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Spain -- Part I (travels)

Posted May 04 2011 9:44pm
Friday, April 29, 2011

Elijah didn’t seem to care that we needed our rest for a long travel day. A few minutes before six he woke up, right on cue, and while JB tried to slide out and slip downstairs with him, I was already wide awake and too mentally charged for our trip to go back to bed. I moved to the shower while the two of them snuggled under a blanket for the movie Dragons and ate Elijah’s usual breakfast of choice: two bananas in a bowl.

I was nervous about the trip due to my bad ankle and my bulging belly. It would be a long travel day, and I worried about the exhaustion that jumps on me much faster when I am pregnant. It would be a long travel day, and I was worried about my bum foot. While I can walk on it, it is far from healed. In fact, if I were still a basketball player, I would still be sidelined. This looks like an “out two weeks” sort of sprain which means it’s a doozy.

But as I reiterated my worries to the Lord and then to JB, my dear husband reminded me that I would be eliminating two two-year-old variables. I would not be chasing or watching them for the entire day. “That has to factor in,” JB encouraged.

At 9am, Veronica drove us to the Hodja Inn on Base where we met our Shuttle to the airport. The boys rode along in their car seats and took our departure with relative ease. Throughout the morning, I reminded them of our trip. I reminded them of the fact that their Veronica (and other friends on Base) would be with them. And I reminded them, as I always do, that Daddy and Mommy would be coming back.

Mommy: “Do you remember where are Daddy and I going?”

Isaac: “To Spain.”

Elijah: “On a drip (trip.)”

Mommy: “That’s right. And who is going to take care of you while we are gone?”

Isaac: “Er-onica.”

Elijah: “’Ronica.”

Mommy: “Yep. And then, after a few days, Daddy and Mommy …”

Isaac: “Will come back.”

Elijah: “You come back.”

Isaac: “You always come back.”

During these practice conversations, Isaac would sometimes ask if he could go to Spain too. Or if it was time to go to Germany to “get the baby out of my belly” and see Joni and Papa and Grama Di. Elijah would sometimes crinkle his nose and shake his head and say, “No. You stay here.” But overall, they took it well. You could tell they felt comfortable with the idea of Veronica being with them. And they were excited because we promised they could watch a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse after they dropped us off at the hotel for our trip.

From there we headed to the airport in Adana. By 11am we were on our way which was a good thing. We did something a little “risky” in that we booked two separate flights. Over a year ago, we took a bump on a Delta flight and had a pile of vouchers from Delta to use. But Delta doesn’t fly us out of Adana. So we booked a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul with a long layover to get our luggage and recheck it in to a Delta flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam to Madrid. If for any reason we didn’t get to Istanbul , we’d be out of luck for the Delta flight and lose our money. But all went great.

Our first flight was from Adana to Istanbul, and we were given exit row on Turkish Airlines. We then switched to KLM (a Delta affiliate) and were told that I could not sit in an exit row pregnant. I also had to answer the question of how many weeks along I was repeatedly. Do I look big enough to be a month away from delivery (the no-fly-zone time)? Apparently so!
Have I ever told you that lack of leg room can make me very crabby? I am sure I have but let me tell you again.

While we couldn’t have exit row on the Delta flights, and bulkhead (the seats behind a wall) are reserved for first class, they did give us two aisles across from each other for our flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam . I literally was unable to fit my legs while sitting straight up. My leg was too long from waist to knee to fit in these rows. Now I know I am tall. But I am not a total freak. This is a Dutch airline after all. There were a lot of tall people on this fight. How does an airline get away with putting seats too close together for someone my size to fit? I am also, even though pregnant, not someone who is abnormally wide from hip to hip, and yet the squeeze was tight in that direction as well. I know the airlines are facing a crunch, but truly, I find it insulting to be squeezed in somewhere that I am paying for. It just is something I can’t make peace with. Add to that the fact that I have an ankle that is far from healed, and I thanked the Lord repeatedly that this was only a three hour flight.

…. Stepping off my lack-of-leg-room-soapbox now.

Since we were due to arrive right on time, you can imagine our surprise when the airline attendant approached us as we began our decent and asked us if we were the two passengers connecting to Madrid. When we answered in the affirmative, she affirmed to us that we would not make our connection. How can they book us on a flight that arrives on time but that time is still too short to make a connection? Not sure about that one. Since it was nearing 8pm by this time, we knew we wouldn’t get out until the next day. Not the greatest of news. Especially when we knew that Dan and Angelica were planning to take off with us the next day, without their kiddos, for a three day tour through the South of Spain. We had car rented. Hotel booked. Not good.

JB and I looked at our watches as the plane came in for a landing. From our estimation we had thirty minutes. Could we do it? The attendant had told us we had to go through customs and security again and that our gate was on the other side of the airport. But we decided that we had to give it a try – even if I was quite pregnant and had a quite a bad ankle.

So we did.

We started by asking our way from our seats in the back of the plane all the way to the front of the plane so that by the time the doors opened, we were near the very front. We then walked as fast as Wendi was capable to Customs, quite a haul from where we were. We were given a shorter que when we explained our plight in Customs and also skipped by a few kind folks in that line before a man in the security line informed us that he was on a tight timetable as well, and we’d need to wait behind him.

Fair enough.

I think it’s funny that the more in a hurry you are, the slower people appear to move. There was an old man in front of us that obviously had never been through security at an airport. He had worn his belt hooked to his suspenders and had to elicit help from someone to get them off. Then he attempted to walk between the belt and the alarm system, having no earthly idea where he was supposed to go. And then, once we were through, the belt came to abnormally long stop with JB’s bag stuck inside. Don’t they know we only have 11 minutes?!

But overall, due to some very kind fellow travelers and some extreme hustle on our part (more for me than JB), we actually made it to our gate moments before the door came to a close. Hurrah! We celebrated, slightly, even though we knew that the chances of our luggage facing the same success were not good.

After a flight with a bit more leg room, we arrived in Madrid. I was truly feeling the day of travel and my foot was incredibly swollen from being in a seated position for so long. But we made it. JB waited for the luggage we did not hold out much hope for, while I went to find Dan. I prepared Dan for the news that our luggage may not make it just as JB waved to me that indeed it has! Hurray!

We ended our Friday very late at Angelica’s brother’s apartment. David speaks very good English (although not as good as Angelica’s) and was kind enough to let us use his extra room. What a great guy! He works for a Christian Mission Organization (Young Life). We fell asleep, absolutely exhausted and prepared for Dan and Angelica to pick us up early on Saturday morning for our tour of the South of Spain!
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