Flight Home – Cape Town, London, Toronto & Winnipeg

Day 16

Lisa and I slept in a little and only got up around 8:30 we were going to need all the rest we could get for the very long ride home. We got dressed and headed down for breakfast. Since we hadn’t eaten anything the night before I decided I was going to have a big breakfast so I loaded up my plate with just about everything I could find in the buffet –  Omelette, hash browns, beans and sausage. But Lisa had decided to stick to her usual yogurt.

After breakfast we headed back up the room and packed our bags as we had to be checked out of the hotel by 11:00.

Around 10:30 we checked out of our room and put our luggage into the hotel storage as our pickup for the airport was later that day at 3:30.

Lisa and I were thinking we might go out and do something to kill the last few hours we had in Cape Town but neither of us really felt like doing anything, we were trying to conserve our energy for the long ride home.

We decided to just hang around the hotel and enjoy our last few hours in South Africa just relaxing, so we purchased some internet credits and went out onto the patio of the hotel and sat in the sun. Lisa relaxed while I uploaded our pictures from the last few days up to the site and checked my emails. We sat outside for an hour or so and then the battery started to die on the laptop so we went back in to the hotel to try and find and electrical outlet so that I could recharge.

Since we were back inside we thought we should try and pre-board online and print our boarding tickets as we were a little concerned that we may not have enough time in London and Toronto to grab our tickets.

We logged onto the computers in the hotel and filled out our information and choose our seats for all the flights we would be taking on our way back home. South Africa Airlines which was from South Africa to London, and then Air Canada from London to Toronto. Then last was our final stage of the journey, Toronto to Winnipeg.

Lisa was feeling a little hungry later in the afternoon so we grabbed a plate of appetizers and some drinks in the hotel lounge and used up the last Rams (South African Dollars) we had left.

We were supposed to be picked up at 3:40, but at around 3:30 a women came up to me while I was sitting in the lounge and said that our driver was outside and that there were a lot of people in the van waiting for us. I quickly grabbed Lisa who was sitting out on the deck of the hotel and we went to the main entrance to meet our driver. When we got there our bags were being loaded into the van, so Lisa and I just had to jump in.

Our drive to the airport was short and uneventful; the other two couples in the van were pretty quiet.

At the airport Lisa and I grabbed our boarding passes for our flight and headed to our gate. We still had an hour and a half before our boarding by the time we got to our gate, so we just grabbed a seat and did some people watching.

Around 6 o’clock it was time to board our plane; we hopped onto some buses which took us out onto the tarmac where we loaded into an older South African Airlines plane. As soon as we got on and sat down, we knew we were in trouble and that this was going to be a long 13 hour flight to London. The airplane was so old that it only had one TV screen right at the front of the plane; even the captain came on and apologized for the lack of entertainment on the plane. Thankfully we would be flying throughout the night and it would be easier to get some sleep.

Soon after takeoff we were provided with some beverages, the stewardess that was handing out the drinks was giving out two drinks to every person which included beer. I noticed a few other people getting beer so I took a glass of wine and a can of beer; it was pretty cool.

That was the first flight that I had ever been on where the beer was free. Lisa had wine and a bottle of water. After the refreshments we were served supper, I ate most of the mine and Lisa just had a few bites of hers as she wasn’t feeling very hungry. After supper the stewardesses picked up the garbage and then the lights were turned down in the plane and most people went to sleep. Both Lisa and I tried to sleep but neither of us slept much throughout the whole flight. I ended up listening to all the audio books on my phone again, including the Dip, Tribes, Purple Cow and Permission Marketing, this killed most of the time on the flight and Lisa just kept her eyes closed and tried to sleep. 2 hours before our arrival time in London the plane served breakfast – this ate up another good hour and before long we were touching down in London.

