Our travel companions and we agreed, it is always better to have a little extra time for connections going, to insure that we give luggage enough time to be transferred, and for us to make transfers, etc. We make room for things that could go wrong, and we thank God if they don’t. Truth be told, we always kind of expect something to go a little wrong, and schedule in a little extra time to handle it.
I was glad we had a little extra time departing on this trip because coming through Atlanta just a couple weeks before, I had heard rumblings of a new international departures terminal. I’ve come in through Atlanta so many times, I know the routine, but now . . . it might be different! When we arrive in Atlanta, we end up in terminal E, and it is just a short walk (or train ride, but we all enjoy the walk knowing there is a very long flight in front of us) to terminal F. It is not a long walk, but a very empty walk, reminds me of coming into Dubai when they had just opened new parts of the arrivals terminal, and it had some long and ghostly walks.
As you arrive in the new terminal F, you see a grand crystal chandelier sparkling in the sunshine:
The terminal is large, and clean, the kind of clean when a place hasn’t been open very long and doesn’t have those grungy cracks and corners, clean clean clean
On our way to our gate, gate 6, we pass gate 4 where passengers are loading for Amsterdam, and one of our companions runs into an aunt and uncle on their way to Europe for a few weeks. Isn’t life grand? What are the chances? They had hoped to connect, but Atlanta is a big airport and they knew their chances were slim, and then – there they were, face to face! Their gate right next to ours!
We sat at the charging terminal so as to get all charged up for the long flight ahead. Due to tailwinds, the flight that is 17 hours coming from Johannesburg to Atlanta is only around 15 hours going Atlanta – Johannesburg. Still – 15 hours is longer than the grueling 14 hours from Dubai to Atlanta, and a long time to be in one aircraft, let alone one seat.
We take turns going to pick up something to eat. There is a small food court upstairs, including a Starbucks, and we choose PeiWei, where there are a lot of customers. They don’t have the wrap I want, but they have a good stir fry, so we order and get one of those lighting-up-things that buzzes when your order is ready. We always watch for where the flight crews are ordering; they go through these places often and know where to good value for the money is. The flight crews were at PeiWei.
We take our to-go boxes back to the charging station and our companions go, ending up also at Pei Wei. We were all relatively happy (it’s still airport food) and none of us got sick.
The flight was long. We had prayed for travel mercies, and I spotted three empty seats on the flight, one between AdventureMan and me, one between our companions, and one in front of us. Thanks be to God, I am thankful for a little extra space and the ability to get out and walk from time to time.
When we arrive in Johannesburg, our luggage all arrives with us, we don’t need a visa because we are US citizens, we are met by the concierge service from our hotel, the Westcliff, and put into a large car for transfer. I cannot imagine an easier way to transit Johannesburg.
This is from today’s readings in The Lectionary. I love this psalm, I love the thought of the Great Almighty holding steady the pillars of the earth. When things start going a little crazy all around me, (and it happens, doesn’t it, to all of us?) I hold this verse firmly in my mind, and know that no matter how bad it looks, God almighty holds steady the pillars of the earth.
To the leader: Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
1 We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.
2 At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
3 When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep its pillars steady.
4 I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast’,
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5 do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with insolent neck.’
6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
7 but it is God who executes judgement,
putting down one and lifting up another.
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.
9 But I will rejoice* for ever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.
PS. This is my 3800th post. Woooo HOOOOOO!