Friday, January 8, 2010

almost there

Well, I'm almost there. I've been on the road (or in the air) for a day and a half, but I'm on the last leg, getting ready to board a plane from Jo'Berg to Windhoek.

I've had lots of people tell me that they'd love to travel internationally if they could just snap their fingers and be there. It's the travel that scares so many away from places like Africa and Asia. But I tend to believe what Dan Eldon said (he was a young photojournalist who was killed in a riot in Somalia). He said the difference between a tourist and a traveler is that for a traveler, "the journey IS the destination." I like that. I figure my adventure starts as soon as I'm dropped off at the airport.

And it's been an adventure in many ways. Don't get me wrong--sometimes it's boring or frustrating. For example, I went through security not once, not twice, not even three times, but FOUR separate places. I went through a full-body-scan (just like on TV!), an intimate pat-down, taking my shoes off and on, unpacking my laptop. But everyone was nice, kept a sense of humor, and we all survived. And along the way, I've met some interesting people in line, sitting in an airport, and flying in a plane. Traveling alone tends to make me reach out to other people--which we tend not to do if we have a companion with us.

I met an interesting guy from India on my flight from New York to Abu Dhabi (yes, I know--weird route. But my travel agent got a deal on Etihad Airways, and let's face it, it's just fun to say "Abu Dhabi."). I met a student from Durban, South Africa, and I met a hilarious woman in line for security (who claimed that after her pat-down, she could miss her OB-GYN appointment that year).

So three legs down and two more to go on this journey--one flying and one driving. I don't have my camera handy, or I'd take a picture of this plane out the window with its nose painted like a soccer ball. But I'll attach a photo of someone I'm on my way to see--Klippie the giraffe--who was only a baby when I saw her last but is now probably taller than seems possible.

Next stop, Harnas.

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