15th October 2010
We have made it as far as Jo´burg and are currently waiting for lift-off to Livingstone.
I am too tired to be anxious, but not too tired to get angry when the waterbottles I had bargain-hunted at Boots in Heathrow Terminal 5 (2 75cl bottles for 1.80 Pounds) are unceremoniously dumped into the rubbish bin during our transit.
And no, I cannot take another sip, even when I explain to the security guard that I am dehydrated.
All the staff we are dealing with are matter-of-fact black women. Not the kind given to sentimentality or prepared to bend the rules a little to help out an overtired European...
I didn't sleep as well as I expected on the overnight flight.
It was great that we were able to choose our own seats online 24 h before departure. I am so used to have to fight for a good seat on Easyjet that I had to remind myself repeatedly that I did not have to use my elbow this time.
Unfortunately, there were some similarities between both airlines: Very little wiggle room for those in the crammed economy class!
I had bought a device that consists of a blow-up foot pump and calf piece. It was meant to provide exercise against deep vein thrombosis, but there was so little legroom that I had to rely on itchy flight socks instead to keep my circulation going. NOTE TO SELF: Any device that requires experimentation and therefore patience is a waste of money and space. So in future avoid all things that sound too clever!
It's the simple things that work – like arriving at the airport 3 hours before departure. We had time for a bite to eat at Wagamama. I was impressed that they charged high street prices and were willing to make AH a Japanese-style porridge in the evening. (The porridge was made with coconut milk and chilli jam - sounds weird, but it works.)
I tried to listen to wellness music to help me go to sleep, but the music put me on edge. There was one instrumental piece where suddenly a voice appeared out of nowhere just when I was drifting off. And they call this relaxing?
What finally did the trick was watching Shrek. Sorry, Shrek fans, I am sure part 3 is really great, but not at 2 am in the morning when the picture is barely visible and the headphones work only on one side...
Fact and fiction
A friend lent me a novel about a group of German tourists in Namibia, and I could not believe it when the very first thing described in the novel happened to us. The stewardess asked: „Would you like chicken or beef?“ and before we could respond, she said: „There is only chicken now.“
AH´s neighbour had taken the last beef, but was kind enough to offer to swap. (He was the best neighbour AH could wish for. Offered him some of his breakfast and didn't seem to mind when AH invaded his space.)
One of the next things that happens in the book is that it dawns on the protagonist how many hours he will have to spend travelling. Just like AH, he isn't really into details. Wonder whether there will be trouble with AH ahead too. It will hopefully help that we will spend the first 5 days in one place before we hit the road.
Wonder what our fellow travellers will be like. In the book, they are all crazy. I am aware that we are not quite Mr and Mrs Average either…