That day in DFW there were terrible storms. Rain pouring so hard I had to pull off I-20 because I couldn’t see the road! I was gripping the steering wheel hard because I was running late, and I couldn’t miss my flight to Africa!! I’d been waiting so long for this!!
By the time I got to Terminal D they informed me the flight was delayed 2 hours [bummer #1 of the trip]. Thank the Lord, I could breathe again. I had one last drink with Deeds at the DFW Hyatt….here you can see me remembering to take my malaria pill
(note from Danny Bolger: don’t get malaria, that would be a trip downer).
On to Paris I go!! I arrive with 40 minutes to get to my next plane. Not exactly the 5 hour layover I was expecting.
I RUN through Charles de Gaulle to get to the shuttle to take me to my terminal. “Every 20 minutes,” it says the shuttle comes. 35 minutes later, I watch my departure time tick away on my watch. Bummer #2.
I work with an Air France agent for an entire hour before she tells me that she cannot rebook me, and it looks as though I have to purchase another plane ticket. Excuse me?! I’m a missionary, ma’am. Missionaries can’t afford another ticket. Bummer #3
Two hours drag by as the baggage department searches for my lost luggage. Finally, it is located. I have all my belongings; I just need a ticket to Lomé. Sigh.
I talk to a very nice agent who rebooks me through Casablanca, arriving in Lomé at 5am Monday morning. I’m ecstatic, and he even tells me its FREE! Praise the Lord.
Into the city I go!! Its about 5pm now, and I have a full 24 hours to enjoy Paris. Booked a quaint little hotel in the 6th arr. and got out to explore the city! Below are a few pics from my brief stay in the City of Lights.
St. Germain des Pres Church
Pond at Luxembourg Gardens
Inviting little outdoor shop, a pop of color along the sidewalk
Photograph exhibition on the outer gate of Luxembourg Gardens
The River Seine
I decide it’s necessary to get to the airport 4 hours early, just in case any complications arise. I take the metro to CDG and begin the waiting game. I FINALLY board the plane bound for Casablanca. My layover there is about 1.5 hours. But before we take off we sit on the runway for 45 minutes. Are you kidding me?? This cannot be happening. bummer #4
The stewardesses let me move up to first class for the last 15 minutes of the flight so I can, once again, run to my gate. We land in Casablanca and when I get to my gate, there is not a soul there. I was 5 minutes late, and it was gone :(
Reality Check: I am the only white girl in this airport, its midnight, I’ve missed my second plane, I don’t even know what language they speak here and my father has told me not to leave the airport under any circumstances. Options: sleep on the floor in the airport, or go find a hotel.
I don’t think I’m cut out for this.
Defeated, and on the verge of tears, I go to rebook my ticket. When I finally reach the front of the line, the agent looks at me like I’m crazy. “Your flight leaves in 20 minutes,” he says. What?? So. Confused. Then I get it---turns out there was a TIME CHANGE I was unaware of and I didn’t miss my flight after all!!
I ran to my gate, and they were boarding the plane! I have never been so excited to board a plane with 100 Africans who don’t smell so good for a 5 hour trip to arrive in a third world country. God knew I wouldn’t survive if I had to stay in Casablanca for the night, so he helped me out on that one!!
At 5am, 3 days and 5 time zones later, I walk off the plane in Lomé feeling exhausted, sweaty and mentally drained but so relieved to finally be here. My bag didn’t make it [bummer #5], but I didn’t care. I walk through the door and see Lewis Swann standing on the other side and I simply look at him and say, “I need a hug."
From a world traveller whom I know well:
“Your plane debacle will be something you remember forever. You have officially stepped into the big leagues of 'shit country' travel!! No more Ritz for my little Claire.”
Well said, Woodward.