Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Landed!

I hope you all enjoyed your Labour Day weekend-the majority of mine was spent in an airplane or airport.
Here are some numbers to contemplate:

3 flights, 21 hours airborne, 4 airports, 3 continents, a couple timezones, and countless airplane meals. And my first time on a doubledecker plane! I thought being Dutch might get me a visit to the penthouse level, but KLM didn't share the same feelings. But I did appreciate their flying style--not a lot of talk, but ample booze and food.

The flight from Toronto to Amsterdam on Friday night was quick and it's amazing how many stars you can see at 38,000 feet. I bid farewell to the Big Dipper for the next 6 months. While descending into Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, I felt an overwhelming sense of "being home" and pride in my Dutch heritage. This could have also been fueled by the lack of sleep and free wine (I got IDed by the flight attendant), but I think a return visit to the Netherlands is in order before going back to Canada. Our layover was spent trying on wooden shoes, while I marvelled at the fact that people do actually eat pannekoek in Holland and use blue and white china with windmills.

We met up with Jos, head of the international projects department at Niagara College, for our long trek South. Incredible Dutch hospitality, a brand new 747 plane, and a window seat over the Mediterranean sea, the equator, and the Sahara desert made the trip fly by until we descended into Oliver Tambo Airport in the Johannesburg night. With the visa approved and passport stamped, we headed off to the airport hotel, where a shower and soft bed was very much appreciated!

The next morning, with a few hours of sleep, we boarded our flight to East London with South African Airways. Air Canada could take some notes--I can't remember the last time I was offered sparkling water and a vegetarian sandwich on one of their short-haul flights. Upon arrival, Mama Ghana, Mawethu, and Asa were our warm welcoming party, complete with a Canadian flag and a large steel drum band (not actually for us but still exciting!). Then it was off to our beautiful B&B with views of the Indian Ocean and animal heads on the wall-we’re getting spoiled before we find our own accommodation. Too excited by our new surroundings to be tired, we walked along the beach before meeting up for dinner where I tried Port Alfred Kingklip (a local fish).

Pictures to follow once internet is better...

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