Well, we are officially on our way! Yesterday our house and dog sitter arrived. We are so lucky to have him taking care of our four legged fur child! After so much preparation I think that was the most relaxed I’ve ever been before a big trip. I can heartily recommend having a day or two off before you depart to take care of all those last minute details. We are immensely grateful to our very understanding employers for letting us take the time to do this trip. How blessed we are.
This morning we got up, loaded the car and drove the 3 1/2 hours to the Albuquerque airport. We parked and checked in without incident, but found our flight was delayed. So many times today I have been grateful that we decided to change our original reservations and fly to Atlanta the day before our flight to South Africa. Had we been trying to do the whole thing in one go, I would have been a nervous wreck about making our connection in Atlanta. As it is, we are now relaxing in a Midtown Atlanta hotel and resting up for our looooooong flight tomorrow night. Our flight wasn’t severely delayed, but we didn’t have to worry at all. I haven’t flown Delta in a long time. It just hasn’t been an airline that was a good option for the places I’ve been living or traveling to lately. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised today. The gate agents were friendly, as were the cabin crew. I nearly guffawed when they offered me a choice of peanuts, pretzels, or cookies, complimentary, in coach! When was the last time you got those little packets of peanuts on a plane? It used to be de rigeur. I have childhood memories of my father collecting the packets of peanuts to bring home to me and my siblings when he traveled without us. Anyway, we also lucked into a very pleasant seat mate and they made up some time en route, so we only landed about 10 or 15 minutes late.
The Atlanta airport is big and busy. I’ve been through there before, but not for several years. After visiting the ladies room where I encountered an attendant helpfully directing traffic (it was that busy!), I felt like I was crossing lanes onto a busy freeway when I exited and moved down the concourse to rejoin Michael! I guess this is the result of having lived in a small town now for nearly 5 years. We chose to walk from Concourse A to the Baggage Claim which was not the best idea. Carrying our bags was more of a chore than we anticipated. I’ll be shuffling a few things before our flight tomorrow to make that more manageable. We got our checked luggage and found the MARTA station very easily. It was a smooth 20 minute ride to Midtown and a block and a half walk to the Loews Hotel where we are staying.
It’s amazing how tired we are from just the travel we did today. But, I suppose it also has to do with the stress of getting ready to leave – yet another reason I’m glad we have this layover in Atlanta. Tomorrow we’ll relax, take care of a couple of last details online, and make our way to the airport for our 7:15pm fifteen-plus hour flight to Johannesburg.
Sorry no pictures this time, but it just didn’t happen today. At any rate, we’re off! Africa here we come.