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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 28, 2009

Trip to Suriname, Day 2

Filed under UCG-Holland

Today’s post title could also read: "The trip that almost wasn’t!"

After a short night’s rest in Gouda Marcos Rosales and I drove to the Amsterdam airport this morning. We were accompanied by Marcos’ wife Luty, who will also meet us on Monday when we return. We got to Schiphol in good time and even got to the check-in counter rather quickly. It was there that the problem began. Marcos gave the lady our passports and the e-ticket information. She looked up incredulously at Marcos and told him that he would not be able to fly today. The reason? At the Suriname embassy in Amsterdam they had put tomorrow’s date into his passport as the starting date for his entry into Suriname. My visa date was ok. She said that the airline would not be able to transport him to Suriname. It was about 8:50 a.m. and the embassy would be opening in ten minutes. She gave us the number to call there. When Marcos called, his contact told him that he could not do anything over the phone. Marcos would have to come to the embassy. The check-in counter would close at 10:00 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. flight, so we agreed that if he was not back by 9:55 a.m. I would check-in by myself and fly alone to Suriname, with him to follow on Friday (the next flight date for Suriname airlines, our carrier). We divided the luggage (we are carrying 40 kilos of Dutch literature with us in our checked luggage) and he took off. As agreed upon, at 9:55 a.m. I checked in and went through security at the gate for the Suriname flight. In the gate area I took a seat where I could watch the security line to see if Marcos showed up. At 10:30 a.m. boarding commenced, and I got on the plane. After the initial rush of passengers to get on the plane, there was a brief lull and then more people came on. Guess who showed up just before they closed the door? Marcos! With the help of a good taxi driver, his contact at the Suriname embassy (who expedited his visa correction) and some quick heartfelt prayers he had done what seemed impossible: driven from Schiphol into Amsterdam and back in a little over an hour. When he showed up at the check-in counter, he was told it was closed, but a couple next to him were still checking in, so finally a kind agent processed his check-in and he was able to make the flight. Along with the train problems the evening before I was wondering whether someone did not want us to make this trip!

The ten hour flight was pleasant. Marcos read his wife’s thesis for her (for corrections), I proofread the German "Real Jesus" booklet and we told our nice flight attendant that we were twins. Upon our arrival I could have thought I was landing at a provincial airport in the Philippines. There was a 30 degree temperature difference (Celsius) to Amsterdam, too. We were met by Stan Braumuller, a former Suriname resident now living in Florida, and Claid Dalfour, a "Good News" subscriber who wants to be baptized. We will have a full day tomorrow talking to Claid and his wife Marcia and other interested people.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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