Jill graciously shared their home, even with a few power outages. They had family visiting from the States, and we know we put a dent in the food they had! Tom and I headed to bed because of the early start we wanted the next morning. Kate did the same. Peter, Mary and Meghan stayed up and visited with Jill and their children.
Early the next morning we were reloaded and off to Chingola. The traffic was light, and the weather was clear. Made it home in time for Tom to get to work. We rested a bit, went to the Christmas vigil Mass at 9:00 pm. It was a very long Mass, and we heard traditional Christmas carols sung in Zambian fashion.
Afterward we stayed up for champagne, opened presents then went to sleep. Leisurely Christmas Day.
All too soon we had to get Meghan and Kate back to Lusaka for their flight home. With the Trol basically unroadworthy, we were stumped. Fortunately we still had the business card for Moses, the taxi angel who rescued Tom, me and Mary when we were stranded at the Ndola airport when we first arrived in Zambia.
He drove out from Ndola and picked the girls up at 4 am. They made it to the Ndola airport, flew to Lusaka, made their Kenyan Airways flight to Nairobi, KLM flight to Amsterdam, and then to Houston. They arrived on Friday, thoroughly exhausted.
In the meantime we were still trying to get pool paint so Peter could brush, clean and paint our pool. That didn't happen, because of various issues that had nothing to do with us or Peter.
We joined the golf club and all four of us played 9 holes before Peter headed back to the States. Tom hunted down parts (as you read in his letter) and they arrived the same day Peter left to go back to the States. Moses was once again our means of transport. His service is expensive, but the up side is that he drives safely, has a well maintained van, and we can trust that he will do what he says when he says it will be done. Those are golden points here in Zambia, and all too rare.
His adventure continued, unfortunately, and as a result we DO NOT recommend Ethiopian Airways. But, Peter had plenty of opportunity to use his ingenuity, persuasion (sometimes even to the point of raising his voice, which is rare) and he succeeded in landing in Houston with his luggage.
His email to us from Addis Ababa airport:
I had to pay $5 dollars for this hour of internet as there is no free stuff in the airport. I am making good time though with the flights and with my 4 hour layover here in Addis Ababa I have time to use it.
Dad, the airport tax/fee/whatever in Ndola wasn't 58,000, it was 59,000. Just thought that you should know about that. I had plenty of money and was able to get enough food to eat at the airport in Lusaka.
Oh yeah, the nice bulkhead seat that I was supposed to be booked for on my flight out of Lusaka with Ethiopian airlines was already taken by someone flying in from Zimbabwe, they had double book quite a few seats on the flight actually. Luckily enough there were extra seats near the back of the plane and I was allowed to sit in one of those. Of course though with the Rinaldi luck I had to have chosen the one seat that wouldn't recline and the tray table was broken to the point where I couldn't actually take any of the food. I was alright though as they only had fish, but the seat that was broken just had to be mine :(
Tightening those lug nuts. Standard policy for us now is to check them once a week, and before each long drive. In fact, after he had the tire/wheels swapped, drove slowly home (only two studs on one side) the lug nuts were loose!!!
We did locate a Patrol parts dealer in Australia. However, they will not accept phone credit card orders for over $500, and they estimated the cost of shipping to be well over $250. There are consultants located in Melbourne (where the dealer is) but they refused to carry they over because of past problems with customs here in Zambia.
While we are enjoying, for the most part, life here ... the reality of living in a third world country hits home all too quick when trying to just do the most mundane of things.