Tonight we left from Dulles, headed for Africa! We showed up to the airport several hours ahead of time, and sat in a bar, giddy with anticipation, barely able to contain our excitement – even despite the looming 18 hour flight.
Around 4:50 – almost a full hour before the flight was scheduled to leave – we started boarding. Our long-haul flight requires an enormous plane, which means an enormous wait time to board. We slowly shuffled on and found our way to our seats. We were lucky and got the two seats by the window, close enough – but not too close – to the lavatories, so I guess it’s not all that bad. (I may have gone mad if we were stuck in the inside aisle for 18 hours!) I settled into my seat, leaned my head against the window and tried to mentally prepare for spending the next 3/4 of a day in this space.
We were served dinner not long after takeoff, which was a surprise, given the destitution and tendencies of airlines to nickel and dime people to death these days. We also got breakfast and lunch in flight, and honestly the food wasn’t bad as far as airline food goes. All of our meals were hot and we had at least two options for each meal. Another nice perk is that beer and wine were complimentary. Too bad it was dry as crap and I was too dehydrated to take advantage of it. I did drink the hell out of some Appletisers, though. If you don’t know what these are, you’re missing out, my friends.
I napped off and on and took advantage of the in-seat entertainment. I think I watched 3-4 movies in between the napping. (Newer, good movies, too.) It’s hard to sleep for such a long period of time in such a confined space, even though it’s technically the middle of the night. My neck was cramping, my legs fell asleep, my arms were tingling, etc., etc. If only I were independently wealthy, I’d have been up in first class in a lay-flat seat, dreaming of zebras and rhinos while someone rubbed my feet.
The worst part of the flight by far was that after 7 hours we landed in Dakar, Senegal, and had to stay on the plane while people got off and new people boarded. I just wanted to be out and free at that point, but we still had another EIGHT hours to go to Johannesburg. I knew this place was the complete other side of the world, but this is the point where it really hit me just what “other side of the world” means. Ho.lee. crap.ola.
We finally arrive in Jo’burg at 5:30pm tomorrow.