“Fly, yes… land, no!”

I do not enjoy landing the airplane. Yet. Airspeed, altitude, pitch, throttle, rudder, flaps, wind, keeping an eye on other flight traffic, eyeballing the glide slope… I find myself stressed and overloaded. Still, I have to keep at it. I’m becoming more comfortable with landings, but I’ll need a few more hours of practice before I feel completely confident.

I’m going to Kerala, the state on the soutwest spice coast of India, for my cousin Baiju’s wedding. He called my cell one day to invite me, and he doesn’t even speak English. I checked with the guys at work to see if I’d be able to take the maximum 2 weeks off (since anything less would be too short a time to justify the airfare). Once the time off was approved, I started looking for tickets. My dad found a nice routing via American Airlines and Emirates (the Dubai-based international carrier of the UAE) that minimized layover time. Chicago -> London -> Dubai -> Kochi, and the reverse on the way back. The return stop in London was on Thursday evening, which got me thinking.

Instead of booking online, my dad called American, gave them the flight numbers, and we asked what the additional cost would be to extend the return layover in London for a few days. $200. I jumped on that, because $200 for a weekend in London is hard to pass up. Here’s what my schedule looks like:

Thursday, April 20: Chicago to London, 7h 40m
Friday, April 21: London to Dubai, 6h 55m
Saturday, April 22: Dubai to Cochin, 4h
2 weeks roaming Kerala
Thursday, May 4: Cochin to Dubai, 3h 45m
Thursday, May 4: Dubai to London, 7h 25m
Weekend in London
Sunday, May 7: London to Chicago, 8h 30m

Nearly 40 hours of flight… I could use some book recommendations, people. Also, I found out elephants can be rented for about $5/hour. I would therefore also appreciate suggestions for amusing things to do with 20 or so elephants.

In the end, I will have burned 11 days (F, M-F, M-F) of PTO for 17 days of vacation. 17 days to recharge. Awesome. Now I have to see if they’ll let me go to E3, which is the week of my return…

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