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Sunday, September 17, 1995

Africa Journal - Changes in Latitude

September 16 & 17, 1995

Our First Sunset in Africa

Changes in Latitude

We leave London in a cold rain. Eleven hours in a 747. We cross the Tropic of Cancer, the equator, and the Tropic of Capricorn. We take off in the fall, land in the spring, but cross only one time zone.

 At Johannesburg airport, feeling like you would expect, we now begin to follow Andrea’s Africa itinerary and immediately hit a snag. The itinerary instructs us to pick up our travel vouchers at the ASATA office in the main terminal, then recommends day rooms above the international terminal transit area to wait the 10 hours until our Air Zimbabwe flight departs for Harare. These turn out to be mutually exclusive activities. We had to clear customs to get the vouchers, after which it is forbidden to return to the transit area, or the day rooms. So faced with the prospect sitting in the terminal guarding a cart full of baggage for 10 hours, we change our ticket to an earlier SAA flight. We try to contact Linda Law of Bush Life, who was to meet our plane in Harare, and notify her of the change. This proves to be impossible, as either we have been given the wrong number, or they don’t answer the phone on Sunday.

Thanks to some good advice from a helpful SAA employee at the ticket counter, we narrowly avoid a trip-long disaster by reconfirming all subsequent Air Zimbabwe flight immediately upon landing in Harare. Due to peculiarities of the Air Zimbabwe flights reservation system, we were at risk of having all subsequent Air Zimbabwe flights cancelled when we changed this first leg.

The All-Africa games are in progress in Harare as we land. In the taxi from the airport we learn that the Zimbabwe football team has won a spectacular comeback victory against the Congo after going into the last minute of the game trailing by a goal.

The staff of the Sheraton Hotel have no more luck contacting Linda Law/Bush Life than we did.
We shoot our first African sunset from the parking lot of the Sheraton. That night, at Womble’s Steakhouse, a pleasant South African cabernet (with a grilled local trout for me, and a seafood platter for Sigrid) helps to settle jangled nerves. A glass of scotch after dinner brings the twitching under control. We start talking to each other again. The African holiday begins.


NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: This is a back-post / cross-post from my first on-line journal/blogging effort - a journal of our Southern Africa Tour in 1995. Originally posted to an abandoned domain (, the term "blog" had not yet entered the parlance. I am migrating the original posts to this blog. Links to the original journal Date Index or Africa Tour Home Page will likely eventually disappear. The images from the original post were graphics and screen caps from video which I am leaving in it's low-rez glory for historical integrity. My intent is to also add some of Sigrid's higher quality scanned photos to these blog back-posts.  The difference in images should be obvious.

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