Well, I landed safely at LAX at 2:15 on Saturday, and Cindy and Scott picked me up. They had a great welcome home banner for me, crafted by themselves and Rosa (thanks!). For those of you at work, I hung it in my office. For everyone else, I'll take a picture and put it up on the website with the rest of the pictures! It was questionable whether I would get home, though, because my 10pm flight from Fiji left 5 hours early so I missed it! Luckily I was at the airport early enough to get first on the stand-by list for a 7:40 flight through Honolulu (the other one was straight through). It's for the best that I missed the original flight, though, because I would have landed at LAX at 8am and not been able to get home for hours! The flight was fine, and I got a few hours' sleep, plus the bonus of an extra day due to crossing the dateline.
Fiji was ok - but there are still signs of the coup that happened in May. For instance, there was a manned sandbag-strewn raised bunker at an intersection outside of town. I went to an orchid garden, took a dip in a hotspring (but that is a secret because my guide wasn't supposed to take me there - it's where locals go), and did a wee bit of hiking to a point that looked over Nandi and off into the island-studded ocean. It really was beautiful, but the whole political/ethnic situation is aggravating the poverty and crime situation so I didn't feel all that comfortable there. I was not looking forward to spending the night there if I didn't get a flight out. But they were very excited to have a tourist to pay attention to - their season has been dismal.
Sunday I mostly slept, and I think I am almost over the jetlag and the daylight savings time switch :)
So that's it. Back at work today was good - I really did miss everyone! And I got most of my pictures developed (over 300 - not including Ireland films which are still en route, probably in the middle of the Atlantic on a slow boat). Some of the photos are great! And Cindy gave me great ones for the first week of Ireland, so really I'm just missing 2 weeks. I'll bring the pics to work for the next week or so, and eventally will do a whole scrap book with brochures, ticket stubs, narrative, etc.
I already posted all the emails that I have sent to my webpage (http://home.san.rr.com/brigid -> Sabbatical Recap). My plan is to get a webpage with narrative/highlights/favorites/FAQ/lessons learned/best stories/etc to go with the better pictures scanned in by Christmas (hopefully sooner). I'll send one more mass mailing to you all when that is done, and at that time I'll probably have a little travelogue shindig for those of you who are interested in the San Diego area (and Philly area when I go there for Christmas - plus I might have to go to DuPont and talk, too, since they have been following it!).
Anyway, thanks for hanging with me during my travails. I really appreciate all the emails of support I have gotten all the way through. And pretty much everybody said they were worried by my Mt Kenya tale - sorry about that. If you have questions, feel free to ask!
Until next time... Brigid