I certainly miss home! Wednesday, February 27th I was finally able to access the Internet from my flat. Wow it felt like Christmas, well maybe my Birthday:)
Let me just say I started my South African adventure the minute I walked out of the door of my home. Between tears, prayers and confirming I had enough hair care products (Black women need the products we depend on) I LEFT MY WALLET HOME with all of my essentials except my passport and some cash I intended to exchange for travelers checks. I made it to the airport dry eyed ready to tip the porters –they get you through efficiently, when I immediately realized my wallet was back home in the pocket of the coat I had hung in the closet, the LAST THING I did before leaving the house.
Of course panic set in and I debated postponing my flight, than I asked Darryl to race back to my house to get my wallet I assured him there was no traffic, it was Super Bowl and he could make it back in an hour…No Go, he wasn’t willing to risk a hefty ticket.
I get to security and I am told my passport is invalid and asked for additional I.D. It was a new passport I neglected to sign so I was frisked down and unpacked before passing through to the other side of the security gate. Once I get to the gate I learned the flight has been delayed 1.5hours. By then I had ate up much of this additional time in security so there was no chance of getting my wallet to me. I flew literally on a wing, a prayer and a little bit of cash.
As I waited for the plain I prayed, then reflected on all the strategic packing my friends and I did the night before only to find that although I was flying South African Airways it was via United Airlines and the weight limits we researched did not apply, as such my luggage would cost me $300.00 A PRAYER helped me to get my luggage checked straight through without incurring the hefty levy. I offered a $20.00 tip (I had to conserve the few bucks I had), no traveler’s checks this go around.
Finally in DC for my connecting flight I settle in for the remainder of my 18 hour trip coupled with prayer, text messages and assurance from my Special Amy that I would be fine. I laughed out loud and realized I was really walking on Faith, I could only laugh about my precarious situation.
I get to J’burg where I am greeted by the sun, sounds of Xhosa and humidity. With my mouth closed I blend in, I look like a native who has returned from a visit abroad. Of course, after I give a few blank stairs and “English please” I am back to being an American. With the help of another porter, I am shepherded through the check-in without incurring additional penalties, another $10.00 tip and “thank you so much I have no wallet or I’d offer you more”, I head to the gate for the last leg of my trip where I am able to shoot off a quick message that I have arrived safely in J’burg before boarding the plane.
In preparation for my time here I had been in contact with my host counselor, about accommodations. In jest he’d replied “… Being in the deepest south of darkest Africa, we’re particular about keeping the lions and tigers that roam our streets well fed , so that they don’t bother our Ambassadorial students too much when we plonk them on the roadside to fend for themselves !!!Chalk it to the African Experience you’re about to enjoy!!!”
In the morning, after my arrival, I was able to tell him my African Adventure began well before I hit the continent!
Hope you are well, staying warm, registered to vote and make it your business to exercise your RIGHT to it! The attached photo is the view from my flat as sunset begins.