In four days, the girls and I will climb on board a plane that will take us south on the first leg of our journey to Puerto Lempira, Honduras. I shift memories from Spring Break forward to imagine a familiar trip across the same miles. The flight will land in San Salvador where we will kill off an hour and a half layover before our connection to San Pedro Sula. The route retraces our journey in March precisely, but this time we will take the shuttle from the airport to the gated, guarded compound of the hotel and remain there until a private driver arrives Sunday to ferry us over land to La Ceiba. The remainder of Sunday will be spent on errands, snatching the last hot showers and familiar meals for a few days before crawling into bed early. Monday morning will find a sleepy team gathered in the hotel lobby before 4:00 a.m.
Runway in La Ceiba 6:00 a.m. 3/15/2010
Puerto Lempira Runway
The final flight will be aboard a small plane with Cyrillic characters on the interior signage indicating its origins. We will walk directly out onto the runway surrounded by mountain views to board the small plane and be seated in the cabin with constant visual contact with the two-person crew at around 6:00. The flight will be low enough for the pilot to have the small triangular windows popped open on either side of the plane, and for those aboard to stare out at the terrain below. There will be no question when we arrive because we will clearly see that red dirt (or perhaps mud in this rainy season?) runway coming up to guide us to our destination.
Once we disembark, all we have to do is wait to present our papers to the authorities before achieving the desired reunion with our friends. All the planning, travel arrangements, and preparations will become small things as those faces fill our eyes and friends fill our arms. I do not dare to imagine too clearly the faces of the children we will see again. That is a moment that will simply have to be savored in reality unimagined. Until then, it is enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other and knowing that time is plodding onward toward the anticipated moments.