Funny, how much can happen before you even land at your destination.
My route to South Africa was DC to Atlanta an then Atlanta to Joburg. I have discovered that you just never know who you are going to sit next to flying out of DC, especially National. I think National might be a bit more interesting because of its proximity to DC proper. The lady sitting next to me started a pleasant conversation, but when it lulled I started listening to one of my audio books. Thankfully, my bluetooth headphones died and I was able to strike up the conversation with her again. She told me about her work related trips to Uganda and Tanzania. She showed me pictures from her safaris on the Serengeti. By the time we’d landed I’d given her my card and we made tentative plans for lunch when we are both back in DC.
The trip from Atlanta to Joburg was a first-class experience at budget prices! I was the only passenger in a row of three seats. I luxuriated in every moment. I laid across all three seats and slept for about 5 + hours. But woke up and we were still over the ocean. I think about 90% of that route is over the ocean though. Once we fly southeast out of Atlanta and hit the Atlantic, there’s no land again until Namibia. I was able to watch the last Avenger’s movie and Brave. We landed when I was 3/4 the way through Wall-E. Once on the ground customs took forever, but I didn’t mind the standing after the long flight. The man in the line next to me got into a back and forth with the immigration official. All I heard was, “No, I am a student.” She said, “No, you are not because you don’t have a student VISA.” He tried to insist a couple more times that he is actually a student, but he didn’t understand she was trying to help him since his didn’t have a VISA. I wanted to be like, “Dude, chill. She’s helping you!” He’ll get it…all part of the learning process.
My first oder of business was the ATM, post cards, stamps, and getting my South African phone sorted. Thankfully my old trusty Samsung was mailed to me just before I left, but no charger. So, I went to buy a charger and min. at the Vodocom store. Unfortunately, they don’t carry that little phone any more and no charger either. But wouldn’t you know it, one of the guys had a charger that he sold to me! Gotta love South Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit!
As I left the Vodocom store I saw my name on a sign, which surprised me. Last time I stayed here the backpackers told me to call them when I got in. I was pleasantly surprised that it was the same driver. Last year he told me that he was learning French because “of all the beautiful French-speaking women.” I asked him how his French was coming along. After he got over the surprise that I remembered him, he said he gave it up because the French women were “too much trouble” and with that he gave a big belly laugh.
My smile went all the way through me as we rode to the backpackers.