The first leg of our trek was happily uneventful in the grand scheme of travel. My overhead bin was already occupied with what looked like a tour bus load of luggage. Eventually I found enough space for a shoe box and with so maneuvering, shoving, and cajoling I was able to cram my backpack into it. I did warn the passengers beneath to not hastily open the overhead, less they suffer an avalanche.
We left Atlanta around 8:30 PM, more or less on time, and it was about that time that I realized I left my books in the backpack, in the overheard, 10 rows back.
After a delightful meal of what looked like lasagna, Milton and I settled in for the remainder of the 8 hour flight to London. In spite of a toddler that cried all night and the chronic hacking of someone who obviously had swine flu, I managed to get some sleep. I had nothing else to do since the lady in front of me reclined to the point that her scalp was just beneath my gaze, which meant for frustrating reading unless I propped my book on her forehead. Later into the evening an attendant noticed my dilemma and quickly determined that her seat was broken, which was not at all inconvenient to her since this allowed her to fully stretch out.
All of this is rather minor in the larger context of our mission. At Heathrow we whiled away a few hours before boarding our flight to Delhi for the second leg of our trek. This flight was about 8 ½ hours. Two highlights that are of no great consequence, but since air travel can be quite dull, I try to celebrate simple things. The first is that Milton and I got exit aisle seats, which meant for more leg room. Secondly, the in flight meal was a wonderful curry chickpea dinner accompanied with a “lime pickle” which turned out to be a condiment. My seat mate was Indian so she explained to me that you could add it to the basmati rice or the curry leafs to spice it up a bit. It turned out to be a delicious fusion of citrus and chilies. Milton for some reason did not want his so I got a chance to double up!
Our layover in Delhi was only to be 2 ½ hours but due to fog we spent one more hour waiting for our flight to Kathmandu. The flight was pleasantly brief and we arrived to one of the most unique airports I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Not surprising, it was small. The exterior was entirely of brick and it had a nice open air quality to it. Speaking of air, it is quite dusty and smoky, which is typical of developing countries. Just outside of the airport is the Hindu site for cremations, which we will visit in a few days.
We were greeted by our new Kathmandu friends with gifts of flowers and scarves, which made us feel as if we were visiting dignitaries. After a rather sketchy ride in a truck weaving through cars, buses, motorcycles and farm animals, we made it to the house where we will be staying for the next several days.
After a delightful lunch prepared by our hosts, we left to visited two of the six homes that make up the Apple of God’s Eye Ministry, which is CBF helps support. I will write more about this in the days ahead, but this mission is necessary use our mission dollars.
This has been one long day that somehow started on Sunday evening and has not ended until Tuesday night. Of course I think I am speaking too soon because something is howling right outside my window. Our total duration of travel to get to Kathmandu was well over 26 hours, covering 8,888 miles!