08 November 2012

The Beginning

Our journey to South Africa started thankfully, NOT in the middle of the night. We managed to book an evening flight out, which is quite extraordinary! Most flights out of this crazy country seem to be between 11pm and 5am or so. I guess that’s what happens when you live ‘at the end of the line’, if you know what I mean. Ha!

Late afternoon/evening is totally my ideal time to fly out. You have all day to finish packing, get your house put in order for arrival, shower, and the kids can even get their nap in. It’s the best!

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Here’s all we took. Mike would roll his eyes at my inclusion of the word ‘all’ in this statement, but this such a small amount for us. Seriously. Usually we have at least 8 big bags and often 8 small ones too. This was nothin’!

One of the big bags (a third one that is hard to see in the back) is full of nothing but empty bags.  When a girl only leaves this country once or twice a year she can hardly go to a developed country with good prices without planning to do some shopping, right? Right!

We also brought back some things for other friends and received a package of our own from America (thanks Mom and Dad!). So we had plenty of room for all of it.

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Check-in is generally pretty fast at the airport in our city. As long as you fly one of the airlines that believes in actually lining up at the check-in counter instead of pushing and throwing elbows to get to the front to check-in, that is. We flew Egypt Air, so we got to line up. Yay.

Then we had our dinner in the airport. Munching kids are happy kids.

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Some little lady was pretty proud of her ability to hold onto the handle on the bus that took us to our airplane.

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We arrived in Cairo. It was late. And this is a very bad family photo in an elevator. But I like it anyway. It seems my children were quite energized that that point. :)

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As you might remember, I don’t really take many activities for the children when we travel. (Check out this post to understand my reasoning.) But this time I did include a coloring book and a few crayons in each of my kids’ bags (which they can now almost always carry by themselves, glory!).

So here we had a little late night coloring while we waited for the boarding line to go down. We hate those lines, and what reason would we have, exactly, to want to be on the plane any earlier than necessary?! Um, none.

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There was  also a little ‘race to the plant and back, kids!’ activity going on. They loved this, as you can see. I didn’t bother to ask all the other people in the surrounding areas of the waiting area how they felt about it, but I’m sure they loved it too, right? I mean who doesn’t love to see two preschoolers running back and forth amongst many travelers in a busy airport? Ha ha.

Obviously, I had my I-don’t-care-what-other-people-think-I’m-traveling-with-little-kiddies armor firmly in place.

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After the line was another waiting area. Great?! This one had a window where you can see the plane.

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This was our long flight. Cairo to Johannesburg. But it was late night and all night, so we had some snoozers! At one point my dream came true… my boy slept on the floor and my husband held Sweet N in his lap while he also slept. Did you do the math? That left three seats for this pregnant lady. Nice! I had hoped that would happen. Does that make me selfish and conniving?  I was incredibly uncomfortable trying to sleep sitting up in my chair and lying down on three seats was definitely an improvement while it lasted.

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Another layover, yay! In Johannesburg we had to get our bags and go through customs before our third and final flight. Fun fun. N looks happy here, but I seem to recall some serious breakdowns at this point in the journey.

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Last flight from Joburg to Cape Town. We got seated in the last row which I just looooove cause then your seats don’t recline. So when the people in front of you recline and you cannot recline, you get to experience this wonderful feeling of claustrophobia miles high in the air. It’s especially fun with kids.

Obviously, girlie didn’t mind.

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And boy wasn’t tired.

It was a long trip. But we made it! It was about 24 hours start to finish… South Africa is seriously far. We arrived on time and were met at the airport by some ‘strangers’ (friends of friends) who quickly became friends. And not just because they welcomed us with balloons and candy! They were wonderfully open-hearted, friendly and very generous friends…

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