Happy to report no glitches with my round-the-world tickets. Except for one flight that I found out was delayed even before I got my tickets, no problems at all.
Actually, there was one small thing that had nothing to do with my tickets. Qantas made me check my carry-on; the only airline to do that. Said it was too heavy. I hadn’t really added anything major. What I did do — at my friend Barry’s suggestion – was use these handy travel bags.
I’m wondering if rolling my clothes up into lumps actually made the carry-on heavier. Or maybe Qantas had stricter weight requirements. Who knows? They didn’t charge me. But having to wait for Vera in baggage claim slowed me down in U.S. Customs, and I barely made my connecting flight to San Diego.
Anyway, thanks to AirTreks, the San Francisco company that handled most of my travel itinerary.
Now that I’m in San Diego (where I’m staying for a few weeks) the really exotic part is over: Can pack away my passport, the copy of my passport and my Skype headphones. Darn. The thrill of spending next to nothing on Skype calls — when it worked, which was remarkably most of the time — was intoxicating. My cellphone is just so reliable.
Now, no need to be mindful about water when brushing teeth and taking showers (In truth, that problem resolved itself once I reached Australia.) Don’t have to rely on my iPhone World Clock anymore: a three-hour time difference from home is easy to remember.
BTW: After all my worries about mosquitoes and dreaded diseases abroad, I was snagged by a mozzie, as they call ’em in Australia. This time, I felt it, and looked up to see the bugger sitting on my arm, seemingly sneering at me.
I’d long since left my designer mosquito repellant wipes purchased at the chichi outdoors store behind at the retreat in India, thinking they’d be greatly appreciated by those who found them.
The point being, things can happen anywhere. You do what you can, then fugedabowdit.
Anyway, back to reality. Back to being an American.
The return was a bit of a jolt. I’d been immersed in parts of the world where America was often seen as the center of the universe culturally, but not politically. I hadn’t experienced that since I produced TV news in Australia a long time ago. It was a refreshing perspective.
It was interesting to watch the news in India and Australia. And to see American events still dominating. Like Obama meeting with Queen Elizabeth in London on the BBC, which to the best of my knowledge no one was attempting to defund. Or awful floods and tornadoes. Devastating, sure. But enough to lead the news in other countries? Yes, I was told. Because it’s America.
In Australia, we had discussions about things like health care. I was told Australia spends the equivalent of America’s defense budget on social services. That if you want your choice of doctors you can go private, but the public care is just fine. And no one has to worry about being without. Sure, taxes may be more. But my Australian friend says it’s worth it.
Reporter that I’ve always been, I’m not taking sides; just taking notes. Just putting it out there.