Our African Adventure – Getting Started

JFK

Our adventure started several weeks ago with a phone call.  Incredibly, my wife had won an amazing trip – to South Africa.  And so we planned, and planned, and shopped, and planned some more.  Not really knowing what to expect, we read travel guides and reached out to anyone and everyone who might know something about our destinations.  Finally, the big day arrived.  We found ourselves standing at the South African Airways’ terminal in JFK Airport, New York. 

Waiting at the Gate

We worked through the seemingly endless layers of airport security, finally arriving at our flight’s gate.  The plane was there and we watched as ground crews hurried about with their carts, tractors, and trucks.  We chatted with other passengers and then, three hours after arriving at the terminal, boarded the plane.  The flight crew welcomed us as the plane was slowly pushed back from the gate and busily moved up and down the aisles preparing the plane for take-off.  And then we stopped.  And waited.  Soon, the pilot informed us that the tug used to push our plane from the gate was unable to disconnect – a pin was stuck – and we would be delayed.  It took nearly an hour of hammering, shaking, pushing, and pulling before the pilot announced that the pin had come free and we would be on our way.

Long Flight
Our first stop would be Johannesburg, nearly 15 hours away.  I snapped a few quick photos of clouds and settled in for the flight.  This was by far the longest flight I have ever taken, and the South African Airways flight crew did a masterful job making it as comfortable as could be achieved.   We arrived in Joburg tired but happy that the first leg of our journey was completed.  After re-checking our luggage, we settled in for a beer and some lunch before a flight to Durban.
Blue Water Hotel

And then we were there!  After nearly 24 hours of traveling across 7 time zones, we arrived at our hotel.  After working through a mix-up in our reservations (the only real glitch in the whole trip), we dropped our bags in the room and headed out onto the beach.

Indian Ocean 
We walked along the beach, admiring our first views of the Indian Ocean.  It was late in the evening and most folks had gone for the day.  We wandered about until nearly dark, returning to our room exhausted and happy to finally be in South Africa. 
Next – Durban
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