I wish I had a dragon

Image by Josch13, Pixabay 

No, this is not Game of Thrones ode although Dany’s wrathful flyby of Kings Landing inspired the title and thoughts.  I have just returned from a sad transatlantic trip to Scotland for a family funeral.  It was not unexpected but somehow it is always a shock in the literal sense.  On the return trip, suffering a terrible flight with a revered south-east Asian airline, I drowned my sorrows with some unpalatable wine and wrote words on my magazine cover that conveyed how I had felt during the trip.

WRATH, GRIEF, SADNESS, REGRET, RELIEF, LONGING, THANKFULNESS, GRATITUDE, LONELINESS, RESENTMENT, AMUSEMENT, LOVE, CONNECTION, ALIENATION, BOREDOM, AFFECTION, ADMIRATION, JOY, FAMILIARITY, DISCONNECTION, HUMILITY, REFLECTION, EVOLUTION, ACCEPTANCE, IRRITATION

LOVE, LOVE AND MORE LOVE

I see my psychiatrist tomorrow and I think I will just hand him this list of words.  What will he make of it?  Such contradictions, so many emotions and counseling needed.  Funerals are such complex occasions.  Sometimes they are a celebration of a life lived well; sometimes the family gathering causes angst or the opposite.  This is not the time for me to write a memorial – my feelings are too raw.  For every kind comment there is an insensitive remark.  It has been years since my last visit to the old country and so much has changed.  I can no longer mention my country of birth, USA, with pride.  Do friends and strangers really think that the course of modern politics has been in any way influenced by me?  This is the plaque outside Glasgow’s City Halls were I graduated.  My economics lecturer was the local Communist political candidate.

The political climate is no better in the UK or Europe.  BREXIT; right wing Hungarian rule; Scottish Independence; modern day slavery in Italian fields that gives us our cheap tomatoes – to name a few. I see racism and bigotry on both sides of the pond.  As I left Glasgow airport and was waiting in the check-in line, I noticed a young woman sobbing from one end of departures to the other.  It wasn’t busy so I couldn’t figure out why someone wasn’t helping her.  Eventually she ended up close to me and I asked her what was wrong.  She was sick, had taken Nyquil the night before consequently sleeping late.  She arrived 45 minutes before her Canadian charter flight departure but no-one would help her.  I urged her to go back to the closest desks and ask someone to radio the charter representative.

Eventually I checked in and went to find her.  We were sent from pillar to post and I eventually demanded that we see a manager.  The flight had gone but at least the airline representative might be able to find the cheapest alternative to get her home.  She couldn’t call them on her Canadian phone.  I left her in chastened hands with the manager in route and the airline had been radioed.  Who knew all my Texan airport experience would have come in handy?

At my connecting airport in England, I tripped and scraped my knees despite being sober…then.  The only person who ran to my aid was one of the much maligned Eastern Europeans.  A Bulgarian cleaner who spoke very little English also helped.  On the glamorous flight back to Texas with flight attendants that resembled pretty butterflies, I had to complain about vomit blocking a sink and more dried vomit on the floor of a different toilet.  The response was a poor excuse and certainly not an abject apology which I expected.  It concerned me that they wore no aprons to serve food and inefficiently cleaned toilets throughout a 9 hour flight…and then the toilet tissue ran out.  Can you imagine my upcoming complaint form?

My words are my dragon and I wish I could burn my way through the hateful climate with live in.  I wish I could erase my memories of a sad abusive childhood.  I wish I could forgive.  I wish my self-loathing would cease.  I wish I felt more joy or even contentedness.  I wish I had a dragon.

 

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Ecuador, Mexico, Texas – The disastrous trip

My room is the whole of the ground floor with patio doors leading onto the pool.

I am a seasoned traveler but even I could hardly believe the series of unfortunate events that befell my latest trip.  Just before I stopped taking estrogen (which was making me ‘high’), I decided that I wanted one last really adventurous trip.  After checking the State Department’s website, I noted that Quito in Ecuador was now much safer for tourists.  Done!  Before I could blink a manic eye, the flight was booked and the ‘authentic’ hotel in old town Quito.  I excitedly started sharing my forthcoming trip with friends who expressed concern about the dangers and pointed out that I look very fair.  As the estrogen started leaving my body, I realized that even though Quito was safer than it had been, I might feel restricted using my camera.  Then there was the weather…Quito is cold!  It is 9000 feet above sea level which might affect the cyst in my chest.

I was able to cancel the hotel easily and was sad because the owner seemed charming and helpful.  Then I paid a change fee for United Airlines to screw me some more and give me a credit.  Almost immediately I decided to go to the safest city in Mexico – Mérida.  Mérida is in the north of the Yucatán region and very popular with expats with the cost of living, safety and good health care.  I booked the hotel through a well-known internet company.  It was another hacienda boutique hotel, close to the old part of the city.  The day before my departure, I woke up to find an email saying my hotel was not available and would I like to stay in the Ibis? “Hell no!” was my response and for the Americans, Ibis is a cheap motel chain from Europe popular with backpackers visiting the Maya ruins.  I phoned and explained that I wanted a boutique hotel.  Long story short, I cancelled everything and started with another travel company.

Hurrah! I found another lovely hotel, pictured above, and even phoned the hotel directly to explain that I was arriving on a late flight from Houston (so please don’t give my room away).  They were delightful and I was happy…briefly.  It was a full flight from Houston and the ground staff delayed our boarding because the AIR CONDITIONING WASN’T WORKING… WTF???  It was almost 100 degrees in Houston but none of us wanted to miss the one flight per day to Mérida.  Babies were screaming, we were all severely over-heated but no one said anything because the staff looked as though they were going to expire.  Finally we got off the runway and up high enough for the air-conditioning to work.  Thank goodness the flight is only 1hr and 40 minutes.

Mérida airport was wonderful!  Clean, new and friendly – including the immigration officers.  I went straight outside to the very well organized taxi service where you pay a small fee in advance to your destination – mine was about $10.  I breathed a sigh of relief as we drove from the airport.  Mérida is a beautiful city and women were walking alone on dark streets.  We shortly arrived at my hotel that had that beautiful layout of Spanish or Moroccan buildings with an interior atrium.  They offered me a gratefully received alcoholic drink and took me to my beautiful bedroom.  I was so happy…

I will continue with the series of disastrous events in future posts.