The Marchon Family - '00 South Africa

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Day 1

11 Feb 2000: St.Gallen, Switzerland - Cape Town, South Africa

After a more or less normal working day morning rise on this wintry friday, we took a train to Zurich Airport. We, that's my girlfriend Annemarie and myself. Having had our baggage checked in the evening before at the St.Gallen train station - a very nice service of SBB and Swissair/Zurich Airport I can only recommend - we had an easy trip on the train and didn't even have to queue up in front of the busy check-in counters, since they had also given us our boarding passes at the train station. We were thus able to enjoy a cup of coffee, before walking throught the passport and security checkpoints to our gate. There, a Swissair MD-11 was waiting for us and we boarded to find a two-seat section waiting for us.

The plane took off a bit late, having had to wait for a few connecting flights that had been delayed somehow, and then we were on the way to Johannesburg. It was quite a long flight - some ten hours or so - but since there was almost no time zone changes involved, the jet lag was quite acceptable. We watched the sunset from the air, shortly before our landing at Johannesburg airport, where we arrived still with some delay from those connecting flights. After waiting in a queue for immigration (why do they have to check, recheck and stamp all those passports that thoroughly in some places and why are there always no more than two counters open although there are at least ten of them - or at least that's what it always looks like to me?), we were able to catch our connecting South African Airways Airbus, which was waiting for us Swiss people. Well, that's not so surprising after all, bearing in mind that Swissair owns quite a chunk of SAA ...

It was after midnight when we finally reached Cape Town International Airport (it's a two hour flight from Johannesburg - it is a rather large country, too ...) and looked for some shuttle to take us to the Holiday Inn Waterfront, where a reserved room was waiting for us. Everything was fine with the room, except maybe that everybody looked a bit funny when we showed up with our suitcases wrapped in huge plastic bags (courtesy of SBB ...). Well, and that was it for the first day, when we finally got ourselves to bed at around two in the morning ...

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