— Stephanie Klein … Good life advice.
— Stephanie Klein … Good life advice.
My favorite magazine in the world, Good Magazine is;
1. Printed on recycled paper
2. Has really insightful and well written articles about topics that actually matter
3. you get invites to some of the raddest parties around the country with a subscription (usually with an open bar involved)
4. The best part, 1 year costs 20….which also happens to be the amount they give to the charity of your choice. Its a win win for everyone and you still have a mag to grace your coffee table with.
and we did!
In order to get my dad to run with me last year, I challenged him to a half marathon, and we finally ran it together yesterday. It helped that his company sponsored it and basically saved him a spot since it sold out a few days after registration opened back in June. All in all it was a lot of fun and I didn’t start to get tired till mile 10 or so (basically what I was used to running). Unfortunately my knees seem to be what I inherited from my dad and although I wasn’t tired during the race, my knees started breaking down by the second or third mile. Albeit several aspirin, an ice bath and a massage later I was still wobbly post race.
It was a slightly emotional race. Yesterday was 6 months to the date that Jordan died and one of the last major things she did before she died was train for and run a marathon. I would love to run a marathon in memory of her on the 1 year anniversary. Anyone know of marathons happening June 2009?
Since I no longer am living abroad I still read the blogs of friends who are. Constance always has fun, exciting, and thought provoking posts, but this one was well, lovely. Since one of my most despised holidays is quickly approaching I thought this was appropriate. If anyone still reads this and feel so inclined as to add to the site, you can email “loves” to the following email address; email@example.com
Oh and I have Valentines day plans this year, yes that would be plans for the date otherwise known as 2/14/09. Former President Bill Clinton, myself and a few other “groupies” will be discussing energy. 🙂
While continuing the begruding and thankless task of research I came across the most exciting book today. I can’t believe that I hadn’t found this before. The title of the book is “Public Transport in Developing Countries” by Richard Lles. I love the part that describes nearly down to a T the ordeal of transportation in developing countries. As a connoisseur of all things public transportation, this book describes a generic scene of the chaos that IS developing countries, while still remaining applicable to each country you could apply the ancedotes to.
If anyone is interested in a glimpse of the book it can be found here.
With time as the major constraint we realized that we would not be able to see the symphony in Vienna and opted to go to the one on Ljubljana instead. The Slovenian National Philharmonic blew me away. From the building and atmosphere, to the quality of the music, the whole performance far surpassed my expectations. Sitting in the pit and watching the bows move in unison was incredible. In fact, I had not expected much of Slovenia and the whole city has far surpassed expectations. Like stated previously, it is glaringly obvious which countries have that EU membership and which are trying desperately to gain a place. I guess the same could be said of NATO, which Slovenia is also a member of.
Funny story though at the train station in Ljubljana. We tried to buy a bed on the Ljubljana to Vienna train fully realizing that there were two legs and that the first one was only an hour and a half and the second about 4 hours. The woman at the ticket counter told us no. Really? Despite Ben’s many attempts she refused to sell him a bed for only an hr.
Older woman: “What you want a bed for, es only von hour. It costs 23 euros. No good deal.”
Ben: “yes, I would like to pay 23 euros for one hour”
woman: “NO, you don’t do it. I say no.”
yet another night of no sleep….
So I left Croatia (non-EU) this morning on the way to Slovenia (EU as of 2004) and on the train we plopped down in the first cabin we got to. A few minutes later I noticed luggage above my head and not a minute later a guy who looked (and dressed) like either a hit man or like someone you just don’t mess with walked in. He immediately said to me, ‘you’re in my seat.’ I had no intention of moving and hadn’t really assessed the situation before retorting with, ‘nope, I want to sit next to the window.’ He replied that it was his seat and started to argue, then shut up. To mitigate the steam that seemed to be imminenting off this guy I tried to talk to him. He gave me his life story about his life in Serbia and told me he was on a “business trip” to Slovenia. It was a little fishy till customs boarded and kind of gave him a hard time with his Croatian passport.
Yep, a Croatian passport, I smell fish indeed.
This article in the NY Times caught my eye for two reasons. First of all the mention of India, but moreover the area mentioned was the area I worked in. The city of Gurgon has really sprung up in the past 10 years as more and more multinational companies move to India. The city is really unbelievable with the mega malls and high rise buildings that keep popping up. It is like a mini America, one that has taken on all of the traits that make us inefficient both in time and energy consumption.
