My husband and I (and at various times, members of our family) have been traveling overseas for eleven years. Being attuned to news when we are at home, we search for news sources on these trips. Sometimes, the news we have access to comes via BBC or Sky News; sometimes it comes via the International Herald Tribune. Sometimes, we can’t get access to news, and when that occurs, I rue the world going by without my knowing what is happening.
And, as it happens, there have been times when major news stories break while we are away from home. In 1998, we were in Italy when the U.S. embassies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanganyika, and Nairobi, Kenya, were bombed. In 2003, we were in Berlin when the New York blackout occurred. In 2004, we were on a cruise to Bermuda when Ronald Reagan died.
Sometimes there has not been news that grabs the world headlines, but “news” that catches our attention. For our first trip abroad, we left from Newark Airport a day after a Fedex cargo plane had caught fire and burned up on one of the runways. We peered out of the airport terminal window to see the skeletal hulk of the plane. In 2000, an hour before we left, our daughter was driving home, when the car she was in caught on fire! Luckily for her, right behind her was a small truck with two men who were vendors of fire extinguishers. In 2002, we left on Christmas Day for an anniversary trip to Spain. It was snowing as we left, and on our way down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we saw a car do a complete 360 degree spin, carom off the center divider, and then do one and a half rolls to land on its roof. Convinced we would find someone dead in the car, we stopped by it, and saw the driver emerge unscathed!
Perhaps, there is always news of significance and we are simply hyper-attuned to it. Whatever the circumstance, on this trip over Christmas, we were sitting talking on December 26, Boxing Day, and I remarked—it seems that when we travel there is frequently a major news story; this trip world news has been quiet.
My observation was premature, but certainly a bit eerie.
On December 27, as we watched BBC news, we saw the crawler begin across the screen—BREAKING NEWS!! There has been an explosion in Pakistan; 20 people injured or killed.
We went about our planned activities, and returned in the evening to the news: Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated by a gunman who subsequently blew himself up with a suicide bomb.
True, there is always news. If only it weren’t so earth-shaking.
Photo Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Benazir_Bhutto.jpg
Future blogs in the next several days will reprise some of our Christmas trip to London; but I wanted first to acknowledge events of far greater importance than our trip--the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.