We're Not in KS Anymore. Or America. Or Europe...

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
1
4
33
Trip End Jul 17, 2013


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Sunday, June 16, 2013

Although this won't be posted for several hours and after I have arrived in Windhoek, I am writing this on the plane while listening to Imagine Dragon's Night Visions album play on repeat (might be the soundtrack for this trip... Can't get enough of it for some reason).

  Food last night was great... First meal in Africa was very enjoyable. While I ate, a young woman also sat alone at the booth next to me. She also stayed for longer than the average customer, so I asked where she was off to and if she was staying the night as well. She told me about why she was stuck in the airport over night (I was getting accustomed to her accent and honestly didn't' catch much of it) and that she was on her way back home to Botswana come morning. Naturally she inquired about my endeavor and I informed her that I am highly considering traveling to Botswana while at Victoria Falls to take a safari on a reserve that has a high concentration of elephants and rhinos (Chobe refuge). Turns out she actually works for that refuge. We spent hours chatting, her telling me about her wanting to live in a European country and me telling her about my wanting to live in Africa. She informed me that she knows someone who does a lot of work and research on elephants and that she would speak to him about me. She also informed me that my idea of a cheap meal (as indicated by my previous blog post) is unaffordable for the general public here and that I will usually be paying a fraction of that cost (score!!). We exchanged contact information, and I am looking forward to having a "pen pal" in Botswana. I am not, however, looking forward to trying the worms that she said I should try (they are cooked and dried or something like that in order to make them a crunchy snack.)

This flight was supposed to leave at 6:40 this morning, so I left to wander the airport and find my check in terminal. That didn't take too terribly long, and I noticed that for some reason the flight was listed as 7:45 departure, no delay. I was confused, but immediately shot an e-mail to my contact who has arranged for my pickup in Windhoek.

WHile finishing at the self check in machine, one of the airport workers informed me that someone would benefit from meeting me... I was very confused. A minute later he returned with a woman, who was clearly equally confused and was apparently concerned as to where she was being escorted. He informed us that we would both be traveling on the same flight and that I could help her check in. Long story short, we hit it off as well. We found humor in the flight confusion, as her itinerary said 7:45 while mine said 6:40, and also at the fact that the self check in machine she was using froze while she was trying to scan her passport. Two employees attempted helping us in ways that even I knew would not work (trying to scan the passport via a barcode scanner and having the passport page face down when the beam was coming from above). Finally we got another one to work. We chatted for a bit while we waited for someone to get to the terminal. When we handed our boarding pass over, the woman informed us that we needed to board by 6:30, not 7:00 as indicated on the passes, because the flight needed to leave at 6:40... I couldn't help but laugh as I realized I would probably have to e-mail my contact again and revoke my previous e-mail, but I had already run out of wifi minute so I wasn't sure how I was going to manage all of that. We hurried through security and border control (easiest security I've EVER been through... Kind of scared to even be on this plane with how lax it was) and practically ran to the terminal (it was already 6:20). I decided not to e-mail my contact, what's an hour wait at this point anyway? Turns out, we hurried for nothing, and didn't even board the plane until after 7:00. Pretty sure we didn't take off until almost 8:00. Let's hope my ride is a patient person... Not sure my tired, fragile, smelly state could handle an initial meeting with someone who is cranky because I'm late.

During our wait to board, I learned that my new airport companion is from Windhoek, currently lives in Dubai, and works as a pastry chef (who craves bacon since pork is outlawed in Dubai). I'm sure that the whole terminal was annoyed at our loud laughter and chatter. Turns out we have very similar senses of humor and exchanged stories. I also learned that in Africa and the Middle East (or where she's traveled) have airplane loading sections/groups on the ticket, but don't use them. I think this was the first time that I didn't have to wait for my group number to be called. I also learned that it is seriously super cold here at 7:00 in the morning... like almost freezing. And incredibly foggy. We were both surprised we didn't get delayed because of the fog.

On a more serious note, she also informed me of how dangerous Windhoek is (I got the impression that pick pocketing is the main concern). I also learned that the South African government is becoming continuously more corrupt (this was brought up as the result of me informing her that when I asked an airport policeman directions to the restaurant I was going to camp out at, he told me to get a table for two as he would join me and have coffee... definitely took extra precautions to avoid that situation). Nerves are a bit higher as I now am more aware of how little help the police force would be if something were to happen while I'm on this continent.

As far as good food goes, I fear that has come to an end. Until this flight, I had only flown on American and European airlines for this trip. Food was great, service was great, etc. A few minutes ago I was served breakfast on this flight which consisted of a cheery tomato, a mushroom, beans (similar to baked), scrambled eggs (similar to the consistency of instant mashed potatoes and I THINK the eggs had cheese on them), strawberry yogurt, and a cold roll with butter and strawberry jam (ended up being the best part of breakfast!). The orange juice tastes like Sunny D.

ALso, for the first time in my life, I've begun feeling very, very, VERY different from everyone else. I know this is only going to grow, and I hope that I am strong enough to handle it. Isolation is an awfully strange feeling, especially when it's not self created and not desired...

Maybe it's because I smell... Have I mentioned that I REALLY want (and officially need) a shower? 
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: