Westbound to North America
daily route map

Sunday, February 1

lways happy to return from a trip abroad, I looked forward to stepping on American turf. It is more than just wanting to go home. It is a sense of belonging. As Edward explained the previous night, an American citizen with a valid passport cannot be denied entry into his own country. This fact, incidentally, allayed some minor concerns I had that my severe high altitude sunburn and rash would prevent my passport from adequately representing me for identification purposes.

Simon Bolivar International Airport is thoroughly modern. The duty-free shop saw me purchase a bottle of Venezuelan Kumba coffee liqueur. In retrospect it tastes identical to Kahlua, the more well-known Mexican spirit.

Edward had his collection of Venezuelan coins and currency, and, unfortunately, a touch of Montezuma's revenge for which he had just started taking Imodium. Bob had his fourteenth of Earth's Fifty Finest prominences. And I had my fill of ice cream. So we departed.

I hoped for the same cream cheese omelette as on the outbound flight. There was precious little else to think about, now that the trip was basically over. Scrambled eggs with shredded beef and taco salsa proved adequate. Incidentally, the meal portions on airline flights, although they seem small by restaurant standards, are actually quite adequate in size: it is the restaurant meals, that, at least in the United States, are disproportionately large compared with physiological need.

Edward felt compelled to check his "liquid assets" on a regular basis. His internal plumbing was slowly settling back to normal.

Once in Miami we ran the twin gamut of Immigration and Customs - a necessary hassle in this age of international travel and, yes, terrorism. Bob left us two in high spirits, off on four days of county highpointing in Florida. Ironic - "climbing" in Florida!

The cross-country flight to Los Angeles was uneventful, apart, as usual, from mealtime. We had a choice of entrees from baked rigatoni with a tomato and mozzarella sauce, and chicken breast with celery stuffing. Edward and I requested one of each, and we split them each down the middle. The sponge cake with a pineapple and shredded cococut icing was delicious. A green salad with creamy dressing, dinner roll and beverage of choice rounded-out the repast.

Edward drove us home on Interstate 5. I reclined in the passenger's seat and loathed the thought of deleting three hundred spam messages surely on my in-box.

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