Saturday, December 21, 2013

Trip to Belize

Our journey to Belize was fraught with difficulties due to weather.  We were supposed to fly out of Salt Lake at 6:15 am on Dec. 9th but that didn't happen.  We had stayed with Laurianne in Grantsville for the weekend since she picked us up from the MTC and Grantsville is only about 30 minutes from the airport.

Of course we had to be there 2 hours earlier to check in, etc. so we got up at 3:00 to pack the car and drive in.  Almost as we got onto I-80 it started to snow.  No problem we thought.  Laurianne is used to driving in snow.  However, as we progressed toward the airport, the storm really came in and we were reduced to going 15 mph for most of the way.  The car in front of us spun out and did a 180 degree turn right in front of us.  Luckily, due to the early hour, there weren't too many cars on the road so we were able to avoid hitting him.  Conditions progressively got worse from there.  We managed to inch our way up the exit ramp to the access road to the airport which thankfully was cleared of the ice.

Congratulating ourselves for our safe and almost timely arrival, we optimistically unloaded the car at the skycap kiosk.  The skycap went in to weigh/check our luggage and get our boarding passes but discovered that our flight to Dallas was cancelled.  We were supposed to fly to Dallas and on to Belize but because the Dallas airport was completely iced in, the airport was closed and 600 flights had been cancelled.  It would have been nice if they had told us that before we risked life and limb to get to the airport.  Oh well.  The skycap said that we had been re-routed by way of Los Angeles (go figure) that evening and to Dallas in the wee hours of the morning.

At this point it was 5:00.  Laurianne works in Bountiful so we didn't want to make her go all the way back home in the weather, then turn around and come all the way back.  We decided to go on in with her and spend the day in town.  We were all ready for  some breakfast so we tried to find someplace open for business at that hour.  Alas, there was no breakfast to be had until 6:00 or after.  We made do with the only place that was open, Dunkin' Donuts, (which, by the way, has absolutely no comparison to T & T Donuts in Midland.  Dunkin' Donuts was a pretty pathetic substitute.)

Laurianne had planned to go to work early anyway so we went on.  She works at a short-term rehabilitation center as an Occupational Therapist.  The people there were so nice. They had empty rooms so they let us stay in one, brought us breakfast, and let us use the bed and wifi.  It was very nice and we were able to recuperate from the traumatic morning. The snow continued to fall causing a very unusual accumulation for this time of year (or at leasst that's what they said). The view from our window was quite lovely but we were glad to be inside in a warm, comfortable room.


Laurianne finished her patient load just after noon since she had come so early.  We went to do some Christmas shopping and then met Ben in Tooele to buy their Christmas tree.  The girls were suprised when they got home from school, not only because we were still there but the tree was there as well.

Around 4:30 we made the trek to the airport again.  The roads had been plowed and they weren't bad. By that time, the snow had stopped coming down.  We were able to get our bags weighed and checked and get our boarding passes.  We had really worked on getting everything we needed for 2 years into 4 checked bags and 2 carry-ons.  We managed it by using the advice that Coleen Rigtrup gave us.  We put stacks of clothes into large trash bags and sucked out the air with the vacuum hose.  It was amazing.  I've seen the ads on TV about the space bags and I always wanted to see how they worked.  This was cheaper and worked just as well.   We even were able to take 2 of our favorite pillows.  Here are the before and after pictures of our pillows as we packed them.


Our flight to LA was uneventful.  We arrived at 9:10 that evening.  The problem was that our plane to Dallas didn't leave until 12:55 That night.  We were getting pretty tired.  We had all that time to hang aroung the airport with nothing much to do.  We found a place to plug in our phones and ipads so we were able to get them fully charged.  The plane to Dallas was on time.

Again the flight to Dallas was uneventful.  We arrived at 6:00 am Dallas time.  Our plane for Belize didn't leave until 12:30 so we had a 6 hour layover.  We were exhausted by that time and needed to rest.  Gary had researched our alternatives and discovered that there is a small hostel inside the international terminal that offers rooms to rent by the hour.  They offer a quiet place to sleep and shower while you wait for your plane.  We went straight to this place and rented a room where we gratefully slept for several hours. Gary took a shower while I got another hour of sleep.  After that we found a nice restaurant where we had a very tasty brunch.

So rested and fed we headed for our departure gate.  Unfortunately, our assigned seats were directly over the wings so we couldn't see much of anything of the country as we approached for landing and I couldn't get any pictures.  All I could see was green, green forest and large lagoons along the coast.
We arrived just before a plane from El Salvador landed so we were kind of lucky to be in the first of the lines for customs.  It was pretty chaotic.  It took us about an hour and a half to get through everything.  We landed at 3:45 and didn't get out of the airport until 5:30.  Another missionary couple was there to meet us and take us to the local church distribution center where all the missionaries were getting instructions about where they were going and how to get there.  There were 10 new Elders and Sisters there that had arrived from El Salvador a little earlier.  Some had to take buses to their assigned cities and others had to get to their apartments here in Belize City. 


Finally we were taken to our new home.  We were tired but excited to be here and get started on our mission.

                                                    Standing on or front porch.

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