4

Safe & Sound

Thank you to everyone who called, wrote, prayed, and sent support. It was a rough few days. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

But I am happy to report some good news, finally. In today’s mail, I received… my luggage tag!

Thanks to the kindness of one wonderful gentleman, who discovered my tag at his Victoria bakery, my luggage tag made its way home. I am sure it had many adventures on its travels and will tell me in all good time.

Meanwhile, I have a small correction: I had thought my tag depicted three cubs, but it, in fact, shows a mother and her cub. My story was completely true, but for that factoid: I was lion.

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6

Luggage Tag Seeks Same

If you travel at home or abroad, it is wise to attach a luggage tag to your luggage; if your bags go missing, they will find their way to you. But what if your luggage tag gets lost?

After visiting my dear friend in Victoria, B.C. Saturday, I arrived at my B&B, only to discover that my shoulder’s bag luggage tag had fallen off.

Had it stayed in the tea room to indulge more smoked salmon sandwiches? Checked out the Fringe Festival? Wandered Chinatown’s alleyways and indulged in organic dark truffles with maple cream, smoked salt, and orange? Maybe it was hanging out in the shade of the giant acorns in a nearby village.

While I retraced my steps over the next twenty-four hours, I tried to remind myself that losing a luggage tag was minimal compared to, say, losing my passport or I.D. It was even better than losing my sunhat, which I accidentally left behind in the Vancouver airport the last time I was in the area.

But this was no ordinary luggage tag; it was my favorite luggage tag. It showed three lion cubs on one side and my contact info on the other. I felt concerned for it, splat on some unknown sidewalk.

I wondered who my luggage tag was without its attachment to me; I felt lost without it.

Perhaps my luggage tag needed its own tag to find its way back.

 

4

Teasing

I was teasing when I said my cupboard was stocked with cookies. Teasing, with an emphasis on the tea.

Before I left Istanbul, I shopped. Rather than bring home chicken shish, baklava, or semolina cookies, I chose tea. Ottoman tea, Sultan tea, Relax tea, Rose tea. Tea made from dried pomegranates, oranges, apples, rose petals. Bright red, yellow, dried herbs and flower tea. Organic tea and caffeine-free tea. Tea that smells divine, like roses, fruity.

I’ll survive. I know this with certain-tea.

4

Rude Awakenings

Things aren’t always what they seem.

On the same evening I had to deal with chicken shish inflation, I also had a confrontation with cookies that weren’t.

The cookies in question resided on a tray between baklava–to the left–and rice pudding–to the right. I thought they were cookies because they looked like cookies–small, round, resembling cookies I had in Istanbul. Those had almonds on top while these had walnuts, one per cookie. And the menu listed them under desserts: semolina cookies soaked in syrup. Since I had loved semolina cookies in Istanbul, I thought it was reasonable to assume I would love semolina cookies here.

Wrong! Their intense sweetness repelled me.
It is rare that I desert a dessert, so I told the waitress, “Too sweet for me. Is it possible to get the cookies without the syrup?”

She said, “These are not cookies. No. Most definitely not.” She went on to explain that the syrup soaked the semolina cookies from the inside, so they couldn’t be served without.

I wondered how she could say that they weren’t cookies in one sentence and then refer to them as cookies in the next.

Perhaps there’s something in the air.

A few days later I called the operator to find out if someone’s phone number was in my local calling area. Back in the winter, I had assumed another number was local, but when I got my phone bill, I was charged $16 for a 15 minute call. I had a long talk with my phone company about that, and the man said, “Next time, check with the operator.”

I was trying to do the right thing. But first I had the brutal discovery that the nice operator voice saying, “Hello, this is so and so, may I help you?” had been replaced by a recording to call my telephone company. When I called the phone company, the staff person said twice that she had entered the new number in her computer, which said it was indeed in my local calling area. I said, “Just out of curiosity, where is it? I don’t know that prefix.” She said, “I entered it in my computer, which said it is a long distance call for you.”

It was a lot to handle.

But I am managing.

Thankfully, my cupboard is stocked with cookies for such occasions.

Actually, they are not cookies.

No.

Most definitely not.