I’ve made it to Gashora. Three thirty in the morning is certainly an interesting time to arrive any place, but especially here. I got off the plane exhausted and groggy but somehow alert considering my journey had started the previous afternoon and I had been on an airplane for 23 hours. 23 hours! No wonder the ground felt like it was moving beneath my feet while I stood and waited for my fourth and final flight. But lets back track to my first day of travel. It’s a sunny day in New Mexico and the Albuquerque airport is buzzing, just like the butterflies in my stomach. I arrive at my gate for my first flight and guess what? It’s cancelled. So back home I drive and reschedule my flight with a husky-voiced woman named Susan Storm who is incredibly helpful. She is able to get me a flight for the next day but with a few extra connections. Day two comes along and again I am in the Albuquerque airport. The butterflies in my stomach have been replaced with doubts. Will I be able to fly out this time? Will I make those connecting flights or will I have to stay the night in say, Istanbul, where protests have been raging? It’s an adventure no matter what. So I wait anxiously at my gate. When I hand my ticket to the man at the door and walk towards my plane I relax, but only slightly. One connection down, three to go.
I arrive at the Dallas airport, take a train to my next gate and make it with twenty minutes to spare. I drop down into a chair relieved. I even have time to make a call. But after hanging up, I realize I might have been talking loudly. Does that ever happen to you? You make a phone call in a public place, hang up and think damn! I was just shouting. Laughing slightly, I turn to the girl next to me who looks to be a bit younger and more nervous than I am and say “Hope I wasn’t talking too loudly on the phone just now.” She looks at me confused. “No hablo íngles.” So I continue in Spanish. “Sometimes I think that I am talking on the cellular phone with very much noise.” She laughs and assures me it was fine. We start chatting and she tells me she is flying to Baltimore. But looking around the busy airport I see no sign of a flight leaving for Baltimore. Oh no! She must be waiting at the wrong gate. After asking the people behind the desk I find out that her flight is leaving in 10 minutes, but it is on the other side of the airport! So I hurry back to where she is sitting and tell her “You need to run!” her nervous expression turns to panic and she asks, “But where? How do I get there?” I look at my watch. I’ve only got fifteen minutes before my flight leaves. I run with her up the escalator to the tramway and describe what she needs to do. Wouldn’t it be great if I could say she made her flight? But nope that’s not how it ends. She came to me ten minutes later saying she got off at the wrong stop and missed it. Bummer. With about five minutes to spare before my flight I was glad I could at least help her reschedule her flight and then make it in time for my own. What an adventure already.
Next I make a connecting flight in Washington D.C and then off to Turkey. My connection in Istanbul is surprisingly uneventful. Then, at three thirty in the morning, I arrive in Rwanda.