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Friday, September 6, 2013

Culture Shock and Re-Shock

Culture Shock and Re-shock

I’ve been back from Tanzania, Africa for a week now and I’m just now starting to feel good again.  The combination of long flights, traveler’s diarrhea, lack of sleep, and multiple customs checks had me leaving half empty water bottles here, there and everywhere throughout the airports.

After two weeks on safari dealing with tear-it-yourself toilet paper in a wide variety and qualities of privies, in the Amsterdam’s Schipol airport bathroom when toilet paper separated evenly I was surprised.

A stern woman’s voice came over the loudspeakers repeatedly giving travelers’ name and saying in a cold tome of voice, “You are delaying the departure of your flight.  If you do not arrive at the gate within two minutes, your baggage will be removed and the flight will depart without you.”
Throughout the eight-hour flight to Minneapolis babies screamed in surround sound all through the plane.  I finally decided it must be Take Your Screaming baby out of the Country Day in the Netherlands.  I have never been on a flight with so many upset infants. Note: The two babies closest to Judy and me were adorable and sweet-tempered. 

In Minneapolis, Judy and I got through yet another customs easily.  While waiting for our friends who traveled with us, I felt (another) urgent need to find a bathroom.  Moving quickly I did not pay close attention to my surroundings.  When I tried to find my way back to the Caribou Coffee where Judy was waiting I discovered I was lost. It was like being at the hub of a wagon wheel. I stopped at an information booth and asked for the closest Caribou Coffee.  I went where I was directed and nothing looked familiar.  I returned to the information booth where I learned there were Caribou Coffee stores in every possible direction.  When I asked for the one just outside the international passengers arrival spot I got the directions I needed.

It was hotter in Minneapolis (at least 100 degrees) than it had been the entire time I had been in Africa.
In Amsterdam, Judy, my friends and I had been chatting with a young man from Kenya who traveling to Minneapolis, MN to start a graduate program.    We warned him about how cold it got there.  We joked that after he arrived to find temperatures in the three digits, he wouldn’t believe anything we said to him. 

In keeping the plane to Kansas City at a reasonable temperature, mist was pouring out of air vents.  It looked like tule fog rising in the Central Valley of California.

Once home we slept for fourteen hours.

PS: Thanks to WWK writers for catching the errors I was too time lagged, no plane lagged?,not quite, jet-lagged to see.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Travel is wonderful but also taxing. Hope you feel back to normal soon.

Alice Duncan said...

Yikes, Warren! I've always wanted to take an African safari-type trip, but now I'm not so sure. As for the screaming-baby thing, it was only Janet Evanovich's FOUR TO SCORE that saved the shrieking child behind me on an airplane from death by me. Which means she probably saved my life, too.

Kara Cerise said...

Vacations are wonderful but the actual travel involved can be exhausting. I’m glad you are mostly recovered from your trip. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in Tanzania, Warren.

Jim Jackson said...

We love traveling -- slowly -- by auto on blue highways whenever possible. Doesn't work so well with Tanzania, though.

Welcome back.

~ Jim

Linda Rodriguez said...

Welcome back, Warren!

the older I get (and the more things I have wrong with me physically), the harder travel gets on me. Air travel especially has become incredibly miserable--shrinking seats and leg room and service during flight, the struggle with aggressive travelers to get seated or off the plane, invasive security procedures with long lines, and the airports which have become small cities with your next flight inevitably at the other end of the city.

We can drive incredible distances for days, and I'll need some time to rest afterward, but never as much time as even a fairly short flight requires. No wonder you were discombobulated!

Shari Randall said...

Welcome back - can't wait to hear about your safari adventure!

Anonymous said...

We went to Tanzania a few years ago, and had a wonderful time! We flew Emirate Air to Dubai and then to Dar es Salaam, which I would recommend to anyone. The service & food (and limitless alcohol! A surprise for a Muslin airline) was wonderful, fine restaurant quality, and the seats so much bigger than on American airlines.

We sent most of our time in Ruaha, staying in a safari lodge & then visiting Iringa. After we left Dar es Salaam, we didn't encounter any English-speaking people outside our group, and only once did we see another Safari vehicle. We had Masai guards stationed in the camp because there were leopards roaming in the camp (we heard them cough right outside our banda)

We finished up the trip with a relaxing stay at a resort on the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar, so we weren't exhausted when we got back.

It's a trip worth taking, as I'm sure you'll agree once you get back to normal!

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome back, Warren. Airline trips as long as the ones you took can be quite exhausting. When you're totally rested up, I hope to hear more about your safari trip.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're safely back, Warren. Like the rest of your fans, I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Tanzania. Meanwhile, rest up and take good care of yourself and spouse.

-- Jean