South Africa: Day 2 (SLC to JNB)

We survived the red eye flight to New York City. I tried my best to make it easier on Steve. He sat on the very last row of the plane, next to Rachel and Lucy. I was on the row in front of them, with Adam on one side of me and Kaleigh on the other. Derrick was sitting directly in front of me; he was the first person on the whole plane to recline his seat, of course. Adam and Kaleigh slept through most of the night. They were both laying on my lap, so I kept one hand on each of their heads to keep them from bumping into each other. 

Adam woke up, right as we were descending into New York City. He looked out the window and asked, in his most serious voice, "Mom, are we in heaven?"

We had to leave the airport, walk across the street, and ride the AirTrain to another terminal for our next flight. It's a good thing that they had put our luggage all the way through to South Africa because there's absolutely no way that we would have been able to carry 24 pieces of luggage with us. Especially not in the rain. 

The South African Airways lines were longer, and things didn't go as smoothly. There was an issue with Derrick's passport, and a supervisor had to be called over to sort it out. They weighed our carry-on bags and told us we were overweight on all of them and needed to shuffle things around. (Luckily they didn't ask to check Steve's backpack that was carrying our electronics; it was heavier than any of the carry-ons.) 

We spent the remainder of our four-hour layover eating breakfast, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, and walking back and forth on the moving walkways 139 times. I'm guessing some of the other people in our terminal weren't very impressed, but I wanted the kids to get all of their energy out. 

Here we are, just before boarding the plane for Johannesburg: 

And then we were off. An older man flying by himself agreed to trade seats with Derrick so that he could sit by the rest of our family. But then he also told us that he loved kids and wouldn't have minded sitting next to us. Later on, I wondered if we would have been better off with the stranger. . . I'm pretty sure Derrick slept for 80 percent of the flight.

The kids were fairly well behaved, probably as good as could have been expected. Everyone had a screen in front of them with games, movies, and television programs. But Lucy's kept malfunctioning and had to be rebooted three times. I tried to watch Les Miserables, but I only made it a few minutes. The same thing happened with Oz the Great and Powerful. I watched the edited versions of Hyde Park on Hudson and Argo. I loved Argo.

The kids played with their iPods and LeapFrog Didjs. I can hardly believe those things still work. We bought them for Christmas in 2009, despite their horrible ratings. We just hoped they would survive long enough to take to Yellowstone. Adam is completely content with his Didj and doesn't seem to mind the rudimentary graphics. (His iPod went through the washing machine just two days before our trip; we are crossing our fingers that the rice will work it's magic while we are gone.) The younger kids also did a lot of coloring and played with their stuffed animals, but they didn't use their new Brain Quest cards or read any of their books.

I think the airline must base their meals and everything else on a flight's arrival time. We departed JFK at 11:15 am. We had just woken up and eaten breakfast, but within an hour, they were serving dinner. And then they immediately dimmed the lights, as if it was time for bed. The lights stayed dimmed for most of the 14-hour flight, which made it feel even longer.

When we booked our tickets, I selected the Asian Vegetarian option for my meals, the Fruit Platter for Rachel, and the Child option for Adam. For dinner, I was served some sort of curry, but I don't know how it compared to the regular meal because Derrick accepted it and ate it before I realized it was mine. The fruit platter was huge. Rachel ended up sharing most of it with me, and I loved it. I don't think I'll request a child version ever again; the meals weren't very impressive.

We started out with Steve, Rachel, Kaleigh, and Derrick in front. And then I was behind them with Adam and Lucy. But Kaleigh migrated back to me, and the only way I could get her to sleep without tossing and turning was to hold her on my lap. So I'm sure you can imagine how much sleeping I got . . .

1 comment:

Stephanie Dirks said...

I love this! I love that I can feel like I'm kind of taking the trip with you. Like the fact that I completely feel for you with that flight. There is no way you could have slept well either flight. Making sure the babes didn't hit heads on the first, and with a babe on your lap the second. Yikes! This is neat! Thanks for sharing so much detail!