Friday, November 26, 2010

In which Prof. Husband leaves for a conference abroad

Prof. Husband left for a conference in Turkey early this morning. Although he’s an invited speaker, the trip is paid for, and it’s going to look very nice on his CV, he was hesitant to leave. Not only had he not quite finished his paper, but he also has a lot of other work to do, hasn’t had much sleep lately, and really wasn’t up for the traveling.

Flying places takes a bit more effort in the Middle East, or actually, it’s not the flying itself, but everything surrounding it: Americans are upset because of the new x-ray machines at airports, but they have no idea how easy it is to travel in the US. Security levels are about the same everywhere, including here, but the paperwork here is more picky, and you can get in trouble for the most trivial thing. A friend of ours wasn't going to be let on a plane because the signature in his passport differed slightly from the signature on his credit card (this objection came from an airport official who writes in Arabic). The most tiring thing about it is that it’s unpredictable and completely depends on whoever you’re dealing with. At least in the US you know they’ll be strict about the weight limit, and if you’re over, well then you pay – there’s a solution. You know you’ll go through an x-ray machine and exactly what items you should not be carrying. Here there are rules, obviously, but in too many situations have I been exposed to arbitrary, unpredictable and unannounced regulations.

In any case, Prof. Husband is off, he took the phone, I’m sure it will be great, and I’m left with the boys for a few days. Let’s hope all goes well.

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