Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

You Might Not Want to Go When We’re There

by Suzanne Fluhr on April 13, 2012 · 17 comments

[Updated September 25, 2017]

When I told friends and relatives that I was planning our trip to central Mexico in 2012, the reactions ranged from concern to over-the-top concern.  (Yes, Mom, I’m talking about you.)  It didn’t help that the State Department had just updated its travel advisory for Mexico to include more parts of the country.  Actually, this is kind of de rigueur whenever we go somewhere.

Political Demonstration manifestacion in Buenos Aires, Argentina

We wandered into this “manifestacion” (political protest march) on our first day in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Perhaps it is mere coincidence, but as a Baby Boomer I have enough of a travel history to be able to notice that  my travel plans seem to foment war, revolution and Biblical weather.  In 1974, I was one of the last American college students to study abroad in Bogotá, Colombia. The month after I left, the State Department added Colombia to the list of places you would be better off not visiting. It was with great sadness as I read from afar about the country descending into a destructive, brutal civil war.

In 1981, Mr. Excitement and I chose Spain for our first trip together.  (We had to see if our relationship would pass the “But can we travel together?” test.)  This being when the internet was just a gleam in Al Gore’s eye, we picked a hotel from a guidebook during our overnight flight across the Atlantic.

We arrived in a jet lagged state to find that our hotel was next to the Cortes, the Spanish parliament building—-which was completely surrounded by soldiers with submachine guns —- some nastiness about an attempted coup d’etat.

Seeking a more relaxing environment, we headed for the Costa del Sol, famed for its sunny beaches. Although drought conditions had produced no measurable precipitation for three years, upon our arrival, the heavens opened up.  As we glumly watched the unrelenting rain from our no star hotel, the locals reveled in the downpour.

The Scream, Munch

The following year, we honeymooned in Peru.  In a conflict that had been way off our trip planning radar, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands (the where??), prompting the British version of “shock and awe”.  The South American mood towards English speakers, including Americans, was edgy at best.

Adding to our discomfort, several Peruvian provinces were closed to foreigners because of increased violent activity by the Shining Path, a Maoist revolutionary group.  It crossed my mind that our tourist train to Machu Picchu would be an attractive target.  I was only off by a few years. In 1986, the Shining Path bombed that train, killing eight people, including two Americans. Our final Peruvian adventure was figuring out how to get home when our airline, Braniff, went belly up and ceased operations in the middle of our trip.

In 2005 on a British Airways flight from Cyprus to London, we were half-listening to the flight attendant’s pre-landing litany. Right after reminding us to stow our hand luggage and put our trays in their upright position, she announced that we would need to make new plans to get from Heathrow Airport into London.  During our flight, four explosive devices had been found on the London Underground.

In October of 2014, we got quite a few raised eyebrows when we said were going to South Africa during the height of the Ebola epidemic. Upon arriving at the Johannesburg Airport on a flight from JFK Airport in New York, we were screened for Ebola. At that point, there had been several confirmed cases in the United States and NONE in South Africa—-but, hey, the word “Africa” is in the country’s name, so that was sufficient for our many of our American compatriots to question our sanity.

Natural disasters in the western hemisphere seem to be an unpleasant theme lately. In addition to the 3 category 5 hurricanes that caused devastation in Texas, Florida, and the Carribean (most recently, Puerto Rico), Mexico has experienced two major earthquakes in the past 30 days and a series of aftershocks in the state of Oaxaca.

The 7.1 quake that affected Mexico City certainly got our attentions because our younger son, the digital nomad, lives there. He is OK and his condominium building sustained only minor damage, but a building collapsed on the next street and he was understandably shaken by the experience.

For a Millennial, our son seems remarkably fatalistic. He rides his motorcycle(s) around Mexico, so perhaps he has clearly bought into a “que será, será” mentality.

We are scheduled to fly to Oaxaca in November, and from there to, Mexico City. If you’re still making your travel plans, consider yourself forewarned.

How has your travel karma been lately?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Madaline Fluhr April 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Suzanne – when “framed” in that way, my respect for your travels is heightened!! I really enjoyed reading this post, contemplating how you and Steve in a vaguely Chaplinesque manner obliviously threaded your way between one catastrophe or another (whether natural or geo-political). Another reminder of how fragile it all is and as mom always says “enjoy each good day you can walk out your door” and “enjoy each day that trouble leaves you alone”. Happy travels! Mad

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Suzanne Fluhr Just One Boomer April 16, 2012 at 6:08 am

Thanks for your comment. I’m up to my eyeballs (and up waay too late) in planning the details of our trip to Europe in May—five flights, 4 countries, 9 different hotels and one rental car. But, I can’t whine about how much time and work trip planning takes—people who aren’t going anywhere get really annoyed.

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Jason May 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Please always let me know where you are traveling to next so I can avoid it like the plague.

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Andrea June 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

And here I thought that we had ALL learned our lessons from the notorious Chicago trip and would avoid O’Hare in the future! Poor Steve… I hope he survived the night without his iPhone (though I am sure he probably bought one in the airport)! As for you, I can once again see where Ben gets his travel-bad-luck genes from!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr June 4, 2013 at 7:36 am

Steve was not a happy camper.

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Patti September 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Don’t plan to fly on the day of… check
Check the weather forecasts… check
Don’t plan to travel with Suzanne… check

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Neva September 18, 2013 at 9:33 pm

I can empathize with your travel woes. Our grandson’s grandmother was born in Bogota, Columbia. We’re very aware that the country is notorious for wanting to kidnap my precious grandkids, when they visit there.
Why is it when we become stranded at an airport, there are no hotel rooms available? I twisted myself into a fetal position and dosed off to the continuous messages droning all night long.
I’m looking forward to hearing that your next trip went well, or maybe the one after that…

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr September 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm

At least I’ll have something to write about if we’re stranded in the Dallas airport where we have to transfer to a connecting flight to Albuquerque. You notice that none of these misadventures are keeping me from wanting to travel. 🙂

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Mike (Nomadic Texan) September 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Suzanne,
I had no idea that Toronto was your first travel blogger conference ever. Fooled me greatly! Your post was fantastic and very humorous. I will make sure and inquire of your destination plans, prior to traveling again. Don’t want to get in the way of your and Steve’s karma! Glad my Europe plans are for next spring!
Mike

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr September 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Mike. Not only won’t be be in Europe, we’ll be as far away from Europe as possible on our planet.

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Roz Warren September 29, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Always got a kick out of this piece. Glad Jeremy made it through the quake okay.

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