Sunday, December 2, 2018

And Now We Head Home

I woke up around 5:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I just laid there and at 5:45am I decided to get up and get things ready to head home. Thomas got up as well and we both showered, dressed and finished packing. Once we were done we went down to breakfast and relaxed, ate and had coffee. After eating we went up to our room and read until about 8:20am. Then we decided to go and look for a letterbox that I thought might be close to our hotel. So we followed the clues and we found some of the landmarks but some were gone. They are doing construction in the area that won’t be complete until February 2019. We couldn’t get close enough to check the final landmark but looking at the construction I doubt if it is there. So we returned to our room and I worked on pictures and journaling. Then at 9:15am I went to Starbucks to get some coffee since we still have a while until we go to the airport. On the way back to the room I saw Arnold, Jeff and Jen in the lobby, they were getting ready to head out. So I said goodbye and went back up to the room. I continued working on photos and journaling until around 11:10am we got our things and we headed down to the lobby. When we got there Paul and Mary were already waiting. Thomas got us checked out and shortly thereafter Matthew showed up with the van to take us to the airport.

It took us about 35 minutes to get to the airport – thankfully it was Sunday and no traffic. At the airport we said goodbye to Matthew and then got in line to check in. The line was moving slow, there was only one person working at the time. Finally, a second person came up and things went faster. We checked in our bags, got our boarding passes and headed to security. Security went pretty fast and the first thing we did was check the board for our gate number. None was assigned yet. We had been in the airport for about 45 minutes and we decided to find a place to sit and wait for the gate to be announced. Thirty minutes later a gate number appeared on the screen. We are on American Airlines flight AA126 (seats 39AB) departing from Gate 40. We had to ask for directions (the signs were so confusing), down the escalators two flights and a train to the first stop. Finally, we arrived at the gate and we got settled for the hour we had to wait until boarding. The time went fast – we both read and before we knew it we were boarding. This time we didn’t have the row to ourselves but that wasn’t too bad. But the flight might have the worst we have ever had. There was turbulence (at times really bad) for most of the trip, the food was horrible and the flight attendants were anything but attentive. I read for a while, watched three movies (Christopher Robin, Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy 2) and then I slept for a while. Thomas was really uncomfortable for most of the flight but thankfully he was able to get some sleep as well.

Fourteen hours later we landed in Dallas and I have never been so happy to be off a plane in my life. Once off the plane we stopped at the bathroom then headed for customs. We stood in line for a while and finally got to a kiosk, where we scanned our passports, filled out a questionnaire and got a printout with our picture on it. Then we had to get into another line and go through an agent. He looked at our passport and took the printout. Next, we had to pick up our luggage at baggage claim and then wheel it fifty feet and then turn it in again – stupid! And finally, we had to go through security again, thankfully, we had TSA Precheck and then we were into the terminal. It only took us an hour and a half – it was a good thing we had a four hour layover. The departure board said our flight was departing at Gate 31 so we headed there. No sooner had we gotten settled they changed the gate to 36 – not too far so we headed there. Then we decided to get something to eat. We had a quick meal at McDonalds and then returned to our gate. I did some pictures and journaling and got some things uploaded to Facebook and my blog. We are on American Airlines flight AA2698 (seats 23DE. We are both ready to get home and all this flying is tiring. We boarded and got to our seats and when boarding was complete we were happy to find that we had the row to ourselves. So we spread out and we both went to sleep. This made for a quick flight and before we knew it we were landing in Albuquerque. We got off the plane and stopped at the bathroom, then went to baggage claim. Our bags were there and first thing is we took our jackets out and put them on – colder here than in Hong Kong.

Then we made our way out to the shuttle and then to our car. We paid our fee and we were off to Santa Fe. It was around 11:00pm when we arrived home and we were both hungry so we had something to eat and then we showered and it is now time to head to bed. This trip has been a dream come true and the trip of a lifetime. But as is usual with our trips we are always glad to be home. We didn’t get to see the dogs tonight, it is cold and Bruce kept them at the other house. Tomorrow hopefully we can get back to normal.

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