After a long flight of almost 18 hours, I've finally touched down in sunny South Africa. I say "I" and not "we" because the rest of the 94 participants on the DC 101 trip arrived here yesterday. Apparently, each of them is independantly better at following directions than I am. I was THE ONLY ONE of the group who failed to meet the passport requirement of having "2 blank visa pages." I had extra pages alright, but mine weren't "good enough" because they didn't say the word "Visa" at the top and have a faint blue box for each visa stamp. I should explain that in the back of the book, every passport has these blank "Ammendment" pages. These, unfortunately for my poor soul, don't count .
AAAAARGGG.... SO on Friday afternoon, I had all my bags packed and made it to the front of the line at Dulles Airport, only to learn I wouldn't be flying. I won't go through the nightmare it took to finally secure the additional empty pages for my passport, but suffice it to say it's not easy and I highly recommend you take care of these things IN ADVANCE when you travel next. But all in all, I'm here, I've arrived safely in Africa, and I'm just one day late.
At the current moment, I'm sitting at an internet station in the Johannesburg Airport, waiting for the connecting flight to Cape Town. Let me speak about South African Airways for a moment and give them the credit they deserve. Everyone in that SAA blue uniform was effusively nice to me when they found out I had to miss a day of my trip. The kind lady tried to help me upgrade my ticket for free to First Class. She let every other traveler on the plane before me, and said at the last minute she would do her best to bump me up in life to First Class! At last, she tried her best, but it couldn't be done. What she did accomplish, however, was almost equally as amazing. She gave me the aisle seat in the Exit row. People forget sometimes how much extra space there is in the Exit row. Almost double!!
I don't know why they don't price the exit row higher than standard economy tickets. It could certainly be a class of ticket all its own, cheaper than First, but more expensive than standard. That's my advice to you, SAA!