Travel day to Mauritius

Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
Trip End Apr 29, 2012

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Where I stayed
Gold Crest Hotel

Flag of Mauritius  ,
Thursday, April 5, 2012

I was up at 04:30 as planned this morning, settled the hotel bill and was in the taxi a few minutes before 05:30. Francis had been quite punctual. The drive to the airport under a light rain went quickly; we were earlier than the heavy traffic. There was quite a long line to get into the small Kenya Airways terminal, I joined it and moved slowly forward. There are two doors leading in, one for tourist class and the other for "premium" passengers (those flying business class or with advanced frequent flyer cards – which I have for the group Kenya Airways is in). I saw across the way that the sign for the premium door was lit, so I left the line I was in and pulled my suitcase over only to find it closed and locked with thick chain. A Kenya Airways employee on the curb explained: they are not open yet. So I pulled my suitcase back over the first line and went to the back once again. It had grown longer.

I had time for a cup of strong Kenyan coffee while waiting, and continued reading. I had finished Meredith's 700 page book on post-colonial Africa, a fascinating, enlightening but depressing read; one sad story of bungled opportunity after another. Now I’ve started the last volume of Dorothy Dunnett’s Nicolo series, which I’ve been enjoying for about two years. Her historical fiction is excellent, so I’ve been dosing them out, one to each long trip, to prolong the enjoyment. Now I’m on volume 8, which should tie up the loose ends of her stories of 15th century Europe.

The Kenya Airways flight departed a bit late, but we still arrived in Antananarivo, Madagascar in plenty of time for the connecting flight on Air Madagascar. I had booked this itinerary so I could be in Mauritius in time for our New Testament Passover service. The original schedule and reservation allowed me to arrive hours early. Then after the tickets were booked, I was informed that the scheduled had changed and my arrival time became a tighter fit, but still workable. But unscheduled delays accumulated in Tana, as the capital is called locally. Time dragged on to the point where the departure was delayed by 2 hours. I wouldn’t be on time in Mauritius. I had left instructions that if I were not there by a certain time, those assembled should start without me. I tried to call from the airport to inform them of the situation, but had no cell phone signal and there were no other phones available. We finally boarded the 737, fully packed – no empty seats – and we took off for Reunion Island about 2 hours distant. I was seated next to a young Mauritian business woman of Indian descent, a regional manager for Nestle, who was eager to talk to pass the time. She travels widely in Africa so we talked about various cities, safety and health issues, hotels we used or avoided, restaurants we liked or didn’t, and so on. We also compared airlines and she complained about Air Madagascar, which is less expensive that some others but chronically inefficient, and frequently late. I mentioned that I heard employees in Tana calling it Air Mad for short and perhaps that was fitting. We had a laughed about that.

We landed in Reunion about the time we should have landed on Mauritius; we were very late. I again tried to call Mauritius but had no service. I ask the young lady if I could make a short call on her phone, and she kindly agreed, but the cell numbers I had in Mauritius and for Reunion too wouldn’t go through; the phones were no doubt turned off. Finally, after disembarking and embarking passengers and refueling on Reunion, we flew 45 minutes to Mauritius. On landing I was able to talk to a church member and confirmed they should carry on without me, I had about an hour’s worth of formalities yet at the airport then a fairly long drive to where they were gathered  which would make me much too late. So I said we would meet tomorrow, and wished them a meaningful evening. It’s the first time in over 30 years that I missed observing this day with church members. Of course the Bible makes allowances, exactly one month later, for those who are traveling and unable to participate.

After picking up a small rental car (I had to put my suitcase in the back seat since it wouldn’t fit in the trunk space), I drove to Quatre Bornes to check in for my stay.

It has been another tiring, and also rather disappointing day. Events were beyond my control as events often are for people outside the more easily controlled and organized western societies.

Tomorrow will begin a full slate of activities here on this little island paradise.
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Dan and Tina on

We are grateful that you have arrived safely! How truly disappointing not to be with the brethren. May your stay be filled with worship, praise, and warm fellowship with all! Thank you for your servants heart for our dear brothers and sisters.

Dave & Pam on

Hello my friend! Thanks for your continual sacrifice to serve God and His people in such remote places. We are praying for you!

Tess Washington on

Mr. Meeker, I was laughing with you and the Mauritian business woman! Truly, God is merciful and gracious for a provision like the 2nd Passover observance if you missed the 1st one! May you have a wonderful celebration of the Days of Unleavened Bread!

Linda Morgan on

Joel, how very sorry we are that you missed Passover with the brethren. We are praying for your safety and perhaps we will add a prayer for more timely efficient travel for the rest of your trip. Love to hear about all that you and the brethren do go through. What an easy time we have of it here and how very very blessed we are. Thank you so much.

Ken on

So sorry to hear you were delayed so much you couldn't make it to Passover and will have to keep it a month later.

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