Day #1…We’re on the move…USA, here we come!…

Mom and baby. We’ll miss you all.

No doubt it’s a long journey to the US. Soon, we’ll make the 90-minute drive to the airport in Nelspruit (MQP), over the treacherous N4, the highway I’m not particularly eager to travel. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of traffic and road construction, so we’re leaving hours earlier than usual, figuring we could easily be delayed.

Most likely we’ll arrive at the airport two to three hours earlier than our flight if traffic isn’t as bad as expected. Unfortunately, due to the Level 4 lockdown a few days ago, the restaurant in the airport will be closed, and we’ll have to wait on benches in the corridor of the small airport. There are no “gates,” so to speak, at this airport, so we’ll have to hover while waiting for our 1:50 pm, 1350 hrs flight to Joburg.

Once we arrive in Joburg, we’ll stay overnight in a hotel since our flight to Germany isn’t until the following day. From Joburg, we’ll have over 32 hours of travel time, including layovers. Then, we’ll repeat a similar journey on our return flight four weeks later.

The excitement of seeing everyone is tempered by the long travel time. Once we’ve had our Covid-19 vaccines at the airport in Minneapolis, picked up our luggage, the rental car, and arrived at our hotel, we’ll feel more relaxed and able to enjoy seeing our family and friends over the 16 days. I’m sure a good night’s sleep will be our first concern, especially since we’re arriving in the evening.

Over the years, we’ve experienced several long hauls such as this. In each case, the exhaustion was palpable, but a good sleep usually set us right the next day. Hopefully, it won’t be any different this time. The time difference is only seven hours between South Africa and Minnesota. This slight difference doesn’t usually result in any jet lag for either of us.

Our Covid-19 tests arrived in my inbox this morning with both negative as expected. We’ll stop at Louise’s Info Center to pick up our copies on our way to the airport. We have all other documents in order as required by the airlines. No special consideration is required for US citizens returning to the US from South Africa other than a recent (72) negative Covid-19 test.

Of course, we’ll consider our potential exposure when visiting family and friends based on the fact we’ll only have had the one-dose J & J vaccine on July 1st. We will always proceed with caution.

Thank you to so many who’ve written, wishing us a safe journey. We plan to post again tomorrow from Joburg since our first flight doesn’t depart until 5:00 pm, 1700 hrs. So we’ll have plenty of time.

Little and Tiny are both here now. I hope this isn’t our last goodbye. The warthog culling takes place in mid-July, when 500 will be taken out.

Be well. Be safe, and we’ll be back soon.

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