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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

The Sunday Salon: Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

The Sunday

Good morning, Saloners! Last week saw a flurry of posts on my blog, thanks to it being Armchair BEA. I don't usually post that often, but it was really a lot of fun to write every day and check out what others had to say. I hadn't planned to take part in Armchair BEA until the penultimate day. I wasn't really sure if I could make the time commitment, since we have family over here and last weekend, we spent about 22 hours on the road. So, while I'm eager to get back to regular programming, I've realized how much I used to love taking part in such blogger events.

For recaps, these are what I posted:
  1. Who am I?
  2. A long story of my affair with the graphic media
  3. The little moments in a blogger's life
  4. Internationally flavored and globally spiced
I also have a giveaway going on which is going to end in a few hours. I'll announce the winner shortly.

Last Saturday, the husband and I went on yet another road trip, this time to New York. I love doing road trips and would probably do more of it, if it could be more affordable. This time, we weren't doing the trip for touristy reasons. Our parents were arriving in New York after a nearly-24 hour flight, and we decided to spare them another flight with all their bags and just pick them and drive back home. To have an idea of how much traveling you have to do to get between our homes here and in India, here's the picture:
  • 3 hours to reach departure airport from home in India
  • 4 hours at the airport before departure, doing all the fun airport activities such as check-in, security check, immigrations, customs, and waiting for the flight. Mind you, there are probably about 10 flights to the US all leaving at around the same time. So you probably get the picture of just how many other impatient people you are wrestling with to finish the proceedings.
  • About 23 hours flight including 3 hours layover somewhere in between. These flights usually arrive at big cities, in this case, New York.
Yay, now we are in the US!
  • Now another grueling 2 hours while the US officials make sure you have all the proper papers.
That's a total of 32 hours already, but hey, we are not home yet.
  • Since we drove, we reached home only 10 hours later, breaks included.
  • When the husband and I travel, we usually take another flight home, which adds about 5-7 hours depending on layovers.
So anywhere between 37 and 42 hours in all. Wow - when I put it like that, I don't feel like doing it anytime soon. But in the end, everyone's happy and excited and thrilled. That's really true only when we are going to India or our parents are coming here. The other direction flight generally ends up with us feeling forlorn.

Trip notes:
  • The number of tolls we had to pass through is ridiculous! One of them was somewhere in New York and the roads were horrendous. What the heck are we paying for?
  • Having coffee at IHOP at 5 am in the morning is like heaven. The poor waiter was a bit flummoxed when he realized that we only came for coffee and not to eat anything.
  • The husband drove all the way back, but occasionally in my half-awake, half-asleep state, I had this weird feeling that I was driving and that I was seeing cars where there were none and driving past red lights when I shouldn't. Super scary and totally freaked me out, enough to jolt me awake each time, that's all I will say.
What is the longest trip you ever made, road, flight, or otherwise?

Reading and other matters

The husband is again traveling this week but this time, since we have a lot of people at home, I shouldn't feel too lonely from an empty home. That will be good certainly. On the reading front, all that blogging last week meant a lot less reading time. I did finish The Joy Luck Club audiobook (even though I didn't like it too much initially, by the end, it did get a little better). I'm now listening to Jo Nesbo's The Leopard. The husband and I also listened to the first half of The Martian during our road trip last week. We need to find a way to listen to the rest, but we love it so far! I also started reading The Girl with all the Gifts sometime last week - that's been great starting, then became a little ridiculous and is now again intriguing. So quite a lot of books going on but none of them international.


I just got done with a six hour train trip and I thought that was long on the way back, I can't imagine all that traveling! I hope they get to spend a good amount of time here to make up for it :)
rhapsodyinbooks said…
OMG, that is incredible about the time and trouble it takes to fly between the U.S. and India! But of course these days, it takes double the time and trouble to fly just about anywhere! We used to like road trips a lot too, but you are right about the expense, and if you have to stay anywhere overnight it can really add up. But I did put an app on my phone to locate Starbucks at any location! :--)
So wait, did you go to India or New York, or both? I am a bit confused.

