by Ellen Bergstrom Ellen Bergstrom is a member of Bethlehem Covenant Church and a student at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
She is spending a semester in Ecuador and has agreed to supply us reports of her adventures and impressions along the way. I got the funniest reactions from people when I told them about my New Year’s plans. While other people were stocking up on bottled water, canned food, and flashlight batteries for the big Y2K disaster, I was planning a flight to a third world country.
Flying from Minneapolis to Chicago and Chicago to Houston, everything went smoothly, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start to get a little nervous during our layover in the unnaturally quiet New Year’s Eve Houston airport.
The flight attendants started laughing uncontrollably as they called seat numbers to board the flight; on our 100-passenger plane, there were only 18 of us. Plenty of room to stretch out and relax and very quiet.
At p.m., the crew decided to celebrate the New Year on Greenwich Mean Time.
All the passengers got little glasses of champagne, the pilot did a countdown and gave a toast (in both Spanish and English), and the 18 of us cheered in the new millennium.
In the end, after all the Y2K disaster hype, everything went smoothly.
Still, I was grateful that the plane landed at p.m.
and that we were not, after all, in the air at midnight.
That way, too, we got to see a little of the Ecuadorian New Year’s celebration in Quito.
The people make life-size dummies representing all of the bad politicians, corrupt officials, and criminals, as well as of more abstract ideas of sadness, sickness, or poverty.