Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Birthday Comes One Week Early

You know how yesterday I said I had the best day ever?  I may have to amend that because today ranks pretty close to the best day ever, for slightly different reasons.

Today I flew to Johannesburg to meet up with one of the professors from my department back at Texas Tech.  She is here doing a three day seminar at Vaal University.  Since she is a Nutrition professor, I took advantage of her visit to make some contacts in the Hospitality and Tourism department there.  I am also planning to visit another Hospitality and Tourism professor friend of mine from the University of South Africa.  We met at the Ecotourism Conference I attended in September in Nairobi.
When I arrived at my guest lodge in Johannesburg I was greeted by a gift:
Yes, that is luggage.  My long lost luggage.  The luggage I thought was gone forever after my trip from hell to Ethiopia.  Keep in mind I was in Ethiopia on November 24th.  That means it took 45 days to get it back to me.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  Ethiopian Airlines delivered it to Johannesburg on December 17th, so it was really only 24 days, but they couldn’t send it all the way to Gaborone because they don’t fly to Botswana and because I was in Namibia anyway and wouldn’t have been able to pick it up at the time.  So I asked them to deliver it to the lodge where I knew I would be staying during this trip to Joburg.  Thankfully the lodge didn’t mind holding the bag for almost a month.
When I heard the luggage had arrived a few weeks ago I was cautiously optimistic because I had no idea whether it was the correct bag, or if it completely empty.  This was attached to the bag:
But this was what worried me:
When I checked the bag in on November 24th it had a lock (which are legal and pretty much required here in Africa).  So I was a little concerned about what may have been removed from the bag after the lock had been cut.

Fortunately when I opened the bag it appeared everything had survived.  If something had been taken it was something I didn’t care about.  All the things I was hoping to see again (and mourning when I thought the bag was gone forever, because I knew I couldn’t replace these things here) were alive and well.  My zebra print Bobs, purple purse, universal converter, curling iron, UB library book, and even the plantain chips I bought in Uganda were all there:

Now, the luggage would have been enough to make this the best early birthday present ever.  But on top of that I got to see Mary, the Nutrition professor from TTU tonight as well.  We went to dinner and she brought me a few things from the U.S.  When my Super Mom heard the zebra print Bobs and purple purse fell victim to the Ethiopian Airlines Luggage demons she sprang into action and sent a new purse, zebra Bobs, two additional pairs of Bobs and a few other goodies over with Mary:
It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good year.

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