Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Long Journey

Chicago to Dulles-
An uneventful flight, and am I happy to say that!!! I hope everyone always has an uneventful flight where ever they go. Of course it was a short flight and between meal times, so of course only beverages were offered. I had water.
I made it out of the house on time… but traffic as always in Chicago is iffy at best… arrive about 10 minutes later than I had planned, but I’m happy I went with the guidelines for arriving. The line at check in was staffed by only 2 agents and both were on the phone with complications… 45 minutes later I was checked in. TSA Security wasn’t as bad as in the past, although taking off the shoes does make it difficult.
I did download 2 movies to watch on the plane, He’s Just Not In To You and Slumdog Millionaire. That is one of the neat things about having an iPhone… Movies on the plane and even though you have to watch in a really small screen, it’s often better than the movie supplied by the domestic airlines.
So now, here I sit in Washington DC’s Dulles killing time. I had a salad at a crappy little place at a really reasonable price, considering it is ‘airport’ food and only slightly more edible as a rule than airplane food. Even better, the lettuce was crisp and didn’t have that bagged flavor and although the tomatoes were pink, surprisingly they had flavor.
I have about another hour before boarding… so I get to watch people. Some interesting -some not, and of course some that are irritating. Can’t get the wi-fi (free) to connect… but if I really want to surf there is my phone, which I did use to catch up on email (reading) and any groups I belong to postings… no replies to any of them, because the iPhone keyboard really is virtual… you virtually hit every letter you don’t want intentional and the ones you do want virtually.
More folks are arriving at the gate, and they say it’s a full flight. Overnight, so they will feed us dinner and breakfast. So far I have to say that the gate personnel beat any US based personnel I have encountered in the recent past. The attendant noticed that I was in a center seat and has offered to find me a better seat… and I didn’t even have to ask. I must have looked very wishful.

Dulles to Dakar, Africa-
Ok, I am not a world traveler and haven’t taken a commercial plane out of the country and can’t remember the last time I flew with an airline other than US. This plane was an Airbus 600 something wide body. It was full, well maybe a seat here and there, but no stretching out in empty seats in the middle.
Talk about food, we no sooner got in the air, than the drink carts started down the aisles, beer and wine are part of the meal in all seat classes, but sadly not for me. I had water. I even bought a bottle in Dulles and brought it with me. Once the drinks were passed out, the ‘hot’ food carts started up the aisle. Yep hot and you had a choice between chicken and beef. I took the chicken. I must have been hungry, I ate just about everything. No boxes, real meals, entrĂ©e, bread w/butter, side salad a slab of Tillamook cheese and some crackers w/a Twix bar, and dessert with real silverware. That was the best meal. I think we had more drinks offered during the flight, but I watched a movie and read my book. The flight was smooth all the way.
We made a stop in Dakar, for about an hour and a half. I chose to not look at my watch all that often. I really didn’t want to know how much longer I was going to be in that seat!!!


Dakar to Johannesburg South Africa-
Once again no sooner do we get into the air than the drink cart comes around. All breakfast drinks this time. I am staying away from caffeine since I will hopefully sleep on this leg of the journey, so no coffee or tea for me, wish I had thought to bring some decaf tea bags with me, (oh well next time). I did get some water again, and a cup of apple juice. It tasted like apples, but it was much too sweet for me. As soon as drinks were done, the food trolley came down the aisle. It was a choice of scrambled eggs or waffles. I chose waffles, because heavy starchy food always makes me sleepy. The waffles weren’t waffles, (rather pancakes rolled up with blueberries inside). Not too bad, as blueberries are not a favorite berry of mine). Along with the pancakes, of course some maple syrup, a croissant with butter, mixed fruit bowl, yogurt and orange juice. As soon as breakfast was done, a cabin steward came by and slammed down the window shade. If I hadn’t been so tired and had the window seat, I would have enjoyed looking out the window at the changing terrain below. I did manage to sleep, about 2 hours, but it caused my neck to tighten up which these days mean a headache, one that doesn’t always go away. So I tried to doze without causing further neck problems or pain, not really possible. So by the time I landed in Johannesburg, I didn’t want to do anything except lay down. However, not to be the case. We had to go through Passport Control and then to collect the luggage and then to Customs. No difficulty in either location… breezy. One of the nice things about foreign country airports, the provide luggage carts so you don’t have to try and haul/balance all you crap. I loaded one up. Much easier even than luggage with wheels. The next stop was the last leg and checking the luggage again. I forgot I was supposed to see about getting on an earlier flight …. So I had to sit in the Jo’burg air terminal for 2 hours. Not too bad.

Jo'burg to Durban-
I was so tired I could have stretched right out on the floor or the naked metal benches. But I didn’t. I had a backpack and a small rolling duffle. I stacked them up and rest my head on my arms on top of the bags. Perfect!!! I dozed in 10-15 minute intervals and felt much more capable after a couple of those. The time passed pretty fast and we loaded up. I know there were at least 2 other flights (maybe even 3) to Durban while I waited. Our flight was full. Ok, I was so tired I was asleep before the flaps of the plane were pulled back!!! Next thing I hear, a food cart! Offering food and drinks. I took a bottle of water and declined the food. This was a box meal. The flight was only 70 minutes. In the US you only get a bag of peanuts and a cup of coke (Southwest) other airlines it’s bring your own!!! The box meal was a chicken salad sandwich I think. I was too tired to care and was asleep again in seconds. Next thing the wheels were touching ground! We were here!!! Off to get my luggage and let my DH take over the care and decision making until I had a decent nights sleep!!!
I left my house near Chicago at 7:30 am on Tuesday morning and I landed in Durban, South Africa a bit before 9 pm Wednesday evening. There is about a 7 hour difference in the time. I got a good stretch of sleep during the night and I have had a small nap today. I am hoping by tomorrow I will be about caught up and raring to go…

The view out the livingroom window after sunrise
view-ocean
and the veiw of the local shopping didstrict.
shopping dist.

Beth

1 comment:

Lana said...

Wow, what an adventure. I don't think I would like being hostage in a plan that long....
Enjoy your time in Africa. I loved the pictues you took....beautiful!

Lana