Friday, December 4, 2015

November 30 - Dec 2, 2015 - Salt Lake to Lubumbashi

November 30, 2015 - Salt Lake Airport

Rebecca, Chloe, and Grady drove us to the Salt Lake Airport. There we were joined by Leslie, David, Sarah, Aleece, and Erin. Leslie helped us check in and get our baggage checked all the way to Lubumbashi. We were so grateful to get that done. Otherwise, we would have to collect all the bags in Johannesburg, get to a different terminal, and recheck them on to Lubumbashi. We were given boarding passes for Dallas, London, and Johannesburg but were told we needed to get our boarding pass to Lubumbashi in Johannesburg.

Leslie, Erin, Aleece, Sister Peterson, Elder Peterson, Sarah, Rebecca, David, Chloe
This was harder than I thought it would be. For this reason I was secretly hoping no one would show up at the airport. On the other hand, it was great to give one last goodbye—or see you later—think of it as us just going to Boston for the week. Then next week we may choose to extend to walk the Freedom Trail again.

Mom, David, Dad
Mom, Aleece, Dad
Mom, Rebecca, Dad

Mom, Sarah, Dad

Mom, Erin, Dad

Mom, Leslie, Dad

The children wanted some last words for the grandchildren:

There were tears, hugs and kisses all around; then it was time to go to security and get upstairs to the gate. 

Grandma and Grady

Grandpa and Grady

Grandma and Chloe

Grandpa and Grady

Mom and Rebecca

Rebecca and Dad
Dad, Leslie, Mom

Mom and Sarah

Dad and Sarah

Aleece, Mom, Dad, Erin

Aleece, Mom, Erin, Dad

Dad and Aleece

Loaded down with carry on luggage

But it was difficult to give that one last wave goodbye.

Leslie was watching our plane takeoff from her position at the airport.

The two hour flight to Dallas was uneventful. We then had a 3 hour layover. During that time I called Mom for one last visit and Becca to ask her to cancel Dad's phone. We were not able to do it—the office was closed.

After boarding the plane in Dallas we sat on the tarmac for 1 1/2 hours while a water problem in the galley was fixed. During the 8 hour flight we were seated smack dab in the middle of the 5 seat row so we had to have a man on the aisle move if we wanted to get out. With about 4 hours left in the flight he came back from the bathroom, so I thought that would be a good time to get up and stretch my legs for a bit. However, when I went back to my seat he was asleep and I didn't want to wake him up. So I walked the aisle, stood in the back walking in place, or rocking back and forth to keep up the circulation in my legs, etc. After 1 1/2 hours I had to wake him up to get back in my seat. Then Dad left to take his turn standing for a while.

Our plane from Dallas to London
We definitely don't like coach as our mode of travel. Yes, I know, we are airline brats. In London we landed at terminal 3 and then took a bus to terminal 5, went through passport control and then through security. Because our plane was late getting here the layover was only 4 hours.

Our next flight to Johannesburg was 11 hours long and we were in the middle of the row AGAIN. I think that was supposed to humble us. This flight seemed shorter than the one to London. Maybe it is because this time I was somewhat rested and was able to watch movies a lot of the way. Watching movies makes the time pass much faster. We didn't get up and stretch except for about a 10 minute period of time. The man we had to ask to let us out had been awake for that time and I didn't want to take the chance of him going to sleep before we took our seats.

We were given meals on both long flights so we were not hungry. In Dallas we purchased a chicken-avacado sandwich and shared it. Later we were served dinner and breakfast on the way to London. We then had dinner and breakfast on the way to Johannesburg.

In Johannesburg we had a two hour layover and we needed every minute of it. We had to walk from one terminal to the other with our carry-on bags. Dad's backpack and my duffle bag were heavy to carry. It was quite a ways. After passing through the passport check area we went to the South Africa Air Express counter to get our boarding pass for Lubumbashi. There we were told we needed to pay extra charges for the extra bag weight. Ron pulled out the money but she said it needed to be changed into South African Rand. She would go do that for us and be back in about 15 minutes. However, she wanted our credit card instead of the cash. After she left we started to get nervous about us giving her our card. She did return after about 20 minutes but couldn't get the money because Ron wasn't at the exchange counter to sign for it. She gave us our boarding cards and said she would come with us to get the money for the baggage fees.

We proceeded through security with her waiting on the other side of the line. She then took us to the exchange counter, Ron got the money. We gave it to her and she told us to go ahead down to our gate. She would return to her ticket counter, pay the charges, then bring us the receipt and any change. It was getting close to boarding time so we had no other alternative but to do as she asked.

At the gate we would have to board a bus to drive us out to our plane. We waited until the last people because the girl had not come with our receipt. Finally we had to give our boarding cards to the gate agent. It flashed on the computer screen “NOT ALLOWED TO BOARD” because of unpaid baggage fees. We explained that we had given the money to the girl and she was supposed to arrive with our receipt. A second gate agent went to the computer, typed something in and said she could see that the fees had been paid. She had to type in a bunch more stuff to finally get us cleared to board the bus.

In the meantime, the first bus was full and a second bus had just a few people on it. We got on the second bus, waited for some more people, then I saw the ticket counter girl arrive at the gate. I got off the bus and went inside. She had our receipt and the change. Was I relieved! My stomach which had started to get uptight as soon as we landed in Johannesburg was finally able to calm down. I felt peace again and we boarded our last leg to Lubumbashi without a problem. We found room on the small plane for our carry-on luggage and settled down for our two hour flight. We were served lunch on the plane.

In the small Lubumbashi airport it took a while to get through the passport security area. As we entered the baggage claim area President Thomas was waiting for us. What a comfort it was to see him. Our baggage was located and we went out to the SUV where Sister Thomas was. They are such wonderful people. They made us feel so welcome and wanted.

We drove a longer way to the Mission home so we could see some of the city. It reminds us of places we have visited in Mexico, South America, and Central America. There are only certain streets that are paved. Many are dirt roads. We passed houses that are less than we are used to seeing at home. Since we have traveled so much and seen cities like this it was not a shock to us. It was pretty much what we might have expected.

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