We are in India! Yeah! What a place full of bright colors, different sounds, lots of people, and new experiences. But first I must tell of our day of five lunches.
Monday, October 12 started about 1:30 am for us: up, shower, dress, final pack and a quick meal of a peanut butter and honey sandwich and milk—sounds like a lunch to me. At 2:30 we leave our room and head down to the travel office. There we are joined by four other missionaries who have a 5:45 am flight—ours leaves at 6:25 am. The van drops us off by 3:30 am. Even the airport is quiet at this time of day. We wait an hour for the American desk to open and over the next hour or so we eat a turkey and cheese hoagie, orange and yogurt—lunch #2.
We fly to Chicago, sleeping part of the 3+ hours, make our way to the International Terminal, and go through security once again—but much slower this time. We’re very glad for the 2.5 hours between flights. Our next flight to Abu Dhabi is almost 14 hours long and is on a Boeing 777. We are flying Etihad Airlines and they start boarding an hour before we leave. What do you do for 14 hours on a plane? Well I slept a total of 4-5 hours, watched “Inside Out,” did 12+ Sudoku puzzles, and ate—plus got up and walked around several times. Elder A. watched a couple Indian Movies (2-3 hours each which he really enjoyed!), slept an hour or so, walked around, and ate. What did they feed us? First a four-course ‘lunch’ (as their menu labeled it) with a choice of chicken, lamb or vegetarian—very yummy, followed by two ‘snacks’ (a small vegetarian sandwich then hours later a bag of sweetened popcorn--Elder A also had an ice cream sandwich—almost sounds like another lunch!). Finally they served us a vegetarian ‘light lunch’ a couple of hours before we landed.
Abu Dhabi is in the middle of an enormous desert—or at least that’s what it looks like from our plane! The airport is very modern, we go through security again even though we never leave the terminal, and before boarding both our boarding pass and passport are required. And guess what meal they serve us? Yup, another yummy 4-course ‘lunch’ with a choice of lamb, chicken or vegetarian. That makes at least five lunches for us on our journey to India. We are picked up at the airport by our mission president and his wife and their driver and deposited to our new ‘home’ around 9 pm local time, Tuesday, October 13. They offer us food, but no—we are much more tired than hungry at this point—five lunches are enough for anyone!