Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The journey to Gabon:

We were blessed right from the beginning at the Lubango airport of all places, when the ticketing agent checking us in decided to give Isabella 30kgs of free baggage too, instead of the 10kgs she should have gotten as an infant.  Perhaps it helps that she's cute.  ; )  We had an extremely expensive breakfast to kill time in the airport restaurant while waiting for our flight to use up some Kwanzas, then crossed through security without any problems, right on time for boarding.

In Lubango, when you walk outside to board the plane, you also need to identify your checked luggage and make sure it gets loaded, as well as pass your hand luggage through another x-Ray machine.  I could never figure out why, since you already did it when going through security before the gate - but I digress.  The phrase, "Check your logic at the border" comes to mind.  The x-Ray on the Tarmac is positioned so that you approach it from one side and must walk around the back I of it to retrieve your bags.  So, we put our hand luggage on the short conveyor belt and watch it disappear into the machine, walk around the back, and there are our bags on the ground in a heap, having just dropped right off the back side of the machine as the dutiful TAAG (Think Again About Going) staff look on.  (I'm sure that's really good for the electronics and laptops that people have in their carry-ons).  The flight went well - Bella's first time flying - she she filled her belly with milk upon take off and subsequently slept for the next 30 mins or so.  She woke up happy and had fun playing with the safety instructions card and greeting and smiling at the other passengers.  We arrived in Windhoek and although another plane had just arrived from Europe, were first in line for customs - THANK YOU SADAC! (Every now and then there is an advantage to being married to an Angolan citizen.) We collected all our bags and picked up our rental car.  After some pretty masterful packing by Sam, all our luggage managed to fit in our little Ford Figo - though finding Isabella was a little bit "Where's Waldo".  We had lunch in Windhoek, met Sam's mom to get the house key and picked up some food to cook for dinner.
The evening was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that the internet didn't work and the water went out - an irony that is not lost on my friends reading this in Angola.

Woke up Friday morning with a headache and nausea - not a promising feeling when you know you have a full day of travel ahead of you.  Vomited and felt much better.  Praise The Lord.  We were running behind schedule but made it to the airport with just enough time to return the rental car, wrap our bags and check in.  Even with 6 checked bags, we still were pleasantly surprised that the excess baggage fees weren't that bad, and happily paid them, thankful that we were able to take at least a bit of "home" with us.

Isabella did great in flight number two, playing and pointing to the guy behind us who pointed right back and had fun interacting with her.  She didn't sleep at all and I thought for sure she'd be dead to the world during our layover.  But she surprised us both by only taking a 20 min power nap.  By the time our last flight was taking off, she was exhausted.  I spent the first 20 mins of cruising altitude standing by my seat rocking her in the sling.  Finally she konked out and slept for probably more than half the flight to Libreville.  (Thanks for the prayers, Dad!)

The plane descended into thick grey cloud cover and finally we could green, lots of green.  We disembarked into a wall of humidity and bonjours.  We're in a new world now.

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