It's currently 3:30am on Wednesday morning and our team has (finally) crossed the equator. Yesterday we started at the butt crack of dawn from Raleigh/Durham to Washington DC. Oh and to keep in theme with this whole trip, we almost didn't make that first flight due to a ticketing issue. Made it onto that flight with minutes to spare! We landed in DC and had a short layover before boarding another flight to Cancun, Mexico. Three hours and some change later we landed in Mexico and cleared customs with (almost) no issues.
Meanwhile Pastor Tony had received an email from United that 6 of our 18 bags didn't make it. The thing was, we didn't even have 18 bags to begin with!! Not sure what the issue was, because when we got past immigration and picked up our bags they were actually all there, thank goodness. Little did we know that was the least of our worries. We had to transfer terminals in Cancun and the only way is through a shuttle... That runs every 25 minutes. Doing the math, we realized we wouldn't make our flight of we waited, so that meant we had to hustle down a taxi to fit 9 people and luggage. Also, our team is prepared for fall/winter in Peru, not warm and sunny Cancun! Ha. We absolutely melted! $40 and a 5-minute taxi ride later, we were at the right terminal and proceeded with the fun task of trying to recheck our bags. Of course we had issues here as well with locating our records and such. Standing in that airport terminal with no AC in long sleeves and pants was enough to make you lose five pounds, yikes. The minutes ticked by and we were about an hour away from our connecting flight to Lima Peru when finally everything got sorted and we had to run through security... Again!
Like an episode of Planes, Trains and Automobiles we had to board a bus to get to our plane which was way out on the tarmac in the toasty Mexican sun. I was so unprepared for the heat and sun, as we were slowly moving cattle onto the plane. But we made it! The Avianca plane was anything less than glamorous and we had some of the last seats on the plane, but we were on at least. Six annoyingly slow hours later we FINALLY landed in Lima, Peru!! At least we made it into the county.
We cleared customs and immigration for the second time in 24 hours, gathered our luggage and decided to immediacy recheck it so we could at least go out and explore Lima and get dinner since our next flight wasn't until 6am. Unfortunately we couldn't re-check in until midnight... It was 7pm. So we had one option, sit on the airport floor with our luggage until 12- and that's what we did.
Midnight rolled around and we rechecked our bags and made it through security for the zillionth time. Our group had been up for so many hours we had lost track and were exhausted, so we found some armless-chairs to lay out on and get a little sleep. Most of the team is still asleep but inabout an hour we will board our FINAL plane for this trip- to Arequipa. We should be on soil by breakfast and will spend the morning getting into the hostel and resting before hitting the ground running after lunch.
Thanks for all the prayers & encouragement along the way. It's Wednesday and we're here and ready to go. Prayers for this last leg of our journey, so our real journey can begin!