Saturday, December 28, 2013

A little r&r at -8 fahrenheit

I'm in Indiana for a little holiday and family R&R.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to leave Johannesburg last Wednesday. Delta passengers were informed that the airline computers were down and we would be checked in using a manual check-in process

"Manual check-in process" translates to three hours waiting in line to confirm your seat, show your passport, drop your bags, answer security questions, and visit with other passengers. In the space of three hours, I met a safari guide, an oilman from Pensacola, Florida who has alternated five week stints in Angola with one week in Florida for the last three years, and a travel group of "birders."  The oilman informed me that fracking has been going on since the 1950's and the birders invited me to dinner. It is always amazing what you learn when you look up from your devices and chat with people.

"Manual check-in process" also means you get a "check" next to your name on a dot matrix print-out of passengers, handwritten luggage tags, and no overweight charges on baggage given that the scales were not working. I was very excited about the latter as I was carrying an extra bag for a South African couple sending gifts to their daughter in the US. Now if Delta had thrown in a few free drinks and use of the airport lounge life would have been sweet.

Touched down in Indianapolis to family (human and canine), friends, and Christmas cheer. We headed north and spent a few days in negative Fahrenheit temperatures on my parent's farm in north central Wisconsin. For my Celsius readers, note that -8F is -22.2222C. There is something decidedly cheery when the sun is shinning brightly and one thinks to oneself, "Wow it is much warmer today even though it is only 14F." Especially when the near sunrise pictures look like this. These views tempt us to buy land every time we visit.

I've grant reports to prepare, articles to map out, work meetings to schedule, and annual assessments to write before heading back to South Africa. But today, well today, is for family, friends, and the Flat 12 tasting room at 5:00 pm. 


  1. Very much enjoying your blog posts about your adventures in South Africa! Sounds like your trip home for the holidays was great. When doe your adventure in Africa come to an end?

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