Sunday, August 30, 2015

South Africa - Day 1 - KC to Johannesburg

KC to DC (oops) NYC to Johannesburg - 08/29/15

Corner Cafe - Yum
As the saying goes, poor planning leads to missed opportunity - or something like that.  Well, the poor planning wasn't intentional, from my point of view.  But it was factual.

From the start…  we planned to go to the Corner Cafe in Riverside to get a good breakfast before we headed out.  So my mother came over to get us and our bags (Kathy's weighed in at  40 lbs and mine at 45 lbs - but I had a good 10 lbs of body soap and hair care products from hers in mine…) to take us to CC.  After arriving at 10:00 AM CST and meeting our daughter, Tonya, at CC, we waited for about 15 minutes due to its popularity and were seated.  During all of that, I had the infinite wisdom to

Turns out, the itinerary changed slightly due to a little timing issue.  You see, my original schedule said our flight left at 12:30 CST from KCI to head to Washington DC (Dulles), which then set us up for a 5:30 PM EST flight to Johannesburg.  Basically there was no such United Airlines flight, so I scrambled back to my original itinerary, saw that it was real, and checked again.  No luck.  I then remembered that my travel agent sent me a revised itinerary that had some flight changes noted on the back end of the trip.  It also happened to have a flight change at the beginning as well.  That 12:30 flight was now 10:20 and it had already left.  Crap.
Rob Admitting The Snafu

We continued to eat our breakfast, though everyone’s stomach was churning with nerves - especially mine.  I made some calls to United, they couldn't help.  Called my travel agent, who was traveling herself, and left a message.  Mom continued to look for alternatives on her phone as did I.  Once we were done with breakfast, we headed back home to see what we could do. I then contacted South African Airlines, who had my original booking. They said my travel agent had to initiate the change and it was out of their hands.  Crap.

I called my travel agent again and she just landed in LA, so I explained what happened (see above).  She was not in a place where she could address it, however she had a peer back at the office call me around 15 minutes later with an update that she was working on getting me in the air as soon as she could.  I let her go with great anticipation for a call back.  A few minutes later, which seemed like an hour or so, I got a call back with some options.  Long story short, what I heard on my end of the phone was great news and immediately got Kathy and Mom up and out the door while I was still on the phone.  I traded my credit card information for the glorious change fees and new flight costs (ouch, that hurt), and we were on our way to KCI for a 2:30 PM CST flight to Newark NJ and a next day flight out of JFK.
Great Friends - Great Times

You see, as things spin in my head, I recall that Kathy and I have some very awesome friends in NYC.  On the way to KCI, I phoned Jodi and Stu, who we met in 2009 on an Alaskan cruise.  I explained the “new plan” to Jodi and she graciously volunteered Stu to meet us at Newark at 6:30 PM EST.  Once we arrived to the Rockaway Beach area, we were greeted by some of their friends at a beach house right off the Atlantic Ocean.  It was a bit breezy, but very warm with friendship, food, and some adult beverages. 
Still Daylight in Rockaway Beach
Stu was ore out from the drive to NJ

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