June 28, 2016 – Out of Africa
Veronica was very clear — we were being picked up at 5:30 via a Land Rover for the half hour drive to the gate. There we’d board a minibus for the drive to Johannesburg airport departing at 6 am.
And that’s what happened. But unfortunately, Lakeside was apparently told they’d be picked up at 6 for a bus leaving at 6:30. So our minibus, already headed out via the bumpy, sand packed trail road had to turn around and return to the gate to pick up the latecomers. Where the breakdown in communication happened I cannot say but I was a little annoyed that once again my time was considered less valuable than others.
It wasn’t a huge deal in the end as since we weren’t detouring around violent protests the return trip to Johannesburg was a quick 3 hours. My quads are still killing me. I’m a little worried as I’m not bouncing back from the Big Five hill as quickly as I’d like. Given my firecracker triple marathons this weekend, I really, really need to get back into running shape ASAP. And so as we wandered the airport picking up last minute souvenirs and spending our remaining rand, I mentally prepared myself for the trip back to Orlando. Stiff legs and sore quads should totally be helped by the 28 hour flights (with layovers) to get home.
What could possibly go wrong with that recovery plan?
It was a long, long journey into night, day, another night, another day to get back home. Twenty-eight hours from wheels up in South Africa to wheels down in Orlando… but then there was the aformentioned bus ride to the airport from Entabeni, the parking debacle at Signature in Orlando (never again… there’s PLENTY of parking lots and no need to give money to that organization clusterbuster). All in I suspect it’s a 36 hour voyage from Entabeni to our door step.
Despite the snafus, the shenanigans, the subpar service, I think Mom and I still had fun. Here are few photo highlights:
South Africa’s Airport featured some, um, unique Nelson Mandela souvenirs.
Emirates Airlines offered Seat To Seat Calling… so of course I phoned Mom who was sitting right next to me.
Wandering the Dubai airport at midnight, the place was hopping, jumping, jiving, and wailing. Plus there was somebody peddling M&Ms dressed as Yellow. And I can never resist a big giant foam character. We actually passed by it at first and Mom was astonished that I had skipped it. I told her I was waiting for her to ask me if I wanted a photo, as of course the answer is always, “Yes!”
And before boarding our flight to Orlando, they made an announcement for last call for Zanzibar. As part of my Road To… Marathon Series, I hope to one day soon be on the Road there…
The screens tell the journey: