Boy, it’s a long haul home from Cali, especially when – like Alan & Barbara, you have a 36 hour layover in a city they found somewhat disappointing, Washington DC! – and for me, when my 10.10 pm pm 10+ hour flight was announces as being 1 hour 50 minutes late! Getting through Colombian emigration is considerably more stressful than immigration: I guess it’s the history of people for generations trying to smuggle out Colombia’s famous white powder. You’re always liable to have to have your main luggage searched – at the door of the plane, as people are boarding! – and ALWAYS a police search of hand luggage. This time, it turns out I was one of the random ‘control’ passengers: that means you hand your passport to a policeman, who peruses it, then refuses to give it back, talking so fast in Spanish you have no idea why! I really find letting go of my passport, having to move on without it, never being QUITE sure where, when, or if, you’re going to get it back. I then had to go to another room, for one of the new ‘personal’ scans – that does internal as well as external (so many people try shifting cocaine in condoms they’ve swallowed – or …er…. inserted!). Standing sideways on a moving belt with nothing to hold on to, with dodgy knees, even for a yard of so, is quite a challenge…. fortunately, then, reunited with my passport.
It’s at time like those, though, that there are benefits to flying long-haul quite frequently: the boarding gate was packed, with obviously a bunged full flight (I think the Avianca Airbus A330 takes 222 people), and on my outbound journey I’d suffered a really intrusive fidget (I think she must have thought she’d paid for half of my seat as well as hers!) who sat next to me. Waiting like all good Brits do, as we know how to queue, the guy at the boarding gate desk came over and asked for my boarding card. The dread of possibly having to unpack my maximum weight, packed bags at the door of the plane, washed over me.
Then he came back, and whispered, ‘You’ve been upgraded’…. Oh, the joy!!!!! Executive Class (a combination of first and business class on Avianca) for 10+ hours! A menu…champagne, as much wine as you want, not in those little plastic bottles, but out of a big normal bottle… loos that don’t look as though Vesuvius has erupted behind the loo roll holder, clean loo floors – AND a flat-bed…. I slept for 6½ hours. The late flight meant a bit of a dash through Madrid airport even to make the rescheduled flight (I’d missed my booked connection), a night at Keith & Margi’s home in Addlestone, then back home yesterday afternoon.
Would I swap what God did during the week for an on-time flight? Not on your life! Would I swap it for a flat-bed? No way. But the flight home was just a nice bonus, a good distance between you and your ‘neighbour’….
Now I’m praying for the same thing home from Mexico (I go there from 8th to 19th) and then home from Australia (that’s the real dream one – 7½ Melbourne – Singapore, 13½ hours Singapore to London, in an Airbus A380, too, which is incredible…. I’d need that on 23rd September if you fancy starting praying now!
Back home to a mountain of post, and three days of emails…. I’m one of those people who just HAS to unpack as soon as soon as I’m home, I can’t stand the sight of cases/bags lying around full…. now the joy of laundry! Mad the mistake of forgetting to set my alarm this morning, too, so didn’t wake until 9.30 am, though by the time I’d caught up yesterday, it WAS 2am before I made it to bed.
Still on another plateau, mentally and spiritually, after all that God did the last 11 days. Wilmar, the pastor of ‘El Abrigo’ church, told Alan & Barbara that MANY people had been healed at the three meetings they did in his church: people don’t always tell you, so it’s great when the pastor does! I’ve started, more and more recently, of praying for a couple of minutes or so, then asking the person, ‘So, how do you feel?’, ‘What’s happening?’ – you tend to get a response then!
And so, just 6 more days at home before packing again, back over to England next Wednesday night, to fly out for yet another lon-haul flight, London-Toronto-Mexico City, but so looking forward to seeing Benny, Paty, Mimi, Jois, and many other friends….