Tag Archives: jet lag

Arrival in Joburg – Days 3,4,5

It’s Tuesday morning. I have three days to catch up. Our flight Friday night was excellent. I know that because neither Tom nor I slept at all. This time Tom had an aisle seat, praise God, and I was right next to him. We read, watched movies. I wrote up Day 2.

We chose to be the last off the plane. It meant we had lots of time to gather our stuff and hobble down the skinny aisle. Waiting for us as we stepped off was not one wheelchair, but two. I gladly appropriated the second one and collapsed into it for a long ride. Our wheelchair angels kindly stopped for a bathroom break along the way.

Luggage came through quickly. With our baggage in hand, they wheeled us to Dave and Joanne. After big hugs all around and a Canadian money tip for our angels, (all we had at the moment. They gave us huge smiles.  Probably was more than usual when exchanged for African Rand), we loaded into the car and drove to Dave’s. The weather of course was lovely – warm and sunny. We sat and talked on their patio for about an hour, then sank into bed. I slept two hours, Tom a little more.

Once awake, Dave made us a delicious supper. This is a vegetarian household. One of the blessings in that is both Dave and Joanne are excellent cooks. We managed to stay awake until ten.

Sunday morning was great. We started with Dave’s hearty breakfast.

Back home we had searched out on Google, the closest church. Dave and Joanne were busy that morning so Dave summoned an Uber driver to ferry us to All Saints Anglican Church. As you can see from the pictures, the architecture is a little different from home and quite beautiful. Inside everything was familiar except for the rows of clear glass picture windows that looked out on their parklike grounds. Being at Sunday worship grounded us. Anastasia, their new priest is a gracious and an excellent speaker. The highlight came at the end of the service. Anastasia invited one of the more senior members of the congregation to lead us in an African praise and blessing. The people’s voices came alive as they sang.

After church, we were welcomed, loved and fed, coffee, tea  and sandwiches. At one point, I looked out the window of the spacious reception area and spied a special visitor. A spectacular peacock had come to worship.

We didn’t have to call Uber to get home, because one of the congregation offered us a ride.  We were invited back  for our second Sunday. As always happens back home,Tom was told he was needed to help with the singing.  We will see what is on the agenda. A lot will happen between now and then.

We slept Sunday afternoon and enjoyed one of my favorite meals. Jo laid out a huge wooden tray filled with cheeses and sauces and crackers and bread and fruit and …..  We watched a little tennis with her while we ate.

Jenna stopped studying long enough to join us for supper. She is in the midst of her final exams. She’s in the International Baccalaureat program and a top student. Already she’s been awarded a scholarship to come to Queen’s in Kingston next year and study Kinesiology. We are delighted to have her back in Canada.

Monday was a quiet day. Jet lag had set in,V in earnest. We slept til ten, had a slow yoghurt breakfast. In the afternoon, Tom and I walked to a strip mall to the bank machine to fill our pockets with South African Rand. Problem: Back home in Canada I had been given the names of two banks that would accept our debit card. Neither bank was represented in the four machines available. We walked back to Dave’s. A Google search revealed the friendly Scotia Bank representative had given us the names of one bank in Senegal and one in Australia. Google told us to use Absa bank in Johannesburg. By this time, Dave was home from school and drove me back to the mall. My hip has been doing a lot of complaining.

The driver, Victor, for the next day’s excursion, arrived to check out Dave’s car and get his instructions. Victor is the father of a colleague of Dave and Joanne, a Phys. Ed instructor at the International School. He is also a retired driver for government celebrities coming to South Africa.crazy tourists. We will be in good, experienced hands.

That finished, Jenna, Jo and I slipped away to shop for a grad dress for Jenna. Of course, I had a grand time with that. It’s always a pleasure to take one of my granddaughters shopping. Once the dress was chosen and purchased, we relaxed at a restaurant for supper. I had crushed sweet potato and pine nuts on a delicious tangy white sauce and vegetarian falafels with avocado dip. Totally yummy.

We returned home to pack and get to bed early. Departure this morning was 5:30 a.m.

Angels, I didn’t mention our angels. Well, Dave, Jo and Jenna are certainly filling that role. It felt as if we attended a church full of angels on Sunday, especially the generous woman who drove us home. In some ways, Tom and I were visiting angels there as well. I did bring a couple of my books as gifts.

This morning we’re driving into the sunrise. The grasses covering the land alongside the highway are dipped in gold. This 3 day adventure to Lesotho and into the Drakensberg mountains to hear the Drakensberg boys choir has begun. The air is misty. The moon is nearly full. We are truly blessed.

That’s it for this morning.

Jet Lag – Big Time

Please let me sleep!
Please let me sleep!

