One flight down, two to go.
===Sparky and I got on our plane in Durban, albeit short of all our ammo, much to our dismay. Long story short, some people are just plain incompetent and it ain't me and Sparky.
So, we make it to Johannesburg, find the lady with the guns - our guns, actually - and headed off to find the KLM check in. Our biggest concern was the cannons - some people just get touchy around guns. We did the automated check in and investigated the price of an upgrade to business class. Let me say this, I am currently sitting in the Air France/KLM Executive Lounge, drinking and eating, enjoying myself and looking forward to our 11 hours of comfortable flight.
To the guns... We were standing in line to check our baggage and one fellow took a look at the guns and left. He returned shortly with another short and officious character who stood with us through the baggage line up and informed us he would be taking care of our gun issues. We got through the line up and followed him to a tiny little office. He knew what he wanted and we knew what to give him. He had us sign a book and he told us he would personally take good care of our guns. It was a great relief.
The rest of the process was easy - hurry up and wait - and here we are sitting in the lounge for the next five hours, pretty much drinking our faces off, or not.
We'll see what kind of adventure we can find on the next leg of our journey.
Posted by morganhart
Home safe and sound - for the most part - and looking forward to another adventure.
Well, we made it back. We touched down in Calgary on Sunday afternoon and forty five minutes later, we walked out of the airport free men. Kind of sounds like we were in prison, and with the time we spent crammed into airplanes, prison is a pretty accurate analogy.
Our flight from Johannesburg in business class was very, very nice. We were sipping champagne before the rest of the common folk were even in their seats. Our meals were served on linen tablecloths, our drinks came in glasses, and we got real cutlery. The seats were power recliners and it was very, very comfy. Too bad the only person that couldn't sleep was me. Ol' Sparky did his chainsaw impersonation right along with the guy in front of him. I think they may actually have been snoring in harmony at one point.
Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we were first off the plane, of course, and we were off to find bathrooms, smoking lounges, cold drinks and Netherlands stickers for our guncases. We had a couple hours to putz around in the airport, so we did just that. Checked out the cheese, looked at the liquor, and investigated internet. Overall, it was pretty tame. In order to get on a plane in the Netherlands, you must go through a direct security check which meant we had to go through the scanner thing. Unfortunately for our flight, only one of the two was working at our gate and it took FOREVER to get through. Subsequently, we were late getting in the air. Oh well. Hurry up and wait.
The flight was a full eight hours as advertised, but no where near as comfy as the eleven hours in business class that we enjoyed from Johannesburg. The original plan was to sleep on the Johannesbury-Amsterdam flight and stay away on the Amsterdam-Calgary flight. Nice idea, didn't work.
We filled out our customs forms and were ready for whatever our own country could throw at us. We actually got through relatively easily, but I was still nervous standing around the sniffer beagle. I didn't have anything that could get his attention, unless he could smell remnants of dog barf on my shoe. Anyway, the stuff made it and it was off to customs to start the gun thing. Sparky was first and through in a minute. I was next, so I put the case on the table, opened it up and what is right next to my gun? A bag of porcupine quills. I had put them in there when we left the last lodge and I forgot all about them. I told the customs guy that I forgot all about them and he said he would ask the animal guy for advice.
SOOOOO, here comes buddy with his beagle. About three feet from the gun case, Snoopy gets excited and lets go a howl and starts to pull against his leash. His handler held him back and I told him about the quills. His response was, "Cool!!! I don't see a problem. Have a nice day." Nice.
Through the doors and looking for my darling Lynrd and Colleen, but to no avail. Then, out of the corner of my eye I see this red head steaming through the people. Ooohhh, that's right. Lynrd is a red head. Big hugs and all was right with the world once again.
The gear and people got loaded into the truck and we were off. It was not that strange driving on the right side of the road again. It was even more comfy when we stopped at Timmy's and grabbed a coffee. It was very nice to be home.
This is the last entry for my blog, at least as far as this trip is concerned. I have written a couple articles which I will be polishing and submitting to a couple magazines for consideration. Keep your eyes peeled and look for some deep thoughts coming out of this trip.
In conclusion, it was a great adventure. Sparky was an entertaining companion, to say the least. We had some great experiences, saw things we have never imagined, travelled to places we had never considered. It was a learning experience to travel in a country so different from ours, and I think I have obtained a few new perspectives on many subjects I have never really had to consider. I am really looking forward to my next trip and what it may bring. Thanks to everyone for following my ramblings and I hope you were able to glean some insight and entertainment from Sparky and LewLew's Most Entertaining Adventure.
Posted by morganhart