Thursday, June 9th.
With Michael now feeling better, but both girls still unwell,
we made our way back to the massive "J" airport,
arriving extra-early so that we wouldn't miss our 4 p.m. flight.
We shouldn't have worried.
We sat in the dark, crowded boarding area for four weary hours
waiting, waiting, waiting.
We know now that this wait is fairly typical for that airline;
the advice goes: if you want a timely flight, take the first flight of the day.
From there it's all down hill.
That was the COLDEST airplane I've ever shivered on.
I guess they had used up all the heat, too, by the end of the day...
When we arrived in the city of "P", we de-planed out on the tarmac,
and walked straight into the baggage claim area.
All two mini-belts of it. (above)
At least it was easy to navigate!
A fellow-worker met us here, an angel in disguise (thanks, Matt!)
who took us to our room for the night.
Friday, June 10th.
By the light of the next morning everything looked a little brighter.
All three jr. members were once again interested in eating,
and the event-center where we stayed not only had the glorious option of
dry white toast (perfect for recovering stomachs)
but it also boasted lovely and quiet ambiance.
The mural below was gigantic, covering a whole wall,
showcased by a gentle spiral staircase.
Mark, Michael and I found our way to the local mall that morning
to stock up on a few supplies we'd need in the village,
and food for the day.
I found myself intrigued by all the displays of proper head coverings for ladies,
but also by the large display of familiar Christian authors at the bookstore -
all in the national language!
In the grocery area we passed over the Lays Salmon Teriyaki Chips
in favor of wonderfully familiar British digestive biscuits.
What a treat!
And then to KFC for lunch,
a piece of fried chicken with delicious rice -
and most people (including Michael!) eat the rice as finger food.
Soon it was time to head to the bus station for our ride to the village.
This was the public transportation we took.
I felt like I was in the middle of a scene out of a movie.
The driver seemed to understand what we needed; at least we hoped so.
He and another passenger in the front seat were liberally sharing their cigarette smoke with us,
and they cranked up the radio a few decibels for our listening pleasure.
Our fellow back-seat rider was very friendly
and to our relief, after a pretty crazy ride, we finally did pull into the bus station.
There we boarded a private van and began the last leg of our journey to the village.
Mark sat up front with his phrase book,
conversing amazingly well with our driver, Pak Simone
We were told it can be a five hour trip.
Pak Simone got us there in just over three hours.
We passed fields of corn,
and fields of rice,
fields being planted,
fields being harvested.
Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes,
and see that the fields are white for harvest.
We drove past homes,
remote villages,and reminder after reminder of the dominant influence here...
Darkness fell and we were more glad than ever that we were riding with Pak Simone,
someone who knew the roads and all of the potholes and dangerous corners.
It was very dark out on those mountain roads,
and we were thankful to reach the village at last.