Sunday, September 30, 2012

Returning to site

As always a journey starts with one step and that step in our journey from one part of the African continent to another [for me] starts with packing. And that means packing  - what I thought was at least 100kgs - into bags which may only contain 60kg in total! *sigh*

I started to pack my bags on Sunday afternoon. (BTW, Grant packed his bag in about ten minutes flat and when weighed, it tipped the bathroom scales at 8kg!) Within the next two hours, our bedroom back home in SA looked as if Cyclone Jo had hit it. Nevertheless, I promised myself that this time I would be completely packed for EA by the time the sun set. And I was! For the first time in history since we've been expats, I wasn't standing on cases, and pulling items out and repacking them into Grant's case with it's extra space at midnight before we left! The bonus was that when I weighed all three bags, they totaled 46kg!

Next morning Angus and Amanda collected us at 6am and an hour-and-a -half later we'd arrived at Bloemfontein airport, had the luggage wrapped and were ready to check in. However, as the Hedges are always early, there was time for a quick breakfast in the airport restaurant and a last visit with our children and grandchildren.
Top left to right: packing up in SA; 
Center: family breakfast in at Bloemfontein Airport;
 Bottom left: the Slow Lounge at OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg 
Bottom right:  early-morning tea at Sea Cliff hotel, Dar es Salaam

As our luggage was booked straight through from Bloemfontein to Dar Es Salaam, and we'd arrived at Oliver Tambo Airport by 10.10am, with our flight to Tanzanian scheduled for 2pm, our international boarding passes in Grant's pocket, we normally have quite a long wait in the boarding hall. However, while on holiday we'd received notification as clients of the Barclays Banking group, that for a nominal fee, we were entitled to all the facilities in the First National Bank Slow [Business] Lounge. These included a free massage, beds if you'd like to sleep, WiFi availability, food and refreshments aplenty. So this is where we headed once we'd walked from domestic arrivals to international departures. 

We had a pleasant flight from Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam, touching down on East African soil shortly after 7pm.  As Tanzanian Residents, we cleared customs easier than the previous three times (where we'd have to queue for the best part of an hour to obtain visitor's visas), collected our luggage from the carousel and met Mohamed, our company driver outside the airport. The traffic was still very congested and we finally arrived at the Sea Cliff hotel and in our room at 8.45. 

Next morning we rose at 3.45am as Mohamed would collect us at 4.30 to take us to the airport. There we boarded the 6.05 flight to Mwanza. Once we'd collected our luggage from the rather archaic of a tractor trailer from which the porters pull the cases and place them on a concrete platform  where confused passengers mill around trying to read the baggage labels ! Grant seconded an official who, in no time at all, had our bags loaded on a trolley and wheeled it to the parking lot where William, our Mwadui driver was waiting at Grant's vehicle.
 The countryside is dry at the moment, as we wait for the "big" rains, but I noticed the gathering clouds and hoped that at least Mwanza got a shower that day!

The road trip from Mwanza to Mwadui passed quickly for me as I immersed myself in the story I'd downloaded on my Kindle/e-Reader (more about how I acquired this gadget - a story on it's own!)
At least I didn't add to the luggage weight with traditional books (I normally bring LOADS!)

We arrived in Mwadui at 10am and by midday I was halfway through unpacking the luggage.
Of course, I had all three assistants who're not letting me out of sight ever again! 

I hope you're all having a great weekend.


  1. Awwww, your poor little kitties!

  2. Welcome back ! what a long trip home ! I just thought this morning I sent you an email if I find no new post, just to see if you are still alive and see that everything went smooth and your cats are happy to have you back !

  3. I like the name of that lounge--"the Slow Lounge." Its name probably makes one feel a little bit more relaxed. That certainly was a long trip back to camp! I love the photo of Amanda and her children as you had breakfast with them in the airport.

    It's so sweet the way your cats would not let you get out of their sight. They love you!

  4. I love how the cats helped you unpack. I bet they were excited to see you.

  5. Glad you and Grant got back home safely Jo!!! love Rose xoxox


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo