Sorry it’s been a while, but I’ve been preparing for, and then experiencing that most wonderful of Foreign Service benefits, the R&R trip. This is where, because you’be been such a good FSO and volunteered to go to someplace not quite up to Western living standards (or alternatively, they’re shooting at you), the U.S. government will pay your airfare to somewhere else so you can have a break. In my case, my choices were my “designated R&R location” (Paris) or back the U.S., and I chose the latter. I’m using up most of the leave time I’ve accumulated since joining the Foreign Service, but it’s been worth it, and I still have two weeks to go!
I flew back to the U.S. on my third different route, Cotonou-Brussels-Dulles. The goal was to use my accumulated United frequent flyer miles for an upgrade to business class. Unfortunately, there was a mixup by the travel department and they didn’t book me using the United flight numbers, so I was out of luck on that. Brussels Airport was easy to get around, and instead of visiting McDonalds in CDG, I got to visit the Brussels Airport Starbucks to begin my transition back to American life.
A short break to talk about my left foot. I hurt it a few days before leaving Cotonou. The afteraffects linger. You see, originally I think I bruised or tore something in my left instep, and trying to compensate for that tweaked my achilles tendon, and compensating for that twisted my ankle and…you get the idea. Probably 48 hours off my feet would cure this for good, but I was visiting my friend Robert and his family in Houston and then touring Hawaii (photos to follow) so getting off my feet for that stretch of time was not an option. Each day it’s a little better, but only a little. I woke up this morning as close to normal as I’ve been, but still with a little stiffness from walking “funny” to compensate. If this afternoon’s tour doesn’t abuse my foot too much, I should be recovered before I leave Hawaii.
I’ll talk more about Hawaii and my cheap (and I don’t mean just inexpensive) tour and post a bunch of photos soon. Right now I’m going to head back to my room and get ready for the “circle around Oahu” tour this afternoon.
11 hours time difference from Cotonou. My internal clock’s REALLY confused!