Saturday, January 7, 2012

Not just any day

Saying good-bye to Lidia (our house helper) who became a member of our family! If only we could have her come with us to Ecuador!

Another good-bye to Uncle Jim and Aunt Melanie -fellow classmates.

Last time eating at Paulista's - our favorite pizza place and the first place we ate at when we arrived in CR.

Eric and the staff at the hardware store.

One last photo with the Richline family.

Wednesday Dec 28 did not start like any other day. Everything we owned was packed and ready to go. Last minute friends stopped by to say good bye and by 9:30 am we were off the airport. The drive was amazingly pleasant. Nearly all of Costa Rica is shut down between Christmas and New Years and the roads were clear without traffic. We arrived more than 2 hours ahead of time and the line to check in baggage was just over an hour long. For me the worst part of traveling is the constant waiting in line at every turn, but it passed. We were pleasantly surprised that not only did our luggage make weight, but the airlines for whatever reason said we did not have to pay the expected $150 luggage fee. We double checked, but they confirmed that it was waived – Praise the Lord!

Saying good-bye to the neighbors.

Our good friends, Maria (who taught me to make Costa Rica cuisine) and Raphael.

Security in Costa Rica gave us a little trouble about the weird assortment of stuff we had with us and they nearly confiscated some of the kids Magnetics game, but they let it go.

Now I know that many of you have reminded us that flying to Ecuador via Miami is not a straight line. In fact it is nearly 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Let me reassure you that we did not do this for fun, it was just plain cheaper this way. I then switched seats with a man who wanted to sit next to his girlfriend and ended up in first class! Nice – I did share some of my chicken lunch with my wife – back in row #29 though.

We were very much anticipating arriving at the International wing of Miami, eating well during 3 hours of layover all kinds of American junk food and a steak and leaving the International wing for Ecuador. This no longer happens! We were directed right into Immigration into a room with no less than 1,000 people all standing in 34 different lines. The lines were so long that each line touched the back of the room some 75 feet from the officers booths. After another hours wait in a much shorter “for citizens only” line we were passed onto baggage. Although our baggage was checked all the way through we still had to pick it all up, go through customs and recheck it back in on the other side of the customs. Fortunately, Renee saw a baggage carrier named Papi that had helped us out 2.5 years ago when we passed through the last time and she ran over to him and he walked us right through everything. What a blessing.

Back through security with the family and off to T.G.I Fridays for a burger – Man was it good!! We had not had real beef for a year and the french fries were hot, salty and fabulous.

The plane trip to Quito was uneventful (bummer) and despite being long, was nice. It still impresses me that you can travel 25% of the globe in one day and people still complain. This same trip would have taken months not 100 years ago.

After another hour or more wait in the Ecuadorians Immigration line we were graciously met by Martin (our boss) and Brent ,whose family we will be staying with over the next week. It was nearly 1:00 am by the time we left the airport. We were greeted by the rest of Brent’s family and soon after collapsed in bed around 2:00 am. Long, blessed day.

We are not home yet, but we are closer than we have been in over 2 years.

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