Memories of Christmas Past

When I was working, Apple gave employees the week between Christmas and New Years, and sometimes a day or two before or after. I would often use that time to travel because it would require very few, if any, extra vacation days. Air fares would be higher and airports crowded, but it worked out.

One year we visited Tanzania and Rwanda. During Christmas, I was staying in a tent on the Serengeti. For New Year's Eve, I stayed in Rwanda where I was scheduled to be up bright and early on January 1 to trek with the gorillas. I went to bed early. On the way home, I was routed through Paris and had a 24 hour layover at an airport hotel. Having never been to Paris, Glen and I hopped on a train and took a whirlwind tour. (This was before Notre Dame's fire.) The only problem was that I had clothes for the hot African weather. It was cold and raining in Paris. I moved quite rapidly from train, to Notre Dame, to the Eiffel Tower, and to a restaurant to warm up. Then back to the airport hotel.

Another year I went to Oman over Christmas and then to Egypt. Oman is primarily Muslim, so December 25 was just another day—a day that started at the crack of dawn with the call to prayer. It is a beautiful county with a lot of geographic diversity—from beaches to deserts and mountains. And a lot of stunning architecture, such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, built in 2001.

Once I stopped working, I remained at home during Christmas and New Year's. The first to years post-work I spent with friends. The next two years have been Covid years, with just the two of us home. I am enjoying the peace, quiet, and rain, but I look forward to a time when holidays mean large gatherings of friends and family.

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