Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our flight to Jeddah!

Here is the step-by-step details of our 24 hour flight with layover's to Jeddah. Oops! I thought I had published this already!

June 3-10am...We arrived at the Houston airport. Our 7 suitcases were weighed and we readjusted stuff inside  to try to get every bag at 50 pounds. We were kind of successful and paid only $250 in excess weight/baggage fees.

Noon-Mom and dad dropped us off at customs and we sailed through-only having to take out 3 laptops, 3 ipods and a kindle. None of my bath products were confiscated-yeah!

1pm-our flight to Atlanta. The kids played with the air-conditioners, lights and chair backs. They drank their free soda and ate mini-pretzels. They did not sleep-of course.

6pm-We arrived to Atlanta and had 30 minutes to get from terminal F to A, on the underground train. We were last in line and the people at the counter told us we were late. I was hoping for a "Congratulations-you did it!" But oh well, I told that to myself. We walked 52 rows back to our seats (that was exhausting with a wheely carry-on and the kids backpacks!). This AirFrance flight had tv's and video games for the kids. They played and watched the entire flight (14 hours!) No sleeping happened on this flight either-of course. WE had dinner and breakfast. The kids loved it! Except for 10 minutes before landing, all 3 kids feel asleep-of course. Everyone was off the plane and I had to slap them and scream at them to wake up. Finally, the flight attendants, stopped their cleaning and came and got one of the bags for me, as I yanked up the kids. So, we got off the flight and are standing in the Paris airport. We sat for about 20 minutes, because just getting off the plane was truly exhausting! Then, I looked at the flight screen and could not see Jeddah anywhere. Luckily, I found someone at the airport to tell me which terminal to go to. We were at B and had to get to F, but how? By bus ride of course! We rode on a bus that stopped at C, D, E then  F and then we walked to our gate. After 15 minutes it was time to board the plane from Paris to Jeddah.

Time-I have no idea! June 4th Luckily, I was smart enough to figure out the the word: embarqument meant that we needed to get on the plane for Jeddah. So, we got on board and walked back to our seats-the 32nd row. That was tiring-but mommy did it! The older kids got a window seats. This flight had tv's too! All the kids fell asleep-finally! They slept the entire flight, even when food was served. Before landing, the flight attendants took the food away and the kids did not get to eat. Oh well. I slept also and everything else is a blur. I woke up to my youngest one crying. I still don't know why he was crying. He stopped crying after 30 minutes of sitting on my lap. I changed into my long skirt and then the flight started landing procedures. Someone showed me a little white paper to fill out, but I said "no thanks." Hmmm, I wonder what that was for?

We landed at 6:18 and of course, the youngest is asleep again. Everyone has gotten off the plane except for the people heading to the next stop (Djibouti) and me and the kids. The flight attendant was so nice and picked up my little guy and my rolling carry-on. We followed her to the door and she gave him back and my bags. We got off the plane on stairs and my daughter said "it's like we are famous!" (whew the humidity!). Now, we get on a bus that takes us to the airport-so I put my black and white polka-dotted head scarf on, for kicks. I didn't want to look out of place. But I saw to other foreigners without head scarves on. Now, I see about 10 lines that say "Passport Control" and then some say other things that I don't remember. I just chose a line only for my little one to start having a crying fit while laying on the floor. He wouldn't stop crying. I get up to the counter and the guy asks me the little white papers. Ooops-that's what they were for. Umrah, I think is what they said. So, I ask him where to get and he points to...way over there......oh no....but guess who is laying spread eagle on the floor now and begging me to hold him. The guy goes and gets 4 white papers for me and I start filling it out: passport number, flight origin, visa number, entry number. So, I go to ask the guy where to find those numbers at, since my Visa is in Arabic. He acts like he doesn't know what I am saying, so I say: "My sponsor is waiting on me, can I just go?" The best words I heard all day: "YES!!!!!!" He let us go through, without completing the white papers. We did not get fingerprinted or iris-scanned, as we were told to expect. We didn't even get our picture taken. I walked past and left my bag. I told them they could have it, but they just laughed and brought it to me. Then, the guy made fun of "guess who" (still crying) and I told him that he can babysit him now. He finally stopped crying after I told him that I was leaving him there. Now, the trolley guys came and picked up our 7 suitcases. They rolled them to security and threw them through the security machine. Then, they pushed it out and we saw the long line of people. We saw my husband "We are here-finally" I said. We all hugged and lived happily ever after. The end. No, just kidding-this is just the beginning!

Ready to Board our flight in Houston!

We have to get a picture of the window and clouds!

Whew! We got through security! That was stressful!

Waiting for our flight at the airport cafe

There is our airplane!

A snapshot of the sunset (or was it the sunrise?) from our plane window

I should have posted this at the top of this post, but oh well....here we are saying by to my parents and our Houston home! Their truck is packed down! Our good friend Bethany was so nice to drive me and the kids to the airport in Houston, while my parents drove the luggage!

This video player with video games and movies-literally-saved our life as we had endless hours of entertainment!

The subway at our connection flight in Paris, France! The kids had a blast!

On the airplane!

Waiting at the Paris airport for our flight to Jeddah

Still playing games-even though its bedtime!

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