Thursday, February 02, 2006

Flying To Guatemala

We woke up bright and chipper on Thursday morning (3 am to be exact) to try to get out of the house by 4:30 to catch our 6:20 flight. We ended up leaving at 4:45. Fortunately, traffic is nonexistant in Columbus at 5 am. We ended up making it to the airport parking at 5 after 5 and were checked in by 5:30. We were soon boarding a very crowded flight to Houston.

This flight was rather uneventful, except for the larger man who had the window seat in my row. It was quite difficult to snooze. Houston was a nice airport, I had never flown through it before and was impressed with the nice well lit terminal E. We grabbed some lunch at Wendy's before we found the gate for our flight to Guatemala City.

Unfortunately, there were problems with our flight. The plane had problems with the radio and they got us a new one from the hangar. So we ended up leaving an hour late. This put us in a little bind. We were supposed to land at 12:30 in Guatemala City, and meet Savannah and her foster mom at 3:00. As it happened we landed at 1:30 which gave us very little time to get our bags and get to the hotel. Fortunately, the process for immigration was very quick and we were able to get our bags in about 20 minutes.

Landing in Guatemala City was a culture shock. Flying there brought us amazing views of mountains that just appeared out of nowhere. Guatemala City appeared to be on a plain that looked like a mountain that had been sliced off. It was very flat with canyon crevices where the creeks and streams flowed. Once we landed, you could see the tin walled shacks that worked as storage for tools and supplies at the airport. It was amazing to think that the same aircrafts flew out of Houston to here. It was like a time warp.

Similarly, La Aurora airport was a bit of a shock. Walking out with out bags into the crowd we were confused. Fortunately we saw a rep for the hotel which offered a shuttle. However, we were supposed to meet a representative from our adoption agency. That was when I glanced outside of the airport plaza to the passenger pickup area to see a white board with our name on it. A young lady was holding it up ready to take us to the hotel and explain things.

We rushed outside to her car and attempted to pile ourselves and four bags into the Guatemala equivelant of a Volkswagen Golf. That was a bit challenging, but we did it. We then began to experience the streets of Guatemala and the difference from driving in a medium sized city. They know how to use their horns. It's basically a warning that says..."I'm coming and I'm not stopping". If you used your horn like that here, you'd end up in a wreck. Here, the other car wouldn't stop. It was scary that we did not see more accidents, but it was something that they were just used to as part of the culture.

We eventually did make it to the beautiful Mariott hotel where we were quickly able to check into the hotel and make it to our room with a half hour left to freshen up and get ready to meet our daughter for the first time.

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