What to Do When Bumped From a Flight

Illustration from a Practical Traveler article in the on September 10, 2006.Oooomph! Another wheelie suitcase is bashed into your shins as the mob jockeys toward the overwhelmed attendants at the gate. They've just announced that your "red eye" home from a business trip has been canceled. That charming news after sitting in the terminal waiting for two hours because it was delayed! With your pulse skyrocketing and your hopes plummeting you jostle through the crowd while dialing your wife on your cell phone to let her know that you might not be making it home this evening.

Georgia O'Keeffe at the Shelburne Museum

Hibiscus with Plumeria, Georgia O'Keefe
Hibiscus with Plumeria, Georgia O'Keefe at the Shelburne Museum.


I love having guests, each new person gifts some new thing in the places I live ... it's always been that way and ML and Al have been no exception. Yesterday I saw Brussels in a new way. We began at the famous Atomium . You haven't heard of the Atomium well ...

Amsterdam ...

And so we returned to Belgie only to be back out on the road within 24 hours ... The 150km drive to Amsterdam turned into a 200km trip due to a closed piece of highway and a road lacking signage. We travelled about 60km without any kind of reassuring 'Amsterdam' indicators ... ahhh like Belgium, it seems the Netherlands runs light when it comes to marking the way. We arrived at the hotel and caught the train into the city.

Homesickness ...

You know when you're travelling on a flat road somewhere in the Netherlands and you look out across farmland and see a massive cloudbank where the Southern Alps would be if you were driving the Canterbury Plains back home in New Zealand ... and your heart misses a beat?

Black Forest

I forgot the Black Forest part of the journey ... perhaps it is that we covered so much ground in so few days. We travelled from the lowlands of Belgium up into the Ardennes and on through a little of France, Germany and the Netherlands in 30+o celsius heat, with the temperature staying that high until our return to Belgium last night ... it doesn't make for clear-minded thinking.

A little wandering in Europe

So, we began the journey with lunch in Vianden, Luxembourg - filling the car with the cheaper Luxembourg petrol (1.24euro per litre versus 1.43euro here in Belgium). Fuelled we headed for Strasbourg. After a night in a place best not written about we ate breakfast outdoors in an old Strasbourgian square near 'the' cathedral where our travelling companions, Mary Lou and Al, exchanged birthday gifts. A delicious moment that was...

Stats from Di's 'Road'

1 New Zealander, 1 Belgian, 1 American, 1 ex-Israeli now American 2 castles (visited) 3 cities 4 days 5 countries 6 ice creams (eaten by ML) 7 border crossings 20 castles seen from the car while travelling in the Rhine Valley (approximately) 1500 kil

Simmering Hotpots

Eating a hotpot dinner and feeling beads of sweat trickling down my back on a Taiwanese hot and humid summer night comes to mind as I reflect on family, home and food. The one perennial meal that seems to resist explanation even as light bulbs condensate from the humidity and three cold showers are taken per day is the hotpot, firepot or the "Asian fondue". Though fondues and hotpots both relish in the concept of tabletop cooking, the wine and cheese version stops short at lactose intolerant Asia.

Taksim Shoeshine Man, Istanbul

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The Taksim Shoeshine Man, Istanbul, originally uploaded by - di.

I took the prints of a series of photographs I had taken of this lovely man and although we couldn't speak, we exchanged smiles ... his surprise as I handed him the photos and my delight in surprising him.

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