Going to work everyday there is a toll booth that separates the state of Delhi from Haryana just south of it. One thing that Indians don’t have down yet is waiting in line. They play a terrifying game of chicken with each other every morning and afternoon at the toll booths as each car tries to push the others out of the lanes. There are malls but they don’t really know what to do with them and then there are these high rise buildings, but getting there is impossible because there is no public transit that feeds this area. They didn’t think about the consequences of fitting a large number of people into a small area and not planning for the traffic that comes with this. There is no good way for people to take a public form of transit to the cluster of high rise buildings that now embody Gurgon and the roads are much too small for everyone to drive. This is further compounded by 9-5pm workdays that are neither staggered nor do they allow people to work from home, which would help both pollution and congestion problems as well as make people more efficient with their day.
So although the article shows companies continuing to outsource and move jobs abroad, they are brewing what looks to be a perfect storm. This could be a good thing though, because maybe India will start to change their work mentality as well as think about infrastructure before they just start to build.
Hello my lover! It has been 10 years, I know, but I am back. Not for long, je suis desole, but all the same.
After a rather disappointing plane ride from New Delhi to Paris in l’affaires class on Air France (the food and entertainment left much to be desired) I am in Paris and I could not stop smiling. The “Sarkozy” tax to leave the airport was rather steep, but I bit the bullet and hopped on the metro to le centre de ville. I had planned to sit outside by the tour d’Eiffel and eat my long awaited crepe, instead I met a girl who was also living abroad and on a layover with the same mission. I was convinced to come to le Champs Elysees to spend my day. It was 6am when the plane touched down and I swear I thought that they were kidding when they announced that it was 12 degrees C outside. Quite chilly and overcast for August, et je suis un peu triste que je n’ai pas le sol avec moi ici. The metro ride was quick and painless and I am killing time en un café waiting for everything to open. On the metro to get into town I kept getting confused and tried to speak Hindi when I meant to speak in French. True to form for the most populated country in the world I received a response from the boy next to me in Hindi. I think having to speak in French last week was a good refresher and I remember much more than I previously thought. Give it a week or two et je vais parler le Francaise tout le temp sans aider.
The last time I was on le Champs Elysees I was living in Europe and missed ‘American’ food so much that I came here to eat some sub par Mexican food at a Chili’s. Cette fois non! I have already decided that today calories don’t count and had a croissant the size of my face stuffed with apricots and un café pour ma petit dejeuner.
I am also astonished that everything is so clean. I got quite accustomed to dodging the multitude of traps on the streets of Delhi and the filth that I could practically sleep here on the street (although I won’t, promise). I have a full 7 hours to kill and a limited budget since no money changing places are even open yet.
I walked around the small streets around the Champ Elysees for several hours. Every few blocks someone would ask me if I was lost. Maybe wanted to get lost, then again later on that day when I realized that I had miscalculated the time and had to sprint to the nearest metro I slightly regretted that decision. I guess I didn’t appreciate Paris before, not like now. Then again it could be because it was so dramatically different than New Delhi that it was refreshing and hence the love. I did get a crepe, not a good one though. You would not believe how hard it was to find a crepe in that area of town and when I finally did it was disappointing. It was at a pub and it was a reheated crepe and they didn’t have that many options for crepes, certainly not the chocolate banana one that I was craving.
It was while lost/meandering on a side street that I realized that my math was slightly off and my flight was going to leave in just over an hour. Go go gadget feet. I found A metro station, even if it wasn’t the one that I had hoped for and headed back to CDG in what felt like record time. I made it with just enough time to run to the presidents club for a snack and oh a few glasses of Champagne before the last leg of the flight. This one was much better as my movies worked, the food was amazing and the service wasn’t oh, je ne sais pas…. ‘French’ (i.e. they weren’t short with me for asking questions)!
