(can anyone else hear that Sleeperstar song in their head? “I’d walk a thousand miles for the promise of your soft and steady touch. But I won’t count the distance because the thought of you would carry me there…If I said that I was wrong, If I wrote you this song, would it bring you back to me…”)
I arrived to DFW around noon on September 16th. After eating a delicious Eatzi’s salad that Ryan picked up for me, I made my way to the ticket counter to check in, weigh my bags (49 lbs and 52 lbs that they let slide by), and then make my way through security.
After traveling 8 hours by plane, I reached Amsterdam. I took a picture of tulips in the airport, because you always hear about the tulips.
Then I got on a second plane and flew 12 hours to Johannesburg. I was terrified of what Johannesburg would be like, I heard scary things about the Johannesburg airport. But don’t believe the scary things. It was actually just fine. I picked up my two bags from the baggage claim, made my way through passport control and got 2 new stamps, then headed towards customs. I was afraid that they might stop me with my 2 huge bags full of medical supplies and donations, but customs was closed.
I guess no one brings shady stuff into South Africa after 10:30 pm.
I walked out to the main airport and some nice man named Peter had my name on a laminated piece of paper. Sweet. Because lugging my 2 bags around along with carrying my backpack through the airport was getting heavy. My friend Frances had told him to pick me up. How sweet. He parked in the first parking garage and carried my bags to his car, a Mercedes Benz. Then I tried to get in on the passenger side and he laughed at me.
Turns out they drive on the passenger side.
Good to know.
We traveled to the hotel, a fancy place in a residential area of Johannesburg about 45 minutes away. Cab fare was expensive (450 Rand, which is about 60 dollars) but the hotel was beautiful. I took a hot shower and then slept in a soft, fluffy bed. It felt so good to sleep after traveling for so long.
We ate breakfast at the hotel. I had rice krispies topped with a banana and then I ate a papaya slice. Delicious. Coffee was a disappointing blend of instant grounds. Then we hopped back in the Mercedes and drove to the airport. Finding our check-in counter was a mess, but we got our tickets, made our way through security, got a third stamp at passport control, and found our terminal. We got on a bus that took us out to our plane. The plane was much bigger than I expected. It had at least 20 rows of people 5 across. I expected a 20-seater plane. The plane ride was short, about two hours.
Then it took us another hour to get through passport control.
After passport control, we picked up our luggage in the same room, walked through customs in the same room, and met Lorna Sarra and her driver, Henry. The lady at customs didn’t even look through our bags. She asked Frances what was in her bag, and Frances just said clothes and shoes, which was true, so she let her through. I just said “I’m traveling with her” and she let me go through. Easy enough. Because I had no idea what they would have done when they saw all the donated medical supplies in my bag…Thankfully, God had all the details under control.
We stopped in town for a drink of water. Most shops were closed because it’s Sunday. It’s like Chick-ful-a, everything is closed on Sunday. Then we arrived at our guest house.
Complete with separate bedrooms, bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen with a fridge and a microwave and a stove.
And wireless internet.
And flowers out front.
And a real, live lizard on the couch.
I know he doesn’t look that mean and scary, but if you were about to sit on him because you thought he was part of the design of the couch, he’d give you a heart attack.
It’s a whole house, just for us.
This is my room. It’s huge. Bigger than our hotel room last night.
I’m not actually sure we’re in Africa though. It might be just a rural part of America that has Banana trees in the back yard.
Oh, no, wait, there’s a hut, we drove over about 30 speed bumps to get here, there are annoying roosters, and we have to boil our water. It’s got to be Africa.
We unpacked a bit and then sat down to relax. I’m getting sleepy though, which is funny because it’s 9:45 am in America. But jet lag is kicking me.
We’ll have dinner at 6 and find out our schedule at dinner. I’ll update you all when I know more of the details about what my month will look like.
And I think my toe is definitely broken. Its all purple and blue and it still hurts. Meaning I traveled with a billion pounds of luggage and walked through 4 different airports with multiple terminals (except the last airport, Ndola, which was only 1 building) with a broken toe. Ouch. I wish I could take a picture of it for you, but it doesn’t look the same.
For more funny stories, you can follow my friend, Frances: Francesinafrica.wordpress.com