Thursday, May 14, 2009

Personal Trip Planning

When we visited Angkor Wat, we stayed at a place called the Golden Banana Bed and Breakfast. It was all we could have wanted: cheap (very), clean, free breakfast, free wireless, and an owner who insisted I really should stop at the hospital on my way to the airport after being bitten by a dog. The husband didn't think the skin had been broken, but it had, so the stop at the hospital could have been a lifesaver in that I was able to start the treatment to prevent rabies immediately, with no interruption to our trip.

I probably never would have found the Golden Banana on my own. I found it thanks to the nurse practitioner I saw for a ring finger that kept locking up when I bent it. In the course of the exam, the subject of our plan to visit Angkor came up, and she said she'd stayed at a very nice bed and breakfast there. One personal recommendation and a look at the website were enough to convince me that was where we should stay.

The husband and I found our favorite Caribbean dive resort, Small Hope Bay Lodge, where we honeymooned and to which we returned four other times, in much the same way. As we were planning our wedding, I was chatting with some colleagues about possible honeymoon locations with sun and water for diving. Henry, a somewhat portly, quiet man with a very dry sense of humor, who worked in the budget office across the hall, said that he knew where he'd go for that, and suggested Small Hope. I asked him for more details, and it came up that he had never actually been there himself. Rather, he read travel guides thinking about where he would like to go if he could. He had decided that if he ever went to the Caribbean, he'd like to go to Small Hope. This being before the days of the Internet, I did some travel guide reading of my own, and the rest was family history. We went there a total of five times, and each time I would come back and thank Henry as I told him how much we had enjoyed it.

Not too long after our last trip to Small Hope, I quit working to go on sabbatical with the husband, have younger son, and become the full-time mother-at-home I had wanted to be since older son had been born. I lost touch with Henry, though I heard a few years later that he had retired. A few years after that, I read his obituary in the local paper. I pictured him, sitting at night reading travel guides, and wondered if he ever got to some of the places he'd read about. I don't know if he ever made it to Small Hope Bay Lodge, but I hope so, because we never would have made it there without him. Thanks, Henry. Many, many thanks.

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