So after the huge lunch on Friday, I met Naitra and decided to make a quick trip to Jew town, located on the other side of the island from Ft. Cochin, about a 30-40 minute walk. The lonely planet guide said that the synagogue was open on Friday. I should have known better and arrived to find a sign that said open Sun-Thurs. Luckily as I was sitting in front of the synagogue contemplating my next move I saw a family asking about services that night and the next morning. They were told that they open up at 6:15 in anticipation of a 6:30 service. Unfortunately the three Jews from Cochin who looked to be in their 70’s or 80’s were not enough to make a minyan. I worked to rally the troops and any Jewish family I saw I made sure that they knew about services that night. I bought a Kashmeire dress, since cut off shorts were not going to be ok and it looked like I was wearing a silk full length trash bag, really. The service was really nice, all 15 minutes of it and there were over 30 people who showed up. Of those just over half counted toward the minyan. I befriended two guys I met after services who were religious and we met up with Naitra and her friends at a local coffee shop. The catch was that we had to walk the length of the island because they don’t take taxis on Shabbat.
The next day I had planned on taking a ferry ride to see the other islands. I didn’t get too far as the ferry that launched from Ft. Cochin went to the next island over and that was the extent of the ferry ride. It took all of about 10 minutes to go from one side to the other and left me a lot of time to kill. Somehow while taking pictures of the Chinese fishing nets I befriended a group of fisherman. They took my camera and handed me a rope. Those nets are really heavy and you really do need about 6-7 strong men to lift it up and out of the water. The catch was not great as it turned out to be the off-season for fishing. They did pull up some fish I had never seen before including a helicopter fish and a few others that were notable.
I had just enough time for a quick lunch before rushing off to the airport to catch my flight back to Delhi. Up until this point I was carefree and quite enjoying being down south where the weather, food and people were closer to what I am accustomed to in Texas.
Naitra’s mom injured her knee and wasn’t able to drive me back to the airport, so she suggested that I take the bus to a certain point and then a rickshaw the rest of the way to the airport. The bus was suppose to take about an hour to an hour and a half when I woke up (I feel asleep on the bus from pure exhaustion) about 2 hours later and was still on the bus. Looking at my watch I realized that it was nearing 5pm and I was going to miss my 5:30 flight if I stayed on the bus, no bueno. At 30 minutes prior to the flights they don’t let anyone check in anymore and you lose the value of the ticket. After an insane rickshaw ride I arrived at the airport with less than 35 minutes till the flight running through the lobby bags flying. I was convinced that I was in the clear till the woman asked for my credit card I used to pay for the ticket. Not really reading instructions I had left that card at home. Turns out that without the card there was no way in hell I was going to get on that flight, even with my passport. I was not sleeping in the airport, not in India at least. I had to cash in every last emergency travelers check I had on me at the lowest rate possible and purchase a whole new ticket with about 10 minutes till the plane took off. The funny thing is that if i knew that I could have showed up at the airport 30 min before the flight and just purchased a ticket in cash 10 min before the flight left, well, I would have.
I did finally make it back to Delhi and walked into the flat to find that it was sweltering, none of the roommates were there anymore and I had no lights. Nice! Nothing would turn on and when I called the contact for the flat I got a, well not our problem. Good thing I’ve figured out how to annoy them and make myself intolerable till I get what I want. I don’t think that it is too much to ask to have lights and electricity when getting home from a long day of travel, then again I could just be high maintenance.
Alleppay was really much closer to Cochin than I thought and although the bus ride was suppose to be just under 2 hours, the driver got us there much faster. Due to the ‘unique’ driving style I was wide awake without my morning coffee. I found a cute place in Alleppay and chose it based on the fact that they had free bicycles, SOLD! The place was quaint and well hidden so it was quiet and a world away from Delhi. I found that biking around I got a ton of stares and it was one of those moments that I have to step back and reevaluate the situation from a local perspective. As a westerner riding a bike was very much NOT taboo, but I realized that not only were there no other females on bikes, but that most of them were completely covered, meaning I was in a Muslim area. The previous three months I might have covered to fit in, at this point I decided that I was on vacation and not going to play by those rules anymore. I used to ride my bike through Europe on weekend rides and in S. America through the Andes and into the rain forest, usually just hitch hiking to get back. The island was not big enough for a long ride but I realized how much I missed biking. I decided that I am getting one when I get back.
While biking I found an ayurvedic center with a woman who convinced me to get a massage. Although Kerela is known for their massages I was disappointed with the one I got. With only the ayurvedic massage I got in Jaipur to compare it to this massage was firmly in second place of the two. It was also slightly awkward, since with this type of massage you are on a wooden board with a small moat around you and completely naked. Afterward you are given a bath to get all the oil off and the woman after this massage washed me from head to toe, something I have not experienced since I was about 4 years old.
