Friday, April 9, 2010

Travel Advisory

I’m up late with jet lag and thought I would give another update.

Kai started working in the clinic on Tuesday since Monday was a continuation of the Easter holiday. I’ll post pictures of his experiences soon.

However, I wanted to write about our eventful trip here. On the way we had a layover in London. Sounds rough, I know. But would you believe the tickets were $700 cheaper per ticket to do it that way? So we took advantage of this and saw the sights. London is one of our all time favorite cities of the world now. There was so much to do and see and not having a language barrier made it even more enjoyable. The one downside (besides the weather), is that the exchange rate at the moment is terrible for US travelers, so things were a bit pricey. Thankfully, we stayed in a bed and breakfast owned by a woman who only advertises by word of mouth (though we heard of her through 3 separate people) and she was fairly affordable and served a breakfast that held us until dinner everyday. It was one of the best short trips we’ve taken!

Next came the eventful flights. I happened to leave my Ambien (and cell phone) on the planes from the US to London, and if you know me at all, you understand that this was a problem. Thankfully, now that I have a baby to take care of, it takes my mind off from my fear of flying a little.

The first flight started off delayed because the flight crew was late. We were flying on Easter Sunday and due to that the airport was filled with Muslim workers—from the security workers all the way to the gate workers. This didn’t make me too nervous, but was then compounded by the fact that 4 young Middle Eastern men were also on our flight. I try to not be stereotypical and when I’m thinking rationally, I know we are all just normal people and most likely there’s no ill intent whatsoever; the extremist have just given them a bad name, but then again, when I’m flying I wouldn’t call myself rational.

Anyway, finally we all boarded the plane. Then the stewardess came through and did a head count. Then she came through again. Next 2 stewardesses came through with a clicker and counted again. Then again. And again. And then another time. Finally the passenger boarding list came out and they went through each seat, stopping finally at the row with the 4 young men. My heart started beating faster. There were supposed to be 5, but one of them had checked in and not boarded the plane. The stewardess was visibly irritated and I was starting to feel my heart begin to race. They explained to the stewardess that their friend had gotten sick and decided not to come.

Next a security official boarded the plane and had the same discussion with the men and then declared it safe to take off. Then 2 of them got up to use the bathroom before takeoff. We taxied, took off, and about 3 minutes after takeoff, the same 2 men who used the bathroom got up and went to the back of the plane to again use the bathroom. The steward in the back informed them that they were not supposed to be walking around yet and they needed to sit down for a few minutes. At this point my heart was racing and I was sure they were planning to bomb our plane. I had a death grip on Kai’s hand and he was assuring me that everything would be just fine. A few minutes later, the 2 men entered and then a few minutes later, exited the bathroom and I breathed a sigh of relief.

This first flight was short (50 minutes) heading to Paris, and so we quickly started our descent. The weather was cloudy and a little turbulent. When we were within mere feet of the runway, it was obvious that the pilot had overshot the runway and we were running out of landing room, so he revved the engines full power and we felt the plane pull up at an extremely steep angle. Looking out the windows, I could see that we narrowly missed several buildings at the end of the runway. At this point I was just asking God to make sure that when we did die on this flight, that it would be quick and painless, and that we’d see him the next moment.

Finally after 20 more minutes, the pilot successfully landed our plane and I almost kissed the ground when we got off the plane except for the fact that there was a woman holding a sign with the name of the capital city to where we were heading. After all the delays, our flight was supposed to be leaving at that very moment. A small group of passengers from our flight assembled around her and she led us through the airport, on various shuttles, and through obscure terminals until we arrived at our gate. The plane had been held until we arrived. We got on, took our seats, and flew the 10 and ½ hour flight until we reached Madagascar. We were happy to have this eventful day of flying over, except one other added bonus we realized soon after landing: our luggage did not arrive with us. Since we had been shuttled quickly through the Paris airport, our luggage didn’t have time to make the flight as well. Thankfully, after 2 days, we got 4/6ths of our luggage. Kai got his suitcase today (5 days after arriving), and our stroller is somewhere between here and Paris missing out on the adventure.

So here we are. In one piece on the completely opposite side of the world. We’re loving it so far!


  1. AAAACCCKKK!!! That would have freaked me out, too...even tho I fly all the time, Kristi! There is a reason for the stereotypes...little old ladies aren't bombing planes~ KWIM?? I'm just glad it all turned out ok, of course my thoughts since I am on the "inside"; they may have been having a dry run to see how that particular airline handles this type of situation. I would say more, but there are security issues I can't discuss. And remember; I'm a flight attendant, not a stewardess!! just razzing you!

  2. What an adventure! So glad to hear you all made it safety. We will be praying for your time over there, and can't wait to see pictures.
    Kari and Nick

  3. I'm SO RELIEVED to be reading this frightful story AFTER talking with you....surely God's angels have taken loving care of you.

  4. Kerney, I'm SO happy to hear that even a seasoned "flight attendant" (I knew I was saying it wrong!! ;-) would have been scared too! It was seriously one of the more stressful moments of my life;-)