Thursday, October 29, 2009

How 15 Hours to Shanghai Turns into 24 Hours

For the past 15 months, Delta has operated a direct flight from Atlanta to Shanghai, taking 15 hours, at the most. We usually arrived in 14-l/2 hours. This flight started for the Olympics but they discontinued the flight in September of this year. Now, we have to go the long way to Shanghai.

We left our home Tuesday morning, October 27th, at 9:30 a.m. in the pouring rain. When we arrived at the Atlanta airport, we saw planes lined up to take off. We knew then we would be sitting on the plane for one extra hour before leaving due to the weather conditions. The flight was late boarding everyone because several people needed wheelchairs. After sitting on the plane at the gate for about an hour, the pilot came on and told us that a sick person and companion had to be removed from the plane because we would not have been able to land in Japan with them aboard. He said the problem was that they had to recover their luggage which had already been loaded. We waited another half hour and he announced again that all baggage had been removed and, as might have been expected, the passengers’ bags were in two different sections in the last baggage hold. We waited another 15 or 20 minutes for them to reload the baggage and get us on the taxi way to take off. Needless to say, we were two hours late leaving Atlanta.

Once airborne, we were in very bouncy weather conditions. This continued for an hour before the pilot came on the intercom and stated that the weather front extended all the way to Wisconsin and it would be another 30 minutes before we would be out of it and then the flight attendants could serve lunch. We were finally served lunch at 4 p.m. Atlanta time. I would have gotten something to eat at the airport had I known it would be this late. It was not great food but was still very welcome after having only cereal for breakfast at 7 a.m.

Ron’s seat would not recline. They reset the computer several times but decided to move us to other seats. They had to relocate a lady to another seat for us to have seats together. She was not happy with the move because she wanted a window seat. I suggested she take my former seat which was a window seat. It worked just fine and we all ended up happy.

We arrived in Japan at the Narita airport at 3:30 a.m. Atlanta time. We had three hours in that airport before catching another flight to Shanghai. It was a 3-hour flight so we arrived at 9:30 p.m. (China time) which was exactly 24 hours from the time we left home. We got to bed about midnight.

We will check out of this hotel soon and relocate to a hotel near the airport where we will fly out of early tomorrow morning. We will fly to Guilin and from there take a train to our Neil Taylor Christian Care Center at Rongshui.

In my next segment, I hope to have some pictures to post from the orphanages, but many of the students at the Neil Taylor Care Center have been sent home because of an outbreak of H1N1 flu in the schools. Schools have closed in an effort to prevent an epidemic.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaving for China again!

Ron and I will leave Atlanta on October 27th for a fast-paced three-week trip to China. We will visit four of our care centers (John Connor Brown - Tiendeng, Wesley's House - Pingguo, Neil Taylor - Rongshui, and Jackson Family Foundation - Zigong). We have two new locations to see and government officials to meet with in an effort to establish two more care centers next year. We will also tour various hospitals and meet with their administrators to work out arrangements for an open heart medical mission in March and a cleft palate medical mission in August of 2010. We will meet with the head of a foundation in Hong Kong that wants to help financially with our work for the orphan children. Ron will spend a few days with James Triplett's friend in Beijing who will assist us in fund-raising in China for Agape. We will be traveling all over China with only one or two days in each location. Travel is not easy in China. We ask for your prayers on our behalf as we make this busy and challenging trip.