The other day I applied for a new passport because I'm going to Costa Rica in April on a missions trip with the LCS Class of 2010. As I gathered my "legal" documents, I traveled back in time to other missions trips - - -
Once upon a time I was just a round-eyed eighteen year old girl who embarked on a world adventure.
I did not go alone, I was one of a group of sixteen, and our Guide was Divine.
Our first port of call was Freetown, Sierra Leone.
It was pre-blood diamond war days. All was peace and quiet, devoid of the sound of guerrla warfare which came later.
I remember Larry's eyes getting big as saucers as he caught his first glimpse of topless ladies working in a rice paddy. Seems he'd never even seen a National Geographic to prepare him for culture shock.
I remember the brick red dirt walls that flanked the "highway" as we headed up country.
I remember being introduced to the chief in one village, and he received us as regally as any king dressed in rags could. As I stood before him, my heart fluttered with the fear of being rejected from his kingdom. He must have liked something he saw in us, because there was no rejection that day.
I remember Jerry jumping upright onto a bed when he saw a lizard scurry into the sink.
I remember showering under a downspout - - - and grateful we were to wash the dust of the road off of us.
I do NOT remember seeing a snake - - - though we looked very hard.
We had one overnight in Ghana on our way to South Africa.
I thought I would die in the taxi as the driver sailed right between two approaching semis. I was down on the floor for the REST of that ride.
We walked from our hotel to the Gulf of Guinea, where we waded in just to say we'd been.
In Zambia we had a close encounter of the pachyderm kind, but I've already related that tale here.
We stood at the edge of Victoria Falls and peered through the mists. I can still hear the water roar.
My glasses broke one day, and I was the only one who enjoyed lunch for I was the only one who couldn't see that our plates were preused by others in line long before us.
My roommate Sue and I lay in bed one night watching very flat spiders the size of saucers crawling on the wall above our heads - - - left there on purpose to eat worse pests.
And we hid behind ant hills the size of large haystacks to relieve ourselves - - - guys on one side, gals on the other.
Somehow we made it safely through a road block guarded by heavily armed soldiers who never cracked a smile - - - so we didn't either!
In South Africa we nearly froze to death because it was winter and no heat.
We had a snowball fight in August - - - even though up until that point NONE of us ever thought to see snow in August, least of all in Africa.
I remember Larry was driving the fifteen passenger van and kept turning into the "wrong" lane - - - British driving system, you know.
We ate fish and chips and hamburgers whose ketchup was bright pink and transparent.
We crossed the street at the "robot," stored our suitcases in the "boot," and checked under the "bonnet" to make sure the engine was running smoothly.
Then it was time to head home - - -
With two-night lay-overs in both London and Rome.
London was sunny and warm and oh so clean. The breakfasts were awesome, dinner not so much.
We stood outside Buckingham palace and watched the changing of the guard. The band played "Somewhere My Love" Go figure!
In Rome we ate the best lasagna I've ever had - - - imagine that.
We stood and gazed in awe at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Billy was propositioned by a stranger - - - Billy ran.
Larry and I rented a little scooter and wandered all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, from whence we barely found our way back, not being able to speak or read Italian.
And then it was over. The adventure of a lifetime reduced to memory lane.
After just a little sleep, I awoke a thirty year-old with a hubby and two children, ready for a family over-seas jaunt - - -
This time to Haiti. Long before the Earth Quake.
We walked the streets of Port-au-Prince - they were still streets then.
We saw the president's palace - - - then home to "Baby Doc," the dictator.
We watched children playing in the sewer water in the streets.
We spent three months on the tiny Island of La Gonave where hubby worked long hours in the hospital: suturing, delivering babies, and treating worms, malaria, AIDS, and malnutrition. I did typing and watched our children.
Once a week we went snorkling in the blue, blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Keri was stung across the legs by stray jelly fish tentacles.
Everyone wanted to touch the blonde curls and white skin of our children.
Everywhere we went, smiling faces and large brown eyes greeted us with cries of "Docteur Greg et Madame Greg!"
We never wanted to leave and then we never got to return except in our memories.
I'm linking this post that I made Tuesday to Vintage Thingie Thursday at Coloradolady and Thrifty Thursday at Bloggeritaville.
These trips were taken in 1972 and 1984 and I'd say that's VINTAGE. Also, just look at me - - - that's VINTAGE.
The thrifty part is also twofold. First, the Africa trip was 7 weeks long. I took $100 spending money and came home with $40 of it!!! I think I was pretty thrifty, don't you? Also - - - how thrifty is it to return there now for FREE since I did it down memory lane?????
Be sure you click on both of the above links to check out what everyone else is posting.