I should have posted this entry a day ago but, to be honest, have just been happily soaking up being home.
Yes, I'm back at home.
We traveled to the Bissau airport just after 9 pm on Friday night where I found the airport lit up and the parking lot fairly busy, unlike the day before when it was shutdown and pitch black. Checking in was a new experience too, since we Americans are used to efficiency (there was only one line for everyone), computer (our boarding passes were hand written), security (barely a glance at our luggage and no personal checks), and smoking prohibited. I was very happy to leave Guinea-Bissau, if only to get out of a waiting area after 3 hours of waiting, breathing cigarette smoke.
We passed through Lisbon where we had to grab our luggage and check it in with United Airlines. I think we waited over an hour for 3 bags, each one coming down the shute separated by 25-30 miuntes. Does that make any sense to you? Anyways, we found ourselves with just about enough time to get to the gate to board the plane for Newark.
The flight to Newark was uneventful until we were within 30 minutes of landing. From that point on the pilot stuggled to land the plane in severe turbulence. Even I was getting airsick. Several times we had to pull up and snake around the skies until we could try again. The actual landing was tough, with a final jerk to the side as we hit the ground. We applauded the pilot.
Again, our luggage seemed slow to arrive at the baggage claim area but we weren't concerned this time since we were expecting a 7 hour layover until our 8 pm flight. Still, after passing through customs, Corey checked to see if there was an earlier flight. God was very gracious because we had landed 30 minutes early and a plane to Charlotte scheduled for 3 pm was delayed an hour. There were two (separate) seats left and we were able to arrive in Charlotte at 6 pm instead of almost 11 pm.
Our families were thrilled but not nearly as much as we were. We could arrive home in daylight, relax and unpack a bit, and expect to be rested and ready for Easter services the next day.
And so ended a 25 hour flight trip. So ended our 3 weeks in Guinea-Bissau.
We have some compensation time ahead of us because of our heavy work schedule (traveling and working on weekends, etc.). Today (Monday) includes rest, a visit to the dentist, catching up on bills and email, and planning the rest of the week. Corey and I will go to work tomorrow to return hardware and tools, file expense and trip reports, and deal with any high priority projects.
Perhaps it's time to finally paint the bedroom. What do you think, Julie?