The Travel Issue

Anyone will tell you I am an obsessive travel planner. The slightest email blast from a newly renovated Orient Express on the other side of the world will send me into a frenzy of clicks to resort websites touting immaculate beaches, horizon pools, designer villas with sunset views and discreet butler service. Not trusting gloss photos, I consult TripAdvisor – where somewhere between awed honeymooners and pots of jam on buttery rolls and warm greetings by hosts Bethany and Jim, I vet my destination.. …

Which can only happen if I acquire the holy grail of travel ..

A Mileage Ticket promising reclining comfort and free booties all the way to Denpasar or Nairobi.  

It is at this point that I feel compelled to face the bottom line…and realize that despite tantalizing discounts, free airfare and falling Bots – 

my real life budget won’t cover the charter flight into my first tented safari camp…. Which is why I was thrilled about two weeks ago when I came across  an amazing trip I could actually afford.   

A&K, had published a three week package to Australia including five star New Zealand lodges with fishing and bungee jumping, Australian outback,  Sidney sails and opera seats followed by .. 
4 nights at the Barrier Reef’s lavish Lizard Island resort  – a swim away from underwater wonders with my very own diving buddy named Bob….
All for only $5,900!!    Surely this was a mistake – a scam to sell building lots on coral reefs – But no. Strictly legit.  I clicked the 24 Hours courtesy “HOLD” button… just enough time to attend to last minute chores..

No better place to begin than my biannual dental cleaning. Gotta face those Aussie beaches with a sparkling smile… Which is when things took an unexpected turn. 

I’d neglected that my appointment card specified  “consult” which meant Dr. M would take X-rays and unless I believed in the tooth fairy he’d find something wrong. Which he did…

I tried to remain calm while the dentalese grew more dire.. “teeth 19 and 20… decay close to the nerve, cracked enamel, rotting composite
which might require a root canal, Extraction, IMPLANTS!! Teeth in a glass. I gave my consent.  Dr. M. went to work…

I was stoic – numb, drool cascading, jaw stretched beyond capacity, training my mind to ignore the piercing drill and deafening roar of crumbling amalgam … And all the while negotiating .. 

Good-bye to gummy bears, whirly pops, sour worms, mary janes and Turkish taffy… I’d vet every olive, inspect every walnut half, peel every pomegranate… 

Then suddenly silence. All over. Bib off – I walked shakily to reception. I couldn’t feel my lips but there was the perky Roseanne’s efficiently tallying my bill..

“a cleaning, a full set of X-rays – 2 porcelain crowns…”

“- cash or credit?” 

Life sucks. Nietzsche got it right – we’re all insects crawling our way to dust…another three months in this grey urban Gulag…

Wait a minute – Airbnb!! –  Just a renter away from a Sydney sunset sail..  I started typing…  “midtown, luxury doorman building, park views, close to theater and museums…” Perfect for a lovely couple from London in town for dining and the arts. They would adore my Damien Dots .. 

But what if instead I landed, a family of 5 from somewhere-ville whose idea of dining was KFC tubs and food cart falafels ..

And who’s five year old “emerging artist” would spray paint my living room into a site even Banksy would disclaim … Nope.

No can do. Good bye Lovely Lizard… Good by Bob. 

I’m broke – just another city statistic shoveled to the bottom of the heap – destined to watch from the sidelines as the one per centers circle the globe dining with Bill and Melinda. At night. Under the stars. On a Namibian dune.. 

Hey. Look at those teeth. Very impressive.  I should smile more.

Which is why last week when I saw a Groupon Coupon – 3 weeks, all inclusive, diving instruction – tank, wet-suit, mask and flippers included .. I took the plunge.

Brett says I’m a natural.  You betcha. Life is good.   

The End

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