Saturday, February 25, 2023

Phileas Fogg and a Trip to Bali

Brian read Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne, the great French author, around age ten.

Phileas Fogg, the typical English gentleman as depicted by a French author, is the restrained hero who makes a bet with fellow members of the same gentlemen's club that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days, starting and ending in London, an amazing feat in the late 1800s.

He overcomes an incredible series of obstacles to win his bet at the last minute of the final day and it's still a very worthwhile and entertaining read.

One of Fogg's favorite expressions is "The unforeseen does not exist." Brian was too young when he first read the novel to recognize that this is an ironic statement, to say the least. The entire book consists of a series of unforeseeable circumstances that Fogg manages to overcome. Brian still quotes that line when we run into little obstacles in our own travels.

The past few hours have offered a good example of trying to foresee a potential travel problem. Our plans have been to fly from Bellingham very early Monday morning, connecting in Seattle to fly to New York, a "repositioning" trip. The following morning we embark on an ambitious itinerary with a total of three OneWorld partners, American, Japan, and Cathay Pacific.

It was a bargain business class fare we spotted that takes us from New York to Los Angeles to Tokyo Haneda to Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong to Jakarta, Indonesia, and onward from there on a separate ticket (Garuda) to Bali, where we've reserved the Conrad Bali on points, before retracing our steps.

We have jumped through all sorts of hoops to meet the requirements of each country we transit, with web pages and apps that we need a list to keep track of. We've also built in stays at transit hotels in Tokyo Haneda and Hong Kong, to allow us to rest up a bit (even flatbeds have their limitations) along the way.

Suddenly there's an accumulation of snow predicted for our corner of Washington State. We've bailed out of our first flight from Bellingham to Seattle, getting a surprisingly nice credit from Alaska, and we're renting a car to drive one-way to Seattle. We'll have to pay for a couple of unforeseen hotel nights, but there are some bargain available, and we won't be out of pocket too much.

What's important is that we'll be in Seattle. Even if there's an unforeseen problem with our Monday morning SEA-JFK flight, there are a variety of flight options that would get us from Seattle to New York one way or another in time to catch our first early-morning flight on our trek to Indonesia.

Luckily for us we packed yesterday, a kind neighbor is driving us to the airport to pick our rental car, saving us an additional round trip. and starting our travel adventure two days early is far better than the possibility of being snowed in before we ever start.


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