7/7/13 7:40pm EST/11:40pm Liberian
I made it! I left yesterday on the 3:00 flight from ATL to JFK. Survived a 5 1/2 hour layover by eating dinner at Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant, Uptown Brasserie in the airport and getting some much needed work done. We had a timely boarding for the first leg of our international flight -- to Accra, Ghana. But then we sat and sat and sat. Finally, the pilot let us know all take-offs and landings were on hold because an "experimental" aircraft of some sort was flying over head. Now you know my first thought was ALIENS! But, we googled it, and sure enough, the first solar powered aircraft was landing at JFK. Of course, that meant we had a two hour delay for a 10 hour flight (not cool). I managed to stay awake until we took off. Following a midnight dinner on the plane, I slept 7 hours, ate breakfast, read my iPad for an hour an voila we were in Ghana! Now, they didn't let those of us who were connecting off the plane in Ghana (customs this, customs that), so, we stayed on the plan for an hour and 45 minutes while they cleaned it, checked all of our passports, restocked and refueled. A short hour and a half later, we landed in Liberia.
Now, baggage claim in Liberia was something else! It was a small room about the size of a medium-sized hotel ballroom. Half of it was take up by the baggage carousel. The other half was taken up by the 400 people that landed on my flight. You literally could not move. It felt like the floor of the stock market with people yelling, pointing out there bags and baggage handlers trying to get customers to make a tip. I took pictures -- but really should have taken video. Literally, more than an hour later, we finally got all of our bags and walked out where a nice man with a sign that said "The Carter Center" was waiting for us. We drove an hour and a half to our Oceanside resort, The Cape Hotel.
The countryside was beautiful -- greener than I imagined, and with palm trees everywhere. In fact, it really doesn't look much d You could tell the different neighborhoods -- SO many young people hanging out and little kids playing about. I imagine they are not much different than US adolescents and younger kids -- living life and loving it for the most part. I saw a sign that said "Property for Lease or Rent" at which point I learned there is a difference in Liberia. Do you know most of the time you have to pay your rent a year in advance?! Lease is longer term while rent is month to month, so having a building for rent was very unusual. I took a few pictures -- you can see them here. https://plus.google.com/photos/102428141509725093638/albums/5898032158734715585?authkey=CJWDwJb8wrXogAE The real pictures will start tomorrow since it was already starting to get dark by the time we arrived.
Well, it is 11:40pm in Liberia, and I start work tomorrow morning at 7:20pm, so I have given all I have to give for tonight!