The one thing that I was looking forward to was traditional Kerelan prepared fish, which is fish steamed in a banana leaf. This ended up being fruitless. It apparently didn’t exist there at all, and moreover getting a good piece of fish was next to impossible. One would think that a village that is completely surrounded by water would have good fish, right?
After a lackluster lunch I reserved a paddle boat and a ‘boatman’ to take me through the backwaters. When I got to the boat there was a French couple already there who claimed that they had been promised the boat for the afternoon. Note that this whole conversation occurred in French and I then had to negotiate with the group of Indians who had gathered to see what we would do, not really knowing which was the owner. It was back in forth between Mayalam, English and French. Even though some things got lost in translation we finally negotiated a price and time. Conversation was slightly awkward as my French was really rusty and needed some work. Overall the couple was cute and had kids my age. We hopped out of the boat to take pictures at a rice field (and since the state is communist each family had a plot that they farmed). The only picture of me I have from this trip is in front of the field.
The boat ride was nice and the scenery tells the story better than words can describe the peaceful waterways:
Fun fact: The Indian state of Kerela is the first voluntarily elected communist government and has the highest literacy rate of any state in India (91%).
Leaving Alleppay the next day I realized that it was Indian Independence day, which is really not celebrated the same as Independence day in the states. Since India is still technically a new state and there is quite a bit of contention from their neighbors (Pakistan, Bangladesh, China). Independence day here is usually marked by terrorist attacks and a speech by the prime minister. Other than that school children often have parades and ceremonies at school. I snapped a school yard having Independence day exercises and the kids dressed up in their uniforms and other than that the day was uneventful.
Still wanting some good fish the first thing I did when I got back to Ft. Cochin was walk down to the dock and find a restaurant to cook up some fresh off the boat seafood.
Not being too hungry I got half a crab and half shrimp. I constantly underestimate how much Indians eat here (and consequently makes our super sized meals look not so big) and thought that this would be a decent amount of food. This turned out to be a gross underestimation and I got a platter of shrimp and not half, but two crabs. It was an embarrassing amount of food for one person, and even more so since I finished it all. I pulled a Ben and photographed lunch.
The guy wanted his picture taken with my lunch… I told him he would be famous. I got the lunch but I think that he is still waiting on the later.
I have gone nearly the entire summer without the intoxicating scents of the quintessential summer necessities, sunscreen and bug spray. In fact it didn’t feel like summer till a few days ago, when I landed in the southernmost state of India, beautiful Kerela, sigh. Until this week the multiple cans of 50 spf sport sunblock were used exclusively to kill the bugs that have started to overrun the Delhi flat.
First of all the flight, that darn knife and the airport security. The same knife from the fourth of July has resurfaced and with only about an hour of sleep I grabbed the wrong bag, meaning the one with all the contraband. Still asleep the security guards starting saying, “knife, big knife.” My first thought was, this is a joke. Nope, they had found my big knife. I unwillingly gave it up, but probably for the best, this should make the last round of airport security easier knowing that I don’t have to worry about getting caught with weapons….again.
The flight down here was not the best experience. After hearing about how great the airlines are here I was excited to fly. Unfortunately that was not the case. I figured that after getting about an hour of sleep the night before I would just pass out for the flight. I laid down to doze just as the plane was taking off and about 2 hours later I woke up and asked my seat mate if we were in Hyberbad, as this was the layover stop. Nope, we were in Delhi. I was sooo confused as I was quite sure that I wasn’t dreaming up the take off two hours prior. Apparently as soon as we took off we had to turn around and make an emergency landing because some piece of equipment was not functioning. We continued to sit there for about another hour before taking off. I also heard about the great food on the flights and was anxiously waiting for the meal only to find out that this was the American Airlines of India and I would have to purchase prepackaged foods.
Luckily Kerela was love at first sight. I was not at all happy up north and the mountains, although beautiful were not for me. I am a southern girl at heart. Naitra and her mom picked me up at the airport, which I didn’t realize was such a schlep and took me for some real Kerelan food. The meal was straight off a banana leaf and you eat with your fingers which is incredible to watch and much harder to do than it sounds. Naitra’s house where I stayed while in Cochin is in the touristy area and is a huge 200 yr old house built by the Dutch. The house is so big that the rooms are bigger than my whole apt in Austin and the doors are made for someone 8 ft tall. There is a banquet hall in the basement. Naitra’s poor mum lives there by herself as the principal of the school and in a house that big wouldn’t be too fun.
