Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Running out the door to go pick my mother up at the airport, I grab a book and bottle of water - it could be a long wait. I find this incredibly great parking space and proceed to the ticket counter in order to get a gate pass; this is my mother's first time flying as a blind person and I feel it's best if I meet her at the gate. It's only been six months since I arrived to this airport from our world travels, but somehow, even in that short period of time, they've managed to rearrange everything. I find security and line up in my cue of five - where is everyone? Isn't this the busiest travel time of the year? Why did I leave myself so much time? As the TSA agent scrutinizes my I.D. and gate pass a light bulb goes off in my head, I've got a knife in my purse. I wasn't the one traveling, so why should I have remembered to take it out of my bag? I ask the agent if there is any place to leave it for an hour or so until I come back. His lengthy reply of "No" leaves me walking back to the car to drop it off. I'm not losing this knife after finally getting it back from Easter Island!

Back at security with that Deja Vu feeling. This time I make it all the way to the x-ray machines. "Excuse me ma'am, is this your bag?" (Why do they call you ma'am? It makes you feel so old.) What could they possibly be questioning in my little tote? It's only a book, newspaper and a bottle of water for my wait. "Ma'am, you can't take this bottle of water, do you want me to throw it out?" I notice he's not giving me a whole lot of other options so I say "Yes" since it's clearly the price I have to pay to get to the other side.

I finally make it to the gate with only twenty minutes to spare. With so little time, it turns out I could have left my purse, book and bottle of water in the car and saved a lot of hassle. My mother comes off the jetway beaming like a little kid; she is so excited to be here. I grab her wheel chair and begin to push, all the while wondering, how after 358 days of travel I could have been caught by security twice. My, how quickly we do forget.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I like thinking back to where I was a year ago. Not only is it an opportunity to relive a dream, it's an opportunity to think of someplace warm. I don't like the cold and having had a year of mild temperatures enables me to always think warm when reminiscing.

My thoughts often go to the obscure. Not the "big picture" of what we were doing or what we were seeing but some oddity that stands out in my mind. A year ago today we were standing in front of the Taj Mahal. You can read about that on Marty's blog from a year ago. I'm remembering Agra; home to the Taj.

We pulled into Agra on November 8th around 8:00 PM. It was dark, but not dark enough. Some places should never be seen in daylight, Agra is one of them. It was crowded, it was dirty, it was seedy, it was... We had heard it was rip-off city, we could see why. Then we arrived at our hotel. Thinking back, I'd say it was the worst of our accommodations. They handed us a pad lock key. You unlocked the pad lock and then, once in the room, you put the pad lock on the inside to lock others out, or to lock yourselves in. It was for just one night I told myself but I knew I wouldn't get much sleep with one eye open.

We wanted to be at the Taj by dawn the next day. This required us to leave all our belongs in the room until we returned to check out. I just knew that upon our return, anything of any value would be gone. The thought wasn't sitting well with me at all. Then I noticed the latch on the outside of the bathroom; ideas began to percolate. I retrieved a pad lock, purchased in Zanzibar, from the bottom of my bag. We placed all four of our suitcases and all four of our backpacks in the bathroom and then placed our pad lock on the outside of the bathroom door. Yes, you're picturing this right. We were locking all our belongings in the bathroom. Even if management had a key to the pad lock of our room, they still wouldn't be able to get into the bathroom. We left at 6:00 AM for the Taj Mahal feeling a little more at ease.

As we walked to the Taj Mahal none of us discussed the fact that we had just locked all our belongings in the bathroom; it seemed normal - we were in Agra.