Thursday, April 19, 2012

Traveling Considerations

                                              Being Creative About Traveling

Getting ready for a trip always has some moments of decision. Getting ready for a long trip adds to the stress of deciding about  things to take. Getting ready for a very long trip to the opposite weather conditions adds may just add a great deal of stress. Yes, we are going back to Australia and it is approaching winter down there.
      Some of you will remember that I was in Broken Hill, Australia when Oklahoma was going through its record breaking heat. I sent back messages about shivering and the cold and I never received any responses that were kind and sympathetic. The only messages I received were more of a “shut-up!” mode and some hinted at ... well, we shall not go there.
      Yes, I knew it was winter there but Broken Hill is in the desert region and should not have been bone chilling cold. It should have been just medium cold. As you have guessed, I survived and learned a valuable lesson. Never trust the internet to provide useful information about weather - or politics. After about a week the weather turned Oklahoma proud and I could sit in the sun and enjoy my cuppa whilst reading a novel. We Aussies do that a lot.
      Now that the airlines know they can gouge you for almost everything, packing has become an art form. The weight of a bag has a great deal to do with your travel. Traveling internationally will allow one to carry on heavier pieces and to ship two pieces of luggage. In economy, the weight limit is 50 pounds. Now that sounds like a great deal but if you are doing international travel you may expect to take more than one change of clothes. Add in all the “stuff” the average woman needs for her up keeping and you can see the limit can be reached in a hurry.
      Sure, you are correct that you can take two bags internationally, but how would you plan on handling 100 pounds of luggage plus your carry on plus all the papers you need. I have been in air ports, uhh, excuse me, “terminals” in several different countries and almost all of them do not give a flip about your convenience. The terminal people are much more interested in having a good shopping area for you to pay 50% more to get hospital gift shop quality junk. The international terminal in Sydney is a case in point.
      After you arrive, you must go about eleventeen kilometers to get to the processing centre. Its official name is “customs” and you need to be able to follow the herd to find it. You should pick out someone who acts/looks as though they have been there before and try to keep up with them. Aussies do not do signage very well. Then there is the problem of getting to your next flight after you finally get through customs.  Sometimes you may have time to get you bag from the luggage place and still get through customs without having heart pounding stress trying to catch your next flight.
      “Ah,” you say, “but modern luggage is easy to handle. The pieces have those wheels that turn and allow you to go about anywhere.” My answer is, fifty pounds weighs fifty pounds no matter what container it is in. If all you had to do was pull it along, then that would be great. But do not expect a genii to appear at the counter and lift you bags onto the scales nor off the carousel when you claim it.. And do not think that all airline employees are from Canada and are friendly and courteous. Somewhere you will meet up with Hilda the Hun and she will do a number on you. You will learn to smile through the tears of frustration.
      Here in the USA we have surrendered most of our personal rights to the security laws. The people dressed in those uniforms can treat you in a manner that was totally inappropriate not too long ago. I have been patted down by more men than I ever thought would happen to me when I was growing up. I left a handkerchief in my pocket once and had a 10 minute investigation. One other time I must have moved during the Xray process as i got to go through the patting again. If I were of the proper mindset I might enjoy that but having a man run his hands up and down and patting me places is not my idea of a good way to start a vacation.
      Ah, but then we get to do it all over for the trip home

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