Next stop on our quick visit through the States was LaSalle, Michigan, to see Mark’s parents. I won’t say that we intentionally timed the visit to coincide with Michigan’s tomato season, but we’re awfully glad it worked out that way. As we travel around the world we are increasingly convinced that the best tomatoes in the world are from southeastern Michigan. Seriously, we never have truly great tomatoes unless we’re in Michigan.
Oh, and we visited with Mark’s parents, too. There tends to be less time between visits with them than with the rest of our families – they joined us in Guatemala last February, and we’ll spend two weeks in New Zealand with them in November – but time hanging around the house in Michigan is great. Happy hour, where you can count on good quality cocktails at a decent price, is something we look forward to. Given our weird lifestyle, we don’t get a lot of home-cooked meals, so the smoked pork chops, smoked turkey, and steak tartare were a welcome change.
Wait – steak tartare? Yup. We go through a bit of withdrawal when we leave France, where one or the other of us has steak tartare most every day. We’d had kibbeh nayyeh (Lebanese raw lamb) for lunch, but that’s just not enough raw meat for one day. So Mark’s dad made it for us on our last night. Wow – every bit as good as anything we’d get in Paris and all washed down with a French rosé we’d managed to bring back from the Loire valley. Seriously good stuff. See?
Meanwhile, the saga of my lost luggage on the flight from Paris to Minneapolis continues. They returned the bag while we were up at Lake Vermilion so now the challenge is to get reimbursement for my “necessary expenses” during the six days the bag was flying around North America. Delta has an online form that … how do you describe it? … doesn’t work. You start entering the information and at some random and indeterminate point the form stops capturing the info you enter. It allows you to enter it, and it shows up on the screen but, as I discovered when I was done, most of it isn’t saved when you are ready to submit it.So I called the Support line and was told by three different people that this was a known problem and I needed to submit multiple forms. OK, I complete one document with the 10 items it seems to accept and start to fill out a second form. This time, though, when I enter my personal information, instead of getting the option to start entering the remaining items I had bought, the form says “Reimbursement claim successfully completed.” As in “Idiot, you’ve already submitted your reimbursement form and we aren’t going to let you submit another!”
So now I have a partial claim filed that they think is my complete file and I’m going to have to go through another round of talking with random people at a call center. All this because they lost my bag on a nonstop flight. Did I mention that I hate Delta?
As I said, the stop in Michigan was brief. We did a day of errands in Ann Arbor, including a brief tour of Mark’s old college stomping grounds, getting ready to head off to the remote South Pacific. First, though, it’s off to San Francisco and Hawai’i.