This is the third time I’ve started to write a blog. I wrote one for CBC during my first trip to Afghanistan. Then I kept a blog during a round-the-world trip for the University, to China and Kenya. But that remained more of a travelogue, and after I got home there wasn’t much to add. As I got ready for this trip, however, a number of people (more than 1, less than 50!) told me that I should keep a proper blog, and let them know when I got it going. Those of you reading this are probably in that group – so thank you for the encouragement. I hope to maintain this beyond my current activity, a second mission to Afghanistan as part of the Teacher Certification and Accreditation Project (TCAP).
My daughter Kate, who is also my ATM (Assistant Tech Monkey), tells me that I should aim to make three posts a week. My daughter Victoria, a consummate blogger in her own right, agrees. So that is what I shall try to do. A lot of the first few posts will likely reflect my experiences in Kabul over the next three weeks, but as the blog evolves so I hope to include occasional rants from CTV, the Charlottetown Traffic Vigilante, as well my own thoughts and reflections on cooking, political and cultural events of the day, the garden, and of course the trials and tribulations of Leeds United Football Club.
My grandmother used to tell me that all things, both good and bad, come in threes. Certainly I am one of those who, when mishaps happen, start to count. This trip started in a panic and soon reached the requisite milestone.
I had planned my day well. I was going to spend the morning finishing a couple of reports and sating the never-ending appetite of e-mail; I would then have a leisurely lunch with my wife, Sally, at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Charlottetown; and then spend the afternoon packing before my flight at 7.30 pm. Imagine my horror when I checked my e-mail at 1030 in the morning, and received the note from Air Canada welcoming me aboard my flight, departing at 2.30. Suddenly leisure was replaced with haste.
Sally decided we would just have lunch at the airport, and we made it out there in good time. At check-in they asked for my passport – now where was that? I remembered seeing it in the morning. I became like one of those poor people you see squatting on the floor by the check-in desks, madly opening their suitcases in order to meet weight limitations. I flung clothes and books asunder and found the envelope in which I had carefully placed my passport. I repacked, and triumphantly checked in. What could be number three?
The flight left early, we fought headwinds to Toronto and then were placed in a hold pattern. No problem, I had a two-hour connection, unlike the fellow in front of me, who was heading to Detroit. After 15 minutes of donuts we suddenly banked away. The pilot spoke over the intercom, “there is bad weather in Toronto so we’re diverting to London.”
“The London I’m going to?” I asked the flight attendant hopefully. “No”. “Can I get off and drive to Detroit?” asked the fellow in front of me. “No.” We sighed in unison.
As we were lined up on final approach, seat backs straight and tables stowed, the plane suddenly banked away and accelerated. “Toronto is open again” was announced, and we flew there and landed, and after walking across the terminal I made my flight with 15 minutes to spare.