And another adventure draws to a close. The serene beauty of the mountains was traded for the unwelcome mayhem of the city as the team and I rode back to civilazation. The final push through the airport was a little slice of hell. As I will be spending a few days in Great Britain before going the rest of the way home, my flight left a few hours later than the rest of the team. As such, I was just outside the window for regular check-in, and I was made to jump through extra hoops at every stage of security. It was only through the efforts of one helpful young man from another department in the airport that I was able to get my boarding pass and get past the hands-off laziness of the first person I spoke to at the immigration check point. By that time, the rest of my team had already boarded their flight and were on the way home.
I have to confess that this experience--two hours of red tape, smug apathy and rejection--left me angry. No, not angry. Furious. Enraged. Spiteful. I have spent forty days traveling this subcontinent helping as many people as I could and documenting their lives to share abroad, and my only reward at the end of the trip was to be denied a final goodbye to a group of people whom I count as dear as family. I cursed the beauracracy under my breath every time they turned me back. Major cities and large crowds bring out the worst in me on the best of days, and to be stalled at every turn by self-important airport personell was simply the icing on the cake.
But I have no right to feel entitled to anything. I offered my help freely in the places I went, and I never asked for anything in return. I should not feel like I was denied something when nothing was promised me. My rage was impotent and pointless; the primeval reaction of someone who was simply denied something he wanted. What matters is that I made it through. I have a few days of decompression in South England to look forward to, and after that, home and family.
The last six weeks have been a roller coaster. As I unload the photos from my camera, I will be recapping the trip day by day, almost like a serialization of a story. Don't stop reading the blog, because the adventure has yet to be fully shared.