While we’ve certainly had longer travel days, I’m not sure that any felt longer than our trip yesterday from Joburg to Tel Aviv. We woke up around 5:45 am to collect our items and head to the airport for our 5.5 hour flight, 5 hour lay-over, 4.5 hour flight, and then a 40 minute drive to the hotel.
All seemed to be off to a good start on the first flight- we left on time, had an acceptable set-up on the plane (still no TVs :(…), and found ways to entertain ourselves on the way to Addis Ababa. The “challenges” arose upon landing and trying to pass the layover. The airport was one of the more interesting ones we’ve come across. It certainly wasn’t the smallest but certainly was one of the least “stocked” with amenities we’d seen.
We found the lounge and huddled around a fan and the CNN feed to pass the time. The interesting things started happening when the airport power would go out- probably 7-10 times during our layover, the fan, TV, and electrical outlets would just shut off for a few minutes at a time (the shortest was about 10 seconds and the longest was about 10 minutes). It became a game to try to figure out not only when but also how long the situation would repeat itself.
Debbie and I passed the time watching Netflix and making phone calls- highlight on my end was a nice conversation with Lindsay, Graham, and birthday Lea (she turned 8 yesterday) while Debbie and Sam had a good conversation as well.
This was one of the flights that I’d desperately tried to change. The flight was supposed to land at 9 pm (with only a 2 hour layover) when we booked it but it was changed to land at 12:15 AM with a longer layover. After failing to be allowed to change it and having this long travel day, we finally made our way to the gate around 7 pm for the 7:30 pm flight. After a gate change and a lengthy delay, we were maybe on the plane by 8 pm and up in the air at 9 pm – meaning that we weren’t going to land until 12:45 AM.
This flight was one of the harder ones to pass. After a bite to eat, we both fell asleep and, I guess per Israeli regulation, about 1 hour before landing were told to return the seats upright and turn off all electronics as you couldn’t have anything out and/or on upon landing.
The pleasant surprise of the evening was that clearing customs was a non-issue but it was nearly a 30-minute+ wait for the bags to come out. We got a Gett (Israeli Uber) and made our way to the hotel by 2:20 AM and were exhausted.
Hopefully today’s travel day goes smoother and less exciting- we have a very short flight from Tel-Aviv to Eilat before we attempt to get across the border to Jordan and spend 2 nights in Aqaba.
Going to be an interesting one here…new country for us both (Jordan)!