USA to Cape Town 10/01/12
We boarded the plane at 6:00am, the first 6:00am flight of three that we have this week. After we all acknowledged that no one is normal at 6:00am (Nicole throwing away perfectly good cheese, Chris refusing to eat, and Prof. Wofford intently engaged with her first of many caffeinated beverages of the day), we boarded the only flight of our departure trip that ended up being on time. And yes, there were four flights to get from Charlotte to Cape Town.
Flight 2 was delayed due to an oxygen leak in the pilots’ supply in DC (awesome and scary), flight 3 from JFK was delayed after the luggage train ran into the side of the plane and scratched it, and the delay for flight 4 was our fault… literally… although the guy driving the luggage train at JFK should take most of the blame for making flight 3 late.
Let us embellish: we arrived in Johannesburg an hour late into an already tight 1:45 layover, which left us with under 50 minutes to wait on baggage claim, clear customs, re-check bags, clear security (for the third time that day) and then take a bus to the plane. Everything was going well until the lady at the baggage check told us that we might make our flight — which was departing in 5 minutes — if we ran. So we ran. We were those people at the airport who drop bags that spill open in the middle of the walkway (Prof. Wofford), those people who ram their carry-on luggage into innocent bystanders (Nicole) and then the one in the group of crazy who never, ever loses his cool and just watches his hot-mess partners in crime from afar (Chris). We arrived at the gate five minutes after our flight began taxiing, and then the attendants did the unthinkable, and stopped the plane for us. So ten minutes later we had the privilege of doing the walk of shame in front of hundreds of impatient passengers who were not happy that their flight to Cape Town was being delayed to wait for passengers who clearly couldn’t run fast enough.
Then to top it all off, we arrive at Cape Town only to find that we did actually run faster than the baggage boys… who neglected to load our bags onto the flight. Apparently, this is the umpteenth time that Prof. Wofford has had her bags lost, so she handled the damage control. Only we then learned that you should never give airports more credit than they deserve, even if they do hold a jumbo-jet just for your convenience. As it turns out, the bags never received new tracking numbers in Johannesburg, and the airline had no record of them. So we did what any group of people who have been travelling for 22 hours and have swollen feet would do. We waited. Impatiently. It was at this time that Chris decided to just go scope out the bags for the flight that recently landed, just in case. Luck for us, he was thinking like a rationale human being, and had a good hunch, because out popped our bags onto the conveyer belt and we were free to being our trek to the hotel.
Ah… the hotel. Naturally, the hotel didn’t have our reservations. So we did more impatient waiting, only to discover that our room had been booked for the previous night due to a clerical mistake and had since been cancelled. It was then, nearly 25 hours after leaving Charlotte, that we were finally settled into our hotel rooms at the Breakwater Lodge on Cape Town’s waterfront.
Because Chris is and man, and is able to shower and become human much faster than women normally can, he did what any good guy would do and found a shopping market for us while he was waiting! Chris and Nicole went exploring first while Prof. Wofford took care of the responsible adult business of reassuring the hotel managers that they would receive their payment. Chris seemed to enjoy shopping for his girlfriend, while Nicole just simply enjoyed shopping. After we collected Prof. Wofford from the hotel, we did more shopping at the waterfront, scoped out the re-bus tours for the following day, and finally made our way to a nice brewery that served good food and great beer. After dinner, we decided to find a wine bar that Nicole and Prof. Wofford noticed earlier in the evening. Finding the wine bar turned into a challenge, as neither Nicole nor Prof. Wofford are good with directions. After Chris realized that they were walking circles, they were finally able to find the bar… which wasn’t really a bar but a shop that was then closed for the night. Luckily there was a pub next door with live music and wine. Chris quickly befriended an African man who enjoyed talking about golf, and started his strong trend of attracting strangers who gravitate toward him. Eventually we made our way back to the hotel, to do homework or sleep…