July 1, 2009
If you think it looks like we’re going nowhere fast in this picture—right from square one which was the Northwest airlines check-in counter at the Edmonton International Airport--you’d be right. That’s because our carrier, Delta, recently merged with Northwest Airlines and our ticket issuance and seating arrangement fell through the cracks somewhere in the shift. When we tried to check in (above: Dad Lagore and our kids, Russ and Amanda, wait patiently with us), Dwight was told that our tickets had not been “re-issued” (what with all that merging and all) but it had to be done before they’d let us on the flight. He was instructed to contact Delta and request the re-issuance. At 5:30 in the morning. I know certain places in the world where this would definitely NOT work!
But lo and behold, when he called, Delta was on the job and we got the tickets re-issued and carried on with our marathon trip! I’m happy to say that we got nearly everything packed we needed to (save those bulky walkers…we’ll work on those next time), and through security without any hitches.
A 2-hour flight got us to Minneapolis and the next one, to Atlanta, Georgia. For me, going any place in the southern U.S. is a treat because:
1. The South (Texas, to be exact) was one of my childhood homes and going back always conjures up fond memories.
2. They have nice, stiflingly warm weather.
3. You randomly get called you “honey” and “sweetie” by people you don’t know at all. Obviously the terms are used loosely, but still, it always makes me smile.
4. They drink wonderfully REAL iced tea made from scratch.
From Atlanta onward, our seats were supposedly not booked together. I had visions of us “pssssst”-ing, waving and motioning across the width or length of the Boeing 777, over the heads of countless curious passengers, in an effort to communicate basic essentials to one another like “I can’t find my passport!” or “I have the toothpaste…you wanna come get it or shall I try and toss it?” (Haha, just kidding.) This is a 15-hour flight (thanks to the jet stream, it’s 2 hours less going than the 17 hour flight coming), which is a long time to sit in a confined space and nod off with total strangers on either side! Thankfully, the lady behind the Delta counter was able to put us together in the bulk row seating. The draw back was that we sat beside a squawking 8-month-old baby, but I had earplugs and we got a few sweet smiles out of her, so it was okay.
By the time we got out of the Jo-burg airport with our luggage and a vehicle, it was around 9 p.m. and close to 0-degrees-Celsius-freezing-cold. It’s winter here and there is no central heating, so there’s little escape from the chill. It had been awhile since we’d had real food so we found a place still open and when we were done, we happily crawled into beds, wonderfully heated by electric mattress pads, for a good long sleep.
Your first clue that you’re back in Africa is when a restaurant looks like this on the inside:
And the traffic is all driving madly on the wrong side of the street. And there are power failures at the most inopportune times. And you can smell the smoke of uncontrolled field grass fires outside.
Ah yes, Canada is a good place to call home. But Africa is our home as well.
We head to Mozambique in about a week’s time. I expect busy times are in store for us once we get there, but it will be nice back in our little house in the bush once again.