Everybody was up early this morning because we all had to get ready to go to Tegus. It was near a three hour drive and my plane left at 1:30 that afternoon, so we had to leave relatively early in order for me to catch the plane. After showering, I was the last one to go because I was dragging my feet, Nahum told me he did not want to go opting to stay back at home with the women and kids because all the other men were going to Tegus with me. I found his statement to be odd because he usually always goes with on the big trips.
Anyway, Anibel and I were in the front seat again with Kevin, Alfonso and Dinorah in the back seat. Before getting in the truck everybody lined up and gave me a big hug goodbye. It was kind of hard to go through because of the emotion. It was very obvious to me that this family loved me very much. Many of them had tears in their eyes as they told me goodbye. I was sad to leave them too, but I knew I would be back soon and it was not a permanent goodbye. It was see you next time as far as I was concerned.
As we were driving down the driveway I felt my eyes well up with tears, an event that Anibel did not miss. They started laughing at me because I was starting to cry. I never totally broke down, but I was sad to be leaving when I really wanted to just stay there rather than go home and face all the crap I had to deal with. But, I would need to prepare for the big move and make a lot of money to be able to support myself and my place back in Denver when October rolled around. So on we went.
It was the typical drive to Tegus other than the roads seemed to be clearer than on previous trips. It was a Friday so I guess most people were working. We had always gone to Tegus on a weekend day before, so it was nice not to have to be passing trucks constantly on the way to the big city. When we arrived at the airport Anibel dropped me, Kevin and Dinorah off at the departure area while he and Alfonso drove over to the Church's Chicken.
I went inside with Kevin following behind carrying my luggage and approached the ticket counter. There was a short line so I did not have to wait too long. I got my boarding pass and checked my luggage so that was out of the way. Then I went over to the departure tax window and paid my US$33 fee to leave the country. With all of this taken care of I had a good hour to kill before boarding. So we walked out of the airport and took the sky bridge across the highway to Church's Chicken to have some lunch.
When we got there Alfonso and Anibel were waiting by the truck. We all went inside and I got everybody's order, which was easy because they all wanted the #2. I decided I would get the #3 with a third piece of chicken to make sure I was full for the day of travel. But after they gave me their preference they left it to me to go place the order. I was proud of myself that day because I made the order perfectly in Spanish without any trouble at all. And, when I got the food to the table it was all correct, so my Spanish is getting better without a doubt. Soon I will be speaking this language fluently.
After enjoying our meal everybody walked me back to the airport and left the truck at Church's. We went up the escalator and approached the security gate then I turned to say goodbye. This was even more emotional than leaving the ranch, it was the final goodbye for this trip. I was surprised that even Anibel got watery eyes at this goodbye. I cannot wait to get back and see everybody again with smiles on their faces. On the way back to the airport Kevin told me the real reason why Nahum did not come to the airport with me. He was worried he would be too emotional and might cry. I laughed a bit knowing that it was probably true because Nahum could not be seen in a weak moment like that, after all he is the king of the family.
After the goodbyes were over I walked through security and went to my gate to wait to board. I had charged the iPod, so I was good to go until I got home. So I relaxed and listened to Kelly Clarkson until they gave the go ahead to board.
The flight went by quickly and before I knew it I was in Houston. This was the part about international travel that sucked. It was time to go through U.S. customs and Immigration, a process that could, and usually does, take forever to get through. But it was not bad in Houston on this day. Immigration was a quick pass through after waiting only 10 minutes in line. Customs was really fast as they just waived me through, probably because I only had one bag and did not claim anything.
After clearing all the hurdles to get back in the country I confirmed the gate for my outbound flight to Denver and hurried along to be sure and not miss it. It was a long walk to get there though, all the way on the other side of the airport. But I made it in time to grab a Coke and relax a few minutes before they started the boarding process. Finally, I would be on the last leg of the trip flying into Denver and I could go home and get some rest over the weekend before diving into my life.
