Weary Trip Home

Parika to Bartica

Parika to Bartica

By the time we got to bed upon our arrival in Collierville, TN, USA, we had been without sleep for two days. We were busy all day long in the final seminar at the Amelia’s Ward Church of Christ in Linden, Guyana, South America. Then, we tied up loose ends respecting the mobile seminars that cover all 10 regions of the country. After packing for the return trip home, we barely had enough time to lie down before leaving for the airport.

We were early, as the airport had not opened yet. Finally in, we just underwent the usual preliminary hurdles, obtaining replacement boarding passes, persuading the counter person to check our luggage (against her will) all the way back to Memphis, TN, paying our exit tax ($8,000 Guyanese Dollars), scanning luggage, scanning ourselves, pat-downs, redressing upon exiting security and waiting for our plane. When the boarding began, everyone riots toward the doorway, and so we just push our way into the glob of people, too. All of us walk outside about 300 feet to our super puddle jumper and climb the plane stairs to the cabin seating.

Upon taking off, we headed for Port-of-Spain, whereupon we had an on plane layover of an hour or so. Then, we had hours of flight time before landing in Miami. After checking through Immigration and reclaiming our checked bags, we proceeded through Customs. Unfortunately, from there, after we put our bags on the re-check belt, we were let out in the unsecure part of the airport. We had to fight no less of a chaotic mob to get boarding passes for our stateside flights.  Regrettably, my boarding pass failed to indicate that I was TSA Pre-check approved, which delayed us almost to the point of missing our next flight. We just made it to the gate as the last of the passengers were boarding our flight.

We flew from Miami to Charlotte, NC on US Airways (which claimed to be part of American Airlines). Finally, we were afforded an opportunity on the layover in Charlotte to get something to eat for the first time that day. When we boarded the next flight bound for Memphis, TN, things didn’t go as planned—the plane broke down. Is it important to be able to shut all of the doors securely? Evidently, it was, so we were delayed an hour and a half on the plane while maintenance attempted to fix the problem. At one point, three rows of passengers in the middle of the aircraft had to deplane so maintenance workers could rip up some of the floor to access parts also being approached from underneath. Eventually, we took off way late.

Upon arrival in Memphis, we discovered that the carryon bag that was too big for the regional flying machine on which we rode, and which had been stowed in the belly of the bird, made the trip with us as expected. However, our two checked bags did not fly with us. After standing in line at the American Airlines baggage complaint counter, we were turned away to another office in the airport that is run by US Airways (the two airlines are not completely merged yet). It was then that we found out that our bags were on the next airplane. So, at last, an hour and a half after arriving in Memphis, we were able to acquire our other two pieces of luggage.

We traveled, then, to Rebecca’s home (our daughter) in Collierville, TN. By 2:30 a.m. Guyanese time (on which we had operated for the past month), we got to bed. Sunday morning came early! We worshipped with the Collierville Church of Christ, and after that, we hastened back southward another two hours to Winona, MS—trying to stay ahead of wintery weather descending on the area. We had to buy groceries, too. Weary, we retired eventually in our own bed. Given the cold, winter weather battering the nation and the trouble of travel, it would be tempting to stay just a little longer in Guyana. However, we were weary often in Guyana, too, such as on a long, speedboat jaunt from Parika to Bartica on the humongous Essequibo River.

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