So, after 45 hours of airports and planes, I finally made it to Cape Town! The trip was absolutely awful, and I feel a very strong need to vent. So here is a summary of my last few days:
8:30 AM – I arrived at CVG more than two hours before my flight because I am paranoid.
8:50 AM – I am finished checking my bags and going through security a full two hours before its time for my flight to leave.
8:51 AM – I am using the crappy airport wifi to attempt to download music to my iPhone before my flights.
10:50 AM – After two hours of waiting for music to download and staring at the wall, my flight to Chicago starts boarding.
11:30 AM – My flight lands in Chicago and I prepare for the long layover ahead by sitting in baggage claim watching downloaded Netflix shows.
3:30 PM – After four hours of Netflix, I head to American Airlines to check in.
4:15 PM – After 45 minutes of waiting in line, American Arilines can’t find my booking and sends me to British Airways.
4:30 PM – British Airways sends me back to American Airlines with a reference number.
5:15 PM – After another 45 minutes in line, American Airlines finds my information and I check in.
10:00 PM – After 5 hours of wandering around the Chicago airport terminal, it is finally time to board my flight to London.
10:45 PM – After a delay, we start boarding the plane. Immediately after the last passenger finds their seat, the announcer asks us to get off the plane because of a maintenance issue.
12:30 AM – We finally start boarding the plane to London.
12:05 PM – I land in London, relieved to be away from the two British women who spent the last seven hours complaining about missing their connecting flight to Manchester.
6:45 PM – After riding a “lift” to the negative second floor, eating a sandwich with “rocket” (arugula) in it, and wandering the London airport for six hours, I board my flight to Johannesburg.
7:00 PM – The name of the man sitting next to me on the flight is Keith and he grew up in South Africa. He explains his (very interesting) life to me and tells me about how he moved to Canada because he was tired of living behind the gates and bars that surround wealthy residencies in South Africa. He says the crime rates have only increased since he was young and he could no longer live in a country in which he felt too unsafe to even walk to the store down the street.
6:45 AM – After only about 3 hours of sleep on the plane, I land in Johannesburg, where I immediately get in a very long immigration line.
8:00 AM – I am still in line for immigration and starting to worry that I won’t make my next flight. I decide to always leave extra time for connections at Johannesburg in the future.
8:45 AM – I have to unexpectedly tip a man who helped me get to the gate in time. I had thought he worked at the airport because he was one of many workers wearing a neon airport jacket. It turns out that these people do not officially work at the airport, but that it is a very common occurrence in South Africa.
9:05 AM – I just barely make it in time to board my flight to Cape Town.
11:10 AM – I land in Cape Town!!
11:30 AM – As soon as I step outside of the airport, there are lots of men yelling and offering taxi rides, but I have been advised by my program supervisors not to take any unofficial cabs. I order an Uber, which was actually very difficult to find given that I can’t call the Uber or track it unless I am close enough to use the (unreliable) airport wifi.
12:00 PM – I step into my Uber and start my adventure in Cape Town (on the left side of the road)!