A happy Reunion
Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
30Trip End Mar 14, 2011
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Where I stayed
It took me about 45 minutes to arrive and then I started the rather unusual rental car return process. I parked the car in the lot, leaving my bags in the truck. I moved quickly through the rain, which had slackened by this time to the arrival area. There are guards to keep local people from going in the restricted area, but because of the rental car situation, foreigners who look purposeful can just walk right in and in through the exit door. I walked in to the rental car counter and saw no one was present, but as usual a helpful colleague from a neighboring company offered to call him on his cell phone. Five minutes later the attendant walked briskly in, apologized, and checked my paperwork. Then he and I walked back out to the car. He checked the gas tank level and made a quick walk-around to check for damage, then he drove me up to the next level, the departure zone and I unloaded there. He gave me a slip of the contract before leaving and wished me a pleasant trip.
Formalities went quickly, since there weren’t many passengers in line for the trip to Reunion. The Departure area was very full, mostly with passengers for two flights that leave about the same time: Air France to Paris and British Airways to London. These were hundreds of tourists heading home, tanned and tired, and with stories to tell of an island paradise.
When it was time to board from Reunion, we filed out and boarded the bus in the rain. We drove out to the Air Mauritius ATR aircraft a turbo-prop and filed onboard. We took on in the rain and flew through clouds and rain for the first half of the 45 minutes flight, then the clouds gradually disappeared and we broke into sunshine, under blue skies: the world changed. This is a situation I observe often when I fly. Taking off in the darkest storm the plane eventually breaks through the clouds to brilliant light. I sometimes think of that as a life lesson in challenging times. Situations may look dark and grim where I am, but often not very far off, things are already sunny and bright.
There were some threatening clouds over Saint Denis, the main city on Reunion, so we flew several oblong holding patterns over the ocean until the clouds cleared, then came quickly in for a landing.
The immigration authorities ask many questions on Reunion. It is the wealthiest island in the area and lots of people want to come in and stay illegally.
It was mid-morning when we arrived. All morning we talked about all sorts of things; family and friends, the situation in the church associations, world news and pertinent Bible passages, plans for the near and long-term future. Since we were only to have one day together, we had much old news to catch up on and new things to cover as well.
At noon, Mr. Prodigue went to pick up his wife from the school where she works; she was able to arrange to leave early. We went to a local restaurant for lunch and continued chatting about all sorts of things. Back at their house, I felt my GI problem was still there, so I asked to be excused for an hour to have a nap, which was very welcome and helpful. Later in the afternoon we continued talking and the Prodigues reaffirmed that they considered themselves part of the new church association and we discussed their needs and how we could better serve them in their unusual situation. They had some constructive suggestions, while being very positive and supportive.
Their son Thierry and his girlfriend Annabelle came by for dinner. Before moving to the table, we all sat out on the terrace to catch the breeze in the late afternoon heat and talked some more. Thierry knows how to navigate the Internet well and was very well informed about our associative situations. He had some very good questions too and we all had a good discussion.
We had an enjoyable dinner together, with me eating very lightly. After Thierry and Annabelle left the Prodigues proposed some local remedies for my ailments and I agreed to try several.
It was a very full and useful day: fellowship and encouragement from faithful people.
Hopefully I’ll be back close to 100 percent tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.