Thailand, here we come

Trip Start Jan 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 28, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well, our trip has officially begun. Students arrived on time, luggage met all specifications, and we had ample room to pack some of the "extras" that we picked up along the way (ie, books, gifts, S'More ingredients, etc). We left Messiah College at 11:45 am. We were on schedule and planned to arrive at JFK around 4 pm. Because we were making such “good” time we decided to stop for lunch prior to our airport arrival. So, thanks to the GPS we found a Panera Bread around 2:30 pm and enjoyed good food and a stretch break. We got back on the road, anticipating approximately a 50 minute drive to JFK. Little did we know that the GPS had a mind of her own. Rather than taking us the most direct route, she decided to give us a tour of downtown NYC. So, here we were, two large vehicles and a 6x12 U-Haul , navigating through the streets of Broadway. It was at this point that the tolls began to add up as we had to pay for all of the bridges and tunnels that we traveled through. I guess we looked as if we did not belong in this area of town, because prior to our passage through the Lincoln Tunnel we were pulled over by a security team dressed in military attire. They ordered Greg out of the car and asked him to open the UHaul for inspection. One of the students, amazed at the site of a suitcase filled U-Haul took a picture of the ordeal and was then ordered by the military personnel to delete her picture in their presence. Fortunately, we were only detained for a few minutes and then we were off again. We arrived at JFK around 5:30 pm. Check-in began at 6pm. All went well and we were through security by 7:30 pm. No pat downs and no pornographic x-ray equipment experienced. Our wait was pretty uneventful. Our departure was delayed for 50 minutes d/t the ground crew. We never found out what that meant but there were a lot of emergency type vehicles out on the runway for some time. Shortly after our departure we were served a meal. Entree selections included chicken/potato/carrots or fish/rice/greens. Following our meal, lights went out and we were encouraged to rest. We had a medical emergency on the flight. That was the first time I ever experienced that. They made an announcement recruiting passengers of medical background to help with the emergency. Fortunately, they did not need my help as several others responded before me. Seven hours after our NYC departure, we arrived at Anchorage Alaska. It continues to amaze me how a plane can land in a controlled manner on a snow covered runway but we did. During the refueling process we had to exit the plane with all of our carry-on luggage. Our lay-over was only 50 minutes. We picked up a few additional passengers so that our flight to Taipei was full. Again, we were served a meal shortly after our departure. This time it was either a chicken/rice/greens or beef/noodle/green bean entree.  The entertainment this year was not too bad. We watched two recent American movies and a documentary on whether or not Aliens exist. Very interesting ideas conveyed but did not walk away convinced. Greg & Bri, you would have enjoyed the Top Gear entertainment. Prior to our landing we were served a breakfast consisting of a ham & cheese Hot Pocket. The staff members of China Airlines were very friendly. One of the flight attendants gave the students a gift bag filled with playing cards and children books for the children in Thailand. I do not know how he found out about us because the students said they did not tell him. God continues to intervene
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