(views across the street from the school of all the Chinese fishing nets and the view looking off the island)
The first full day there I left at 6am for Alleppay since this was said to be a good spot to launch from for the backwaters that snake through the whole state. Naitra and her mom were too nice to say anything but I had been using Hindi while in Kerela since that is the national language. Although I knew that they spoke Malayam in Kerela I figured how different could they be. I kept saying ‘acha’ which is ok in Hindi and someone in Alleppay finally corrected me and let me know that there it meant father. If I think back to the previous day it’s a little embarrassing to think that all that time was was saying ‘father’ to people, oy!
India kicked my ass today, and it sucked. I think that score is something like India 115, Jenny 3. Or at least that is what it feels like.
Carrie tried to make me feel better after the latest debacle of a day with “but India is much bigger than you. Its not a fair fight.” Thanks for putting it into perspective dear.
I’ve had no internet, no phone at the apt for about a week now. When I tried to use the phone last week the message said that the service had been cut off due to non-payment. The management group has now taken a week to file a complaint since the Internet was not working. I suggested to them that they pay the bill and then it might magically work again. They still insisted that filing a complaint is the best way to take care of the problem. A week later, nothing!
My cell phone had no credit left and because it is not a local number no one wants to give me more talk time and “recharge” the phone. I went to the Vodaphone store to buy more credit and usually for every 100 rupees of credit you buy you should receive 86 balance credits. I went to the store because I figured that they would be the most helpful and they will be able to give me a receipt, something that I am severely lacking and need for my grant records. Well I gave the store 200 rupees and they gave me 11 credits. When I said something about it they basically ignored me till I made myself intolerable and then they basically said, ‘tough shit.’ I did what I should have just done in the first place and went to the shopkeeper I usually go to and got the proper amount of time for the amount I paid. Even the stores here fleece you right in front of your face. There is absolutely no shame and they don’t care. I can’t wait to return to the country where the customer is always right.
On my dads last day he went to the toilet museum, which was really the only thing that he wanted to do still in Delhi. This was very exciting for him as he used to design waste water treatment plants throughout Asia (although these plants did not deal with human waste, the concept was similar). As far as toilets and plumbing, India is about where Europe was in the late 1800s AFTER they figured out what they were doing wrong. It only took the black plague for Europe to figure out that open sewers and lack of proper utility planning will not bode well for them if it keeps up. About 1/3 of the population of Europe was wiped out before this realization occured. I got enough shots before I left that hopefully when the streets flood and the human waste that sits in the open sewers by the sides of the street spills out after a heavy rain it hopefully won’t affect me. One of the biggest reasons you don’t drink the water here.
After my dad left I finally was able to get back to the social life that I was just beginning to discover here. I went with some friends to TGI Fridays of all places and true to form the service was horrible and the food overpriced. I find that there seems to be an inverse relationship between the price of the food and the service. Whereas in the states the more expensive the meal the better the service, here just the opposite exists. The worst service I have received here has been some of the most expensive meals. Afterward one of the expats leaving wanted to get a drink, which turned into more time than I really wanted to spend in this smoky bar we ended up at. There was a table across from us with two guys and a girl. They had been drinking for awhile because the guys were obviously drunk and the girl looked pissed. One came over to us and basically told us in no uncertain terms that they were the Thai mafia and that we were not leaving. So we sat down and when we finally found a break in the action slipped out as inconspicuously as possible. I wish I had discovered this night life a long time ago, then again just last month there were 26 more cases of people taking taxis and ending up either murdered, raped, robed or all the above. So I guess by reducing the number of taxi rides I take I thereby reduce my chances of encountering one or all the above.
Since returning from Mussoorie I have been playing tour guide to my dad who is here for 10 days. It’s hard to see even a portion of the country in such a short time but I tried without creating an overly-exhausting itinerary.
