Okay, I'm finally back with POTUS Part Two.
This has been a hard week, because we've all been trying to catch up on the work we neglected last week. In my case, this means two huge projects needed care and feeding (as did four kids), and I've been feeling just a teensy bit overwhelmed.
It's been a terrific week on so many unbloggable levels. Really the best one in a long time. But yeah, I'm tired. Still: I promised the dad-in-law more POTUS pix, so here I am.
So okay. Day two dawned cloudy and windy, but not dusty. There was still no call on whether the helicopters would be grounded or not. Petra? Or no Petra? I headed to the airport early in the morning, because no one knew what was going to happen, so it was all-hands-on-deck, just in case.
There's the plane, all alone on the tarmac except for a few zillion people.
Meanwhile, there was an Embassy Meet n Greet scheduled elsewhere in the city, for employees and family members. The kids really wanted to go, but I had to work. Fortunately for me, my dear friends STJ and CL offered to bring my boys to the event while I went off to the airport, loaded down with coffee. Aidan took some (slightly blurry) photos of the meet n greet. He asked me to include them:
Back to the airport. I have no idea why the spacing is suddenly getting all screwy, and I'm too lazy to pretend I know enough html to fix it. So deal.
Anyway, here you can see that the helicopter pilots got the all-clear for the trip to Petra, and they are moving into position.
Look! Here comes the motorcade! That's our awesome tent behind the limo.
My job was to stand next to this helicopter guy in case any of the passengers needed help figuring out that this was helicopter #3. Of course, the engines were running when the passengers arrived, and it was loud, so no one could hear me. Also, helicopter guy was holding a big sign labeled "#3." So I guess you could say my job was a bit redundant. Even the helicopter guy had no idea why I was standing right next to him, and it was too loud to tell him that I was his back-up sign person in case one of the passengers couldn't read. He thought I was a passenger. So after everyone boarded, he motioned for me to climb in as well. I was sorely tempted. I briefly weighed in my mind the chances of getting caught and fired, or tossed out of the helicopter halfway to Petra. Reluctantly, I shook my head no and headed back to my fancy tent.
Once everyone was loaded on to the helicopters, they all took off for Petra.
Our work wasn't done, though. We still had to wait for them to finish touring Petra and come back to the airport later that day. I had to drive someone back to town, so I stopped at the grocery store, threw some stuff in my cart and dropped it back at the house before heading back to my tent. What can I say: I'm a multi-tasker.
As the time for the President's return drew closer, we all got busy again. I had to welcome the press back to the airport and get them back up on their stage. The Presidential limo pulled up right next to us and parked where we stood. So of course we all turned tourist again and snapped some photos.
This guy - I'll call him "The King of Queen Alia Airport" - was too busy working to take any photos. And his wife, a friend of mine, is out of town. I knew she would kill him if he didn't have any pictures to prove that he was there. So I kept following him around and surreptitiously snapping his photo. (Sssshh - don't tell him you saw him here.)
Well of course I needed a photo of my own. I was kind of embarrassed to be acting all Air Force One starstrucky, but then I noticed that the guy next to me was doing the same thing. And he's a big name television reporter in the States. And he was actually going to be flying home with the President on Air Force One. He told me he was sending the picture to his wife so she would know he was on his way home. Perhaps. But I think he was kind of starstruck too. (Even the White House press lady who was working with me - or rather, telling me what to do - said she still loves to see Air Force One out there on the tarmac. So apparently I wasn't alone.)
Everything was ready to go. Everyone was calm. No worries at all. And then someone took a call - it seems the King of Jordan himself was on his way to the airport to see the President off. Well, nothing like a last minute visit from the King to send everyone scrambling.
The President's helicopter came in for a landing.
As did the rest of the fleet...
Then the King walked out to meet the helicopter. You can see the Secretary of State in the middle of that photo - the King is on his other side.
If you know what you're looking for, you can see the King, in blue jeans, walking with the President. I know my dad is going to blow this picture up for a closer look, so I'm including it here. But really, the fancy-camera photographers next to me got all the awesome shots. I can't post their pictures on my blog, obviously, but don't worry dad! I'll email you some later.
And the plane departs...
And that's it! I went home and made dinner. Or took a nap and ordered take-out. Can't remember which.
End of story. But here's something extra for you: a picture of me from a POTUS meet n greet in Beijing, back in 2009. I'd lost the picture somehow, but my friend JennD, who was the official photographer at that particular event, emailed it to me yesterday. (Thanks Jenn! Hey, could you go ahead and add that arrow pointing to his back and noting who he is? Might be helpful...)