Work of Art - Fjords, and Chevies too

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By Art Trujillo

We’re booked. In late July it’ll be our turn to fly across the Atlantic to visit our son, Stanley Adam, wife Lizbeth, and daughters Ellen, 3, and June, 5 months old.

It’s our exchange for their having flown here; they’re in Washington, D.C, visiting one of my nephews, and they were due in Albuquerque on Tuesday night, a few hours after the deadline for this column.

They’ve flown here; we’ll travel to their new home in Copenhagen, Denmark, in July, and after a week there, my wife and I will take an ocean cruise to Norway, clear up to the Arctic Circle, where we’ve never been.

“Oh, you’re going to see the fjords,” people, seeming quite pleased, tell us when we broach the subject. Yes. And we hope to see a few Chevies as well. Though I’ve read dictionary definitions of fjords, I still don’t have the concept down pat.

It’s impossible to use either “fjord” or “Norway” without automatically using the other word. This won’t be our first cruise, our having traveled down the Rhine from Amsterdam through Germany, France and Switzerland a few years ago.

I say “down the Rhine” even though our friend Klare Schmidt corrects me, insisting we traveled up the Rhine from Amsterdam, and eventually reached such ports as Cologne, Heidelberg and Basel. I never excelled in geography and must discover why we think south is north.

The second river cruise, along the Duoro River in Portugal was scenic and pleasant, but that trip didn’t really take us anywhere, aside from Porto, Portugal, the country’s other big city, besides Lisbon. That cruise is not for the dedicated techno-phile, as the ship had no Internet.

On this second trip, the ship generally docked nowhere of interest; the big cities and shopping areas were too far out of reach. But the food on board was good.

The cruise to Norway, we read in the brochures, is something more dressy.

As a person who wears shorts from April through October, even to church, I’ll find it difficult strapping on a suit, a tux even, just for dinner.

In our travels to Europe, we discovered interesting things about the people there: The Spanish simply don’t eat breakfast. Instead, they eat “tortilla,” not to be confused with the flat flour concoction we have with huevos rancheros. In Spain, tortilla is a huge omelet consisting of eggs and potato.

There’s no chile in Spain, so don’t even ask.

The Rhine and Portugal excursions didn’t stress any particular mode of dressing, although the evening meals, usually consisting of several courses, spelled out on a multi-lingual menu, tended to be dressier than breakfast and lunch.

We discovered that Europeans like cold cuts on toast for breakfast. On our ship, the cook must’ve risen early to toast a zillion slices of bread. By the time breakfast time arrived, the toast was, well, toast. It was cold, hard and brittle, not like we’re used to in the states.

But right now the biggest hesitation is in finding a suitable tux, should I need one. Tuxes, you may recall from a prom or wedding back in the womb of time, cost an arm and a leg just to rent. No non-relative of Romney or Trump has ever been able to afford one.

Note that you can rent a $30,000 car for a weekend for less than $100. A tux, which has fewer parts than a Lexus, costs about that much, though one might be able to purchase as many as five tuxedos for the price of a new car.

The other hesitation about the July trip and cruise is simply getting through security. Our last flight, commencing in Albuquerque, featured a relatively smooth security checkout. But trying to depart from the city that flies directly to Denmark was a bit more complex, with even more fun and games.

In addition to having to respond dozens of times to, “And what exactly is the purpose of your trip to ___?” we’re awaiting with trepidation for numerous pokes, prods and peeks into our persons. In this space I’ve asked a number of times, “Do I look like a terrorist?”

What are the odds that this 73-year-old man will have tucked a bomb in his shoe or in his underwear, or that the six-ounce bottle of lotion one of us has in our suitcase contains an explosive?

Of the hundreds of us who landed from various international cities on our last arrival, in Minneapolis, a short, officious TSA employee seemed to pick only me, and the Russian-seeming woman next to me, for a hand inspection.

Hundreds of passengers were ahead of us, hundreds behind. And whom did the little woman choose to rub something over my hands that looked like roll-on deodorant? Why me, and the Russian-seeming woman, of course.

Was Madame Inspector disappointed in not having found traces of powder on our hands?

Friends who have traveled recently describe even newer diversions to thrill and enthrall airline passengers, such as contraptions with swirling, whirling instruments that virtually produce an x-ray of passengers.

What fun we can look forward to!

• • •

In the past couple of years, I’ve been among many who have received bogus e-mails, ostensibly from three local women: Barbara Casey, Rosalie Lopez and Lupita Gonzales. Each e-mail describes some travail that the Las Vegas resident underwent while in England, Cyprus, or some other overseas location.    

Of course, the e-mail requests that we, their friends, send money to get them out of the jam they’re in, whether it be getting mugged or losing their purses.

I hope it doesn’t happen, but some of you may receive an e-mail from me, explaining that I’ve been detained, on suspicion of FWLLT.

And that, my friends, stands for Flying While Looking Like a Terrorist.

Art Trujillo is a copy editor at the Optic and a contributing member of the newspaper’s Editorial Board. He may be reached by calling 425-6796 or by e-mail to artbt@rezio.net or atrujillo@lasvegasoptic.com.