Mom (aka Ace) and I made it to the airport with sufficient time to shop in duty free. Surprisingly, she purchased no items. She believes that duty-free does not offer a real discount. I’d like to think that lugging her heavy carry-ons made her rethink adding any additional items to her load. Because I’ve made this trip twice before, I knew I had to adequately prepare. The next stop was to pick up a few snacks and stop at Chipotle for the long flight ahead of us. Ace didn’t want anything from Chipotle; a decision she (and I) would later regret.
Filled with excitement, we boarded the plane for our South African adventures! One seat ahead of us on our flight was a college friend who lives in South Africa–small world! Shortly after take-off Ace began complaining that she was hungry. Oh here we go. We were first served a beverage. In addition to our non-alcoholic drink, we both asked for two Amarulas (an alcoholic beverage made in South Africa that is similar to Bailey’s Irish Cream).Without hesitation, Ace (who is not a drinker) downed one of her Amarulas because, as she stated, “I need to open up my palate.” Yeah, okay. Dinner followed shortly thereafter. Ace opted for the chicken, and I asked for the beef entree. As Ace opened up her chicken meal, she dabbled her fork around the plate and looked at me in disgust. I turned my head away from her because I knew what she was going to ask next–let’s swap meals. After 3 minutes of feeling bad for her looking at her meal in disgust, I opted to give her my burrito bowl–there goes my late night/early morning snack. After enjoying her second bottle of Amarula, Ace fell asleep and I decided to read.
Sixteen hours later, well-rested and still happy, we arrived in Johannesburg! we had 1.5 hours before our connecting flight to Cape Town. The line was painstakingly long. We cleared customs an hour later and had 30 minutes to make it to our gate. We made it with a few minutes to spare.
On our flight to Cape Town we sat next to the most adorable 12-year-old boy, Aubin (pronounced Awe-bane, with a French accent). We spoke the entire flight as he practiced his English (he speaks 5 languages–time to step my game up). He was traveling with his father, brothers and sister to Cape Town to visit the beach. He was on holiday in a South Africa, but he lives in Burundi. At one point, while we were served dinner, he tapped me and said, “I’m afraid of your mother, eh. I think she’s going to say you mist eat those vegetables.” To be on the safe side, he ate all the vegetables without my mom having to say anything. Mom made a great observation when I later told her what Aubin said. She said, “it’s evident in his culture they believe it takes a village to raise a child. If he were in the United States, his parents may be offended that an adult stranger was telling their child what to do.”
Two hours later and 20 hours after embarking on our travels, we made it to Cape Town! We hired (Americans say rented) a car that is standard size for South Africa, but we (really, Ace) we’re traveling with more bags than the average South African. Miraculously, the attendant was able to fit all 5 of our bags in the trunk. Although mom knows how to drive a manual car on the left hand side of the road, I became the designated driver for our trip (her job was to enter the information into the navigation system, but that also quickly became my job). After a few missed turns, we arrived at our flat safely. Our arrival to Cape Town was finally complete!