A Package for Paola

Hello Everyone,
Barbara asked me to post this for her
Here is the latest letter from Paola:
Dear Barbara Rogers

Paola..... thanks you a lot for the gifts that you sent, clothes, crayons, books, scholar supplies, personal hygiene items, photos, letter, etc., She is very happy to know that there are people like you, that even though they are so far from her, they love her and look over [after?] her and her family to have a better standard of living.

Paola likes to see your photos a lot and to know different places through your pictures and also your friends and family. Paola and Rosa say hi and they hope God keeps blessing you."

The field officer who wrote the above letter for Paola made an additional comment as follows:- "Paola was very happy for all the gifts and pictures [photos] from the sponsor, she loves to see the pictures and know more about her."

This shows just how much children, including Paola, really enjoy receiving personal photos and postcards from their sponsors. I also think of it being a learning experience for them.

July Visit, Part 23 - Getting Home

Hi, to all Paola's sponsors!

It is now almost the one year anniversary of my visit to see Paola in Guadalajara. I think it's time for me to conclude the story, right? Let's see what I can remember ...

On Wednesday morning, Mike and I got up before the sun rose and trotted across the street to the bus stop. It was raining hard, as we waited for the bus with Aeropuerto written across the front. There was an attractive young woman waiting there as well, under an umbrella. She got fed up and hailed herself a taxi. To us, she said, "Would you like to ride along, since I'm going to the airport, anyway?"

THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! When traveling, you should never accept taxi-sharing offers from strangers, because it could easily be a set-up for robbery or (when attractive young women are involved) seduction followed by a shakedown from a pimp.

Mike and I gratefully joined the girl, because:

a. We obviously had nothing worth stealing.

b. The girl was unlikely to put any backseat moves on Mike with me as a witness.

We had a pleasant and uneventful ride to the airport, then pitched in a little for the cab fare. First, we headed to my Delta departure gate. You may remember that I was flying on stand-by, and I already knew the low likelihood of making it onto the flight. Sure enough, I didn't.

A Delta attendant instructed me to visit the ticketing desk downstairs for a re-issue, but first I escorted my husband to his departure gate for his 7:30 flight. I kissed him good-bye, and promised to meet up with him again some day in the future.

I went to the ticketing gate with the understanding that I must wait until the early morning flight the NEXT day before I stood a chance of getting home. Surprisingly, the employee there instructed me to come back at 2pm, because there was another Delta departure that afternoon, which only operated on Wednesdays. OK, cool.

In the meantime, I took a bus back into the city (the cheap 5 peso bus). The sun had come out and the day was beautiful!!!! I got off by our old hotel, and went inside to warn them (in broken Spanish) that I may be returning to stay another night if the 2pm flight didn't work out.

One thing I hadn't gotten a chance to do was visit a Pizza Hut and take a photo for my collection. My only problem was not knowing the location of the nearest HUT ... but I knew someone who WOULD know. The day before in Wal-Mart, I had gone up to the photo counter and tried to stammer out something in Spanish to indicate that I'd like to purchase an SD card for my digital camera. The kid behind the counter gave me a puzzled look and asked, in perfect English, "Are you saying you would like to buy a memory card?" I headed down the block to the store with hope that this young man would working again, as he was the right age to like Pizza Hut + he could explain to me how to find one.

Soon, I was on a bus holding a piece of paper with my stop jotted down on it. There was the Pizza Hut, right on the corner like the kid said it would be. The restaurant wasn't open yet, but I set my camera's timer and posed in front for a few photos. I also snapped a few through the glass windows because I thought it was funny how they parked the delivery motorcycles between the tables at night. I think that was what made the guard outside the bank next door suspicious. He said something into his radio, and soon a police car cruised into the parking lot. The cop watched me for a few minutes, then shrugged and drove off.

I had more time to kill, so I tried to back to the touristy cathedral area. I got really lost and frustrated, but finally made it there. For what purpose, I'm not sure. Eventually, I walked back to the hotel where they had allowed me to leave my bag. I shared the fresh pineapple I had purchased with the receptionist.

Back to the airport. I got some nice photos of the slums outside the city through the bus window.

The mysterious Delta flight was practically empty, so I had no problem getting a seat. In fact, I had a whole bank of seats to stretch out across! This plane dumped me off in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now, I had to wait and see if I could secure space on the 6pm flight to Seattle. I began chatting with a pilot's wife who was also a stand-by passenger headed for Seattle. She had been waiting ALL DAY, but flight after flight had been too full. It looked like I might be spending the night in Utah instead of the cheaper Mexico!

Lucky for me and my new friend, all of the other stand-by passengers in line ahead of us decided to give up and go home. We both got on the plane!

I arrived in Seattle about 30 minutes ahead of Mike. He had a long layover in Mexico City (yes, I know that doesn't make geographical sense), then he had to change planes again in Los Angeles. At least he was flying First Class!

Since I was already inside SEA-TAC airport and past security, I was able to meet my husband right at his gate. "What took you so long?" I asked. Mike was totally shocked to see me, and so was my father, who thought he was only picking up one person!

All in all, it was a fun and successful trip.