I haven’t flown overseas since I moved back to the United States in October 1998. My passport languished un-stamped in a drawer after I renewed it in 2006.
But we’ve known since January that we would need to make a trip to Rotterdam this year, for family reasons. And when it came time to actually travel, my mother asked if there was anything I needed.
“A Kindle,” I replied, “So I don’t have to carry enough books for 3 weeks.”
I was hoping that the Kindle Ultimate program would be the equivalent of being able to “rip” all my existing books onto the Kindle. It doesn’t quite work that way, despite a fairly generous allowance of 10 books per month, because most of my favorite authors, or at any rate their publishers, don’t seem to be participating in the program. (My impression was that Kindle Ultimate is a decent deal for authors who are published by major houses, and not such a good deal for indie authors. But since Amazon is still negotiating e-book terms with some of said houses, that could have something to do with the absence of most of the people whose books I read.)
Nevertheless, it was possible to add a number of books for free, either because I had them already, Amazon was giving them away, or they were available via Project Gutenberg (the last being books that are out of print).
And the Kindle was indeed a godsend on the flight. It was incredibly cramped and also unusually hot (and I am never too hot), and nearly impossible to sleep. I went through three books before we arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and I already had more than enough to carry, with two laptops and a rolling cooler full of food. (I can’t eat airline food, and having seen it, I’m just as glad.)
I haven’t figured out all of the Kindle’s tricks, but I do appreciate being able to adjust the text size, and the sharpness of the letters is impressive.
I also packed my MP3 player, once again (after a few years’ interlude) a Sansa Clip, with podcasts, but I never actually pulled it out of the bag. I tend to listen to podcasts when I drive, which is not something I’m going to be doing here.
If we get a sunnier day, I will take some photos in Rotterdam. It’s much colder here than in California, and the radiator in my husband’s old room is broken. (It never mattered when his dozens of computer screens were heating it up.) We actually broke down and got a space heater, because neither of us wants pneumonia. My mother-in-law thinks we’re wimps, but then, all Californians are wimps where weather is concerned. And even when I lived in cold places, I tended to like it to be warm inside.
I’m not likely even to be trying to sleep on the flight home, so I’m sure I’ll be just as happy to have the Kindle then.