And, we’re off. Wait! No, we’re not.
The two weeks prior to any trip always seem to be the most stressful, and this was no exception. For the past couple months I’ve been pouring over maps, books and internet sites. Besides wanting to have an idea of what I want to see as we ride a motorcycle around the southern half of sub-Sahara Africa, the “what is needed to travel” is a necessity. Thinking all is in place, we packed up and headed to our kids house in Chattanooga, where we will be leaving our car.
Our flight on Qatar airlines leaves Atlanta on Tuesday evening. Scheduling our PCR tests Monday morning seems as if it should be enough time. After the test, as we are having lunch, I realize we left our house, 5 hours away, without Melanie’s helmet. We scramble and sort that out locally, with a communication system. What will happen next?
Taking the shuttle to Atlanta Tuesday morning seems the most inexpensive way to do this as leaving our car at the airport would equal the cost of another motorcycle. We have plenty of time until our flight, but we still don’t have our negative PCR results. Time just continues to tick away. I’m playing it cool, but I know Melanie knows better. She’s anticipating the mental tiraid from me when it all turns south. I’m prepared for it, but it happens anyway, the breif volcanic eruption. I’m a traveler, things don’t always go right, but the pissed off part of me seems to sometimes burst through.
Just before the gates close and still no results. I reluctantly change the tickets for the following day. And as our plane speeds down the runway and lifts off gracefully, with two empty seats, our phones ding. Our results are negative. Bastards!
Let’s try this again is the theme for the following morning. We arrive to the airport early to wait for the gate to open for check-in. Then it happens. The best part of travel, especially when things have been pear shaped.
Meeting another person, the golden reason of travel.
Sitting next to us is a man traveling alone. He has a thick Australian accent. As we chat, his story emerges. Jeb was born in Rhodesia, now Botswana. He left after the war for independence and the government corruption that followed. He has many mates still in the areas we will be traveling. We hit it off like long lost friends, exchanging contact information. He is in the process of returning to South Africa to live. We will always remember meeting you, Jeb.
We check in without a problem and are soon standing in line to board Qatar airways. It’s a thirteen hour flight to Doha, an eight hour layover, then another eight hour flight. As we walk the ramp to board, Melanie is picked out of line and questioned by a rude US Border official. He is just an ASS, as we get about 50% of the time. Melanie just looks like a thug, doesn’t she.
The airline is fantastic! The attendants are in crisp red uniforms with matching hats, set at just a perfect angle on their heads. They are friendly and welcoming with big smiles. The seats are spacious, the food is wonderful, and the Scotch poured neat, free.
Cheers, and see you in Africa.