiff of left coast in a sea of Sopranos. The boss insists on handling every cent, clearly thinks my quest for Fair Trade dark roast an eccentric extravagance, yet insists on paying for it. Conversely, the extravagance of forced meal consumption is nothing short of amazing. Dinner at the airport, dinner on the plane, then lunch at Heathrow, then dinner on the plane (again). Total actual elapsed time between meals: about 3 hours. I could not keep up, and enduring dour glares skipped the Heathrow lunch in favor of the saved boxed airline breakfast. Clearly, there is a minefield of food control issues here. We stayed over the day at the Thistle Heathrow--close, clean, and pleasant, though they have no record of the booking.

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