Ok, I should have done this throughout our trip to Cyprus. It would have been easier for me and better for you. But, alas, I did not. I will, in hindsight, try to chronicle our trip to Cyprus.
Day 1 – Goodbyes, Flying and Sneezing
After a last minute Neti Pot cleansing, we leave home with a van full of suitcases and kleenex. Sarah and I are suffering from respectable head colds. We are medicated and have pockets full of tissues. We dropped the kids off at our friends (the Childers) house in Dayton, OH. This is the start of the longest timeframe we’ve been away from the kids. Off to the airport in Dayton. Not too much crying here, although the look on Lissie’s face as we were going through security at the airport gave me reason to believe that I won’t get through the line without moisture on my cheeks. That girl has clearly gotten to me.
Flight #1 – Dayton – Philly: nothing major to report. Cold medicine still working but nearing end of expected efficacy. Better take another dose before we take off.
Day 2 – Crazy, Run, Run, Pause, Run
Flight # 2 – Philly – London: 6.5 hours, 48 tissues and another dose of medicine. Sarah is experiencing some sinus discomfort. I am not. Good deal for me. Movie and a nap.
In mid-dose, I awake to see a man chanting or singing unintelligibly right next to me. I blink, rub my eyes and see him holding something for me to see. My eyes focus onto what I believe to be a cigarette lighter. As soon as my eyes focus, he pops it into his mouth and swallows it. Then he proceeds to the back of the plane. I shake my head, look at Sarah curiously and then discuss it with the big fella sitting behind me. Thinking thoughts of 911, I decide to walk to the back of the plane to see what this crazy guy is up to. I was hoping the big guy would follow. No such luck. As I get back there, this crazy guy is laughing and chatting with the crew with whom he seems to know. He smells strongly of alcohol. I estimate that he is a silly magician guy that travels frequently and go back to my seat. Later I see him passed out in his seat. I guess I judged accordingly. A very strange occurance to say the least.
After circling London for an extra 45 minutes or so, we have less than our original hour-and-a-half layover (apparently this is crazy to even attempt). After a long bus ride to the terminal, Sarah and I attempt to sprint across Terminal five at Heathrow only to discover we have to go through security again. BTW…Sarah left me in the dust. (She slipped past some nice ladies who didn’t feel like I should do the same.) After a quick frisking and some pleasant unpleasantries with London security folks, Sarah is out of sight but presumably on her way to the gate. Flight now boarding. After a quick bearings adjustment, I find the direction to run and take off with what little speed I have. After leaping down multiple escalator steps, I arrive at the gate as the last group is boarding (Sarah is also just arriving because she found the elevator instead of the escalator.) I need to point out that the backpack I was carrying was about 30 pounds. So, 230 pounds of fleece wearing, fatigued, sinus inflamed, sweating man running through London Heathrow. Not a pretty sight. But, alas we made our flight. Just in time for another dose of cold meds.
In all of this, somehow our bags got on the plane, too. It’s got to be a God thing.
Flight # 3 – London – Larnaca, Cyprus (yes it’s true): Flight fairly uneventful with the exception of the long, inch-by-inch, or should I say centimeter-by-centimeter desent into Larnaca. That’s the sinus equivalent of pulling duct tape off your hairy arm really slowly. Whoa, we’re in Cyprus!
The first thing we saw as we exited the plane was the Mediterranean Sea. It’s warm (75 degrees), sunny and slightly breezy. Our colds are seemingly vaporizing with the introduction to the Mediterranean climate. We ditch our fleece and head for the baggage claim and customs – another stamp in the passport. Normally, I woulnd’t give details about potty breaks but there is one traveller note worthy of mention: if there is a waste basket with a lid next to the toilet, no flushy the TP. Kind of icky, I know. But breaking this rule would be icky-er. Consider yourself warned.
We meet David and Jayne-Ann Harder – both serve with SAT-7 and are CTEN missionaries. They take us for a short drive through old-town Larnaca. We have a quick coffee (that’s what they call it -see last post) and then head for Nicosia. We are dropped off for a short rest and change of clothes at Axel and Mette Schmidt’s home. Later we are picked up for a late dinner at a road-side eatery. It seems that dinners are commonly after 7pm. Back to the Schmidt’s for what we think will be a good night’s sleep.
Standard jet-lag rules indicate that you will wake up after only a few hours of sleep and be ready to go. We were in bed at 10:30pm Cyprus time and back awake at 12:30am Cyprus time. Hmmm.
Day 3 – Glad to be on Solid Ground
After a few more hours of sleep, I’m off to Larnaca with David Harder for a SAT-7 development team meeting. I am able to get a good understanding of the job that needs to be done by the communications team in order to help the development staff. We had lunch by a pool which was by the Mediterranean Sea. Yes, I was worried about sunburn in November. Sarah spent the morning with Jayn-Ann Harder touring the city and discovering what it is like to shop for groceries and household items in Nicosia. She also discovered some schooling options for the kids. Looks like we will still homeschool. Yearly cost for one child in the American Academy is about 5000 Euros or about $6500. Good education but lots of $$$.
Sarah joined me for a dinner at a little, local resaurant in Larnaca. It reminded me of the meal we shared when we were first invited to serve with SAT-7. Only, instead of talking about whether or not we would go to Cyprus, we were in Cyprus. Pretty cool journey thus far!