Off I Go!!
Tuesday, January 27th 2009, is finally here! The ride to the airport was a little tense, as it was snowing in Utah County, which made me nervous my flight might be delayed. To add to the stress Buck and TJ were a basket of nerves. They both kept asking if I was sure I really wanted to do this? I wondered who needed who the most. At the airport my little buddy was tugging on my leg asking if he could, " Pease go too." After all Brykn so wanted to help me rope an elephant, a task he was convinced would be easy, just like roping a cow. Tiff was excited and happy for me to experience this dream, though I think she was a bit nervous too. Shosho and Sana, the founders of AILC also met me there. They gave me words of encouragement, well wishes, and a set of bells they, themselves had used when they climbed Kili. Also packed safely in my back pack was, two love notes my kids had written to when they were just little, a two dollar bill Tiff always had in her cowboy at when she competed in queen contests, a four leaf clover TJ carried in his shooting bag at the trapshoots, my number from the Race for a Cure, a picture of Brykn and a Valentine he colored for me, a key chain Dad had made me before he passed away, one earring that belonged to Grandma Clara Jerman, and my Guardian angel pin Grandma Ruth Hopes gave me twenty years ago. Around my neck was the locket from Mom.
One more round of hugs and kisses and I was off to gate C5 Delta/NWA airlines for my departing flight at 8:30 am.
All day Tuesday I wasn't really sure if it was day or night, as I went through several times zones. Flying over England, the entire ground was lit up. It was an amazing sight to see, as I realized that so many of my ancestors had come from Cornwall, England.
Flying over Tanzania there were very few lights on the ground, it was almost like there wasn't really life down there. Not a warm fuzzy feeling that is for sure.
I landed in Moshi, Tanzania on Wednesday January 28th 2009 at 21:30, what a LONG ride. TJ would have loved the airport as we had to walk down the stairs and across the tarmac, just like in the movies, but without "the Duke" waiting to help me with my bag.
I couldn't see Bryson (my guide) for a long time and I was a little panicky and starting to get teary thinking I was stuck in Africa not knowing anyone or the language. However, shortly after getting my bags and my Visa for $100.00 I saw him with a sign reading "JAMBO, LAURA ANN WALL!" I was so extremely happy to see him. As I loaded all my bags into his car, I went to the passengers door to get. Bryson, promptly ask if I was going to drive? Little did I know everything is on the wrong side of the car and they drive on the wrong side of the road. The forty minute ride to Moshi Town Bristol Cottage Hotel, was bit scary as we almost hit a bicyclist, not to mention there were so many people walking along the road. Then we were stopped by the police, there were so many things running through my mind. One of which was "What the hell was I thinking coming by myself," and "I could end up missing and my family wouldn't have a clue where to start looking." We soon pulled into the gated hotel, Bryson took care of all the check in process, thank goodness. Soon I found myself in my room, doors securely locked, looking around thinking it looked a bit like the Milford Motel! I didn't want to sleep in the sheets so I used my sleeping bag. I slept fair, it was so noisy and I was a little worried about a mosquito that was buzzing about all night. After all Malaria is so prevalent in Tanzania. The night seemed short, but I was anxious to get started up the Mountain.
My mom left for Africa yesterday; and, after nearly 20 hours of flight, she FINALLY made it to Tanzania. I was lucky enough to talk to her when she got to the hotel which she described as "just like the Milford Motel." For those of you who have stayed at the Milford Motel, you will know why she then told me that she thought she would sleep in her sleeping bag. :)
Because of the expensive rates to text and talk on the phone, Mom asked me to send her text messages to her friends and our family. Because the text messages are coming from me, however, I am also getting all the replies. So, I'm going to post all the text messages sent both from Mom and to Mom on this blog. Then, when she is able to get to a computer, she can read all the wonderful messages people have sent her way. Keep the messages coming! I know she will LOVE reading them when she can!
From Mom: Hi everyone. I am in Amsterdam, it is 6:30 am. Holy cow what a long ride. I can't see what it looks like its still dark & foggy. I'll be leaving for Africa in 5 hours. I'll text again once I am on the ground in Africa. Love Ya.
From Tiffany: I am so glad you made it okay. So far so good! Please let me know when you get to Tanzania. We love you--big hugs!
From Grandma Hopes: Be careful it sounds like you are having fun. Keep in touch. We all love you.
From Sana: Oh the adventure that awaits. Our sweet prayers and HIS CONSTANT CARE surround you.
From Kelli: Wow I can't believe she is on her way. Tell her that I'm thinking of her when you talk to her next.
From Nadine: Oh, it is soooo good to hear from you. I have been wondering where you are. Stay safe and take in the wonder of life. Ya too! Nadine
From Karen Boothe: Yippe! Hope you were able to get some sleep.
From Mom: Hey I'm here. Holy cow what a ride, and the car ride was a little scary! Everything is on the wrong side and we about hit somebody on a bike. It is hot and humid.
From Karen Spotten: Keep going gal. Miss you already.
From Sana: Holy cow are you having fun??? The adventure begins and we are beside you. Love your heart.