Thursday the 31st (New Year's Eve = 40th anniversary of our church wedding) and Friday January 1st 2016 were not only the usual days of celebration but also our time to get ready for our vacation. Finally we thought we were ready and Friday evening James and I went to the hotel close to the Richmond Airport where we planned to spend the night. Sarah, Wade and Caleb arrived shortly after. We had adjoining rooms with an open door between us. Caleb thought that was exciting and ran around between the rooms. Omi entertained him for a moment by driving him around in the desk chair on rollers.
It was Caleb's bedtime and he actually did fall asleep with noise from an iPad because Sarah had forgotten his noise machine. We had free internet in the room and Wade could download something. All was well.
Saturday January 2nd we had to get up very early. VERY! (That's why the stayed in the hotel) Sarah said "almost just like going to work" (when she has to get up at 4:10 am). Caleb had to be woken but he was a trooper. Sarah, Caleb and I took the hotel shuttle to the airport with some of the luggage while James and Wade took the cars to the long term parking. It all worked very well.
Here we are waiting for the men.
When traveling it is always hurrying up and waiting. While we are at the gate I was looking at the weather forecast ... seems like a good time to be gone. Brrrrrr...
Finally we are on the first flight to Charlotte NC.
Charlotte. We have three hours until the next plane. Walking to the Admiral Club hoping that James' "magic card" will get us all in.
Oh yes! And Caleb has a good view of the planes.
And we all have a good snack and refreshments since we had to miss breakfast.
Helen sent me this picture. They are also on their way.
Like father, like son.
When it was time we went to the gate where Helen and co were arriving and then we all went to the next gate for our departure ... and finally we were all on board. The 5 of us from RIC were in row 6 but unfortunately the BNA group had to be in row 17. Luckily the window place next to me was free and William was happy to claim it.
Our captain announced soon though that he didn't have clearance for departure and it could take one and a half hours. Something about heavy traffic over Florida. Really? We were allowed to leave the plane but he did not encourage it. Who leaves needs to take also his hand luggage because once clearance came there would be no mercy and the plane would leave immediately. Wade took Caleb off just for a little while so he could run around before the 4 hour flight.
Caleb was not the only little child on board.
We tried to play as best as we could. It seemed a long time.
Once we were in the air Caleb fell asleep for his nap but of course William doesn't nap any more. It was a smooth flight and we managed to find enough to entertain us. I would not have minded taking a nap but of course William wouldn't have that.
We could buy some airline food and did so because the delay had changed things. Credit card only. Airlines sure have changed. Helen told us later that they were very lucky because James had paid altogether in row 6. When the cart came to row 17 there was nothing left and people around them were jealous.
When we were very close to Liberia, Costa Rica, the captain announced that we could see the vulcanoes on the left. How lucky that we had that empty window seat next to us. William had talked a lot for weeks before the trip about the volcano he wanted to see.
There they were!
We had a great view. Wondering whether our hotel was somewhere.
James and I just looked at this picture (it's Sunday and it took so long for it to show up on the iPad). We are convinced that this really is our hotel on the very right.
Went through immigration, waited for the luggage, finally went outside. James had ordered transportation for the 8 of us to the hotel which was about a 40 minutes drive we were told.
Somebody was holding up a sign with our name and a driver and about 4 (?) porters herded us to a bus. Really. A great big bus just for us. Cool. We had been told to expect a van!
The children were fascinated. Little Caleb was high enough in his car seat that he could see the cows and horses. They didn't miss a thing.
WE ... ARE ... HERE!
Checking in. It takes a little while because first it wasn't quite what we had ordered. One room was in a totally different area. But that gets sorted out.
William gets a ride on top of the suitcases.
As soon as we are settled into the rooms we HAVE TO find the beach.
Yes, a VIDEO!
Were the fireworks for us? VIDEO!
We all were hungry because we didn't have a proper meal all day. Just all those snacks. The buffet is abundant with many MANY stations of food. And it is so nice to sit outside in a lovely warm breeze. The children are very tired though and it is bedtime.
James and I go for a little walk. We have to give our new toys (Fitbits) something to do!
And then it is time for "night, night". We are here all safe and sound and happy. What a blessing!
* * * * * update:
While we were waiting for clearance to take off William was allowed to meet the pilots. Helen shared these photos.