Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liberia Day 1- Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Slept badly as anticipated.  Loud house-shaking windstorms.  It was one of those nights where you just wait for an appropriate hour to wake up to come along.  When I got up (a bit after 6 am) I wrote up the daily prayer list for the trip, sent it to my email list, and posted it for general consumption on facebook.  We dropped Elinor off and headed to Pittsburgh more or less as planned.  Arrived early enough to have lunch together at the airport, though I was nervous about getting through security.  Watched my family as I went through security till the last possible moment.  I'm glad that when I get home I will get to meet them at the airport again.  =)  Aside from the need to de-ice the plane before take off, the flight to New York was pleasantly uneventful.  I sat next to a young woman who was periodically reading something in Arabic and noticed her next destination was Rome.  Wish I'd talked to her, but I was too shy.  On getting off the plane, I was greeted by strong cold winds, especially chilly since I had left my coat behind.  Took me awhile to get oriented at the airport.  I eventually discovered, with staff assistance, that the flight to Accra was far enough away that it was not on the grid yet, but she happened to remember that flight usually goes from Gate 4.  I waited there with hours to read, think, wait.  I called Rachel (who has her own trip this weekend) and Randy to let them know that I had arrived.  Randy & Bruce should reach the airport around 5.

JFK Airport Observations

1. Though this is a New York airport, New York is conspicuously absent, at least I haven't seen it yet.

2.  Airport water is of the same rarefied quality as you find in the Daley Center, Chicago.  (At least I'll be safe from anemia!)

3.  I love the microcosm of the world found in airports in terms of language, culture, skin.

4.  There is a man at the Virgin Bookstore at JFK that looks, sounds, and acts remarkably like Dixonite Tom Wadsworth.

I met up with Bruce & Randy around 5:30 near gate 12 (our actual gate).  We had dinner at the food court, but, even though we had options, we all had pizza at Sbarro.  I broke my month long soda fast a little early to enjoy a Coke.  I tried to ask many questions about Liberia, just trying to get better acquainted, which Randy was happy to oblige.  I feel fortunate to be on this trip with such well traveled, knowledgeable men.  I also feel a little out of place, but that's all in my head.  Our flight was ultimately delayed 30 minutes because it was waiting for passengers from other flights, which gave ample time for sitting, chatting, and strolling the concourse.  I browsed the entire bookstore.  Books sure seem outmoded and expensive these days (and I like books).  Once boarded, I called Rachel and missed her.  Thankfully, she called back in the nick of time and we got to say our goodbyes.  I don't know if we will have the chance to speak again or not before I return.  We took off at around 9:30 pm.  Shortly after take off, with all city lights faded (and New York still not spotted) we were served dinner.  My main course was beef with rice, collard greens, and some sort of red sauce.  I mixed it all up and it was not bad.  Also, some fresh fruit was a highlight.  I sat in the window seat next to the Bishop, with Randy across the aisle on a 767.  They showed several movies, the first of which was called Chasing Mavericks.  It was a surfing movie, but did not hold my interest.  I did manage (between the two flights) to read through all of Sky Magazine (featuring John Krasinski on the cover).  Time to try for a little melatonin assisted rest.


  1. Enjoyed this and am looking forward to more! If I remember correctly, there's a restaurant at JFK, located on a corner in the airport, where I have several times had a great burger. Kind of my home away from home.... well, not really. You have to be pretty desperate to consider JFK that. As for sleeping on eve-of-departures, I go right for the melatonin now (or other over-the-counter, preferably herbal sleep aids); otherwise I just KNOW I'll lie awake all night... WAITING.... It's the rare flight into or out of the NY area where you'll actually get to see Manhattan, though my mother and I did see it as we flew into La Guardia last August. Airplane movies (esp. to a missionary who's almost never in the States)can provide either a "I've been WANTING to see this!" moment, or a "Lord, deliver me from this stultifying vapidity" moment. Worst of all when it's the latter AND it's an old plane where everybody has to watch the same movie....

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us, Josh. I, too, look forward to reading more about your trip.

  3. I'll bet you've got some great travel stories Ken! Thanks for reading.