Thursday, April 16, 2009

Travel Tales

Traveling with little ones almost always yields a good travel story or two. The boys did really well on all four flights in spite of one rough take-off and two sets of painful ears on the last descent. (Chalk that one up to the virus we brought back with us.) Caleb only called the stewardess three or four times before the button with the little person on it lost its appeal. Nathan chose the first leg to walk up and down (and up and down and up and down) the aisle. This was fortunate since it was the leg with the most Vietnamese people. I felt like secret service trailing the president. Nathan marched past his adoring throng stopping at this seat or that to shake a hand, play patty cake, get pinched, or exchange some babble. He was in his element.

We decided before this trip that Caleb was big enough to start carrying his own backpack. Given that he is a pint-sized control freak, it was a good move. He loved being in charge of his own bag. He carried it through the airports, put it on one conveyor belt after another, and unpacked it and repacked it on the plane. Unfortunately, on our return journey, security had been stepped up at the Bangkok airport. Something in Caleb's Lightning McQueen backpack must have looked suspicious because the guy watching the x-ray screen signalled to the hand checker and he pulled it aside for inspection. Caleb stood very patiently while the security checker carefully emptied the contents of the bag onto a stainless steel table--two monster trucks, a Volkswagon bus, a toy airplane, a pack of gummy candy, two storybooks, and Bear--nothing of any use to a terrorist. We repacked the bag and went on our way. After we got home we heard the news about the protestors in the streets of Bangkok. The pieces fell into place. I can't imagine Caleb being mistaken for a terrorist, but a protestor...well, that makes more sense.

Before I sign off for today, I can't resist sharing one more travel story that is actually not our own. I heard it from friends who recently traveled with three small children. Their five-year-old son was carrying a plastic water bottle with which he had formed some mysterious attachment. His mom suggested that he should toss it, but in true five-year-old fashion, he protested. She agreed that he could keep it only as long as the security checkers didn't mind. They proceeded to make their way toward their gate and lined up at the security checkpoint. The little boy danced back and forth on both feet holding his backpack with the contraband water bottle tucked inside. He put the bag on the conveyor belt and marched through the metal detector. On the other side he proudly collected his bag, turned toward his mom who was still unloading items onto the belt, cupped his hands to his mouth, and shouted, "Mom, they didn't find it!!!"

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