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Memorable Trip
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I was nervous at first, since it's been 40 years from the last overseas trips. The ones inbetween have all been short car trips and no problems to anticipate with missing flights, lost luggage, tipping, dealing with huge airports, communicating via languages other than English. I wasn't sure I was up to the challenge. Though I speak French and Italian and Hindi, we were to travel in countries whose people speak German, Slovakian and Hungarian.

My companion had booked the flights from L.A. to Houston and from Houston to New Orleans. Most of the other passengers were regular commuters, and blase about the whole process. Luckily, I'm short, and fit easily into the crowded seats in steerage class. I felt sorry for the tall ones who had to fold themselves into a too-small space.

I was met by my companion in New Orleans, given the grand tour (everything is "before Katrina" or "after Katrina" as you would expect), introduced to the cats and the turtles. I loved all the trees and "lawn" and the quiet. In Los Angeles it's never truly quiet; the swooshing sounds of the freeways and rumblings of traffic are omnipresent. Not so at my companion's house. I slept like the proverbial log on a very comfortable futon, having been regaled by tales of Katrina-land.

The next day saw the start of our grand adventure.

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