“Think quantity,” I pleaded to visitors. Alex and Rami introduced two turkeys, Helen and Felix cheese from Paris, Carly and Claire all their forks and knives. Chinese sticky-rice stuffing — my aunt’s recipe — thunked onto the desk alongside Hwaida’s Lebanese meghli pudding, Signe’s Danish rye and Colin’s Irish whiskey, plus variations of all the classics. Eleven nationalities squeezed round 4 tables. Some of us danced.

Soon after that, I discovered I used to be being transferred to Cairo, the place I arrived, two weeks in the past, with 5 suitcases and no turkey plans.

Make it up.

Jeffrey Gettleman, South Asia bureau chief

On Thanksgiving Day, 2002, I acquired a name from my boss, The Times’s nationwide editor.

“Hey, Jeff, how are ya?”

“Um, fine, I guess …” (I suspected he wasn’t calling on one of the greatest holidays of the yr simply to say hello.)

“How would you like to go on a cruise?”

“You serious?” I requested, understanding there needed to be a catch.

“Yes, I am. We need you to take a cruise to write about the Norwalk virus.”

The Norwalk virus! At the time, this abdomen virus, like a faint prequel to Covid-19, was waylaying the cruise ship business, sickening hundreds of individuals and spreading a way of paranoia throughout the Western world. The high symptom was diarrhea. And now my boss was asking me to intimately cowl it!

But I’d simply been employed by the paper and was sport to do something. So I began packing and shortly left my household for a 10-day Caribbean cruise. I used to be one of the youngest individuals onboard, and I used to be instructed to not shake fingers and to make use of heaps of hand sanitizer.

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