Well, here we are in South Africa at last. Our flights were all great with just a bit of excitement thrown in here and there for good measure. Our first bit of fun was in London, surprise, surprise. We weren’t carrying liquids or vicious finger nail files as you might expect, but we were carrying our cameras and my purse separately from our carry-ons. This had not posed a problem on the 2 previous flights, but suddenly in London at the security gate we were ordered to squeeze all we were carrying into our 2 carry-on cases. Despite the good reason behind all this, it was absolutely (and borderline hilariously) impossible! No matter how we tried to re-arrange, push, pull, flip-over and repack our stuff, it simply wouldn’t all fit inside! Our exasperation elicited only one response from the security lady, “You must place ALL items into your carry-on luggage ma’am.” The “ma’am” was for me because my purse was one of the items that defied being shoved anywhere. Finally we resorted to piling things onto the tops of the open carry-ons, pulled the lids forward so as to suggest they were made to be closed, then sent them through x-ray. The x-ray guys didn’t even blink. Once we collected our things on the other side, we unpacked it all and carried it as we had been, and there were no further complaints. Go figure!
Another mildly exciting event took place on the flight from Qatar to Johannesburg. We were about 4 hours into the 8+hr flight, and nearly everyone was asleep. I was tossing and turning in my cramped space when I glanced at the screen in front of me and saw the message “We have a medical emergency. If there is a Dr. or a nurse on board, could you please report to the crew immediately.” I braced myself then summoned a stewardess over to report for duty. Apparently a passenger who drank several alcoholic beverages earlier in the flight also took sleeping pills and was now barely responsive. “We need to know if his condition warrants diversion of the flight so we can (land and) get medical attention for him.” Great. One small decision that would have repercussions for 100’s of passengers and their schedules plus the added cost of who knows how much for the airline. First I needed to assess the passenger, and just as a BP machine was brought to me, a Dr. was found and took over the case. I was thanked over and over again for being willing to step in, and if I had actually met the Dr. myself, I would have thanked him/her over and over again for doing the same. But instead, I simply returned to my tight little corner to try to catch a few more z’s. I guess the guy was okay because the remainder of our flight was uninterrupted.
Here’s a picture of the African sunrise over Johannesburg International Airport at 5 or so a.m. When we finally got out of the building we were welcomed by bright sunshine, chirping birds and diesel fumes. Just as it should be. And if you don’t agree, you obviously haven’t spent enough time in Africa!