weather and british airways willing, I'll be off on the travel extravaganza of early 2006, and if you already knew what airport IXU is, props to you. I do have to take the free bus to travel the 4 km between international and domestic terminals in Bombay, and if you think that's third world, you haven't traveled through Sydney.
I will say that our arrival in San Jose international (SJC) was a bit of an introduction to the third world. After walking down off of the airplane old-school, we wandered through a makeshift canvas tunnel for at least 100 yards before reaching the far end of the terminal building, which we had to traverse entirely (passing both ticketing and bag claim) before getting to the bus to the rental cars. and the place was packed with people, all grumpy and toting hordes of boxes, bags, and other loot from the recent holidays. most with children in tow. not a good scene. it is just another example of how physical space shifts the way people behave. if you feel like you're in a gritty, disgusting bus terminal, you tend not to be happy. if you're in a high-ceilinged, clean, spacious terminal (new buildings at Detroit, the Chicago terminals, the main hall at Denver, terminal C at Newark, the Bristol airport we have recently become very familiar with), you end up acting differently, carrying yourself differently.
A friend of mine was conveying the difficulty of finding a high school for their child, the struggle of public v. private school and the normal worries about both. But what concerned her most about the public school she visited (which had a decent reputation) was the space: you treat kids like criminals and place them in a space that seems like a poorly-run prison, with flaking grey paint, metal detectors at the door, and nary a color in sight, of course they don't want to learn. Perhaps they learn to live in this world, which I suppose is valuable. But again perhaps the world should change??
So I'm off to India for a month, and will try to post from there when possible (read: facilitated by the 5-star hotels we'll be staying in). I'm looking forward to yummy food, seeing pretty things, and hanging out with Ruth in Delhi. many happy returns for a wonderful new year to all y'all.