Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homeward bound

I had not been looking forward to the long trip back to home but it went by relatively uneventfully and we arrived home a bit tired but otherwise none the worse for wear.

The morning started in a pedestrian enough fashion and we all woke up quite late, I am going to miss these 07:30 starts to the day, and finished packing, had breakfast from the remains of the food and were out of the apartment at 10:00.

We dumped all the bags in the waiting lounge before heading down but because there were signs absolutely all over the place to not leave ones' luggage unattended, Caron happily agreed to remain behind. Ostensibly it was to read but I think it was as much a matter of fortifying herself for the travel ahead.

The rest of us went down to the town for some last minute shopping and to bid farewell to what had become familiar places to us, the medical centre in particular!

The taxi arrived on time at 12:00 and we had a very easy trip down to Moutiers, Kirsten just couldn't stop remarking on how much better this was than having to take two buses. She tried to stop but, in the end, just couldn't quite crack it.

There was a slight delay in the departure of the TGV and one of the carriages was missing, not ours thankfully, which I managed to understand from the announcements. Maybe my French lessons were not all quite in vain. The TGV proved to be a wonderful trip, we spent most of our time on the upper level in the dining area watching the countryside rush past; it really is a spectacularly beautiful country.

We arrived in Gare de Lyon and took two trains out to the airport where we spent quite a bit of time waiting for the aircraft which only took off at around midnight. Negotiating the trains was a bit of a hit and miss affair and my clearly not knowing where exactly we should go next didn't stop Caron continually asking where we should be going which didn't enhance my mood at all. While we were waiting Carl and I spied a duty-free shop where we replenished our supplies of Aberlour and Balvenie Double-Wood since they had been devastated by Kim. The two of us has nothing at all to do with the consumption of whisky of course.

As soon as we boarded I took a melatonin pill (mild sleeping pill) and then hung on desperately trying to stay awake until supper arrived. With supper out of the way, the next thing I knew it was 08:30 and two hours later we were on the ground. An unexpected minus to travelling on the A380 is that everything just takes ages, loading the aircraft, disembarking, waiting for luggage - it all takes just that much longer just because of the sheer number of people.

Baggage collected we headed out to the Gautrain which we missed by a couple of minutes because Caron had to feed her nicotine addiction so we had to wait 25 minutes for the next one. Kirsten and Carl had my parents meet them at the airport but all of us couldn't fit into the cars so we took the sensible option and used the public transport. This worked quite well until I tried to get out of the station at Sandton and there wasn't enough money on my gautrain card which was really annoying. I later realised that there wasn't a system malfunction, there really wasn't enough money there since I had used the buses a couple of times and it just took the balance available to me under what I needed.

That sorted out, I walked to my offices in the pouring rain using the umbrella I had carried to europe and back but never used until this point.

That is pretty much it! Landing back in South Africa, the first thing that struck me was that we really have become the land of the fatties but, it's still home!

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