We were concerned that we might not make our next flight because we heard that Heathrow Airport was big and that it took long to get from one gate to another, so as soon as we got off the plane we walked as fast as we could to our gate. Heathrow was huge it took us a solid 10 minutes at a fast walking pace just to get to a wash room and after we were finished in the wash rooms it took us another 5 minutes to the spot where we hopped on a bus to be driven on to another terminal.

At the other terminal we had to go through the slowest security check ever. There had been maybe 20 people in front when we arrived at the security check and it must have taken at least 35 minutes before we passed through the check ourselves. I know it was early in the morning but the security personnel were seriously dogging it. After security we finally made it to the main part of terminal were all the restaurants and shops were. It was like a shopping mall, it was incredibly big and there were a ton of people just waiting around.

Our gate wasn’t posted yet so Lisa and I sat around waiting for the gate to be posted. We didn’t sit for very long before our gate was announced, which then we had to walk another 10 minutes just to get to our gate, thankfully it was relatively close to the main part of the terminal. Some of the gates take as long as 20 minutes to walk to – that’s just crazy.

When we got to our gate, again we had to go through another small security check and then checked in. It’s the first time that Lisa or I have ever had to check in as you entered the gate but that’s what we had to do. Once checked in we grabbed a seat and waited till it was time to board.

Boarding time was announced and we both hopped up and started down the ramp to the plane, when we got on board we were amazed as we walked by the first class cabin, we were on a new Boeing 777 and the first class section looks crazy. Lisa and I were pretty excited as the rest of the planes we had flown on for the last two weeks were pretty bare.

We got our own entertainment systems on the plane and the seats were wider than most other planes and it was just really comforting to know that the next 8 hours were going to be much more enjoyable.

As soon as we took off Lisa and I started watching the movie Angels and Demons, the movie was alright but I don’t think it had anything on the Da Vinci Code. After the Da Vinci Code, we both turned on Transformers 2.

I started to fall asleep half way through the movie but didn’t fall asleep for more than 5 minutes and was awake again; I’ve only ever had a good sleep on a plane once. By the time we finished watching Transformers there was no time left to start another movie so I just started watching other programs on the in board entertainment system.

Lisa had finished watching her movie earlier than mine, so finished the flight by watching Year One. Watching the movies killed a lot of time and before we knew it we began to touch down in Toronto.

Again we were worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to make it to our connecting flight in Toronto. So as soon as we got off the plane, Lisa and I walked briskly to the passport and customs line.

The queue was really small which helped and we made it through within a few minutes. We then headed down to the luggage carousels and waited for our baggage.

Our baggage wasn’t showing up and most of the others on our flight had already picked up their bags and had gone. I started to get a little worried but eventually our bags showed up and we grabbed them. We then quickly got through the final security check and made our way to the last gate.

When we got to the gate we still had an hour and half to kill, so Lisa called her mom to try and make arrangements to pick up our cat from her grandmas when we got home, while I went the wash room.

An hour and half later we boarded our final flight to Winnipeg and were happy to find an up to date online entertainment system again. As soon as we took off I started to watch The Taking of Pelham 123 and Lisa started watching something else. Lisa started to feel a little sick from the lack of sleep not long into the flight, and stopped watching her movie.

I ended up watching my movie and not long after we were descending into Winnipeg. Lisa and I had checked the weather forecast on the phone in Toronto and were surprised and sad to see snow on the forecast for Winnipeg on Thursday. But we were more surprised to see snow on the ground when we were on our descent into Winnipeg. Just two weeks ago we left in shorts and now there was snow on the ground – oh well!

We landed safely and were relieved when we stepped off the plane. By that time we had been up for 39 hours and had been flying for over 23 hours. We waited by the carousel and were going to meet Lisa’s brother Lee outside, but he ended up coming into the airport to meet us while we waited for our bags.

It was Thanksgiving Day when we got back so Lisa’s brother drove us back to his place where Lisa’s parents, grandma and our cat where waiting for us along with a Thanksgiving Day meal.

It sure felt good to be back at home!

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