Well, it seems odd to be traveling to a new land and a new life with only two suitcases (and a carry-on backpack), but there they are. Of course, I shipped a bunch of boxes to Dhahran that include my office and geology stuff, some clothes, and a good deal of my kitchen items. Those boxes were put onto a truck four days ago and hopefully I’ll see them again sometime. The LA-based shipping company said it would go air freight and arrive in 7 to 10 days, rather than much cheaper marine freight of 6 to 10 weeks… Two guys showed up in an unmarked truck that looked like it was hand-painted yellow, put stickers on my boxes, handed me a sheet with the inventory, and drove away. Seems legit.
The movers came yesterday to move my furniture and the rest of my belongings. All of that got put into my storage unit in north Boulder. I had moved a lot of miscellaneous boxes and items there already, with tremendous help from Jack and Rebeca, so mainly the guys moved what you see in the front part of the storage unit. I someday hope to get reacquainted with my stuff.
Today was inauguration day for the 45th US President. I did my part by not watching any of it, while I finished off packing and shutting down my place (I had been renting and, as timing would have it, my lease was up at the end of January – more good luck than good management on my part). A peaceful transition of power has occurred for the most powerful position in the world. Seems like a really good time to be leaving the country for a while. I’m going to miss the brilliance and class of the Obamas.
Currently, I’m somewhere over the north Atlantic, just south and west of Greenland, on my way to Frankfurt. This is the daily Lufthansa flight from DEN to FRA, and I’m fortunate to have business-class tickets for my journey. My layover in Frankfurt is just under three hours, and then I’ll have a direct Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Dammam. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is made up of three somewhat sprawling and connected cities: Dammam, Al-Khobar, and Dhahran, and the main commercial airport is in Dammam. Once I get my residency card (Iqama), it looks like it’s more or less a toss-up in time/distance whether I will fly in an out of Dammam or instead out of neighboring Bahrain.
The past week or so has consisted of scrambling to get things shipped, moved, and packed. But more importantly, I had the opportunity to say goodbye (not farewell) to many of you – my beloved family and friends. Thank you all for your support, encouragement, well wishes, and love – it means the world to me.
At the next opportunity, I’ll have a “Travel Day – Part II” to share with you.