S Aug 2- Delhi
S Aug 3-Jaipur (arrive 10:45)
M Aug 4- Jaipur/Ahmedabad (20:40 leave)
T Aug 5- Ahmedabad (arrive 7:40) → ended up in Delhi, Ahmedabad got bombed ☹
W Aug 6-Agra
T Aug 7-shim (arrive at NDLS by 7:00, leave at 07:40)
F Aug 8-Shimla
S Aug 9-Shimla
S Aug 10-Shimla
M Aug 11- Delhi
He arrived on Saturday the 2ed of August from Nigeria via Dubai and after a late night the evening before I regretted offering to meet him at the airport. Even after a cold shower and several cups of coffee I was still exhausted. I showed him around North/Old Delhi and a little bit of central Delhi before it was obvious that we were both exhausted and we both almost fell asleep at dinner. That was before two very drunk girls walked in a caused such a scene that the few other patrons there left after being told by the girls (both Indian) to ‘F off and get out of their country’ (the other patrons were expats). We stayed to watch the shit show and the manager came over to apologize for their behavior and let us know that because they are “ladies” he cannot force them to leave (they also told him off when he requested they leave). I thought that was interesting. Perhaps I can test this rationale by getting obscenely drunk my last night here, cursing out and insulting everyone in a 5 star restaurant of choice, breaking glasses and tipping over furniture, falling on my face and losing my top, but then I would have to think of something else to top the show that these girls put on.
The next morning we went to Jaipur for what was going to be 3 days, 2 nights. It turned into 2 days and 1 night. There really wasn’t that much to see there and we were done with most of the city within a day. The thing that I do regret is the day we left was the biggest celebration of the year and there was a parade and festivities just setting up as we were heading out of town. Overall the old Jaipur was beautiful, but I had been to Rajasthan previously and much of the sights were similar.
Back in Delhi that Tuesday I showed my dad the Lotus temple as well as hitting up a few touristy spots that I had yet to make it to previously. Then sent him back to his hotel with tickets to Agra for the following day so that he could see the Taj Mahal and I could finally go to work. I had no intention of going back to Agra after going once. That was more than enough as it is essentially, aside from the monuments, a very hot, dirty and mean city.
Thursday morning off again on the early train to Shimla. The train only goes to Kalka, which is a 3-4 hour drive away from Shimla at best. Shimla is a hill station that over the years has grown into a weekend retreat for the Indians in the know, primarily those who want to escape Delhi for a weekend. The photo on the left is the sun setting on Shimla and to the right is a traditional street in the picturesque town. It was beautiful but also very cold and day 2 proved to be very rainy. The second day there we made the probably not so smart decision to go horseback riding in the pouring rain along steep mountainous trails to see a temple at the top of the mountain. Let me save you the trip and tell you that unless it is your religious belief that brings you to this temple, it is not worth the trek, at least not in that weather. For some reason we also went to a nature reserve in the rain. The bears were really cool but I was so miserably cold that I lost feeling in my fingers and toes. I spent the next 3 days with what felt like the flu, complete with runny nose, body ache, fever, sore throat, etc. This made for a miserable 6-hour ride back on Sunday in the antique train from Shimla to Kalka. The cabin on this tiny antique train was filled with lots of little people who spent the trip throwing more food on the ground then in their mouth and running around the cabin. There was then another 5-hour ride to Delhi from Kalka and again the cabin was filled with screaming kids. They don’t make drugs strong enough for these trips.
Just got back into Delhi tonight and it has that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes me cringe every time I even get close to the city. The rest of India is so warm and the people so nice that Delhi pales in comparison, so much so that it rubs off on me. I can’t wait to leave again.
The ride from Dehradun to Delhi would have been exactly the same as the one from Delhi to Dehradun, except for my seat mate, who made the ride interesting. Here is a laundry list of what she did; tore the first few pages out of the magazine I was reading (front and back pages), squirted almost the entire box of juice I gave her over both of us, grabbed the food from the dinner that was served and spit it back into my hand, bit the eraser off the pencil I loaned her the minute my head was turned, not to mention the bites I now have all over, etc.
Yes, there was a kid sitting in back of me and after turning around to look at an absolutely adorable 18 month old I decided to play with her for a bit. Her parents on the other hand saw that as an opportunity to get up and put her down in the vacant seat next to me with a “here you go, have fun.” I forgot how much work little people are. The kid did not want to sit still and I forget that you don’t give kids sharp objects (till she almost poked MY eyes out with the pencil and pen I gave her). Overall the fastest 6 hours in a long time.
Now if only I can get seated next to a few tikes for the 17 hr flight home.