In Abu Dhabi, more of the group broke up. Nick Chiang was flying on to Istanbul for a connection to Greece. (That was scary, given the bombing of the Instanbul airport the day before.) Jumana Zahid was headed to her home in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She and Nick departed for the same terminal. Ivan left to spend several days in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before heading back to San Francisco. So, all of a sudden, we were a group of five.
We found our gate and learned what we had to do in terms of U.S. Customs before going to the food court and having lunch (dinner?) at an O’Leary’s in the airport. There had been an announcement on the plane that, during Ramadan, no food or drink could be eaten in the airport during daylight hours. I think we were all amazed that an international airport could restrict food and beverage like that. But we were there after dark, so we were able to get food. Later, we went through U.S. customs – minus our baggage – in the airport and then had another long wait before the flight took off at 2:30 AM.
Some sixteen hours later, the five of us landed in San Francisco. We retrieved our luggage, and sorted out the equipment for return to the BECA Cage. Then we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Another trip over. It’s always bittersweet; everyone’s so glad to be home, but it’s hard to say goodbye.