I am using my stops in Amsterdam to see a new crop of small children born to my nieces and nephews over the last year. This time the stop was in Amsterdam where a mini reunion was organized for me: one 5 month old, one 22 months old and my brother and his wife, grandparents to two in the meantime. Thanks to Skype and Facetime we were able to loop family from Easthampton and Brussels into the noisy event.

Relying entirely on the strength of my horse pills I participated a little too enthusiastically in the food fest that was based on my recommendations and would have been hard to resist – an odd combination of coffee, homemade cheesecake, raisin bread with old cheese and raw haring. Something I came to regret a bit, many hours later.

I returned home in the weekend traffic, worsened by large hail chunks, winds that shook my little Fiat and raindrops that splashed with such force on my tinny roof and windshield that I could not hear myself think.

And now I am preparing for the homestretch. I have to repack to fit in the gifts of books and Saint Nicholaas candy and the licorice that has to come home. For that I have plenty of time as I am three hours ahead of this time zone and woke up at 5 AM. May be the early wake up was triggered by worrisome GI activity. The horse pills I took the last 2 days were leftovers from Axel’s trip to Nigeria and expired about half a year ago. Will I finally find out how serious you have to take the expiration dates on medicines?

This makes me think how odd it is that at an airport like Amsterdam (or any busy airport for that matter) I have never seen anyone retching over a trash can or simply on the floor. You’d think that the odds are significant that some of these millions of people have consumed contaminated food or water in the last 24 hours and a certain percentage must be in the early stages of pregnancy, and some fall in both categories. I wonder whether ground and airline staff have been trained in how to handle these unpleasant aspects of travel?

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November 2013
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