Wednesday and Thursday, October 24 and 25, 2007
Johannesburg (Kempton Park), South Africa, to Knoxville, Tennessee
Emerald Guest House,
Kempton Park, South Africa
Our last morning in
Africa! We needed to check a bag on the flight back to the US
so we wouldn't have to throw away our new pocketknives and such that
you aren't allowed to carry on, so this morning we separated out items
from our carry-ons that we were willing to lose, such as our dirty
laundry, to fill up the checked bag.
There were a few left-over items that weren't worth taking back with us
at all, e.g., extra TP, a bit of leftover coffee, and our emergency
taillight, so I left them with a note for the maid to either keep the
items or throw them away. But what to do with my pepper
spray? I hated to part with it before I ever even got to spray
anybody, but I was afraid to try to check it. I'm not 100-percent
sure it's banned from the checked luggage, but the security folks in
Atlanta can be such jerks I was afraid to risk it! I didn't ditch
the pepper spray until I got to the airport, though, just in case.
We did risk checking a leftover box of matches which exceed the
security-approved quantity. The matchbox had scantily clad women
on the cover, and Tom wanted it as a souvenir. We didn't get away
with it, though. TSA confiscated it from our luggage!
At 10:00 a.m. we had to check out of our room, but we were welcome to
hang around on the Emerald Guest House grounds until airport
time. We spent the next four hours poolside, Tom reading a book,
and me filling in some gaps in this journal. It was a beautiful
day and a fine way to spend our time, much better than four additional
hours at the airport.
At 2:00 p.m. Emerald's shuttled
us to Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo
International Airport. Delta's check-in counter wasn't open yet
when we arrived, so we got a burger and fries at a Steer's burger place
first, and then went back to the Delta counter and checked in as far as
Atlanta, where we'd be required to retrieve the checked bag for customs
purposes and then recheck it on through to Knoxville.
The airport from our conveniently located lodging
Once we had our boarding passes, we proceeded quickly through
immigration and then security, leaving plenty of time for duty-free
shopping. Unfortunately, you can't carry duty-free liquor to the
US from here due to the ridiculous 3 oz. liquid rules. At O.R.
Tambo, you can't even get a bottle of water past the security
checkpoint to carry onto your flight to the US, because Delta
security checks you
again just before you board the plane. I'd purchased a bottle of
water, consumed the whole thing, and put the empty bottle in my
carry-on because there wasn't a handy trash can. Delta
confiscated the empty plastic bottle. I submit that even the most
resourceful terrorist would be hard pressed to wreak much havoc with an
empty plastic bottle. Whatever.
Delta flight 35 departs Johannesburg at 6:45 p.m. and is scheduled to
arrive in Atlanta at 7:35 a.m. With the time change, that's just
shy of 19 hours, ALL IN THE DARK. That's a very long night.
I just wish I could sleep that long.
The flight left on time and arrived on time, stopping for an hour and a
quarter in Dakar, Senegal, to refuel and change flight crews, where we
were not allowed off the plane. During the stop, Dakar security
came on board, looked over the carry-on luggage, and rummaged through
our seat pockets and underneath the cushions. Happily, there were
no screaming babies flying with us tonight.
In Atlanta we deplaned, went through immigration, and were officially
readmitted to the United States. W e picked up the checked bag
from the carousel (Hey, it made it!), went through customs, went
through security again, since apparently only American security counts,
rechecked the bag, found the gate for our Knoxville-bound flight, and
received our boarding passes.
Our 8,439-mile flight all the way from Johannesburg to Atlanta arrived
right on time, but then, naturally, our last little 163-mile flight to
Knoxville was delayed. And we couldn't call Tom's folks to tell
them of the delay because in Johannesburg I'd plugged my cell phone in
to charge it without the proper converter and their 220-volt
electricity fried it. Oops. Later I found out I'd just
fried the charger and not the phone, but that didn't help us in Atlanta.
At 11:35 a.m., just 35 minutes behind schedule, we landed in Knoxville,
where Tom's parents were waiting for us. On arrival at home, I
found a giant pile of bills, 10 phone messages, and 1,591 emails.
I miss Africa!!!
Tom bonus pic, Zimbabwe
Jana bonus pic,
Tom Goetz's Homepage