One of the few things I long for from the “good old days” is having an abundance of travel agents I could count on to help plan a trip. For those too young to remember, these were people who spent their time finding you the best flights and quaint, undiscovered hotels, so you didn’t have to turn vacation planning into a full-time job while accumulating unpaid overtime.
I confess to another change that has taken place since the days of the travel agents and that is that my husband and I are not as flexible as we were when we were young. Example: We will not fly, say, from Seattle to Zanzibar to arrive in Los Angeles, for the sake of a special, low-priced fare.
We are planning a trip to Spain and would enjoy a stopover in Iceland for a few days either coming or going. The Rick Steves’ organization is taking care of everything in Spain; we are responsible only for our flights. How hard could it be to book airline tickets? I needed to turn to a karate dictionary to illustrate the challenges. Let’s start with the original meaning of karate: empty hand. This word describes my condition after devoting a good part of January to searching on-line for flights. I haven’t found the translation for empty bank account, but that would have been useful had I paid the $6,000+ per person, coach class, offered today on cheapoair.com.
Maegeri – front kick — reminds me of the blow I felt to the belly when I learned that my one gazillion accumulated air miles would not get me anywhere on the days I selected. Kaiten — spin around– aptly represents my reaction to finding out that I could use my air miles on British Airways to get to London, but that the fees and surcharges for my “free tickets” amounted to more than $1,400 for the two of us.
My only courses of action seem to be 1) rei — bow — before my opponent (my computer); 2) hajime — begin — as in begin again tomorrow; 3) apply renraku wazu — a combination of techniques — including calling the Alaska Airlines air miles desk more often; and 4) if all else fails, try sokuto kebanashi — a side kick to the middle — of my computer screen.