Tuesday, February 5, 2008

DOUBLE DIGITS-Less than 100 Miles to Go!

DOUBLE DIGITS-Less than 100 Miles to Go
02/05/08-by Debbie, RowofLife Land Support from Antigua

You may ask yourself, what does Antigua sound like in the morning? I have your answer, goats and chickens and roosters, OH MY! Papa Festor and I get music at the bar below us until at least 1am and animal sounds early in the morning. Good thing I bought Angela ear plugs in the Orlando Airport. How do you say earplugs in French? Hum, just easier to put them on my shopping list for my trip into St. Johns either later today or tomorrow.

As of 02/05/08 at 5AM GMT(UK time), 1AM Antigua time, Midnight Florida time, and 9PM(2/4/08) PST California time, Angela and Franck broke the Hundred mile barrier! They are 98 miles from Antigua. That is less than the trip from Bakersfield to Los Angeles; of course that would be a tough row. This week I hear that the boat might sled it quite well. Well did I mention it is about 85 degrees constantly in Antigua? I bought a fan and now on my big St John’s shopping trip I am going to buy and extension cord so I can put it where it will do some good.

Papa Festor, or Totor, as he likes to be called, and I made one trip to St John’s on Saturday. (Totor-Hum I have not translated that yet, I have no idea what it means, I hope that he is not making me say something not nice as a joke on the American-Nah, he is nicer than I.) Anyway, when I arrived at the Antigua Airport to pick up a solely French speaking man, whom I had never seen or met, I found they do not have flight arrival or departure TVs to tell what planes have come in. I waited by the exit of the customs area for a couple of hours waving my sign “Papa Franck Totor” (Hey don’t blame me, I didn’t make up the verbiage, that was all Franck and Totor), with the tiny little Row of Life postcard. The guard took mercy on me and went inside to find Totor. She asked me, what is his name? It occurred to me at that point that I really had no idea what his name was. I told her Totor and he only speaks French. After some time an airport representative came out and with an Older, shorter version of Franck, but with hair, and I knew. Totor was stuck at Immigration. They had no one that spoke French and Totor had no idea where he was staying anyway. They had me go into immigration and try to help and explain things. I told them where we were staying and they did not believe me. Wow, who knew they had a problem with immigration in Antigua. Don’t get me wrong, Antigua is lovely, the people are kind and allegedly they have some nice beaches that I have not had time to check out yet, but I will be happy to get home. Finally I produced the printout of my reservation and they let us go, I gave them a RowofLife Postcard for their troubles.

You thought this was over, not. Then we went to baggage claim. We found his bag, “miltari’’ said Totor of his camouflage duffel. (By the way, camouflage is considered offensive to the Antiguan people) The joy of finding it went to sadness when he realized that Franck’s hand crutches had been separated from the bag and now they are lost. Franck’s stump is infected and swollen to the point that he cannot put on his prosthesis and will need the hand crutches to get around. After more ANU airport drama we left and headed down the dark roads home, dodging goats, dogs, cows and people. It was a quiet ride.

Today, we are going to see Mission Atlantic come in. I was determined not to miss it as I had Pendovey Swift, so I told Totor that we had to be down at the Harbour at 4am, even though Woodvale said they wouldn’t be in until about 6am. Amanda from Woodvale was kind enough to put me on her paging list. So at 3am I got a page that said Mission Atlantic were still 10 miles out and would be in about 8-9am. I decided it was a little nuts to stand at the harbour in the pouring rain for 4 hours, so I went to Totor room to tell him we would go at 7:30am. Poor soul was showered and dressed.

Well I just got another page from Amanda; Mission Atlantic is 4.3 miles from the finish line, eta 8:30-9am and Komale is 5 miles behind them with an eta of 10:30-11am. Better go. It is 7:30 now and I am my not dressed, sweaty Antiguan weather self. Off to the shower and down to the dock to try and work my video camera.

My Estimate for Row of Life…..5PM Wednesday, just in time for dinner.


PS: His name is Berthold Festor.

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