Sunday, September 29
Schiphol airport, Amsterdam, 09:00
I got up at 4:50, got washed and dressed and went outside where the taxi was waiting. Irma and Auo got up to say goodbye.
Six of us met at the airport: Jutta, Tony, Malin, Michaela, Isabella and me. At 7:05 we boarded a plane to Amsterdam, and now we are standing in Schiphol airport next to an ironic bronze sculpture of two big floppy toys. We are waiting for Isabella, who is the only one of us without a biometric passport, and is therefore in a very long queue.
Our next flight will be delayed for an hour and ten minutes, and then for two hours and twenty minutes, most of which we will spend in a restaurant on a balcony called Pizza Pasta Panini. The girls will also explore a branch of Victoria’s Secret.
After this we will have almost twelve hours of claustrophobia. Nobody will be seated together and I will be stuck in a middle seat, unable to move, behind a woman who keeps ramming her seat back. She will manage to cause me to spill my drink onto the man sitting to my right. The man sitting on my left will make regular incursions into my seat space with his elbow which I will repel.
I will get up several times and on one of my walks up and down the plane I will look out of a window and spend twenty minutes watching us fly over the Sahara. I will only stop once I have seen what looks like an oasis.
When we finally get to Johannesburg Gina will be there to meet us. Christina, who is driving the students to their lodgings, will take another forty five minutes to arrive, leaving us to experience how chilly nights can be in AFrica.
It will be 1:23 on Monday morning before I am finally in my hotel room, washed and ready for bed. I will be deep asleep by 1:25.