The other bit of news I received over the Christmas holidays is that my father is going on his Most Excellent Adventure, part 3. I think it was four years ago that he finally lived out a long-time dream and took a month’s vacation and went to Australia. He also went to the Australian Grand Prix. Dad’s a big race car fan, so the fact he was able to get (with a bit of help from me) good seats to watch a Formula One race was a real thrill.
If there was a downside, he concluded, it was that a month really wasn’t long enough to see Australia properly.
Which is why in January 2004, he left for a three month jaunt. The first three weeks were in New Zealand, which he fell in love with. The remaining nine weeks were spent traveling around Australia.
He had a great time, met some wonderful people (Swedish nurses, for example) and got to travel to places I’ve always wanted to go. And he did in his way. Which is to say, he went by himself, with just a backpack. He traveled light and did his own thing.
He talked about doing another trip this winter, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen since he seemed to be leaving it awfully last minute. But yeah, he booked it. So on Feb. 3, he’s off to Bangkok, Thailand. His tentative plans include spending some time in the city, working his way south, living on the beach for a bit, making his way to Malaysia and then perhaps to Sumatra. Then back to Bangkok where he might make a quick jaunt to north for a week or so.
It’s all a bit flexible, at this point. Which is fine. Some vacations are ruined by over-planning. “We have to be at this place at this time or else!” Not with dad, apparently.
He’s going for seven weeks. I’m curious, and a bit concerned, about how he’s going to do on this trip. This is essentially his first foray into a non-Western culture. English is going to be spoken there, obviously, but it’s going to be a lot scarcer than in Australia. It’s also going to seem like a strange place. And I’m not exactly thrilled with him going to Sumatra. Still, I think he’ll do fine.
By the way, in case you’re wondering how my father can afford these big trips, well, he’s a letter carrier with 30-odd years of experience. So he gets lots of time off and makes pretty good money.
But more importantly, he’s spending my inheritance. I mean, I’ve ragged on him a bit for not having a will and it’s one of those things people should have. I’m his only child and he’s divorced, so odds are I would be getting it all anyway. But apparently the plan is to spend all the money before he dies.
As the saying goes “I plan on having the last check I write bounce.” This appears to be my dad’s plan. Which, y’know, good on him. Just as long as I don’t have to pay that last check.
Oh, one last thing. This is dad’s travel itinerary: St. John’s-Montreal-Los Angeles (for 24 hours)-Tokyo-Bangkok. Return: Bangkok-Tokyo-Washington D.C.-Toronto-Halifax-St. John’s.
I mention this because it’s a pretty roundabout way of getting there and it’s costing him about $1,700, which includes air fare, taxes, airport fees and lord knows what else.
For me and Cathy to have returned to St. John’s from Iqaluit for Christmas would have cost $2,100. Each. If you look on the map, we’re a wee bit closer than Bangkok.
Airlines suck. Air Canada really sucks, but in general, airlines suck.
Last 5 on iPod
1. Kate - Ben Folds Five (Whatever and Ever, Amen)
2. War - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Live: 1975-85)
3. Ahead by a century - Tragically Hip (Hipeponymous)
4. Party girl - U2 (Under a Blood Red Sky)
5. Things we said today - The Beatles (A Hard Day's Night)