So we had left the apartment at around 6:30am...figuring that was enough time to get across New York City during morning rush hour traffic...
And it pretty much was. But we did cut it pretty close! We were waiting for a train that said "JFK" and none of them did. Eventually, we checked the subway map and asked the conductor of the next train that came. She said it was the next train. And yet it didn't say JFK either! By the time we figured it out, we wasted about a half hour because a train had already gone by that we could have taken. Fortunately, the train we ended up on was express, and we made it to the airport with time to spare. Well, a little bit anyhow!
There's our plane that will take us from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa.
The flight was fine, in fact it was so quiet and smooth. Good thing, because it was almost 15 hours on the plane! But the seats were well spaced, and Ruth lucked out with an empty seat beside her, and I had an aisle seat so we weren't crowed. Each seat had it's own entertainment center with a huge selection of on demand TV shows and movies. Even video games!
We had pre ordered "gluten free" meals, and we got served before everybody else! Almost felt a little guilty about that. Almost.
Rice cake, salad, fish, rice, veggies, fruit cup. It was good.
And it came with your choice of South African wine!
The only bad thing we have to say about the flight? They let you wait too long between meals, and with no snack service. It was a 14 hour flight. They served us lunch almost as soon as we got off the ground (just before noon) and then breakfast came around just after the sun came up. Remember, we had a 7 hour time change in there as well. So we were pretty much dying of starvation by the time breakfast came. Ruth even ate all the mushrooms on her plate! Note to self...bring our own snacks and munchies for the return trip in March!
Okay, so we arrived in Johanessburg, and we thought we had a two hour wait for our next flight to Windhoek, Namibia. But we were a few minutes late landing in South Africa, and then we learned we had to go through a customs lineup and then another baggage check and security lineup that made absolutely no sense. After all, we were just connecting so we should have been able to simply walk through the terminal as we had already been through all that crap leaving New York. Okay, whatever, it's part of air travel. But it still is poor design! So, we had to rush through OR Tambo airport...which is huge...in order to get our flight that they said was boarding while we were still in a huge security lineup. Turns out we made it, but a lot of other people were late too and the flight was 10 minutes late leaving.
Kevin, just got off the plane in Windhoek, Namibia. Seconds after Ruth took this, the sweatshirt came off! 32C (89F) here with blue sky and sunshine!
So then we had to get through customs. Ruth had no problem at all, but the girl interrogating me wanted to know exactly what date we were leaving the country, and she wanted to see my return ticket...which of course I didn't have because we are leaving Namibia by land and then flying out of Johannesburg in March. I just answered her questions as best I could, and she said a bunch of stuff in another language to a girl sitting beside her, stamped my passport and wrote in it that I am god until January 6th. Where she pulled that number from, I have no idea! Ruth is allowed to stay until January 26th, and we don't know where that number came from either!
A car service picked us up at the airport. This was part of the prize that all of our facebook fans won for us! You all know who you are, and this trip is for you! We hope we can take enough good pictures to satisfy your own urge to visit Namibia one day! Anyhow, it's a 40 km (26 mile) drive from the airport to the city.
All of it is on the wrong side of the road!
Now, we've been to England before...but we've never driven a right hand drive vehicle on the road before, and that's exactly what we're going to be doing tomorrow when they drop off our 4x4 camping vehicle!
The scenery around Windhoek reminds us of Mexico, north of Monterrey! Just over that hill, we saw some baboons by the side of the road, but not quick enough to get a photo! I'm sure we'll be seeing more.
We're staying at the Rivendell Guesthouse tonight. But it's only one quick night in luxury, because tomorrow we start our 3 1/2 week Namibia safari and camping trip!
We'll tell you more about the Rivendell in another post. Because we come back here for another one night stay at the end of our camping expedition!
We had to go get some groceries and we wanted a cellular internet stick so that we can be sure to tell you about our activities every single day! So we walked the 15 minutes to a shopping mall and we bought an MTC cellular stick...for $19 including 1 GB of usage. It's pay as you go, so we'll have to add to it later, but it's not a bad deal providing we don't have to use it every day.
Downtown Windhoek, Namibia.
Lots more to tell, but we're exhausted. We think we maybe got 3 hours sleep in the last 30 hours! And of course there's a seven hour time change in there too...it's currently 8:36 PM compared to 1:36pm EST! We are at least six hours ahead of most of you North Americans!!
Just finished a real nice dinner with a $2.50 bottle of nice wine, and a 750 ml bottle of Windhoek Lager beer that cost $1.50 (equivalent of $16.50 for 24 standard sized bottles!). We think we are going to LOVE Namibia!