Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Home-Again, Home-Again, Lickety-Split.... the saying my mom would say everytime we pulled into the driveway back home. To this day, I have to fight the urge to say it when I come back.

I actually toyed with writing a whole long diatribe about international travel. Such as, when you board a plane, please refrain from announcing that you're looking for the "tequila train." Or explaining in loud form how you got so "effed up" the night before that you don't think you'll make it through the flight without ten beers. (Sadly, one of these blokes had a camoflauge MN hunting cap...) When the lights are off, stop shouting.

In fact, stop shouting. Full stop.

But, I thought that this type of entry would just come across as sour grapes. Especially as the list of complaints grew longer and more petty as the flight progressed (really, MUST you stand in the aisle and hover over me like the Hidenberg? Yes, please take your jacket off and hit me in the face...)

As for the increased security measures, well, it caused a few delays, but not many. When I initially boarded the plane, after the xray, they went through our bags and took away water, juice, etc. Even though I'd taken great pains to throw away my lotion (do you KNOW how dry those flights get?), they didn't even check my toiletry bag. But then, no one ever suspects the blonde...

I spent the rest of the flight trying to sneak my way into the first class toilet just to get ahold of their lotion...(really, what's the point in having a first class toilet in the second class? Does it have gold gilded seats? Does the toilet flush quietly? Are there actually towels to wipe your hands? Does it stink any less like urine?)...and pestering stewardesses for more water. Really, it made no difference to me. But those stewardesses seemed pretty haggard by the end of the flight.

The side trip to Johannesburg was absolutely terrific. I was warmly greeted and taken care of by a woman who had met me as a child twenty years ago, when she was an exchange student of my cousin. She and her husband used to farm in Zimbabwe until they got pushed off by Mugabe's "land reform" five years ago. They took me to a nearby game reserve, where we scoped lions, giraffe, rhino, hippos, impala and zebra from the relative safety of their '89 Toyota Carrolla. The next day, I had the opportunity to go to the Apartheid Museum. I never knew how little I knew until I went there. Fascinating.

Anyway, I have every intention of going back to South Africa again. It's beautiful and the people all think my american accent is hilarious. (In SA, it's pronounced "Amirican"). I hope to bring a whole bunch of friends or family next time.

Now I'm back and the first thing I noticed was the muggy, sweaty, swampy, luscious smell of the DC lowland. My skin feels alive again and I'm wearing shorts for the first time in nine months. It feels terrific. I feel kind of bad that I missed out on summer here, but I have every assurance from the HMF that it was pretty boring.

And that, I take to mean, is that there are no giant spiders. :)

Over and out,

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