Jul 2, 2010 by Krysta
I've typed this blog on only 2 hours of sleep, so if there are spelling errors or it simply makes no sense... well, at least I tried.
It was my very last day of a long, boring month of reserve. I was on standby for the evening, convinced that I'd be sent on a turnaround flight as I was scheduled to have the next 2 days off. At 5 am I got the dreaded phone call to let me know that I'd been pulled out for a flight. The bad news was that I had to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed. The good news? I was being sent to Capetown, South Africa! I'd be crossing my fingers for this flight since I'd start flying, so I was happy to sacrifice my 2 days off in Dubai. I considered myself to be extremely lucky. It's a highly desired layover on any day, but during the FIFA World Cup it's even more impossible to score.
Off to the airport I headed, where I met the crew and happily chattered away about how excited I was to finally be going to South Africa.
At 9 hours, the flight was quite tiring, but the majority of the passengers were headed to the World Cup and therefore in a great mood. I was happy to meet a few Canadians, and I spent some time discussing the greatness of Tim Horton's coffee while gushing about the fact that I'd be home next week. I wished them a happy Canada Day (one day early) and continued on doing my job.
When we finally landed I was exhausted. Despite this, I'd heard great things about the food in South Africa and I wasn't about to settle for room service. It's very rare for many crew to venture out together, so we were shocked when 12 of us showed up in the hotel lobby to head out in search of dinner. We waited what seemed like hours for the shuttle bus to pick us up and bring us to the Waterfront area, but there was plenty going on in the lobby. We eagerly got our faces painted in the spirit of the game, and stood amongst dozen of Brazilian and German soccer fans who clutched vuvuzelas (those extremely annoying horns that are constant background noise during games) and proudly wore their country's colors. Eventually the bus came and we crammed in, sitting on the floor and on laps. We settled on a nice restaurant that promised the best South African cuisine. It's currently winter in the Southern hemisphere, so we were feeling pretty chilly at our outdoor table. Fortunately we found a soft fleece blanket on each chair, and we each sat cuddled up at the dinner table. For dinner I chose a seafood platter, as usual. The prawns, calamari, and fish were cooked to perfection, fresh off the coast. Televisions showing recaps of the games were found in every corner. A group of singers parked themselves in front of the restaurant, singing and dancing African music, enhancing the already exciting atmosphere. I don't follow or even understand the sport, but I would have loved the opportunity to have gone to a game. Of course, just being in the city was the next best option. By the time we'd all finished our meals I was too full to move. A cold breeze was blowing in and I was shivering in my seat. I ordered a hot chocolate and was informed by the waiter that I "simply must try the white hot chocolate, it's simply divine". I wasn't about to argue with that, so I gave it a try and I have to say I agreed with him. We paid the massive bill and headed back to the hotel, where I crashed in bed almost immediately.
The next morning I woke up just in time to see the sun light up the mountains outside my window. It was going to be a beautiful day. I proceeded to get ready and then headed downstairs where I'd planned to meet 2 of the new crew members... May from South Korea and Fadi from Lebanon. In typical Krysta fashion I was eager to see and do as much as possible, so I dragged them to the concierge who advised us that our best bet would be to catch the "Hop On/Hop Off" bus and do the loop around the city. We made our way the stop across the street and hopped onboard to purchase our tickets. We rushed to the second level of the double decker bus and pulled out our cameras, ready for action. I typically prefer doing my own thing, but with limited time and not much knowledge of the city, the bus tour was great. We wore headphones and listened to the commentary, learning about the different landmarks and monuments, and the racial issues that had once plagued South Africa. With limited time we opted to stay on the bus at all except for one stop... Table Mountain. The bus drove up the side of the mountain offering amazing views of the city and the sea below, and the mountains in the distance. Once we saw the line for the cable car ride we decided against it, satisfied with the already beautiful view. It was a clear day and I made great use of my camera. We stayed awhile, taking in the views and the fresh air before we waited for the next bus and got back onboard. The next hour of the journey took us past the breathtakingly beautiful coastline. Crashing waves hit the shores and the smell of the sea lingered in the air. I love the ocean! We passed by mansions and luxury apartment complexes, wondering what celebrities might be spotted on these beaches during the summer months. I was sad as we drove away from the water and back into the city. Time flies when you are having fun! We'd reached the stop closest to our hotel so we got off, happy with our day. By this point we were starving, so we headed to a pizzeria beside the hotel and chowed down on some amazing wood fire oven baked pizza. I could tell that my travel companions were getting a bit drowsy, so we headed back to our rooms. I should have slept but instead I found myself looking through my photos and slowly packing my suitcase. Before I knew it, the phone rang for my wake up call and I realized that there would be no time to sleep before the flight. No big deal, I'd survive. I began to regret my decision once we were on the aircraft and the captain informed us of a one hour delay. I fought the fatigue until it was time for my break. I dozed off in my bunk bed for a short hour, allowing the turbulence to rock me to sleep. The way back to Dubai always seems to drag by, but eventually we landed. It was early in the morning on July 2nd, but it was still Canada Day at home. I rushed into my apartment and treated myself to some of the maple leaf shaped goodies that Ryan had brought me for the specific purpose of enjoying on Canada Day. Content with my layover and looking forward to the next one, I crawled into bed. This job comes with it's share of frustrations, but on days like this I think to myself "They pay me to do this?!"