I’ve arrived

I’ve arrived.

The journey was a long, long one. I started out in Canada, and went through US customs in Canada. This was uneventful and anti-climatic. I was one of few people at the Edmonton airport. My flight to Seattle only had 25 people on it, and we all had seats to ourselves. After about 4 hours in Seattle, (the Seattle airport is very nice) I boarded the plane to Dubai. Dubai is one of the biggest international airports in the world, and there were tons of South Asian people on the flight, obviously connecting on to India and surrounding countries. I was flying Emirates, which was a lovely airline. Good food, great service, and a ton of in-flight entertainment options. You could watch a movie in almost any language on this airline. I had an open seat on one side of me, which was nice. The flight from Seattle to Dubai was 14 hours and I did manage to sleep through part of that. I tend to get agitated when I sleep on planes, so I woke up to find that I had taken my retainer out of my mouth and thrown it on the floor of the plane. (SO GROSS) Fortunately, I managed to find it.
Emirates prides itself on having an international flight crew, and all instructions were in Arabic and English. The flight attendants all wear country flag pins, which show their nationality, which is cool.

The Dubai airport is huge, but entering it was unimpressive. The sky turned dark at around 6 p.m. which was weird to see. I did end up getting searched at Dubai, but all I had to do was go into a small room while a woman wearing a hijab frisked me, and the call to prayer sounded. It was low-key to the max.

I was intrigued both by the dates available for purchase, and the camel milk chocolate at the Dubai airport. I will definitely be buying both on the way back. They have showers in the airport, but you need to have a towel and toiletries, so I did not have one. Instead, I just changed my clothes and gave myself a sponge bath. My flight was a red eye into Johannesburg, so I boarded the plane at 11:30 at night. And I managed to sleep a bit on the plane, listen to podcasts etc. My flight arrived in Johannesburg at 5:30 a.m. Three journalists arrived at the same time, and they sent a hired taxi to drive us. So I took the taxi to the conference centre with a journalist from Australia, and another one from Germany. I recognized the Australian journalist because we’d both attended the Swedish conference. The freeway from Johannesburg to our conference centre was pretty non-descript, except we did go by some cattle, and a tractor (we all go excited about this), and a fire arms training centre. Everyone laughed at me, because I tried to get into the driver’s seat of the car rather than the passenger side. (oops). I also saw the red dirt, which I always associate with Africa. There were people standing on some parts of the road, and lots of trees and foliage around the freeways, but other than that, nothing to write home about.

Upon arriving at Kievits Kroon, (the conference centre), I was able to shower, (I seriously smelled and my hair was really gross) and then nap before getting up for a lunch and a little bit of visiting with other International Federation of Agricultural Journalist guests. It is very hot here, and there are tons of birds. I thought I wasn’t particularly interested in birds, but it turns out that if I don’t know what they are, I really want to be able to identify them.

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