Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oct. 28 - Leaving LesCayes

Leaving LesCayes

10/28/06

We got up early to take down our net bed on the porch, pack it up, and have our coffee before Kelly took us to the airport. She and a bunch of others are going to the waterfall past Camp Perrin today – we hope to get there next time.

At the airport there was a big to-do going on with the Taiwanese. There were flags, balloons, flowers, all of the chairs were lined up with a large banquet table set up inside the airport building. It was very pretty and festive, and filled with officials. There were UN soldiers, “Men in Black”, Haitian national police, and local police all over the place. A huge UN helicopter landed; we thought it would be full of officials, but it was just more UN personnel. When the small Carib plane finally arrived about one half hour late, there were Taiwanese officials on it and an official greeting party. Once they were inside the building we were allowed to exit and get on our plane.

We arrived in PAP about 45 minutes late, but Pastor Nader was faithfully waiting for us there. He said Marie had called twice to make sure we were safe and was worried because we were late. I called their house and Daphka answered so I had a fun conversation with her and left a message for her mom.

Our trip to PAP International Airport was without incident. Upstairs in the lounge we re-acquainted ourselves with the author of Sonny’s Dream (from St. Joseph’s). He said he walked down to Cite Soleil for the first time in 3 years and felt safe. He said Cite was very clean, surprisingly so. He also walked all around Petionville and said it was safe. It appears that things are calmed down for a while at least.

Miami International:
Leave plane, walk a long time past the gate you’re going to return to eventually, go to Passport Control and squeeze into the three farthest away lines in a corner meant for US Citizens. Then down the stairs to baggage claim where you wait for your bags, on to customs where you turn in your customs paper and no one checks that you’ve actually taken the bags that are yours. Then out through double doors to follow the yellow dots where you shove your suitcases under a rope and someone you don’t know takes them somewhere you trust will end up in an airplane that arrives where you do. Then upstairs to check in again (notice, you’re now out of the secure area – this is a new twist). Figure out how to electronically get re-ticketed, then find the corridor for Gate D, stand in line for x-ray take off your shoes, open your laptop, if you’re wearing a ticket pouch leave it also. Oops…too bad….you bought rum and put it in your suitcase. Do not pass GO. Return to ticket counter. Reticket electronically again indicating that you have an additional bag to check, and if you’re lucky it was your spouse and not you that had TWO bags against their name or it will cost you an extra $100 for that bottle of rum. Notice that you’re boarding pass doesn’t indicate that you have checked an extra bag. Go to the line to get a tag for your bag. Go to another line where they will take your bag. Now….back to x-ray…remembering that you forgot to pick-up your laptop out of the bin the first time you went through, so you hope your wife picked it up, and she hopes you picked up the passport in your ticket pouch. Good news! The weather in Hartford is crummy and the flight has been delayed…so you might make it to the gate before it boards after all with time to spare to go to the bathroom.

Finally on board the plane at 10:00 p.m. and waiting to take off, I look out the window. On the tarmac one of the airport guys is taking what looks like a large roll of saran wrap out of his tool box and walking to the plane with it. I made a joke to Paul, saying I hoped they weren’t going to fix the plane with that.

Well, the joke was on us. Two bottles of rum, in our newly re-checked suitcase, had broken. We found that out as we saw our suitcase come around the baggage carousel at Bradley at 1 a.m. We left the whole thing wrapped up in plastic and loaded it in the van for the drive home. Once we got home we found we were lucky because we’d pretty much left the suitcase empty and nothing but some papers, some recharging cords, and plastic bags were in it. Thank goodness, we hadn’t put our laptops or other electronic equipment in that suitcase!

We arrived home very tired at 2:30 a.m. glad for the extra hour’s sleep. Paul woke up with the flu – I’m still feeling crummy, so we are spending the day hunkering down in front of the fire and sleeping…a good New England fall day ahead of us. I never thought I’d say it, but it feels good to feel cool.

Shortly we’ll begin planning another trip to Haiti, in the meantime we’ll remember all of the friends we left behind. God has been gracious to us!

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