933 words on Travel
My last day in Strand. Shock horror! Time passed rather quickly. First, I tried to confirm my plane’s departure time just in case something had changed. South African aiports will give you information about that on the web or via an SMS. As my flight technically leaves tomorrow at 0:50 only, the system will only tell me that the flight has already departed, though… Programmers just try to fall for every single trap that renders their work useless.
So I just trusted that my plane would leave on time (why shouldn’t it anyway?) and we went for a last walk and swim at the beach. I’ll miss that.
For lunch we went to Vergelegen, a very pretty farm near Somerset West. They’ve got a very cool herb garden with loads of (positively smelly) lavender there and ta rose garden and many more nice plants. The snack we had was at most average, though. After that came packing. I didn’t take a lot of luggage this time. Both my luggage and my hand luggage could fit in the 20kg check-in limit when I came. And I had still taken too many clothes… not wearing any of the long-sleeves even once and needing less T-shirts as those were washed within a few days all the time.
However, for the way back there was now the extra Malawi chair I bought for Birgit and the little table I got for myself (pictures of which will hopefully follow soon). Both made of solid wood and thus being a bit on the heavy side. – The vendor claimed the chair was around six kilos, but it was one or two more. The table is perhaps two kilos and all this together forced me to go for a pretty heavy handbaggage rucksack once more… (not that this hasn’t been my typical mode of travel since childhood anyway).
And then it was already late afternoon and we went for a sundowner goodbye Daiquiri before going for a steak. With the flight leaving nice and late there was ample time to indulge in a last and proper South African steak and at the same time dodge the airline ‘meals’. We went to Spur’s once more and this time I had what they offer as the ‘lazy aged’ rump steak. Not only is the meat a bit nicer and firmer than with the usual steaks, it is also sold only in 500g servings. Just the right thing to fill and shut me up for the following 15 hours or so.
By the time we had finished the meal there was quite a bit of fog or low-hanging clouds outside. I hadn’t seen that before in Cape Town. It was quite cool and we took a few photos which my dad’ll hopefully be able to send me once he’s gotten them off the camera. Then it was off to the airport with the usual waiting and queueing. I pre-weighed my luggage and it came in at a perfect 24,5kg which they accepted without a problem. The flight was quite unremarkable. The plane was a Boeing 777 which seemed to be rather new. It looked bright and spacious on the inside, with the latter of course not applying to the space at your disposal for actually moving. I also thought it was less noisy than the 747 – so my disappointment of not having one of those was compensated for. They also had those modern-age video displays for every seat where everybody can select what to watch and when to watch it. The UI of those gadgets was far from perfect, of course and the screens couldn’t tilt far enough for you to get a view at a reasonable angle (read: undistorted colours) at it once the seat in front of you was reclined. I had assumed they’d actually test those things before installing hundreds of them in a plane.
I even managed to get some sleep, so I wasn’t feeling to bad this morning. I had rather little time to get to my connecting flight to Bremen and I even had to unpack the Powerbook at the security check when going there – which apparently is a new regulation as the guard there apologised. Unfortunately there was a problem with the plane to Bremen and after we were already on the bus to the plane we had to get off again and wait for half an hour until they had another plane ready. While waiting for the plane, there was a girl running around asking people to do some questionnaire about the airport’s services. I hope that answering that my stopover time between flights was too short to do any shopping doesn’t lead them to give us worse connections. (Who’s shopping at airports anyway?) The sad thing about this was that she entered the answers I gave into a tiny modern PDA thingy… the last time I ran into such a questionnaire a few years ago, they still used a Newton for that job.
Anyway, I arrived in Bremen and took the tram to the railway station to get back to Göttingen. Bremen is an airport with one of the shortest plane to tram distances around. It’s very convenient. And there was a huge Airbus ‘guppy’ jet parked. Probably they were transporting wings once more – I keep wondering how Airbus can be profitable when everything has to be manufactured in a different place and then transported around before the plane can be assembled. (Or perhaps I should wonder how unhealthily huge Boeings margins must be when it seems that they can’t do any better.)
Sven, you may have just coined “ssp’s Law”:
“Programmers just try to fall for every single trap that renders their work useless.” :)