Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Bali to Bellingham

24 December 2013

Everything has its ups and downs - life is just like that.  So there are wonderful things that are involved with travelling, and this blog has been a testament to that.

There are also the downsides to travelling - the cockroach that runs across you in bed.  (Okay, so it really only ran right at me as I jumped out of bed shrieking.  It was still a big roach, in our bed.)  Not being able to buy necessary undies in your size.  Lots of paperwork and red tape.  No drinking water unless you buy it.  Little things that happen that wouldn't necessarily happen wherever your home might be, but things that are regular occurrences in the everyday lives of people in other countries throughout the world.

And then there are the major things.  Like when you find out your father is terminally ill, and didn't say anything because he didn't want you to stop travelling.  This is where I am right now.  So of course I left Bali, and flew home, and I'm now in Bellingham being helpful and supportive, taking care of my dad and giving my brother a break and taking care of whatever family members are visiting to say their final goodbyes.

There's a certain amount of peace that comes from stepping in and being helpful and supportive when needed.  Despite the emotional drama of the situation.

And of course, because this started in Bali, there is also the red tape craziness side of the situation - because when you find out that there's a family emergency, the first thing you do is book a flight home, right?  Easy with the internet.  And then, if you are me, you remember (after booking said flight) that your passport is in some bureaucratic office where the visa is being renewed - meaning your passport is not in hand - meaning you can't fly anywhere.


Okay, so a flight booked online can be cancelled online.  Except Cathay Pacific wants you to talk to an agent to get the refund credited to your account.  Ack!  I need the refund!  We call the phone number, and somehow end up with a phone sex line.  Twice!  Okay, something having to do with using a MagicJack to call an international number, or something.  So I look up the number online, we try that, it goes to some office in Hong Kong.  Next best option - take a taxi to the airport and talk to someone in person.  So I do that - but by now it's raining, I get to the airport in a monsoon deluge, I'm running around slipping and sliding on the shiny wet floor, I'm shuffled from office to office and finally sent to another building - my sweet taxi driver, who is waiting for me, drives me around and around looking for the right building, and finds the spot so I can go inside without getting drenched - finally the nice agent is able to cancel my flight and refund the money to my card.  And of course when we drive back to our hotel, the taxi is driving through such deep accumulations of water that we feel the waves smacking the sides of the car!

That's the amusing side of the tale.

The other side?  I went to the airport on Monday.  We didn't get our passports til Thursday.  I flew out Friday.  It's a long 22+ hours of flying from Bali to Vancouver BC.  It's the day of a freak snow storm and the snow has stuck, so the roads are slick and slushy.  My wonderful youngest brother has driven up to pick me up, but I don't even have a coat.  I change into my one pair of jeans in the airport restroom, and wear my one wool sweater.  Since I don't have a cell phone (because roaming international rates are insane and the only other option is to get a SIM in each country and keep topping up and then making international calls) I'm Facebook messaging back and forth with my brother to find where we're meeting up.  Yes, this is just another kind of adventure.

So I'm in Bellingham WA.  The up side is that I can shop for those bras.  The down side is that I'm here dealing with end of life issues.  That it's to say a final goodbye.  That this is not the happy Christmas visit people think it might be (despite the fact that we don't celebrate Christmas anyway).

That's the update, people.  I thought you might want to know why the blog is silent, why there aren't any updates, and why there aren't any photos.

I'll report back when there's something more to say. 

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