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December 13, 2006



Bon voyage et joyeux Noel, T&F. I'm envious of your ability to plan such out-of-the-ordinary trips.

But, for the record, the cricket picture is actually of me scoring my maiden double-century against the West Indies at Edgbaston in 1968.


May Montreal, Quebec and New York be a magical trip for you two this year. Happy Birthday!

nunu's mum

Wow, half a century! (I'm not rubbing it in!=)

Happy happy birthday Torn!

Sounds like a fantastic plan for a trip/celebration...

'Le Chaim' ...as the Jews would say...*chink*!


Have a great trip first...

Will sing 'Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her' on your birthday.


Happy 50th Torn! And Happy Christmas to you and Frayed, too -- wherever you both may be then. Enjoy your holiday travels, and keep warm (especially Frayed, who needs all the extra layers she can carry). :)


Cogs -- let me dispel your envy in three easy steps.

Step 1. Detroit--JFK flight cancelled as we are taxiing to runway. The next 11 gruelling hours are spent queuing, debating with Northwest ground crew, more queuing, telephoning hotels in Canada and the States, breathing fetid airport air, more queuing, and flying to Newark New Jersey (not on the original itinerary). We crawled into our stained and crumpled bed at the Days Hotel at 1 am. For this night's accommodation we paid over $250, since the Montreal hotel refused to cancel our booking. Oh, one more thing -- no bags. Unlike us, they were in JFK.

Step 2. We made it to Montreal 48 hours after leaving Manila. It is dark, cold and raining. We spent the day buying toothbrushes and underwear. Tonight, instead of sampling the bars and nightlife that were the main reason for coming here, we stayed in our hotel eating humous sandwiches and waiting for our bags to arrive. Which they never did. The chances of their ever doing so is fading into the incompetent human fog that surrounds the expensive technology that no-one in American airports seems to be able to work properly.

Step 3. What's in these bags? Well, among other things a 500 pound watch, a birthday present from my Aunty for me to open on my birthday. US airlines now require you leave your bags *unlocked* when you check them in. So we now have two unlocked suitcases floating around god knows where in the bowels of some East coast airport. And the suitcase itself? Well mine is a nice expensive Samsonite --I know that because I bought it the night before we left.

Step 4. I know I said there were only three steps but I do have to observe that the gentleman next to me in this internet cafe has just let off and enormous evil-smelling fart.

Has that done the business on your envy?


Happy Birthday!

What a way to celebrate! Also one of my faorite tom Waits songs yopu must pick up the three disk set Orphans while you are here in the US becaus eit might be hard to find in Manila - has Tower closed there as well?
The East Coast is experiencing mild weather right now - so you won't freeze - I'd like to say this Indian Summer/Spring is unusual but the last couple of years have been mostly pretty mild - barely noticed last winter - global warming is in effect.
Montreal might be a crisper though.
I hope to see you if you come to DC - the offer still stands if you need a place to crash - you may well be the last guests at Casa Skunkeye since I'm hell-bent on relocating to Baltimore!
I'll be in NC at the Beach House from 25 - 31 December as always so i hope I don't miss you and Frayed!!!!


Hi Skunkeye -- thanks for that! We'll e-mail you separately about our DC plans but they will definitely involve catching up with you if we possibly can.

The news on the bags is not good. Two days after my last message, they still have not arrived. It's not not the lack of clothes and toiletries that really bothers me (actually being without any possessions for a few days is quite liberating), nor is it the hundreds of dollars we are spending on clothes we do not need. It is the four to five telephone calls a day, battling with a completely useless automated answering system, the sullen telephone operators we eventually get through to, the complete inability of anyone to update the information on the system, and the sickening realization that, after four days with us in Montreal and our luggage in New York, when we fly out of here tomorrow we will experience exactly the opposite state of affairs. Sigh ...



You have merely compounded my jealousy. When it comes to out-of-the-ordinary holidays, you are No. 1, followed (not very closely, it would appear) by your bags.

I think you can say goodbye to your luggage. We went through something similar in Toronto two years ago -- but caused in our case by our panic to get a connecting flight to Hong Kong, leading us to take the wrong bag from the carousel (same make, same colour, same size, but with a white ribbon when ours was silver). We never saw our bag again, but when we got back home, we returned to a gentleman in Madrid the bag we had taken by mistake. He got his dirty laundry back, but we never saw our cameras again.


We got one bag back after 4 days (only after discovering it on a carousel at Montreal airport on our way out of Canada) -- the other one was delivered yesterday. I can;t tell you how much energy and stress was wasted in calls and arguments with the unbelievably unhelpful Northwest "luggage irregularity service".

I would rather stick a needle in my eye than travel Northwest again...


Well, Northwest has always sucked, from the crap meals to the unfriendly staff. I stopped booking on Northwest about 15 years ago.

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