My journey to South Africa started on Monday, November 7, with driving the cats to their flight in Atlanta and seeing some friends and my cousins. (I actually got to relax for a few hours because the cats were on their way – and I couldn’t affect anything there – and I didn’t have to be on my flight until Tuesday afternoon. So that was actually super nice! I had Pinkberry twice, yahoo!!)
Once I got on my Election Day flight, though, I was so happy to see that the middle seat in my row was empty as I’m not able to sleep on planes! I didn’t feel comfortable enough with the man in the aisle seat to just hunker down and lay out but we mutually agreed to store our stuff in the empty seat and stretch out a bit. Since I knew I’d be up I spent the first bit picking out which movies I wanted to see and proceeded to watch eight of them. That’s right – eight. (I tried to find election coverage but no live TV was showing. Probably better, in the end.) I enjoyed every meal, snack and beverage service that was provided. Once we landed, I was waiting in the Passport Control line and asked the woman in front of me who won the election, because, surprisingly, they didn’t announce the results on the flight. She told me it was Trump and I had to ask her twice if she was kidding. I won’t go into my thoughts on it here – that’s what my new journal, talks with Jon and conversations with friends have been for – but needless to say, it was the first thing Jon and I discussed when we reunited and my mind has been a shit-storm ever since. (Though, that might also be because I’ve moved to another continent.)
Jon and I went to have something to eat – at Byte, naturally! – and planned to go to the nearby casino but due to all of the crazy rain that had been coming down… the parking lot where he parked was flooded. And I don’t mean some water. I mean, up to your knees in water. So, that was a fun start. Everyone there seemed thoroughly terrified by the situation with no plan in sight. Jon said, “Welcome to Africa!” We took all of my luggage to Avis, where Jon has a mini-lease (they rent by the month, only from the airport) and explained the situation. They agreed to switch out the car for a different one and we told them where it was parked. Then, Jon went to wade into the water to get the $200 router he’d just bought that day so we could have internet! Fun, fun! We then decided to go to the casino after all and we put R500 (the equivalent of $34) in for Blackjack and walked out with… R500! (I carried Jon, by the way. Sheesh.) We were getting updates from the cats’ customs agency that they were stuck in traffic due to accidents on the highway from the storms. So we went to the meeting place – basically, a gas station – and looked around at what would be my snacking future for the next couple of years. We settled on some chips, Mentos and water. Quite the feast.
The cats finally arrived and they both looked at us like they’d been to the moon – a mix of awe, bewilderment and downright fear. We drove 40 minutes to our place, kept them both in our room and went to sleep. Holy hell that was a lot. The next day, Jon worked from home, we explored the neighborhood and started thinking of the things to buy to fill up our entirely empty (besides a bed) apartment. More to come on our first few days and our place!
– By Naama