Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee it's good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I'm back in the good old USA
You don't know how lucky you are boy
Back, back in the USA.
(Adapted from the Beatles)
We’re back home in Moab and have resumed our normal lives. It was a long trip from Leran to Moab and it makes me think of how easy it is for some of our friends to take a flight from cities in England to Carcassonne. Our trip was a little more complicated.
Jo Heritage took us to the airport in Toulouse and we deposited Fergus into his "niche" at the counter. He was not too excited abut crawling into his dungeon, but I think, this time, he knew we would pick him up at the other end.
We were virtually the last to board the flight and I soon found that Nancy’s arranging bulkhead seats for us to accommodate my bad knee had backfired. The bulkhead seats on the European Airbus were 16" wide and didn’t have movable armrests. I barely fit into the seat and I groaned at the thought of eight hours with my butt wedged into a bucket. The nice folks at Air Transat gave me the last club class seat available and I flew in relative comfort with free wine and extra service. But free wine at 9:30 in the morning is not that big of a plus. Nancy remained back in the cattle-car class eating plastic cheese sandwiches.
We flew into Montreal, picked up Fergus and breezed through Canadian customs. We drove a rental towards Burlington, Vermont. Our niece, Anna who is just completing her PhD/MD at the University of Vermont was on a shift that wouldn’t get her home till 8:00 the following morning. We were jet lagged and crashed into bed after watching some good old American Football. Naturally, we were still on European time and were wide awake at 2:00 am. We couldn’t wait for Anna to get home and so we set off to return the rental car and head west, towards Utah, at about 2:45 am in pitch blackness. We stopped for the night outside of Erie, Pennsylvania, then east of Des Moines, Iowa and then Denver where we stayed with my family.
We are back in the land of the large. Everything is bigger in America. Our British friend Billy makes fun of that statement, but it’s true. The roads are wider, the cars are bigger, houses are mini-castles. The grocery stores are cavernous and the onions are grandiose. They serve huge platters of food in the restaurants, the beds in the motels are king size, the bathrooms are luxurious. The people are bigger (I’m proof of that). The airline seats are wider. The distances are greater. American miles are longer than the French kilometers. You get the idea. It’s not necessarily good, but it’s true.
It was nice to be able to listen to the radio and understand not just some, but every word. NPR is pretty easy to find most places. Presidential politics dominated the airwaves on radio and television. But American television news is probably the world’s greatest disappointment after Wonder Bread. Would it kill them to actually talk about the issues for a change?
Bien sur, it’s good to be home, but we already miss Leran. Nancy resumes her job at Wabi Sabi and I go back to the hardware store and it’s like we’ve never been gone.