Well kids, here we go. Our first real posting on our amazing and glorious trip to Jordan. It begins with the wonderful tale of our plane trip for two days to this other side of the world....
We left from Salt Lake International Airport at 11 in the morning on June 17th. We had a squished trip to Chicago O'Hare Airport on a plane the size of a tuna can. While on this first plane, we talked and studied Arabic together. We met a fun couple who were on their way to Paris for a week long vacation. They were very sweet and we enjoyed talking with them. We also had a great chance to meet a senior missionary couple who just left the MTC that morning and were on their way to Poland! They were so excited about the adventure ahead of them and they were so sweet. We wish we could have spent more time with them but our flights were to different places.
We had such a hard time getting through security as our airlines didn't give us acceptable boarding passes. So we were a little anxious to just get to our loading gate and be there on time. We only had a 45 layover in Chicago. We bought some overpriced sandwiches that were disgusting but they filled us up until we were on the plane and we were excited to be around all the French speakers.
Well AirFrance had a very comfortable plane. I really liked the big seats and personal tv screens. The meal came quickly and it was actually delicious! We had curried chicken and orzo with raisins. It was a nice cold appetizer. It also came with a choice of beef in a wild mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes or provencal penne pasta in a delicious cream sauce with spring vegetables. Ryan got the beef and I got the pasta. It also came with salad, rolls, cheese and a delicious lemon pound cake with a strawberry glaze. I wanted to take a picture of the spread of food but I thought that might be really weird. So I didn't. But we were able to watch a lot of movies. I decided to try and stay awake as long as possible to make it easier to get acquainted with the Jordanian time zone. From Utah, Amman is 9 hours ahead. It is a big adjustment.
The flight had a ton of movies. I watched Tangled (twice) and another couple movies that I can't remember right now. Ryan watched a few too. But we had a nice flight. I finally doze off right before we were to land. They served us breakfast of pudding and muffins and juice. It was quite nice.
Once in the airport in Paris, we found that our flight to Jordan had been pushed to an evening flight instead of an afternoon one. That was fine though. After waiting forever to get our new boarding passes and to get to our terminal, the reality of our long wait to get aboard our plane finally hit us. So, naturally, we decided to go into Paris for a few hours. Ryan had never been to Paris and I was excited to show him my favorite places there. We took the train in from the airport station. It was the cheapest option and it was fast. We got off at the Notre Dame stop and walked up the stairs to the street. Of course though, it had started to pour rain. But it was still so fun. We ran across the street (carrying all our airplane carry-on bags) and had a light lunch in a cafe across from the Notre Dame Cathedral.
It was so wonderful to be back in Paris. I hadn't been for many years. We had a delicious baguette sandwich with ham and cokes. We were safe from the rain and got to hear the church bells ring. When it stopped raining after a while, we went across the street and walked around the church yard. It was filled with tourists from all over the world. We had a nice group of people from Birmingham, England who took a couple pictures of Ry and I in front of the Church. Since it was raining, we didn't get many pictures because we didn't have anything like an umbrella to keep us dry. But we wandered the streets nearby to look in the shops. I love the cobblestone streets that still are all over the city. We wanted to get crepes but all the crepe places were closed for lunch... I know, a restaurant that closes for lunch... weird. But oh well. We wandered into a random old church that was built in the 1500's and actually got to see a baptism taking place! It was really cool to see the Catholic ceremony performed in French. The family was so happy and excited. It was a great moment to see in the beauty of this old building. It is daunting to think of how many people have been baptized in that cathedral over the past 500 years. I stole some pics of the ceremony. Hope that isn't blasphemous. I was just being a nosy tourist.
Next we wandered over to the bridges and rivers that are all over Paris. We stood overlooking the river that shows the main areas of Paris. We saw the Eiffel Tower's top and decided to start walking down that way. We got to see the Louvre. THIS IS MY FAVORITE PLACE IN PARIS! I love this museum with all my heart. Sadly, we didn't have enough time to go in this time, but another time for sure. The museum is huge! It has hundreds of thousands of pieces of art on display. And it is rumored that what is on display is nothing compared to the art storage reserves of the museum that are housed in the basement of this massive building.
Then we had to quickly rush back to the airport to go catch our plane. Our plane ride to Jordan was on Royal Jordanian Airlines. It was amazing! If there is one thing that Arabs know, it is how to live in luxury. The first class seats were lavish and then we get to coach, it was still very roomy and comfortable. We were served many meals and snacks and drinks. We were even served hot towels to wash our hands before dinner. Our dinner was fabulous. It was chicken in a tarragon sauce with vegetables and potatoes. We also had a salad and juice served with it. I got the mango juice (probably my favorite thing about the Middle East). Then we finally landed. I got to watch Chronicles of Narnia:Voyage of the Dawn Treader on the flight which was nice to pass the time. Then we landed!
We had to exchange our money to get Jordanian Dinar so we could buy our visa at the airport and go through immigration. I am so grateful that Ryan speaks Arabic so well. It is such a lifesaver. Then we went down to claim our bags... But, funny enough, they weren't there to claim! AirFrance never sent our bags to Amman! How sweet of them! So we were in the airport for an extra 2 hours trying to get our bags situation sorted out. Regardless, our bags weren't there and it was 1am. We were tired and our ride from the airport had been waiting for ages for us. So we gave the airlines our address and phone number. Hopefully sometime this week we will get our bags back. But I'm not holding my breath. Our ride from the airport was fun. He is a great Palestinian man who was very talkative and he is also a tour guide. He was telling us about all the trips he could take us on. It was fun. Then we finally arrived at our apartment around 2am. We unloaded our few bags and went right to bed.
Well, that is our fun flight story! Next will be our first days in Jordan! :)