Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crashes, Delays, and Tropical Storms!

This summer has been very busy.  We have had teams come and go since early June, and for a month, I have had not only a hotel full of people, but also a HOUSE full of people.  And it isn’t over yet.
Several months ago, I realized that things were going to be hectic, so I planned a little trip out of Guyana to give me some down time.  I decided to visit St. Lucia, and stay at a resort that I had visited about 10 years ago.  I knew I would only have a small window. . . so I set up a time to come to St. Lucia that would allow me four nights here to just relax.
It has not been the trip that I thought it would be.
When I arrived at the airport in Guyana at 3:30am on Saturday morning, I was surprised to see that no passengers were being allowed into the airport.  There were about 6 or 7 flights that were scheduled to leave between 5:30am and 8am. . .so there were literally HUNDREDS of people who were milling around outside.
The overhead announcement said that the airport was closed.  That is basically all they said, so I started asking around if anyone knew what had happened.
As it turned out. . . there had been a mishap on the runway about 2 hours before I arrived at the airport.  A Caribbean Airlines 737 had overshot the runway.  I started asking around to people I knew at the airport, and there were some people who were injured. . . but no one seriously, and there had been no deaths.
As time went by, we began to find out that it just wasn’t a case of overshooting the runway.  The plane had landed hard at about the mid point of the runway, then skidded off the runway, through a fence, and toward a 200 foot ravine.  Then. . the plane broke in two!  It suddenly looked like the airport would closed for a long while.


There has never been a large aircraft crash in Guyana. . . so equipment, trained personnel, and other emergency infrastructure simply are not in place.
Then. .  flights started being cancelled at an alarming rate.  My flight was delayed, but not cancelled.  The aircraft I was going to be flying on. . . a Turbo Prop aircraft. . . was already on the ground, and the airline people seemed to think it was going to be allowed to leave at a later hour.
Originally, my flight to St. Lucia was going to have me depart Guyana at 5:30am, and land in Barbados at 7:30am.  Then. . . at 7:50am, I would board a plane in Barbados to go on to St. Lucia, arriving there at 8:30am.  I was really looking forward to a full day of just relaxing and not having to worry about anything.

Now, as I was standing outside the departures area, there were hundreds of Guyanese. . . pushing, shoving, and crowding all around.  It was total and utter chaos in all directions.  Hours of this kind of shoving were really taking their toll.  I was hot, tired, frustrated, and grumpy to say the least.
Finally, my flight left Guyana at 7:30am, and landed in Barbados at 9:30am.  Of course, I had missed my flight to St. Lucia, but the people in Guyana told me they would put me on the 1pm flight, arriving in St. Lucia at about 1:30pm.
I called the Hotel in St. Lucia and told them that I was delayed.  They had arranged for transportation from the airport to the Hotel, and they informed him that I would be arriving late.
At 1pm, LIAT  (the airline I was flying on. . . for the last time I might add), announced that there was some sort of problem with the aircraft and there would be a delay. . .and they would inform those of us waiting in one hour. . . . 
This went on for SEVERAL HOURS!  Finally ending with the passengers boarding the plane at 6:40pm.
Finally at about 7pm, we took off, and landed in St. Lucia at about 7:30pm.  Although I was only 11 hours late in arriving. . . I was certainly glad to finally be here.
I arrived at the Hotel at about 8:15pm, and by about 9:15pm. . .was finally in my room.  Starving, tired, and glad to be here.
The Hotel was EXTREMELY sympathetic of the day I had, so they upgraded me to a WONDERFUL Villa, high on a hillside, overlooking the ocean on the west side of the island.  I was looking forward to seeing some famous Caribbean sunsets from my veranda!
Then. . . enter Tropical Storm Emily. . .  LOL   That’s right, Emily parked to the east of us, and started across the island on Sunday afternoon. . . so rain, rain, and more rain.  Followed by high winds, flash flooding, and lightning all around.


Then. . . last night (Monday) it got even worse. . . .   The rains intensified, and my Villa started leaking in crazy places.  Water just appeared in several places. . . in the middle of the floor. . . with no explanation of where it was come from.  
Now, here I am on Tuesday. . . it has been raining all day. . . and I still haven’t seen a Caribbean Sunset. . . .
Oh well. . . I wanted a change of pace, and something to take my mind off of Guyana. . . and it looks like I got my wish.
If you have ever seen the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”, I sort of feel like that is what I am going through at this point.
But you know what. . . I still have a wonderful view.  The Hotel staff has been MARVELOUS, and I have gotten to rest, relax, and unwind. . . in spite of all that has been going on.
Lots of times, we get all upset about the things that are going on around us (and I certainly was upset in Barbados while sitting there for 9 hours in a small, hot, uncomfortable terminal.
But the truth is. . .I have a story now to tell of Plane crashes, delays, and tropical storms that I will enjoy telling for years to come!
Life on the road is often filled with interesting and amusing turns.  Things simply do not happen as you plan for them to.
The question is. . . when all is coming apart around you. . .do you come apart too?
I am reminded of the day Jesus had in Jerusalem many years ago, when they came and arrested Him in the Garden.  He watched is Disciples flee, He was abused by His own people, and by the Romans, He was lead from one “kangaroo court” to another, and ultimately He was crucified with common thieves.
And yet through all of that. . .He didn’t become angry, upset, or defensive.  Why?  Because He knew God had a purpose for Him.  And guess what?  God has a purpose for us too!
I don’t know what purpose is served with all the events of this week. . .but I know that GOD is in control, and He has a purpose for everything!
Romans 8:28 says it best; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.NIV
God does work things for good. . .even when things around you are crashing, delayed, and pummeled with storms.
Look for Him. .  .He is there!
See you on the Road,
STEVE

6 comments:

  1. I warned you when you were showing off on Thursday !!!!!!!!!! see what happens

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  2. Yes Susan. . .you certainly did! LOL

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  3. .....and NEVER say never again about flying particular airlines....

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  4. Bless your cotton pickin heart! Hey, being in St. Lucia, rain or shine, would be a blessing in my book. Just remember to look UP, because there will always be a rainbow after the storm. ;)

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  5. Ray. . . I think I can TRUTHFULLY say I will NEVER fly Liat again. I have traveled with them FOUR times. . . and they are FOUR for FOUR at messing me up!
    If Liat is the only way to get there. . .I just won't go. LOL

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  6. Bonnie. . .you are right of course. . . even with Tropical Storms. . it is a BEAUTIFUL PLACE! I love it here!

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