Adventure Travel

Hey ... that's not a snake, is it?I’m in Palm Springs, and I’m not complaining about anything. It took just some time arriving, is all I’m saying.

Toronto to Denver? Not a hitch. Well, a little bit of one — something about the flaps on the plane being slightly cranky, which meant the plane would be coming in for its landing “a little faster than usual”, which meant we’d be “escorted in” by “a few emergency vehicles”. Oh, and the elderly man who’d been wandering up and down the aisle a little earlier in the flight was acting a bit funny; were there any medical personnel on board, perhaps?

Still: The plane landed just fine and the elderly man wobbled off under his own power. It was a little unnerving to find I couldn’t connect to Denver’s WiFi service, which meant I’d be filing my reviews of “Happily N’Ever After” and “Perfume” a little close to the wire when we landed in California, but I called my editor and let her know, and she said we were cool.

Except we didn’t go to California.

Oh, we headed in that direction, initially, but about 75 minutes into the two-hour flight, the flight attendants started walking up and down the aisle nervously in that way they have when Something Very Disturbing is underway, and a couple of minutes after that, they, too, asked whether there might be a doctor in the house.

There were, in fact, two doctors — a pediatrician, sitting directly in front of me, and someone else further back in the plane to whom my guy ultimately deferred. It seems an elderly woman was showing the symptoms of a stroke, and after a few minutes’ time the captain picked up the PA and told us we’d be making an emergency stop in Las Vegas so that she could receive immediate medical attention.

I’ve never been to Las Vegas before. I guess I still haven’t; they wouldn’t let me off the plane, even to stand in the gangway and try to get a WiFi signal to file my reviews. I wanted to argue about it, but it’s really hard to make someone respect your puny little deadline after he’s just helped wheel a woman off to the trauma room.

Anyway. Problem solved, because I’m a genius: My new Averatec has a smart-card reader, so I popped the SD wafer out of my Treo, popped it in the Averatec, saved the Word file to the card, put the card back in the Treo, and e-mailed it from the Treo using the direct 1x connection. Took about six seconds — and probably cost a hundred bucks, what with various roaming fees — and that was that. Deadline met, obligation fulfilled.

Of course, if I really was a genius, I’d have established a Bluetooth link between my laptop and my phone and been able to send the file without having to bother with the whole SD card back-and-forth.

And, y’know, I’d have done it in Denver.

Also, when we finally reached California, my bags were missing. Don’t worry, they’ve since been found, and will be arriving here shortly.

No complaints.

Although, now that I think about it, if I’d impulsively gotten off the plane in Vegas, farted around for a couple of hours and then rented a car to drive to Palm Springs — an idea which flashed fully formed through my mind in the ten seconds between “you can’t get off unless you decide to terminate your journey here” and “okay, I’ll think of something else” — the bags would probably have reached the hotel around the same time as me.

In any event, the mountains are beautiful and liquid hand soap is distressingly cheap at the Rite-Aid. And there’s a party in an hour that I can attend in my flying ensemble of jeans, a black T-shirt and Blundstones.

Apparently I look like a Belgian documentarian.