Our middle son and an old high school friend of his were scheduled to arrive at 8.55 pm tonight. I had a pot roast, Ryan’s favorite chocolate cake and about 10 litres of mango juice ready for them. Ryan, a student at the University of New Mexico was flying from Albuquerque to Atlanta to Johannesburg. Eric was flying from Detroit to Dulles to Johannesburg. They were going to meet up there and fly together from Jo’burg to Lusaka. We were so excited! Every hour I’d check their flight statuses as they made their ways across the Atlantic.
Well, about mid-day I could see on the flight tracker that there was no way Eric was going to make his connection because his Dulles-Jo’burg flight, that stopped in Dakar, was about 1.5 hours late (due to delays in Dakar). We were still hopeful that Ryan would make his connection though his flight was half an hour late. Mercury’s in retrograde, so we should have known better.
Because Eric bought his ticket through South African Airways they changed his flight to the first one out tomorrow, gave him a room at the swanky airport hotel, and let him call our good friend Lu who lives in South Africa, who texted us right away and let us know. Ryan, poor Ryan, had an entirely different experience. His ticket was bought through Delta, meaning it was a Delta code-shared flight operated by South African Airways. They said he had to pay $207 to get on the next flight and that they were not obligated to find him a room. Ryan had only brought $150 with him. And, he and Eric each thought the other had made the Jo’burg-Lusaka flight and were unaware they were both stuck in Jo’burg!
Ryan sent several emails and I transferred money into his bank account right away. But, he didn’t know that, didn’t have any way to reach us, and couldn’t find our good friend Lu’s phone number (he was supposed to call her if there was a problem). Finally through three-way calls and skypes and texts it all got sorted out. He found an ATM, paid for his ticket (also got on the first flight out tomorrow), and reached Lu.
Quick diversion — have I told you about Lu, her twin sister Neli (the one who came here to visit), and the rest of their remarkable family? One half of the extended family (like 20 people) live in the East Lansing area. The other half lives in South Africa. They travel back and forth like they’re going to Chicago from Lansing and back. (Just think of that carbon footprint, hmmmm, come to think of it…pot…kettle…and all that…) They are truly one of the most giving, generous families we know. They know how to live life to the fullest with their arms wide open.
Anyways, Lu’s sister Bibi lives in Jo’burg so she apparently, as I write this, has come to the airport and found Ryan. They’re still trying to find Eric. The hope is that Ryan can crash with Eric at the airport hotel since they have such an early morning flight (6.35 am). Of course, none of us knows where Eric is. He used his one free phone call to call Lu and let her know what time his new flight was and that he was okay but no one thought to get his hotel info. However, if anyone can sleuth out where Eric is, the Ndibongo sisters can. (Have I mentioned they can do anything?) We’ll keep you posted!