Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Long Way Home

I am home.  It took over 40 hours from the time we left Murchison Falls in our vans to when we landed in Boston, but the time was short considering how far we traveled.  We left a wild kingdom in the north west corner of Uganda.  Driving the red gravel road past round huts, and banana fields, passing small villages where the houses were made of concrete blocks, and past gas stations offering limited amenities, coming to the outskirts of a city where there were small supermarkets and hotels, stopping at a hotel with a relaxing patio and a delicious dinner, and arriving at a modern airport took about 10 hours.  It was a transition from the country to the city, from the simple to the developed with all the problems and charms of both situations.

When we arrived at the airport, having passed security at the roadway, and the entrance to the departure hall, we found that our flight had been delayed by two hours.  It was already late by that time, so the coffee we drank in the small food court did nothing to keep our eyes open.  We dozed in airport armchairs, until the delayed KLM flight arrived from Amsterdam.  Somehow, those blue uniformed officers and "service personnel" seemed perky and wide awake.  The passengers, however, stumbled on board and sought their pillows avidly.  In spite of the late hour (it was almost 2 am when we boarded), the meal service was unaltered. They served chicken or pasta to anyone who stayed awake.  Peter ate, but I just pulled a blanket over my head and slept.  Eventually he slept too.  As we approached Amsterdam, there were a lot of announcements about making connections.  We were lucky because we had a 5 hour layover originally, which gave us time to spare.  We were planning to meet my brother and niece with two of her children in the airport.  After a stop at the bathrooms where I put my contact lenses back in, we headed to the arrivals hall to make the rendez-vous.  One more stamp in the passport, which is almost 10 years old, and is getting pretty full.  We were supposed to meet at the Starbucks, but as we were searching, they appeared in front of us.  It was all like magic.  They led us to the panoramic restaurant where we had coffee and pain au chocolat.  We had not seen her baby, and her son Ashua had been a baby the last time we saw him, so it was a good reunion.

 Then, we headed back to departures, said farewell, had the passports stamped again, and found our way to the right gate. As we moved down the corridor on our way to Gate E18, we noticed steely clouds behind the white KLM jets.  As we walked closer to take a photo, a rainbow appeared over the airport.  It was the second rainbow in two days, and felt like a blessing on our flight.
 The final flight to Boston seemed long.  Sleep was not easy, and we were restless in our seats.  The legs always seem cramped, and it is impossible to get comfortable.  But we arrived on time, and Kate was waiting at the entrance.  She had made an apple pie for us, so when we got home we had a short celebration before we collapsed.  I was in bed by 4:30 in the afternoon and slept for 10 hours.

The trip is over, but my mind teems with thoughts and reflections.  I downloaded my photos (over 3000 of them), and unpacked my bags.  There will be many more stories to share as I unpack my thoughts.  I have enjoyed writing about the trip, and I think I have a few more entries left in my head.  I will continue to write until I have it all out of my system.  I know that many of my readers have enjoyed hearing about the trip.  Perhaps you will continue to follow the post script.  I probably will write less frequently, but there is at least a month of topics to go.

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