This day did not begin with a joyful moment. Sleepless all night, we scrambled off the plane, gathered our luggage and visited the information kiosk. So far, so good, we thought. The seven-hour time difference was taking its toll. It was shortly after midnight back home, shortly after six a.m., Amsterdam time. Nothing was open. Our hotel check-in was at three p.m, and we had no place to sleep. We bought our I Amsterdam city passes for public transit and museum admissions, and made a plan to get to our hotel. We’re doing fine, we thought.

The man selling the train tickets was rather abrupt. He didn’t seem to like dealing with jet-lagged “tourists” using unfamiliar currency. His instructions about the train were terse and unhelpful. He charged us ten euros for two tickets marked three euros apiece.

We thought we were following the right signs as Tom and I lugged our two, fifty-pound suitcases, backpacks and computer cases downstairs and onto the train. We listened carefully for our stop. The conductor came along to check our tickets. We both welcomed his friendly smile. He checked our tickets, shook his head, and gently informed us we were on the wrong train. This train made no stops on its way to Amsterdam City Centre Station.

We were supposed to be on the Metro. We did not need train tickets at all. We struggled to make our weary minds follow his careful directions. We’d have to detrain downtown, descend one level, pass one level below four platforms, a fair distance with all our baggage, ascend one level to platform 14B (not 14A. Much closer) and take a train back to the airport. We lifted lugged and rolled backpacks, computers and giant suitcases all that distance. Tom carried the lion’s share. We were both staggering by the time we collapsed on the train back to the airport.

At the airport, we lugged it all inside and asked a security guard what to do now. He really wasn’t much help. His English was not up to giving directions. We returned to the ticket kiosk and asked a different person for directions. We hoped that this time we had them straight. This, too ,was not a joyful moment.

Once again, we hauled and heaved bag and baggage down an elevator onto a train platform. We dragged ourselves aboard what we hoped was the correct train and dropped onto seats.

This time a lovely young woman sitting across from me smiled. That brought joy. We talked, and she assured me we had it right. She was getting off at our stop. Hallelujah! Back on and off another elevator for the fifth time, we found the metro stop we needed. We struggled to make our city passes work on the Metro turnstiles. A friendly young man came along and helped. I mentally soaked in those two joy-filled moments hoping they would give us energy.

More elevators, more walking, more lugging of suitcases brought us out on the street. Just three long, rough blocks over a brick sidewalk and we arrived at the hotel. By this point we had started to giggle just thinking about the states of our being.

Although it was now nearly nine o’clock, it was still too early to check in. The concierge helpfully agreed to store our bags until our rooms were ready. That was definitely a joy-filled moment.

A delicious, although expensive buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room restored our energy… well, that and several cups of coffee for Tom and one Cappuccino for me. We thought we were ready to roll. I started this blog. Tom edited yesterday’s. Breakfast hour at the hotel ended, and we had to leave the restaurant. I checked with the hotel concierge about our room. It was ready, three hours ahead of schedule. Every hotel should have a concierge like the Premier Best Western Hotel Couture in Amsterdam! We wearily, but gratefully, rode one more elevator to our room and collapsed. The feel of the bed beneath me was Joy, profound Joy.

Jet lag is like that. You think you’re fine. Turn one corner and whoosh, you’re done. We set the alarm for an hour and crashed. We knew we shouldn’t sleep longer, or we’d be awake half the night and just as exhausted tomorrow. The phone alarm rang.

Still mighty tired but now enthused about seeing a little of Amsterdam, we waited at the tram stop in front of the hotel. We were sort of organized.

Today, two castaways visited the Van Gogh Art Museum and Coster Diamond Museum and Factory. Both gave us a challenging, interesting, yes, and sparkling learning experience. Of course, the Diamond Merchants also offered temptation. We did not succumb. We were too tired to buy anything.

For supper, we stopped at a small corner coffee shop, “Pompa” Mediterranean food. A bowl of soup revived me somewhat. Tom’s salad was life-giving for him. Still, all I really wanted was to return to our hotel and have a cup of tea. My plan was to be in bed by 8 or possibly 9.

Tom said, “I’m pretty sure I saw a little grocery store where you can get milk for your tea.” Two trams passed us before we found a bus shelter, and still no grocery store. By then I was done, finished, kaput. Wearily, I climbed onto the tram. “Do you know when to get off?” I asked Tom. He nodded. And he did. That was Joy, great Joy. We’re back in our room with milk from the hotel’s bar for my tea. It tastes like home. Think we’ll be in bed by ten.

Today was more challenging, yet it’s been grand, too. The best and most joyful thing of all today was the wonderful relationship Tom and I have. We like each other’s company. No matter how tired we get, we still manage to have patience. I am truly grateful.