Saturday - An Early Start and a Long Trip Home

We awoke and, after a bittersweet farewell to Katie, we hopped into the car for the ride to Negombo. We dozed for much of the trip, waking only a few times - once for gas, once at a government roadblock.

We couldn't enter the airport directly - we had to go to a checkpoint away from the airport where our bags would be searched before we could board the bus to the airport proper. After a short search, we found the checkpoint, paid the driver, and went through the scurity point.

At the airport there was another checkpoint, and then we were in the main lobby. I was concerned because I hadn't been able to confirm that my credit limit had been boosted, and I wanted to find out - so I managed to figure out the pay phones enough to call an AT&T operator in Colombo - a local call from the airport. From there, I could place a collect call to my credit card company in the States. Unfortunately, I had limited coins and had to talk fast, but I found out that it had been raised just before I ran out of coins. We felt a lot better after that.

I decided to find the Royal Jordanian office there and try to plead our case. It was, by then, about 4:00am, but I figured it was worth a try.

The station manager was rather brusque and rude. While his assistant was polite and supportive as far as she could be, he obviously didn't care at all about our predicament and regarded us as a big hassle. This turned out to be fortunate.

He decided to allow us to board - then we became Amman's problem, not his. We passed through two more security inspections and wondered about what would happen to us upon our arrival in Jordan. That flight was overbooked, and we'd probably have to stay in a hotel there for at least one night.

The brass spearheads were a problem at the final security checkpoint. Though they were dull as butter knives, it was decided that they had to be stored with the crew and returned to us when we arrived in Jordan.

On our arrival in Amman, we found the desk to check in and continued repeating our mantra, "There shouldn't be a problem." Eventually, the harried clerk upgraded us to business class and we ran to catch the plane. The plane was filled to capacity, but we were on it and on our way back home.

The trip back was the reverse of the trip out - for us, Saturday lasted about 36 hours. We finally arrived in New York, glad to be back in the U.S. once more. At this point, we found that our connecting flight from New York to Detroit had been cancelled, and we would have to spend the night in New York. We were so relieved to be in the States once more that we didn't mind a bit.

We called our parents, since we hadn't been able to call them for our entire trip home. (In Sri Lanka, we had to conserve money, in Jordan, we were rushed, and we couldn't deplane in Amsterdam.) We'd told them that if they didn't hear from us, it meant we were in the air on our way home, and that's what they'd figured.

United Airlines put us up in a nearby Travelodge. The first thing we did after checking in and unpacking was to head down to the restaurant to buy a very overpriced but nevertheless entirely satisfying hamburger.