OK you guys...you're wearing me down!!!
February 27….at last!!!
After weeks of packing, re-packing and packing again, we were ready to go. Sister & sister in law arrived to collect us & deliver us to the bus depot for the first leg of our African Dream Vacation.
It was hard to leave my youngest son at home (with girlfriend) but there was food in the freezer & oil in the tank…inverter was charged up for power failures and he had cash for emergencies….so we were ready to leave.
After an uneventful bus ride to Halifax (3 hours), we were in the airport at 11:30 for a 0620 flight. Hohum
…..packed a fifth of Canadian whisky to help pass the time while waiting. I must say at this point, I was starting to stress over clearing US customs
..I had a problem last time I flew internationally and was anticipating the same issues…also concerned about all the maple syrup I was carrying in one case. Would it clear customs…were my bags overweight….would the syrup break and leak….were my tickets in order as it was a first for me not using a travel agent.
The gate finally opened at 0500. Why we had to be there 3 hours ahead is beyond me, as there were no agents around 3 hours ahead of time…(?).
So…checking in…not a hitch here…ticketed thru to J’burg!
…stomach in total knots now. Customs agent is rude, think he is unhappy about being stuck in Halifax NS in winter. Do they take courses in how to be uncommonly rude, do you think?
Suitcases on the x-ray machine and VOILA! We’re in!!! Phew!!! All that stress for nothing, but that’s how it is with me.
I got yelled at when they checked my carry-on as I did not have the proper see-thru bag for my liquids, but it was in a Zip-Loc bag. Lockie sailed thru without even removing his shoes, and we had ditched our lighters already as you can’t have them in your possession on Canadian flights.
Ok we’re through that ordeal now, and boarded a cigar tube of a plane for Newark NJ USA. Flight Attendant looked like she just got up and forgot to comb the bed head out of her hair. By the time she got down to us, she had no coffee left and had to go make more…HELLO…it’s 0600 and people want coffee!!!
She finally remembered our coffee and we added our Bailey’s to it in celebration of the first leg! Pretty boring flight, luckily it was a short hop.
We de-planed in Newark and had to change terminals which meant back thru security…..wonderful….but it gave us a chance for a smoke before continuing.
Back to security…now it’s time for the shoe removal and my underwire always sets off the alarm.
Into the secure area again and on to Atlanta, Georgia.
Had to change terminals again, but this time we were on a commuter train and we stayed in the secure area. Also had to get new boarding passes for Dakar-J’Burg.
Had a bit more of a lay-over in Atlanta, huge airport and we met a nice fellow from Germany to talk with to pass the time. And of course after crappy airplane snacks, we had to have something to eat! (and a beer). Managed to get to duty-free for some gin for Dad /Jo.
Now we get down to serious flying. From Atlanta to Dakar is 9 hours in the air. Huge plane…767…I had a window seat, my preference. Lots of stuff to play with in the seat back in front of me. And actually not bad food. I slept off & on but Lockie can’t sleep on a plane, even if he had been up all night the night before. I’m not concerned about that thrombosis from sitting as I always have to go to the bathroom, especially since the drinks were free.
I guess that the South African gov won’t let the airlines charge for alcohol on flights to their country, so that was an unexpected bonus!….and a bit about the bathrooms on a plane. There is barely enough room for 1 person in there, so how do people get to belong to the “Mile High” club…? (pms welcome)
Midway thru our flight to Dakar, the Flight Attendants sprayed the plane with some kind of insecticide.
(upon opening my luggage later, it was also sprayed, had the same scent)
The Captain came on a few hours later to inform us that we would be in Dakar shortly and that we would be there for 1.5 hours. Lockie was cracking badly for a smoke by now and had decided to de-plane in Dakar.
Not me! I had had enough of security checks by now!
Alas…not allowed to get off the plane.
We were boarded by a team of security men in Dakar, who searched the plane top-bottom!
Each passenger had to identify their carry on luggage and then step aside for the men to rip up the seats and check for …what? The lady behind me said that because some people got off in Dakar as their final destination, they were making sure that nothing from them got left behind….the men are walking up & down the aisles shouting “whose bag is this….who owns this bag?” , until all bags were accounted for. They finally left, satisfied, and we were on our way again to J’burg!
Another 9 hours of not sleeping much
…had some Amarula (since I was awake anyway) and watched Juno on the tv in front of me. We’re getting really sick of this plane by now. The Flight Attendants kept us busy eating.
Finally!!! Approaching J’burg!!! I’m getting so excited, I can’t even stand myself!
Off the plane, on to immigration….baggage claim…again I ‘m stressing about my bags…did the syrup break and make ALL the luggage a sticky mess
….no…there they are..INTACT!!! And they both got there with us….Hooray!! and now..customs. (Stress meter up again)
Well, we just walked out…(?) no customs..no search…just out of security..easy peasy. And just like that…WE ARE IN AFRICA!!!
Dad & Jo are there holding up a big welcome sign….and it’s HOT! Airport is under major construction for the World Cup and I think that the aircon is off. We changed some cash and hired a cab to take us to a hotel for our first night in Africa, and he was driving on the wrong side of the road…..that was really freaky!
And he drives FAST.
Got to our hotel and the first order of business (after setting our watches 6 hours ahead) was to request some Windhoek!
Tomorrow…out of J’burg in a hired car and on to GGHNP…..
To be continued…..