continued travel blather

It’s just to keep me from getting plane board.  Open laptop and write post at 39,000 feet.  Perhaps it’s bad discipline writing three days in a row after a weekly habit.

For some reason, the chewing and swallowing has gotten somewhat easier lately.  I’ve still got to find food that is moist, bordering wet.  But foods that I couldn’t eat a mere 10 days ago I can start eating now.  The problem is, right in the middle of the left ear where the jaw fulcrum opens and closes has started hurting intensely after I start chewing anything not super soft.  A brand new pain just when I don’t need it.

The result is that I’ve got to chew and eat less.  I can’t hack the pain once it starts.  But this isn’t about complaining.  One thing I hadn’t anticipated was eating meals with others where I haven’t chosen the food.

For some reason, I’m not feeling inclined to tell people that I’ve had throat cancer.  I might want to rethink that feeling.  The downside of not being open is that I’m obviously acting differently at meal time.  Case in point; today arrived at what was once a full operating apparel factory in the Free Zone of Jebel Ali, directly across the street from a U.S. military base (although no one would know it was a base — no tell tale signs).  The once bustling factory is now dormant waiting for the next challenge, or at least the owners are.  The benefit was that I could relax a bit, even sleep for an hour or two, take a shower and get refreshed without the hustle bustle.

My host rousted me for lunch to their factory dining room.  It was only three others and me.  We had eaten meals together in the past so they knew what I liked — which was spicy Thai food (their normal fare).  The cook being Thai, they had a nice spread laid out and my dishes already served.  When I looked down at everything I was relieved to see that there was soup, in which I could dip spoons full of rice, meat and other items on my plates that were not moist.  It didn’t take two seconds after the first spoon dip hit my mouth that a fire lit up.  My reaction was evident.  “What’s the matter Freddie, you love spicy.  Why are you sensitive,” they were saying.

I wanted to spill the beans but I held my ground.  I said my taste buds had changed.  Then more questions like, “Freddie, looks like you lost weight.  Are you still exercising daily?  Why did you loose weight.”  I don’t think I look any different, but I wanted to say, ‘nice people, please stop with the fourth degree already.’  But that would have been a clear sign of my own loss of control.  They were only being nice.  Point is, most of the delicious good looking food I couldn’t eat.  I sadly sat there, played with it and told them I wasn’t that hungry, when I really was.

Now I’m on a Thai Airways flight heading east and dinner service just finished.  The meal was arabic lamb with rice.  It was delicious, for the first couple of bites.  Then the jaw pain started and I had nothing to moisten the lamb.  I was dreaming of some yogurt dressing or cucumber sauce (or any kind of moisture cure besides water) because the meat was so good, and not something I often eat.  They had nothing (I asked).  So again, I had to leave most of what I wanted to eat sitting on the plate.  Out of my control (I think).

Regardless, the short time in Dubai was nice, and hot.  It’s overgrown with buildings as they slowly try to emerge from the financial crisis.

Besides the UAE having a top notch airline and airport, the fact that no immigration cards or paperwork are required for entering or leaving the country is just smart.  Very progressive.  Why most countries required forms to be filled out upon entering the country is a waste.  Why would any country collect and keep handwritten immigration/customs forms from millions of travelers daily.  The end cannot possibly justify the means.  Just ask a few questions and stamp the damn passport.

And Dubai is a major transit hub for a good part of the world, from Europe, Middle East, Africa, N and SE Asia.  So how is it that one can take bottled drinking water through security with no problem?  (oh, they don’t have overly reactive agencies like TAS).  Didn’t need to take the shoes off either.  No one did — through a security system that serves most of the world’s continents, except one.

The blather may have (over) reached its reading limit.  Anyway, because of my flowery shirt and the bandana I’m sporting to hide the scar, the hole and the ridiculous thick neck lymph, the flight attendants just asked if I’m some kind of artist.  I don’t want to disappoint them so I better put this away and do something artsy, like sleep.

6 thoughts on “continued travel blather


    I for one would tell people about the cancer. It’s just a thing– it allows for an understanding. N of one. Could the sore jaw be lactic acid in the muscle, having not used it for some time? Safe travels.

  2. Meredith

    Why, yes indeed miss, I am an arteest – and my creative juices really get flowing with the help of yogurt or cucumber sauce.

    If you’re hesitant to share the whole story, you could tell people you’re recovering from a surgery and can’t eat all your favorite foods yet.

    Bring on the blather by the way – I’m a devoted reader, no matter the topic. Hoping the chewing gets easier! love, M

  3. Sister Lynda

    I agree with Pete – I would share in certain circumstances, maybe not all. That is a hard thing as many (including myself) can be dumb in their responses BUT, you also may be surprised with wise and compforting responses. You will even find others with the same battle. It’s like when you buy a Red Bug ( you know the mororized kind – VW’s) well when you buy a red VW you automatically see all the Red VW’s out there and you did not know there were that many. So ignore the dumb remarks – keep a steady vulnerability (not too much,not too little)

  4. Mary

    I understand your hesitation with potential business partners/clients/customers. While their reaction on a human/personal level may be sympathetic, you never know where their mind may go on the business level. Just saying…

    Ditto on Meredith’s post from top to bottom.

  5. rel43

    Trust your instinct on whether or not to indulge your listener. Glad to hear your keeping busy and improving.

  6. JA

    blog ending…hilarious! Your artsy comment made me laugh out loud – I love when that happens! Agreed w/ most, I would share certain aspects – such as some sort of surgery (you pick/name the kind) but may be hesitant to release full disclosure until further down the healing path..if at all. Love you.


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