The worst thing we said since our last blog was “it is really quiet around here”. Well it was quiet for the first of the two weeks since we last wrote. We did some preparation and other work and even enjoyed a night at the National Theatre (like the Festival Theatre) where we enjoyed the National Symphony Orchestra perform together with the National Youth Symphony Orchestra. Craig was pretty proud of himself for surviving a whole Sibelius violin concerto. He figured it was just like a long lead guitar solo. It is an impressive theatre on one of the busiest intersections in Lima, with a railway line going past the second floor.
It got a bit busier last Monday morning. One of Craig’s responsibilities is to accompany sick missionaries back home when they are unable to travel on their own. His first experience at doing this was a complicated process. The missionary was serving in Guayaquil, Ecuador and had to return home to Cochabamba, Bolivia. He spoke no English and was really not very well. Feeling a bit nervous Craig arranged for one of the mission president’s assistants (a young very experienced missionary), an American who spoke Spanish tocome with them “just in case” of any difficulty at airports, immigration, medical, etc. Remember that South America has a very tall mountain range running through it and that going back and forward to high altitudes in a short time can be an added complication. Lesley was left in Lima by herself, as Craig ventured forth with nine flights, five different airports, from sea level to 13,000 feet (back and forth), and no sleep for 48 hours. One flight even skirted the edges of the recently erupting Cotopaxi volcano south of Quito in Ecuador, the first major eruption in 70 years. There is cool picture taken from the mission president’s office in Guayaquil 400 km away. There was a 12 hour wait in Cochabamba where there was a chance to get out of the airport and enjoy some quiet in the peaceful grounds of the temple high in the Andes Mountains. There is a map of the various flights below.
1-3. Teatro Nacíonal 4 Cotopaxi Volcano 5. A reminder of home at Quito airport 6. Temple Cochabamba, Bolivia
The missionary was safely delivered home and Craig and the assistant got back just a little worse for wear. In fact Craig got back to the office an hour before he had to go with the other doctor into a training meeting for new mission presidents. He vaguely recalls doing his presentation and then drooling on his tie in a sleep induced comatose state whilst sitting waiting for the meeting to finish. Then it was home to bed for four hours sleep in the middle of the day.
Lesley survived and even had her own exploration of different parts of town. This involved catching a bus for the first time. An interesting experience with no schedules, no bus stops, no numbers, just jump on and off as they hardly stop, and hope you arrive where you planned to (see picture above)
Last night the senior missionaries farewelled two couples who are heading home to the USA. We also welcomed two new couples who arrived this week. We are no longer the newbies and feel like we have been here much longer than just four weeks. We are teaching the security guards at the gate to the office building Australian. They love saying “g’day” each morning and “seeyalater” as we leave. We tried “no worries mate”, but they are working on that one. Although they are doing better than the Americans.
However, the highlight of this week is our 35th wedding anniversary today. It seems like no time at all, but at the same time like we have always been together. We are still best friends.