Monday, October 15, 2007

The Endless Friday

Breakfast buffet. Yes! Fijian Music. Yes! Tropical fruits.Yes! And one more swim in paradise. Ahmron took us once again to Natadola Beach. We lingered one more time in the crystal clear water and white sandy beach. If ever anyone felt lucky, it was us. Gisella left our mark in the sand for any future passersby. See photo.

By late afternoon, we once again we had to say goodbye. This time to Gisella and Tingo who had 2 more days left in Fiji while Red, Mary Alice, Pam, Jane, and Linda headed homeward. A deep sadness came over all of us. After almost 3 weeks together, we were parting. The journey began by bus at 5pm. We arrived at Nadi International Airport by 8pm. We board Fiji’s airline, Air Pacific at 10:30pm for a 10-hour flight back to LA. It was hard to sleep but we tried. Joel strummed on his ukele that he bought. Everytime I looked over the aisles to Red, she was as wide awake as I was! I was entertained by Mick, an Australian professional lawn bowler, who was heading to LA for a tournament . .. and people think dragon boating is unusual!!!!! We got to LAX at 6:39am on Friday morning. Was this a déjà vu!!!!!!

We took a taxi ride out of the airport to a restaurant in Manhattan Beach to pass the time before our next flight that unfortunately does not take off until 9:40 in the evening. Isn’t there a law that forbids an airline from booking a person on two red eyes in a row!!!! Trust me, there should be. We are so tired but almost all of us crunched into middle seats so sleep is not easy to come. Thankfully, the plane lands in Philly and it is no longer Friday but the start of Saturday morning and we are in the City of Brotherly Love. After 9 flights on our journey without a hitch, we should have known our luck would run out. The USAirways rep tells us that Red, Mary Alice, and Pam are set for a midday return to Burlington but alas Beth, Joel, and I are not. We strangely have a reservation but we do not have a seat assignment! So, assign us a seat, right? With this weekend being peak color for our leaves, every flight going into Burlington from ANYWHERE is not just booked but overbooked! Darn those leaf peepers!!! We sadly watched Red, Mary Alice, and Pam get on the flight but still had hope that we would get on. When the door was slammed shut, we knew the gig was up. We could wait until Monday for flight into Burlington or our only hope was a standby flight into Manchester, NH. Perhaps it was our long faces or our puffy eyes, but fortunately we made it on board this New England-bound flight. We got a rental car and Beth drove us the rest of the way home. Joel slept soundly in the back seat. Beth and I gabbed and stopped at every rest stop as we tried to stay awake. Home never felt so sweet. My first sight of John was even sweeter.

I want to thank all of my Team Aussie ‘mates for sharing in this vacation of a lifetime. It was so fun-filled. I was so proud of our teams for the great efforts. Our BCS team went out and gave it their all at the regatta. I do believe that we savored each moment of each and every day. Our supporter team was definitely awesome. Only a fulltime Aussie team beat them but trust me they were flying down that course. I speak for our entire BCS team when I thank our Team Aussie supporters for helping us every inch of the way. Such great people. We have so many stories and photos to share with you all. We surely wish that all of our Dragonhearters could have joined in. NO worries. I have 650 photos that I took myself. The 28 others of us on the trip probably have the same. Trust me, you will feel like you took this trip when you come to our photo party. Our Team Aussie was truly a team—people caring for and looking out for each other. I feel so proud and soooo fortunate. Special people. Oh so special time together. There are so many memories to share with you all. For me, the most touching moment of all was seeing our very own Dragonheart teammates assembling at the airport and giving us the most special send off. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the best!!!

NOTE: Team Aussie: Please complete the blog with your trip reflections. Filling in the missing pieces. Add some photos. Add your final notes. Contact me if you need instructions in how to use the blog. Marianne and John, we would love to know how John did running the Melbourne Marathon. How was your climb? Please blog it. Peter and Karen how was New Zealand? It surely was incredible. Please write it up with photos on your blog.

We would like to compile the best photos into a slideshow. Is there some Team Aussie member willing and able to take on this task? Please let me know ASAP. I would love to be able to share these photos at the Breast cancer Conference on November 2.


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