We start at the airport, where most international vacations usually begin. I spotted the tail of what I guessed would be our plane and Joe ran off to get a shot. We flew South African Airways, which was exciting as I'd never flown SAA (they've only recently been allowed to fly into the US, and only recently into Dulles, where this photo was taken). My grandfather also used to work for the airlines, so it was special for that reason also.
While we waited to board the plane, Joe found himself some beer from OldDominion Brewery. We don't get their beer in NC, so Joe was thrilled to be able to enjoy a local brew before flying. As was typical for our trips to the brewery, I got stuck drinking water.
While enjoying our beer/water, I noticed this CNN news bit about "babymooners" - folks who take pre-baby vacations. Mmm…
Celebrity sighting! While Joe was off photographing the airplane, he spotted a celebrity! Samuel L. Jackson was also flying to South Africa – on our plane! We saw him standing a few feet in front of us in line and I took a peek at the computer screen behind me (where the airline lady was working) and confirmed: Jackson, S. Of course, he flew first class and made it through customs a lot speedier than the rest of us. The perks of celebrity. Turns out Mr. Jackson was in SA to attend the birthday celebration of Desmond Tutu. I wonder if Oprah was there also...
And now we fly!
Joe and I were lucky enough to sit in the emergency aisle seats which translates to LEG ROOM! When sitting upright, I could stick my legs out and barely touch the seat in front of me! (Unfortunately, we were not so lucky on the return flight. Note to travelers: you may request the emergency aisle seats but ONLY when you check in on the day of the flight.)
As far as flights go, it was pretty normal. We had a lot of food, some sleep time (when they turned out the overhead lights), lots of movies to watch on our individual TV monitors, and an hour layover in Dakar, Senegal . Seventeen hours later, we arrived in Johannesburg.