I wasn’t going to post anymore, but many things happened while travelling that I figured I might as well tell everyone!
At the Gaborone airport, I got a chocochino drink from the cafe there (a division of Curry Pot) and it was delicious! It looked so cool until I mixed it up:
I was the only one flying out at 11am, but everyone would meet up again in Johannesburg since the earliest anyone left South Africa was 6pm. I took a picture of Sheldon at the gate:
I took a picture of the Gaborone airport (since when I arrived, I didn’t have a camera yet)
The propeller plane I took down to Johannesburg:
I got to Jo-burg safely and had some time before everyone else arrived, so Sheldon and I checked out the stores:
He really wanted the vuvuzela!
Megan (Case Western), Maren (Yale), Brian (Tulane), Kameron (William and Mary), and Andrew (Rutgers) all got to the international terminal around the same time and we had a late lunch at a News Cafe in the airport (the same restaurant like in Gaborone where I watched the Premier League final).
Brian took a group photo on his camera every time someone left (kind of sad, but also kind of nice) and so when Kameron and I left for London, I took one on my camera (Brian had already left):
I got on the plane and almost immediately made a friend!
Her name is Piya and she is 6 years old. She was sitting across the aisle from me, but right after take off, she seemed to want to sit next to me, so I let her. She lives in London and was in South Africa for a family wedding anniversary. She was very talkative and really excited that I liked talking to her. She kept on saying throughout the entire flight: “I can’t believe I actually made a new friend on the plane!” in her British accent. And she called me her best friend multiple time 😀
I flew South African Airways to London:
and when I flew them from London to Johannesburg, they were excellent, but this time around, I was a little disappointed, especially when I saw the spoon they gave me for my dinner:
Womp womp. Good thing I didn’t need to use it!
Another disappointing thing about SA airways: their equivalent of Sky Mall is not even close to Sky Mall 😦
All they sold was perfume and watches. At least they had a couple of samples for me to smell. Not good enough to take with me though.
Piya drew me a picture:
And her parents were very nice and thanked me for “dealing” with her for the entire flight. She was cute!
Me and Piya before we got off the plane.
When I finally got to London, I had about and hour and a half before boarding my flight home to Houston, so I took a stroll around the airport terminal with Sheldon!
We passed by Harrods, and Sheldon wanted a picture with the bear. Can you see him?
Maybe you can see him now. The bear is giant!
Sheldon also got to meet the queen!
I was supposed to board before Kameron, so we waited at my gate, but my flight was delayed until after her boarding time, so we took a picture at my gate:
We had met someone earlier at the charging station who is from Austin and is flying home for a little vacation. She is an actress in London. She was nice enough to take our picture.
Unfortunately, my flight never actually boarded. We found out an hour after we were supposed to have boarded that the plane was damaged and that the flight was cancelled. Then, it took the United workers another 30 minutes to figure out how to organize re-bookings. They separated people who had connecting flights in Houston from those whose final destination was Houston, and of course, I was at the front of the wrong line! So I ended up at the end of the final destination Houston one, expecting to not get re-booked for another hour. Fortunately, a very nice lady came up to me after I had been waiting for about 15 minutes and whispered to me to go to an empty counter across the way to a guy that would re-book me! I was lucky and got on a flight that would get me into Houston by 8pm via Newark. That flight was leaving in an hour, so it wasn’t too much extra wait time for me 🙂 I boarded the plane and was ready to head home:
And so was Sheldon!
But, since so many people on my original London-Houston flight got re-booked to the London-Newark-Houston flights, the Newark flight was delayed more than an hour. Reasons for delay: waiting for the new passengers’ checked luggage to come on board and waiting to get more food for everyone, because they were not expecting a full flight (we filled up the rest of the plane).
We were finally able to take off, and the flight was okay (nothing spectacular and nothing terrible) and we landed in Newark with about an hour and half until my next flight boarded, but I still had to 1) get my checked luggage, 2) clear customs, 3) re-check my bags, and 4) get through Newark security. I waited a while at the baggage claim area for my checked bags, along with everyone else who was on my original flight to Houston, but they never came (so much for delaying the flight to get our luggage on board…). So with about half an hour left before the flight was supposed to take off, I, along with 3 other people heading for Houston, got through security (we bypassed the long waiting line!) and headed off to Gate 92, shown on the airport monitor. Lucky for us, the flight was delayed 30 minutes, so we slowed down some. We had all been practically running around the Newark airport.
After waiting at Gate 92 for 15 minutes, I get a call from United saying that the flight is further delayed, but the message said Gate 134 (which is actually what the gate number on our tickets said, but those were printed off in London, so I believed the airport monitors). But at Gate 92, the digital board said Houston, so we just stayed there. The pilots flying to Houston even showed up too, but then some guy came out of the plane and said that it was going to Dublin! The pilots went to go see what was actually their gate, and a few minutes later, there was an announcement made that the flight to Houston was at Gate 134. Funny thing was that one guy went to Gate 134 looking for the Houston flight, and they told him that the plane at Gate 134 was going to San Diego and that the Houston flight was at Gate 92. Anyways, we pretty much ran over to Gate 92 (we had to back-track back to the security check-point and go the other way) and just made it onto the plane in time. I happened to overhear one of the stewardesses talking and said that they would have left without us!
But of course, there is nothing like barely making a plane before the cabin doors shut just to sit there for another hour waiting to take off. I was so exhausted from worrying about my checked bags, hurrying to make it through security in time, and rushing to get on the right plane that I pretty much slept through the entire flight.
I landed in Houston safely and made it out to baggage claim by 10pm, only to wait another hour (my travelling consisted of a lot of “waiting for an hour”s) at the baggage claim office to report “lost” luggage. They said they would have my bags delivered to me, and that was the end of it. I made it home before midnight and jet-lag had no effect on me after my exhausting/stressful travelling. At least I made it home safely!
My bags did come in two days later, if anyone was worried. Nothing got lost!