While I was waiting to board I called Casey to see if he could pick me up and take me home from the airport. I had not made these arrangements because I was so busy before coming I simply spaced it. I came to the airport with Douglas and Nahum, but Douglas went back a week ahead of me so that was not an option. Low and behold Casey's phone was shut off. Of all days for him not to pay his bill. I figured I would have to take a taxi home and pay the $60 fare, but that would be better than taking the bus hauling my luggage along with me. I called Casey's boy toy Nathaniel to see if he knew how to get a hold of Casey. But he offered to have his friend drive him to the airport to pick me up. I accepted the offer and felt good that I would be getting home soon.
Then Murphy struck again. They boarded us all on the plane and we were ready to go when the captain came over the loud speaker informing us that they were doing a last minute check on one of the engines. As soon as they completed the check we would be on our way. Fifteen minutes later the captain came back on informing us that the engine was bad and would have to be replaced. That meant that we would all have to get back off the plane and wait for Continental to assign us a new plane. Bummer I would have to have something like this go down on a trip that had thus far played out very smoothly.
Anyway, we all got off and waited in the boarding area for new news on what to do from here. I used the time to call a few friends to catch up. I called Warren in Oklahoma and talked to him for about 40 minutes and then called my sister who is also in Oklahoma. While I was on the phone they came over the speaker and let us know which gate our new plane would be in and that it would arrive in 30 minutes or so. In the meantime they gave us a voucher to go get some dinner. I thought that was very nice of them since all the other airlines I have ever flown never offered anything when something went wrong. Being my first time flying Continental I was more than impressed with their service.
I went and had my dinner over at the Wendy's which was one of the few places still open. Casey called me during that time and I let him know what was happening and that Nathaniel was coming to pick me up. Finally the new plane came in and they de-boarded the passengers that were arriving in on that flight. As soon as it was emptied they hurried us onto the plane so we could get home as soon as possible. It turned out to be about a two-and-a-half hour delay. But on the bright side, the kid sitting next to me had obviously decided to stay the night in Houston or had found another flight out. He was only 8 years old and very, very talkative. I was happy that I would not have to deal with it on the way home now, especially since I was really tired at this point.
Again, the flight went by fast and we arrived in Denver about 15 minutes earlier than expected. As soon as we hit the tarmac I called Nathaniel to let him know I had landed. I made my way to the baggage claim area to claim my bag and got a call from Nathaniel that they were already there. Of course my bag had not emerged yet so I told them to circle until I called them. It seemed to take forever for the bags to come out but it finally came. I grabbed it and called him back to let him know I was going down to the arrivals level for them to pick me up. They arrived only a minute or two after I got down there so I threw my bags in the trunk and climbed in the car. I was happy his friend smoked because I did not have time to do so, nor did I have a lighter before getting in the car. So I had my smoke as we drove towards Denver.
He dropped me off at the front door and I came inside. The house was very clean surprisingly as it is usually a mess when I leave for a while and Casey is watching the place. But on this occasion he spent some time and effort and had it looking better than when I had left it. It was a pleasant surprise. I was glad to be home and over with the journey part. The worst thing about it was that there were still a few feet of snow on the ground and it was snowing all the way home.
Uggghhhh!!!! It was crappy to come from the tropics back to the snow buried city of Denver. I was surprised there was still so much snow on the ground. Denver had had two more blizzards, including the one in progress, during my absence. Coupled with the big one before I left and the fact it remained very cold all this time, Denver looked much like it did when I left. I do not recall ever seeing Denver get this much snow so quickly and it has been a long time since I saw snow stay on the ground so long, since the winter of 92-93. I guess global warming has cooled down this winter, but I took comfort knowing this would be my last cold winter!
Well, now it is time for bed, tonight I get to sleep in my own bed. I hope you all enjoyed reading about this adventure. Check back soon because I am sure there will be many more stories from the ranch in Honduras posted on this site in the future. Thanks for reading.