Sunday, December 8, 2013
It was supposed to be a ten day trip to Russia. Instead of flying east through Moscow this time, he decided to take the more direct route west through China. We packed Christmas cookies in a tin for the bottom of his backpack and the grandchildren made paper ornaments to hang in his hotel room. Someone tucked a box of holiday candy into his suitcase between his pants. But then, after more than two days of travel, he was stranded in a backwater airport in Mongolia with a canceled flight, an expired temporary visa, no flights into Siberia for another two days, and no one around who spoke English or knew how to process his credit card. If not for the Russian girl who spoke both English and Chinese and took notice of his dilemma, who knows what may have happened.
In the end he aborted the trip and came home. That is such a good word. After four days of global airport hopping he is home. Safe.
There are some people in this world who demand to be bribed to do the job they are paid to do, and others who bend over backwards to help. My husband encountered both. I wish I could thank the Russian girl who interpreted for him at the airport, and the Chinese woman who accompanied him to the bank so that he could exchange his money to buy a ticket back to Beijing, and refused any payment for going beyond her job description.
painting by Lisbeth Zwerger