A long day ahead of us as we leave for Africa

Los Osos Travel Blog

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Ok, so 5am happened and I think I got an hour sleep. Dave got less. We've got a rented van in the driveway and our plan is to leave here at 5:20, go to Daudi's apartment (across from Dan's shop) and pick him up. He's still got two bags that weren't loaded last night. Next it's to the church to load up with people, carry-on luggage, maybe a little coffee, and head to San Luis Obispo where we'll pick up Tim (the geologist who's coming on the trip to scout out suitable sites for water well drilling). We'll meet up with the other rental van and the Tahoe that's pulling the trailer full of luggage somewhere on the 101 South.

That's the plan.

Church was hopping when we go there. Don had gone to Starbucks and gotten a carton of coffee with all the fixins. He was the perfect barista as he helped me get my perfect cup of coffee.

Moms, dads, husbands, wives, siblings, etc were there to say, 'bye-bye for now,' to all of us. Since Dave, Amber, and I were all going, no one was there to wish us goodbye but we're fine.

Our van has Dave driving, Daudi riding shotgun, me and Tim in the center seat, and Cassie and Amber in the back. It's a fantastic group of people. The men will bore me to death with chatter all the way to LAX. The teenagers will get to know each other a little more. Cassie's going into 9th grade and Amber's a senior. Amber has been a helper in junior high youth group for a couple of years so they're not complete strangers.

Daudi has a challenge for us; notice the things that surprise us and tell him about it when he joins us in a week. He's leaving us in Nairobi to do some work for Lifewater International ( http://www.lifewater.org )when we fly to Kigali. He's the country coordinator for Kenya. So now I have an assignment. What will I see that I didn't expect to see in Rwanda?

I'll knit. I'll listen to the voices in my head. I'll argue with them silently. I'll have a blast.

Ok, we've found the other van and Tahoe. We're officially a caravan. Magda is driving the other van and she's setting the pace by speeding up and slowing down and speeding up and slowing down. It's amazing. She also passes at odd times where there's no way the Tahoe+trailer can possibly pass. Thank God she's not a road captain on a motorcycle ride. She'd get people killed. Note to self: Show Magda where the cruise control is located and show her how to use it.

Breakfast was a full bladder too far for most. Magda is a world traveler who has no sense of direction or distance. She wouldn't stop in Buelton or Santa Barbara. She had to go a little further (about 40 miles) and then had no idea what she was looking for. Thank God now for cell phones. Dave found a restaurant and called everyone. They showed up a few minutes later. Why do the pushy, type A personalities always get to lead the pack even if they're failing miserably at it? DING DING DING I have an answer: Because everyone else is too scared to tell her she's lousy at it and take away her balls. Did I win?

LAX here we come. Magda is in the lead of course. Once at the airport, just for fun, let's drive around in circles twice, pull over at the wrong terminal, tell everyone to unload their stuff, and still refuse to give up control. OK! Thank you Dave for telling everyone they were at the wrong terminal. We knew this because we'd already driven past it TWICE. Ok, now Dave is in the lead. Dave knows where he's going. He gets there. We park. We unload. We WON! He and Magda took the vans to the rental desk and walked back to us. I'm so glad he's patient with her type. I'd say something hurtful.

LAX wasn't expecting us. Some in our group of 16 got to the counter to check baggage and get boarding passes and the entire process ground to a halt. Something is wrong with our tickets. Well, none of us actually have tickets...we have something that I was told is an e-ticket but it's nothing at all like a real e-ticket. I guess that's what the agents at the counter are telling everyone in our group. You don't have tickets. I was really suspicious last night when I opened my folder and saw what they said was an e-ticket: a photocopy with our itinerary, a list of names, our ticket numbers. No real e-ticket. I thought, "Dang, e-tickets have really changed in the last year since I got my last one. This looks like an itinerary and a list of names and ticket numbers." I was right.

Our whole group was yanked out of line and put in the corner. The, 'Wait Until We Figure Out What to do With You' corner. After an hour and a half, we're all checked in and have our boarding passes through to Heathrow only. All except....... Molly and Tim can't get seats. They've been bumped. Molly and Tim have never met. She's 19 and he's in his 50's. They'll have fun though. Ron was upset because the travel agent was supposed to have all our seats in the same area of the plane and no one was supposed to get bumped. I think he's learning a fact in group travel: it's the same as solo travel - things happen.

I don't mind sitting next to strangers because almost no one is stranger than I am. I happen to have been seated next to Dave. Not bad. We'll share stuff. I have a lot of stuff in my carry-on bag: knitting stuff, a change of clothes, a wash cloth, books, magazines, gum, mints, tooth brush & paste, cards, Clif Bars, etc. It's heavy and I hate it but I've had my luggage lost in the past and I know to never pack light when it comes to carry-on because it may end up being my ONLY luggage on the two week trip. I wish it had wheels though.

I refuse to get involved in the seat drama happening over my right shoulder. I hear Magda telling people where to move and it's getting complicated. I'll think about something else or listen to the voices in my head instead. Much better.

Flight delayed. I call Beth and Mom while we're sitting in the plane waiting to take-off. A light associated with one of the seats is not functioning right. We sit for half an hour while it's researched and fixed. At this point, I think Molly and Tim may be on their other flight. We'll see them in London.

We're leaving on Friday afternoon, August 1st and arriving in London on August 2 at around 11 am (I think). I wonder if I'll sleep. Nope.

United Airlines doesn't serve great food on their flights. They do have a great selection of movies and TV shows if you're into that. You can also watch your travel progress. So many choices and not many that interest me. I watched movies. A lot of movies.

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Los Osos
photo by: Fitnessguru729