Day One: In Flight
The woman scanning my carry-on luggage called for assistance when my bag appeared on her screen. The young man who came to help her took one look at her display, one look at me, and laughed.
“You’re taking a bag of coffee with you on vacation, sir?”
I nodded cautiously. He chuckled and waved me through:
“Don’t worry, I do it all the time, too.”
There is an article saved on my phone, among a long list of unread items, titled “The Meaning of Allahu Akbar.”
After so many reports of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim incidents on planes, I am wary of opening the article mid-flight, in fear that someone may look over my shoulder and make ridiculous accusations.
I keep the article saved for later, quickly scrolling past it in my Instapaper queue.
It has been two hours since our flight landed, and I remain in the queue for customs and immigration. All around me are faces of palpable frustration, travelers eager to start their vacations but seething at the inefficiency of a system that has delayed the start of any holiday so far.
I return my headphones to my ears and continue listening to my audiobook; I am in no rush, and I cherish the sunshine on my face as I wait, patiently, for the next step of this adventure.
We make a dinner of fish and chips (and green beans and plantains) over a finicky stove and eat it as the sounds of the island—frogs, insects, unidentifiable birds—play a welcoming symphony around us. We prepare for bed as the fireflies flicker, on-and-off-and-on-again, a few feet away.