Saturday, December 28, 2013

Back Among the Florida Ferns

Well, that may have been the most convoluted single day of travel I've ever had. From a rainy, windy train platform in rural England to my father's guest bedroom in suburban Florida, in the span of 22 hours -- by car, train, taxi, another train, airplane, another airplane, and another taxi.

When I write it like that it doesn't sound all that interesting, but it boggles my mind what we can do nowadays, with these newfangled inventions called aeroplanes.

Not that it was exactly easy! We got off to a rough start at 5 a.m. yesterday morning when the foul weather in England delayed our departure from Norfolk. And it was foul -- gusty wind-driven spatters of cold rain that made Olga put her tail between her legs, shiver and whine, which she never does. The first two trains of the day were cancelled, and I was starting to panic inwardly as Dave explored alternative options, like hiring a car to take us back to London. (I wasn't thrilled with that, because if the trains weren't running could you imagine the traffic?) But then a train magically appeared, and once onboard Olga climbed onto our laps, buried her face in a towel and refused to move for the next two hours.

Once back in London, I found that trains to Heathrow were all delayed by a construction project running past schedule. (Railroad official: "Yes, let's do a construction project during the busiest travel period of the year! Brilliant!") But then, once again magically, the Heathrow Express began running and I got to the airport with time to spare. (This is all testament to the wisdom of starting any trip very early.)

The flights themselves were uneventful. I sat with a rugby player from a British university on my transatlantic flight, and though I couldn't talk about rugby at all, he was a nice guy and I certainly enjoyed the view.

I changed planes in Chicago -- where I ate a Red Delicious apple, which tasted heavenly after airplane food -- and then listened to my iPod all the way to Tampa, next to a woman who was reading a book about Murakami (or maybe it was by Murakami). By this time I had entered that weird, foggy state of travel numbness in which hours pass without really registering. I collected my bag, which miraculously arrived with me, and got a $60 taxi ride (!) to my dad's.

And here I am, typing away in the pre-dawn darkness after five hours of sleep, because while here it's 5:30 in the morning, to me it's 10:30 and I never sleep that late.

(Top photo: My dad's backyard. Fern-o-rama!)


  1. poor Olga! happy you are back in the States and able to visit with your family.
    enjoy and Happy New Year!

  2. Well, welcome back! It is just so bizarre how far we can travel in a day. Honestly, I don't think my brain handles that sort of thing very well.
    I hope all is well with your dad and that you can enjoy your time with your family.

  3. Nice to think of you on the same continent. I am always so relieved once I actually arrive. Enjoy your family visit. I head to Jamaica to see my mom in just a few days.

  4. I thought about you yesterday and wondered how the trip was going. Those last few hours are the killer. I find myself squirming in my seat. I wish they would hurry up and invent that beaming thing from Star Trek. That would be so much easier as long as you were assembled correctly at the other end. :-)
    Have a nice visit in Florida.

  5. "man was not meant to fly" always comes to mind when traveling...What a journey and how lucky for you! Your Dad's back yard (?) looks heavenly, I'll bet you could find some interesting bugs in there. Olga is so my kind of person, I am going to follow her lead and always travel with a towel for my head. Good sense, that pooch!

  6. Whew! Glad you made it!

    You had to fly to Chicago? That just seems wrong.

  7. The thought of you traveling to Chicago from England and then down to Florida makes my head spin! Welcome to the U S of A, and I hope your visit with your father is a good one --

  8. I would hate a long travel day like that. fern-o-rama is right! I guess your dad doesn't like to mow grass.