Sunday, December 03, 2006

Catching up on lost blogs: the trip over

Apologies to anyone who's been checking this blog (as I requested) only to find next to nothing on the trip until now. The pc's at the Team House are down and computer time has been hard to find; we're sharing laptops belonging to the house manager and the Extreme Response team guide, Ed Newman. After a long day it's hard to stay up long enough (or get up early enough) to blog, plus I'm not a big laptop fan (still learning to keep my hands from drifting across the mousepad area--some bizarre things happen when you do that). Pics will have to come later for similar reasons.

So ANYWAY, to summarize, things are going well. The songwriting seminar on Sat. was packed with enthusiastic attendees, and it seemed to be very helpful for them, generally speaking. The group songwriting session led by my local friend Ricky was pretty wild; it's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't realize what can't be done. More on that later.

I started blogging the old-fashioned way on the trip over. I wrote the following on the plane (and have edited it a little).

Wed. Nov. 29, 2:05 S.A. time

The lights have been dimmed and I'm digesting my "beef bourguignon" and the film "A Prairie Home Companion" that accompanied it. Having no one in the seat in front of me saved me from the need to detach the screen from the seat back to see it (a trick I learned from a fellow traveler last year).

Overall it's been an enjoyable day of travel (I have to use the term loosely since it's mostly consisted of sitting still). No major glitches--this category would include sleeping through my alarm (or forgetting to set it or setting it to p.m., etc.)...forgetting something important like passport, tickets or underwear...ride not showing up (Cindy Austin? Not likely).

I did experience a minor glitch in that I was a bit earlier than necessary for my 1st flight (lost sleep time--no biggie) and that flight was delayed from 8:50 to 9:30. I took a nap on the floor in protest. I was concerned that my last minute decision not to take a jacket on the trip would leave me cold on the long flight from D.C. to Joburg, but so far so good.

On the purely positive side I had a pleasant lunch at Dulles (burger & coke--not exactly going cold turkey on the caffeine), where my attention was like a windshield wiper, intermittently switching back & forth between Wild At Heart by John Eldredge (so THIS is what the fuss has been about) and people-watching.

I made use of the airport chapel (complete with a few rows of padded chairs & pulpit for the Christians & a side area with rugs for the Muslims) to practice a few tunes. For the sake of the two or three people who drifted in while I was there, to do a Hail Mary (or whatever) or just check it out, I refrained from actually singing. One person was there when I left, quietly praying (I assume) in the front row--clearly not a Baptist.

Met a few of the Extreme Response team members at the gate/lounge area before leaving for S.A. Nice folks.

After going through the gate I thought we'd be boarding the plane directly, but it turned out to be a bus. I wondered how many stops it would be making on the way to Joburg. I refrained from making a lame joke out loud along this line. The bus was one that has a body that lowers to access the gate and raises to dock with the plane; kind of like a low-rider on steroids, without the decoration or bass-thumping sound system.

Avoided the fate of sitting next to a man at least 3x my size (in cross-section) and instead have an attractive young woman next to me named Deanna. She's traveling from her home in Florida to visit her (cruise ship captain?) boyfriend in Pretoria. I was glad she made the gesture of introducing herself; on a flight this long it would seem awkward to eat, sleep and veg out next to someone without at least knowing a name.

No comments: