Passenger thoughts on carry-on bags: Wear a helmet

In yesterday’s article “Travelers Weigh in on Policing Carry-ons” in the New York Times, Joe Sharkey said that he received 300 e-mails with complaints about overhead bins and carry-on bags. According to Sharkey, people are fussing right and left regarding other people’s carry-ons.

Reading the responses that Sharkey highlighted reminds me a bit of people’s complaints about other people’s driving. Instead of grousing about the lack of blinker use, people driving too close, people driving too slow in the fast lane, or too fast in the slow lane, or talking on a cell phone instead of paying attention to the road, people are turning other people’s carry-on bags into modern day travel hazards and symbols of human rudeness.

For example, one person suggested that with the amount of stuff people are cramming into overhead bins and the dangers of falling objects, wearing a helmet while flying isn’t a bad idea. He might have a point.

Here’s an idea. Like Sharkey also mentioned, maybe the airlines could rent helmets as a way to make more money. Hard hats, for that matter, could easily be decorated with an airline’s logo.

Guide on traveling like a local in Cambodia

No, I haven’t traveled like a local in Cambodia, but from how Tim Patterson describes it at Jaunted, my local travel in The Gambia sounds close. His line about both butt checks falling asleep at the same time brought back memories.

As one of his entries for the Embedded Travel Guide to Cambodia, a series where he blogs about his experiences staying in a guest house in Sihanoukville, Patterson describes the various ways one can get from point A to point B in that country. The emotions he highlights are shock, misery and exhilaration–perfect word choices for capturing the flavor of many of the experiences I’ve had while shouldering my way into a bush taxi, or bobbing along in ramshackle boat without a life jacket and the shore almost too far away to see.

For anyone heading to a place where transportation is an assortment of tuk-tuks, fishing boats, buses, bamboo rafts, regular boats, motorcycles, cyclos, regular taxis, pick-up trucks, or heaven knows what else–ox carts, for example, Patterson’s guide is a great way to familiarize yourself with what’s out there and how to play it safe as best you can.

Patterson’s idea is you jump on, have fun, but know the risk. I second his emotions. Besides, you’ll end up with some great tales to tell and you won’t even have to embellish the details to make the stories more fantastic.

[Photo from Jaunted. Clicking on it brings you to Patterson’s guide.]

Great American Road Trip: More road kill woes and how to clean a car

The first mishap was when we nailed a possum in Illinois east of Chicago the first night of our road trip to Montana. The critter was lumbering across the interstate about 10:30 p.m. That was a sad moment.

Thursday, driving to and from Regent, North Dakota we had several sad moments. Honestly, there are some things that can’t be avoided.

I already posted about the two pheasants we hit. The chipmunk and the blackbird came later.

We didn’t hit them all at once, but over the course of several miles. Such is one of the realities of traveling on small two-lane highways–but this was ridiculous. Particularly when two raccoons made a mad dash in front of us as I was typing the previous sentence. The second one didn’t make it.

With each thump, I’m shouting out from the passenger seat, a strangled “Arggh!” Seriously, it was a nightmare. “That’s one way to damage a car,” I said.

“It’s not like I’m trying to hit them,” said my husband. It’s true, he wasn’t, and swerving too much is dangerous. He pointed out the deep ditch on the side of the road.

My son, the six-year-old wanted to stop for feathers and fur.

My daughter wanted to know why I’m making such an awful sound.

Turns out, I was onto something. While my husband was filling the gas tank in Miles City, Montana after dropping us off at a McDonald’s so our son could let off steam at the indoor playland, one of the pheasants was still with us. It had broken the grill a tad–just big enough to become wedged behind it.

Two truckers, noticing the predicament, exchanged their road kill tales with my husband and helped him figure out how to remove it. The windshield squeegee handle was somehow involved. I didn’t want the specific details.

When my husband showed up at the McDonald’s parking lot with the pheasant in a plastic bag with grand plans of showing it to our friend in Billings, I shouted, “Arggh!” and ran in the opposite direction. “No dead things in the car. Absolutely not,” I shouted from where I stood, still ready to flee if he stepped one foot closer. I hate dead things.

The pheasant was left in a garbage can in Miles City. There are a couple feathers in another bag behind the driver’s seat, but I’m trying not to think about them.

A woman told us, as she was sliding into her truck after hearing about our pheasant mishap, “Watch out for deer.”

The photo is of my son trailing his hand out the window for a moment to catch raindrops, one of the pleasant aspects of the day. Not pheasant–pleasant.