Wednesday, August 20, 2003

In The Lapdog Of Luxury

Just a quick in-transit blog while Darcie and Willow nap upstairs in the Four Seasons Vancouver; it's about 6:20 here, a good 14 hours off Dhaka time, and we've got dinner at 7 with mom's cousin Kathy and her family, so I can't type for long.

The nuts and bolts:

Henry and I managed the flight from Dhaka-London and London-Boston with little problem. I was so exhausted after two hours sleep the night beofre that I slept the first four hours of the first flight. Spent most of the second flight comparing travel and culture-shock notes with a nice young lady in the next seat over who had just returned from a two-month retreat in Armenia.

Arrived at Logan a few minutes early but got stopped by too many customs agents trying to get through baggage claim -- perhaps it's the long hair, or the fact that both my bags landed on the carousel right on top of each other; grabbing them all-at-once and then taking off must have looked suspicious. Tearful reunion with family just outside the security gates was well worth the customs trouble, and Willow's leap into my arms was worth the whole flight.

Back to my parent's home for a two hour sleep shift and then up again at 4 a.m. for another airport, another flight. We met up with Jesse in Chigago and went on to Vancouver; everyone slept in the plane but me.

Checked into the Four Seasons by noon and went out for a trolley tour, about two hours round the city. I kept falling asleep against the window -- being up for 70 hours with only two 2-hour naps in there can do that to you -- but managed to stay awake through the all-imported chinese garden at the penultimate stop, and then through dinner at a verynice restaurant afterwards (oxtail tarts and duck with figs) before cabbing it back with Darcie and Willow to crash for about nine hours.

Talk about culture shock: Vancouver's nothing like Dhaka. Instead, it's an ocean-side valley city of narrow glass skyscrapers surrounded by the highest mountains I've ever seen; seaplanes fly overhead near the wharf, and we've seen only a dozen or so beggars, all hippies. There are over fifty Starbucks in a province of less than 3 million, a tenth the total population of this vast but sparsely populated country. The main shopping street looks like Rodeo Drive, and gets almost as many visitors every day.

I think I preferred Dhaka for what it offered, and miss home too much to appreciate this town for what it's got.

But we're managing, mostly by toursiting around town while we wait for the boat trip to begin. Went to the aquarium and petting zoo at Stanley Park this morning, and for another fine meal afterwards at the park pavilion, before the rest of the family -- siblings and parents -- headed off for city wandering while Darcie and Willow and I came back for the baby's naptime. The hotel lies over an underground mall, so I've been shopping and people-watching for an hour or so: bought a new caribiner watch, a wonderful and hard-to-find fave of mine (the batteries can't be bought, so you have to buy a new ten-dollar watch every four months, but hardly anyone carries them), and diapers for the baby but no sunglasses; right now I'm in an Internet cafe inside a drugstore, signing off.

We're here 'til tomorrow noon and then on the cruise ship up the lower Alaskan coast for a week -- rumor has it 'net access is 4$ a minute on ship, so probably not much blogging (if any) from there. Remember I love you all, especially some of you (and you know who you are), even if there's no time to email...and after a hoped-for blog tonight, I'll be back in a week.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:45 PM |

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