As for Armchair BEA, it looks like you had a great time. I'm going to check out your posts now.
Athira / Aths said…
Oh yeah, they are spending a lot of time here to make up for it - 6 months! :-) The Amtrak ride always feels long on the way back. I usually take it to New York and while I'm excited when going there, it feels gloomy on the way back.
Athira / Aths said…
We are known to go very out of the way to go find a Starbucks, though that's usually when my brother is also with us and he needs coffee. I love the food and drinks part of a road trip more than anything. Half the time, I'm looking at my app and trying to find a good highly recommended local place where we can have lunch or dinner, or even just something to eat if it's not meal time.
Athira / Aths said…
We went to New York. My parents made the India to New York trip, so we were in New York to pick them up.

Armchair BEA was fun! They had some great topics going, so that was nice.
JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said…
That is an incredibly long journey - it must take them days to recover from a trip like that!! Hope they don't need to make the return trip any time soon.

I enjoyed reading many Armchair BEA posts... next year I'll get my act together and participate. Have a good week :-)
Athira / Aths said…
They were jetlagged for a few days but now they are back to normal routines. They will make the return trip only 6 months later, so they have plenty of time before the next 2-day journey. :-)

Hope to see you at Armchair BEA next year! The event was a lot of fun.
bermudaonion(Kathy) said…
Flying to France was a pain when we lived there but it wasn't that bad. Could your parents fly into D. C.? I hope you have a great visit with them!!!
Ah, now I see...sorry about that. It was early when I read this and wasn't quite clicking on all cylinders.
topazshell5 said…
Ten flights leaving for the US at the same time? Wow! Luv your book blog.
Athira / Aths said…
We did consider DC, but the flight rates are double what they are to NY. I guess, in a few years, it could get a little cheaper to DC, in which case that would be convenient.
Athira / Aths said…
It certainly does feel like going to a different planet. Sometimes you enter the plane in daylight and get out also in daylight. Sometimes you enter on Date Z, you exit also to date Z. It's all so weird. Even though Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 days explains that concept so well, it's still really amazing when you think about it.
Athira / Aths said…
I downloaded the library ebook yesterday and that's epub too. I installed the Overdrive app on my phone so that's probably where I'll read the rest of the book. I'd much rather read the print or on my Kindle, though.
Grace said…
How I shudder at the thought of all that travel! My longest was Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Johannesburg - Dubai - New York - Orlando. All told, that clocked in at about 40 hours - an entire work week!
The return trip is always so forlorn! You have all the same nuisances as the outgoing trip, but none of the anticipation and excitement. If only we could teleport...
That is a major trip! I've never lived more than 90 minutes from a decent airport; the 10 hours travel after landing would really kill me. In high school once we did a school trip from Seattle to Los Angeles on a bus, which took about 36 hours... That was enough for me.
literaryfeline said…
I had hoped to participate in Armchair BEA this year, but the closer the event got on my calendar, the more I realized how unprepared I was for it and didn't have the time to get organized. Oh well. There's next year, right? It sounds like everyone had a great time, and that's what matters most, right?

I love road trips. It's been ages since I was last able to go on one though. Growing up, we often went on cross-country road trips since my dad's parents and siblings all live on the East Coast and we were always on the West Coast. Mine were never as extensive as yours, however!

The Girl With All the Gifts is sitting on my kindle waiting for me to read. Based on your comments, it sounds like it will be an interesting read.

I hope you have a great week!
Kim Ukura said…
Oh my goodness! I can't even imagine making that trek from India to the United States. I'm so glad your parents were able to make it, and that going to pick them up is an option. I hope you enjoy having them around!
Anita LeBeau said…
My family lives @ 1000 miles away in TX(we are in FL). Many times we've driven as it's just so expensive for 5 people to fly rent a car, etc. In the past few years I've gone more alone, aging parents, kids in college now. The drive is @ 17 hours, we we break it into two days. Once when our girls were just over a year old we drove it straight thru, leaving our house @ 9pm, and we did stop @ 3am and nap a bit in the van at a rest stop. It was worth it, the girls slept all night. My sister formerly worked for a CO with operations in India and she hated making that long flight over. Ahhh the things we do for family. I hope you enjoy their visit.
Lisa Sheppard said…
Never stopped to factor in all of that drive time and airport time into the trip - wow, that really is a labor of love!