Thursday, 6 August 2009

what not to do when traveling

  • Fly Air France to Buenos Aires and uncomplainingly accept, despite checking in ages in advance (and apparently before three quarters of the other passengers), that the rude and unhelpful ground-staff will have no option whatsoever but to allocate you the two rear-most seats in the plane - the ones that don’t recline.
  • Squirt liquid soap onto your hands before checking whether the taps are more than just decorative and actually dispense running water. It’s not exactly easy to wipe the sticky stuff off with tissue paper.
  • Visit a sister (Silvia’s sister) who lives in the most idyllic spot in the Andes, by a lake, surrounded by trees, mountains, and astonishing peace and quiet. I now no longer wish to return home.
  • Bring work with you (or worse still, do the work you brought with you).
  • Bring your cellphone with you (or worse still, use the thing).
  • Gain three kilos in just 11 days. I so hope the scales are wrong - but the weight gain is totally plausible.
  • Climb up a modest mountain in freshly fallen, but rapidly melting snow, forgetting that if you have to scramble up the slippery slope to reach that very special rock from which to view the condors, the way back down will most likely end, or even begin, in an uncontrollable but strangely graceful fall that will remind you of the good fortune you had in taking out health insurance.
  • Buy more clothes in the local town than you need, can use, have space for on the flight back, have space for in your closets back home, or, perhaps most importantly of all, can afford.
  • Drive. Better to let your partner drive so that you can take in the herd of huanaco, the ostriches, eagles, condors, and miscellaneous horses, cows, and goats (those that you hadn’t previously eaten at an exceptionally nice grill) that can be seen on the drive to/from the Andes.
[update: I’m only writing this entry because I today stayed in, except for a quick limp to the lake, to finish those remaining manuscripts I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I’m now officially on strike. Anyone expecting me to do anything for the journal over the next few days had better not hold their breath! And whatever work I do next week will be research-related and will not be in service of Elsevier, the journal, its employees, or their dependents. Terms and Conditions apply.]