Sunday, January 06, 2008

Delayed Departure

Mushu's nemesis, Russell, back for a visit, is NOT what Mushu asked for this Christmas!

Amid all the rain and mud of late, we somehow managed to get off the farm without getting royally stuck. The roads were still quite a mess, but at least it stopped raining for about 36 hours before we left. I think we all had visions of us sitting again, in our finest, suitcases loaded in the back, stuck up to the axels in mud! But we made a run for it and made it! What a relief it was to know that now, the only thing between our kids and their flight home were the hundreds of kilometres of highway, a border crossing and hopefully no complications in between! Here we are at the ever-abandoned Caltex station. As we left though, another vehicle pulled in, so I guess I can no longer say we've never seen anyone there!

We left home on Monday morning and their flight left Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
All went well for the first 6 hours of our 3 day drive to Jo’burg. The highway that was quite good last year has since experienced a resurgence of innumerable potholes.
Scenes along the way (this is the smooth part of the highway).
Dwight was doing pretty impressive work missing them, but one caught him by surprise and we hit it pretty hard. This is not a strange occurrence since our vehicle has driven bad roads all of its life, but lately it has been showing signs of growing tired, and that pothole proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back! Suddenly we were sitting at a slant and it felt like we were riding on a rock. It took us a little while to eventually see what had gone awry...a torsion bar that supports the suspension had snapped in two. I think visions of us being stuck in Mozambique for a protracted period with a broken vehicle were starting to form in all of our minds! Since we were headed to Mercy Air on our way to Joburg, Dwight called Ron Wayner at Mercy Air to let them know of our little hiccup. He assured us that the vehicle was in fact still drivable, but the drive would be a bit rougher and slower. Needless to say, we were up EARLY the next morning to make good time. We arrived at Mercy Air by suppertime on Tuesday evening, had supper, visited with friends, and got the Mercy Air van ready so we could carry on with our trip to Jo’burg the following day.

Here we are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for our 3rd day of travel. That day’s trip went off without a hitch other than the mud flaps hitting the rear tire and giving us a scare. By 3:30 p.m. we were at O.R. Tambo International Airport and now we REALLY breathed a sigh of relief. The closer you get to the airport, the less there is that stands between you and your flight, right?? We met friends for supper right there then made our way to the South African Air Lines desk in International Departures. The place was wall to wall with line-ups with people. As we headed to the airline desk, we were told we would have to enter the queue. Well, said queue first zigzagged by the desk like they all do, then it took off down one hallway, turned the corner and disappeared down the next! And there we stood, queued for 2 hours while the kids’ boarding and departure times came and went.
But we weren’t alone; many other exasperated passengers were also delayed because of ‘system failure’! At least that flight was delayed so all the passengers could get on. And surprisingly, it arrived in New York on time although they had to delay disembarking due to the high volume of passengers coming home after the holidays. Air Canada which was the kids’ next flight wasn’t as kind though, and even though they were at the gate within the allotted time, their seats were given away!
One of exasperation's many faces.

From there they were rerouted to Calgary where very kind friends picked them up and drove them home to Edmonton. You bet we have a bone to pick with Air Canada! We along with thousands of others, I’m sure.

Currently we’re back at Mercy Air nursing our broken vehicle that somehow reminds me more and more of humpty dumpty every day! It will require some repairs, and we're seriously scraping our pennies together to put toward a replacement for it. Hopefully this all won’t take too long. We need to get back home, and we don’t need any more delayed departures on this trip!

Just a bit of wet grass that decorates the edge of our swamped entry road. It has purple and red blades on it which is about the only nice thing about the road right now!


The Nelson's Dog Patch said...

Lynn I would dearly love some of that grass (that's just growing by your road!)to plant in my garden. I also have come to the conclusion that a tip to Mozambique for visitors isn't so much a holiday as it is an adventure.

Russoft said...

ok mom, that purple grass looks like a doctored picture! :P