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The International Writers Magazine: Travel

Indian Wedding Journal
Heathrow Airport Takes On New Dimensions
Linda Albert

On the way to India we stopped in England for three days, but on the way back, we were scheduled with a five hour layover at Heathrow airport. This would take place after flying fourteen hours from Delhi, with another ten hours of flying time to endure before we would finally arrive in Detroit by way of Montreal. 

The prospect of that endless journey home depressed me every time I thought of it - especially having to hang around the airport in England from five to eleven a.m. when we could board the next plane to get on with our journey back to the United States.  Five dreary hours, exhausted, wrinkled and unshowered, stuck in a boring airport, wanting to lie down, get clean, be home.  It all seemed the worst of ordeals as I anticipated it in advance.
As it turned out, after nearly three weeks in India the noise and heat, the riot of people, colors, goods, and animals all jammed together in bursting streets, made the glitzy coolness and spaciousness of Heathrow seem a nirvana of health and orderliness - the fruit of technological and marketing genius - an oasis, manna for an exhausted and over-stimulated spirit.
Heathrow Airport boasts a branch of the famous Harrods department store that does more business than the one in downtown London.  Chaste displays beckon - one belt made of leather so soft even your eyes can caress it, one Yaeger sweater tastefully draped, a single piece of  flowered Wedgwood - all priced to deplete your pocket book with ease, no sweaty bargaining with rupees, or any other currency, to cause the slightest ripple in this chic milieu.
Duty free shops with French Brandy, the best Irish whiskies, Italian perfumes, Japanese cameras, chrome and high tech lighting, sales women in high heals and short, slim skirts speaking the King’s English in perfectly modulated tones, wide hallways with glistening floors free of litter - floors I wanted to kiss in gratitude for their cleanliness and the sense of security they gave me - restaurants with food that did not challenge the stomach with exotic and pungent spices and demanded nothing adventurous of the tongue.  Even a McDonald’s - to which my sister-in-law escaped without sharing the news with us in order to indulge herself in a Big Mac breakfast, after maintaining her insistence that she had enjoyed eating nothing but peanut butter for the previous eighteen days - all called to me and soothed my soul.
I made frequent field trips to the duty free shops, deciding to buy my husband a bottle of Napoleon Brandy, since I had found nothing in the crowded stalls of India I thought would attract him.  Then I discovered the forty-five English pounds I’d paid actually translated into more than ninety U.S. dollars.  After debating high priced purchases of four or five hundred rupees, which translated into thirteen or so American dollars tops, this seemed a fortune.  Jim, who is fiscally conservative, would kill me, I was sure.
I went back to the shop to inquire into their return policy, and was persuaded by a tall, stunning blonde dressed like a fashion model that I had invested wisely.  A third trip resulted in the model insisting I taste the brandy.  My previous indecision had inspired her to open a bottle. Though I protested, as it was only nine in the morning and I had never been inclined toward the taste of brandy at any hour, one sip in a thimble sized plastic cup clinched the sale.  She was right, you do pay for the aging and it was clearly worth the price.  Anyway, I reasoned, the way we drink, there was always the possibility that someday our grandchildren would inherit it.
I could have taken up permanent residence at Heathrow Airport that August morning.  Those five hours flew by as minutes in a sensuous haze of elegant consumer good and order - the very things I had disdained on the way there.

© LAlbert284 at

Author Bio:
Linda Albert is a corporate trainer and personal communication and life coach with a Master Certification in Neuro-Linguistics. An author and poet, Linda's work has appeared in many publications, including McCalls Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Among her awards are the Olivet and Dyer-Ives Foundation Poetry Prizes. She is a recipient of the International Merit Award in Atlanta Review's 2007 International Poetry Competition. Linda resides in Longboat Key, Florida with her husband.

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