Presidential Sighting

On Wednesday I spent 3 hours at the Cape Town International Airport waiting to board my flight for Dubai.  I hadn't eaten lunch so settled in at a nice cafe overlooking the ramp.  I'm a bit of an airplane buff so really enjoyed watching all the flights come and go.

Shortly after sinking my teeth into a delicious chili chicken wrap a South African Air Force plane pulled up to the terminal right in front of where I was sitting.  Stairs were pulled up to the aircraft and for the next half hour or so lots of people got on and off.

Then suddenly a long convoy of black cars pulled up.  Armed soldiers jumped out of the bigger SUV's and positioned themselves around the plane.  Once they were in place the doors of the car that had stopped at the bottom of the stairs opened and out stepped South African President Zuma!!  He saluted the soldiers at the bottom of the stairs and climbed aboard.  The doors closed, the stairs were pulled back, and off he went, to where I don't know.

I really wanted to whip out my camera but surmised that there were under-cover security forces lurking in the terminal who would'nt be too pleased.

Kind of a fun memory anyway.

A Whale of a Plane

I’m sitting in the Dubai International Airport, awaiting my next flight.  This place is quite the international crossroads.  Even at 6:30 in the morning it’s all hustle and bustle.  From where I am sitting I see people drinking coffee, eating seafood, and surfing the internet.  Over in one gate area is a Chinese group listening to their tour guide give them instructions on how to be civilized tourists.  He’s been at it since before the sun came up!!

My flight from Beijing was on the new A380 plane .  It is said that the upper deck of the plane has private suites and a shower.  I was slightly tempted to sneak up the stairs for a peek, but wisely decided against it. For about 2 hours of the flight we were over Pakistan.  That was a bit surreal for me.

Flying this monster reminded me of our family’s first flight on the Boeing 747, back in 1970.  The 747 was a brand new aircraft and was so much bigger than anything else flying.  We were flying from London to Chicago on Pan Am.  The plane was parked out on the tarmac, so were taken to it by bus.  When we got off the bus and my mom looked up at the TWO flights of stairs to climb to board, she announced, “I’m not getting on that thing!”  And since that wasn’t really an option, my dad, sister, and I got behind her and literally pushed her up the stairs.

Onward to Cape Town….

Midnight Flight to Dubai

Five hours from now I'll be on my way to Dubai.  I've always wanted to go to Dubai.  Unfortunately, I'll only be in the airport for a few hours before catching a flight to South Africa.

This will be my first time on the African continent so I'm pretty excited.  Table Mountain, here I come!

I'll be in South Africa for 2 weeks.

I'm thinking that South Africa is about as far away from False Pass, Alaska (where my niece is) that a person can get and still be on the same planet.

Watch this space for photos and stories…..

Sandals, Autumn Edition

We are having an unusually warm October in Beijing, with temps in the high 70's all last week and forecast for remaining in the 70's this coming week. This means, among other things, that I still wear my sandals everyday.

Unfortunately, since everyone else in the community has already donned their long underwear (October 1 is the prescribed date for that), this is aberrant — almost deviant — bordering on downright subversive behavior. When I walk down the street, get on an elevator, or even walk into my office, everyone immediately stares at my feet (no one even pretends not to), and audible gasps!

"Leng bu leng?"  "Are your feet cold?"  I respond that no, my feet are not cold, but in saying that I am aware that no one believes me because anyone with a brain knows that feet that are not properly wrapped up after October 1 will simply shrivel up and die.  When I was in the office on Friday, with a crowd of people standing around staring at my feet, I just announced that I did not intend to stop wearing sandals until the daytime temperatures dropped below 10 (50).  They were not amused.

Last year I wrote about wearing my sandals in eary in April (horrors!!) and the similar reaction I got then.  On that occasion I penned a theme song for my sandal wearing (to be sung to the tune of the old Sunday School favorite "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus").  I think it's appropriate to re-post it here:

I have decided to wear my sandals; (3x)
No turning back, no turning back.

The sun before me, the stares behind me; (3x)
No turning back, no turning back.

Though grannies scold me, still I will wear them; (3x)
No turning back, not turning back.

Though colleagues snicker, I will ignore them; (3x)
No turning back, no turning back.

I have decided to wear my sandals; (3x)
No turning back, not turning back.