Sunday, December 30, 2007

All the News

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:

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.


Ruth said...

I expected that you might post something about this significant event. I have been reading comments on the BBC website this week with reactions to Bhutto's assassination. The story is not yet over...

Anvilcloud said...

Perhaps you could do the world a favour and stay home? Seriously: welcome back.

Climenheise said...

Welcome home, dearest of elder sisters. I too grieve Benazir Bhutto's death. One realizes that so much is beyond our control, and her example of doing what she believed in, knowing the dangers and uncertainties she faced, is worth following.

So your daughter gave business to fire extinguisher vendors? Interesting story, contained, as you used to write on my papers when you were my teacher, in a footnote.

Pam said...

My caregiver and I were watching television when we heard this news, we were devastated. And speechless.

Mary said...

Welcome back, Donna. Unfortunate news, every day...

JeanMac said...

Sad news indeed. Happy your are back safely - look forward to reading about your trip.

Ginger said...

This was very sad for me, as well. I've watched Benazir Bhutto's journey for a long time.

I was interested in your comment on major events happening when you're on vacation. No major events on our last trip, but during the one before, the subway bombings in London happened the day before we flew from Amsterdam to Heathrow.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It seems the death of Benazir Bhutto tossed the Bush Administrations efforts to control events in Pakistan. Ms. Bhutto was lovely and said all the right things. Her husband has a criminal past and her son is a novice so I don't see any great leadership coming from her party.

A lot seems to happen when you travel. My sister likes to travel and years ago she woke up in Jordan in the middle of the
Seven Day War. Anyone looking like an American was at risk on the streets. They fled for the border, in disguise!

It must be reassuring that while you were away, Congress did nothing
! Those running for President continued to speak a lot of noise.

Welcome home. All the best in the New Year

Beverly said...

Welcome home. You have indeed seen many things happen during your travels. This last one was a very sad one, for sure.

Mauigirl said...

Welcome home and Happy New Year. It is odd how it seems as if significant events often happen while we're away. Or maybe it's just because we're away that we remember where we were when it happened. We were in San Francisco when Princess Di died in the auto accident. We were in Portugal when John Major stepped down as Prime Minister. We were in Ireland when Columbine happened.

I was very sorry to hear about Bhutto and it is very ominous for the future of Pakistan and that entire region.