Today (Wednesday) was again a long day of travel made unnecessarily stressful by some miscalculations and misadventures. Our itinerary for the day was basically a two-hour flight at 1PM from Harare to Jo’burg (Johannesburg) followed by a two-hour layover then another two-hour flight to Cape Town. Simple enough, but then we agreed to do some exit interviews in the morning for use by the US embassy and arranged to go somewhere to ship some items back to the US. Everything ran late, of course, so we made it to the airport with little time to spare.
Going through security in Jo’burg, my full water bottle wasn’t questioned, but all of the metal hangers in my carry-on garment bag were confiscated despite the fact that I’d already gone through security a half dozen times on this trip with the same hangers. Bummer!
This was followed by an attempt to minimize our check-in time in which we broke our routine of checking in for a flight as a group and split up to check in as individuals. This did not work as planned and resulted in some unnecessary overweight luggage fees and a overly long wait while things were sorted out by a strict, but helpful South African Airways employee.
We finally did arrive in Cape Town, where we were met by two drivers sent by the US embassy. On the way to our hotel, it was quickly apparent that we had arrived in a thoroughly modern and completely “westernized” first-class city. Quite a contrast to Malawi or even Zimbabwe.
Our five-star hotel is in such contrast to what we’ve been experiencing that I find it shocking. This is exaggerated by the fact that the hotel is next to a waterfront development that reminds me of Navy Pier.
After checking in, it was late and we were tired, so Jeff, Greg and I went out to quickly find something to eat. It was closing time and we didn’t have many options but did find a good falafel place in the mall next to the hotel. Jeff and I went all in with pickled turnips and hot sauce, while Greg tracked down a burger at another place close by. Gelato brought the day to a beautiful close.