En route

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Posted by Murrisk on February 25, 2002 at 02:00:52:

The return journey started when the earth moved for me. Literally. Two moderately strong seismic shocks rocked the bed at 6:00 A.M. – wake up call. The four hour drive across the dessert was uneventful. Too early for protesters and tire burners. Mendoza was beautiful as always with its broad streets canopied by large trees. Buenos Aires was less busy than I remember probably because of the economic crises. Amazingly, I didn’t experience any widespread outrage over the crises – it was kind of like the lack of outrage over Clinton’s actions. Football (soccer) is like a drug and seems to absorb the national interest to the exclusion of virtually everything else. Without it the economic crises would be at the forefront of everyone’s attention and things might then be different.

At the airport I was engaged in conversation by an American who insisted on pronouncing Colin Powell’s name as Colon, perhaps in recognition of his gutsy personality or his intestinal fortitude! My traveling companion to Chicago was a young red haired fellow with slicked hair attired in a black suit pants and black shoes, and a white shirt. He could have come from Burren, Achill or Murrisk. He turned out to be a Mormon returning from the ‘missions’. There was group of Mormons on the flight south – young fellows with stern faces and badges identifying them as Elder so-and-so. The group on the return flight were far less stern. No doubt they were happy to be going home but I think they had absorbed some of the ambience of the south. My companion hugged his pillow like someone leaving home rather than returning to it. I wondered if he had met a special person…… The first sign visible from the air approaching Chicago was McDonalds. At 5:00 A.M. the airport was not very busy and the people at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture were not quite sure what to do with me and several others when, at the invitation of a taped message broadcast on the PA, we identified ourselves as people who had been around livestock and might be carriers of foot and mouth. Eventually, I was told I was not a threat and was urged to be on my way. Quite different from a year ago when a gigling Chinese girl with poor English washed everyones footware and told us we all looked the same to her and she couldn't tell us apart!

My traveling companion to Vancouver was an elderly woman on oxygen support. As we crossed the international border, she confided that she will be 79 years old next Friday. She urged me never to become old and spent her waking moments monitoring her oxygen supply and reading a Harlequin novel entitled “The heir of Glen Ghyll”. It was priced at 50 cents and clearly was a favorite from years past. Vancouver was, as usual, wild with flights arriving and departing from the Orient and the trip to the island, in a Dash-8, was made in the rain. The pilot made a hard landing, the kind referred to locally as a ‘slap-dash landing’.

Sunday dawned clear, bright and frosty, with the Coast Mountains displaying a fresh new covering of snow. We went for lunch to MGM and to watch the gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S. The place was thrumming when the game was tied at 2-2 and the patrons were in ecstasy with the final score of 5-2. The nation again feels vindicated and proud, and it is good to be home. Funny how sports are important to the national psyche !!

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