a travel story
We had to leave Africa, Em and I.
And so we did.
We flew from Entebbe to London together.
It was a Tuesday night.
From the tropics to winter in England. Pulling our thin sweaters close and huddling to keep warm as we walked through the slush from our ploane to the bus that would carry us to the terminal, we shivered. Lets us not stay here long, we thought. America will be cold too, but at least there we shall have coats.
We waited for our flight to Philly, but it was delayed.
We boarded our flight to Philly, but it never left.
British Airways was precariously perched on the edge of a nightmare, but they did not know it yet. Naively, Em and I hadn't slept for a two days already, and we were eager for nothing more than sweet dreams.
Flights were cancelled. Chaos ensued. Thousands of people flooded the terminal, and lines longer than I have ever before seen were suddenly formed and that was when the adventure began.
There was snow, you see. And in England they are unused to such a thing.
After getting a code with which to rebook our flight and hotel room voucher, it took Em and I over six hours to get through British customs. six hours in one slow moving line. It was midnight by the time we'd taken a bus and walk through more snow to get to the hotel.
The hotel was chaos. Phones ringing off the hooks and crowds of people seeking shelter. We were given a small corner room with no heat and no hot water, and we began trying to rebook our flight. There was no sleeping that night. No rebooking of a flight either. The lines were constantly busy...too many people were just like us. Desperate.
Slowly we trod back to the bus stop the next morning, as the greyness of London evaporated in the early morning light of a surprisingly cloudless day. We arrived at the Terminal and could not believe our eyes. More lines. More chaos. More queues. People said that there were no available flights for a week. Everything was full.
We nearly cried.
But we didn't.
We stood in one line for an hour, but it was the wrong one and they sent us somewhere else.
We stood in another line for a while until we realized that it actually led nowhere at all.
We stood in another line and as the hours ticked by left Em to hold our place in queue while I returned to the line which had already rejected us in the hopes that it would answer a few questions.
Two hours later I approached the man at the desk. I told him that i didn't know if someone else had been able to rebook a flight for me and asked him to check to see if they had.
Emily had joined me by then. I'd been gone too long. When he told us that we were already booked to fly to New York that afternoon.
I apologized to the man. Mumbled something about not having slept in 63 hours. But he understood. He was frazzled himself; he'd been working since 2 am.
And so Em and I left London that day. Though BA 117 to JFK was delayed 4 hours it still brought us back to the US. None of our luggage arrived. After seeing the sheer madness of Heathrow, Em and I expected nothing less.
Friends of friends picked us up in New York City and we drove through Manhattan at midnight. The Williamses met us in Jersey and reunited we returned to PA at 4 am on a Friday.
The luggage is still missing and Em and I came back to school without our books.
Classes began today. Its good to see friends again and be back at Geneva. Its good to see my Romans too. We all think its strange to be back at Geneva.
And right now I can think of nothing I'd rather do than what I am doing now; sipping a hot cup of milky red rooibus tea and watching the snow fall outside the window of my apartment.
It's been four months of adventure...I am ready for a calmer semester.