And it’s so very good. The trip itself was hellish, but being here and having recovered for several days, I can almost forget about the cramped, hot, and extremely uncomfortable train ride between SPB and Moscow. I can forget about the headache that I had for 3 days straight due to the afore-mentioned train ride. I can even forget how extremely FREEZING the airport in Johannesburg was when we killed 7 hours there before our final flight here. I can forget it all, because it’s so great to be back. OK, so maybe I can’t exactly forget….BUT the memory of the 43 hours of traveling to get here has certainly faded….a little. But I haven’t forgotten how good God was to us on our trip. For example, Johannesburg Intl. Airport, which I will now call “The Ice Airport” was as I said, frigid. Even though it’s the middle of winter they felt the need to blast ice cold air from every vent. The employees were all walking around in their coats and scarves. Sam and I however, were quite unprepared to have a layover in Antarctica, and therefore had only a hoodie and a lightweight fleece, respectively. We were, needless to say, rather miserable the first hour. After scouting for someplace remotely “not as cold” as everywhere else, we settled on the upper floor near where all the premium and first class lounges are located. Sam went into the internet room where a few other people has gathered and were sleeping at the computer desks. I was so tired and really just wanted to lie down. So I just lay on the floor in the hallway and covered my arms with my towel for a little added warmth. Sam told me I’d probably get yelled at by one of the premium lounge people, but I decided that if anyone said anything to me, I would ask them where I could file a complaint about the near freezing temperatures. I had been lying there for about 10 minutes when two airport staff who worked in the premium class lounge walked by. One of the men looked at me and said, “Why are you sleeping out here when we have a lounge?” I looked at him curiously, since I know that those lounges are only for the uber frequent-flying elite. He smiled. “Follow me.” I did. And in he led me to the platinum lounge – soft leather couches and chairs, fresh fruit salad and muffins, toast, honey and jam, espresso machine all laid out and gleaming. Magazines and newspapers, a fridge filled with all kinds of cold drinks. My eyes boggled. He waved his hand and said, “Come. You are welcome.” (Not in a ‘response to thanks’ kind of way, but the way that South Africans use it to say, “Make your self at home.”) I walked quickly to one of the plush couches, put down my backpack, and ran to get Sam. He was a bit mystified when I grabbed him and headed into the lounge, but all was explained when the man who had brought me in came over and said, “Forgive me, I forgot to introduce myself.” He then did so, and again welcomed us and said, “Today I’d like you to be my guest.” We thanked him profusely and off he went about his work. For the next 6 hours we felt like kings. And it did wonders to rejuvenate us from the previous travel. A very kind young lady came by and asked us if we wanted to order anything and ran through a huge variety of choices. We both ate grilled BLT’s, had our fill of drinks and I had a cappuccino, of course. It just felt too decadent to make use of the room where they had actual beds and showers, and we didn’t want to wear out our welcome. So we lounged on the couches and read, relaxed, ate and when our flight was getting ready to board, we headed off towards the gate, thanking our friend again for what was truly a HUGE blessing, and totally unexpected.