Well, as you know if you've ever travelled in the Marmite nations, the accompanying photo can only mean one thing: I am back in South Africa. After 20 hours in the air (at the end of the last leg, a 12 hour flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town, the entire plane broke out into rowdy applause, cracking up our flight attendant to the point where she could barely finish her announcements) four in-flight movies (Eat Pray Love sucked) and countless digs on the Swiss at the expense of the good-natured Swiss cutie sitting next to me, I made it to South Africa exhausted but happy.
The tropical-beach scent of the air as I waited in the customs line and the friendly "Totsiens!" from the airline staff were music to my senses, and I learned that I have retained just enough Afrikaans get people to start firing off long, complicated sentences at which point I apologize and switch to English. I'm working on it.
Not related to wine or South Africa, but interesting to me, was the cool library at Amsterdam's awesome Schipol airport. Full of funky chairs, interactive iPad games for youngsters, and awesome books, it was a super relaxing and fun way to pass the time. I even met an American who was traveling to Nigeria for a wedding.
I found some great layover reading: this amazing collection of letters from a fifteen-year friendship between Isabelle de Charriere, one of 18th century France's most celebrated literary minds, and Constant D'Hermenches, a decorated Swiss officer to whom she began writing after they met at a party. They're love letters, though not in the traditional sense -- d'Hermenches was married and Isabelle had several relationships during the correspondence -- but they convey an incredible connection between two people who met only a handful
of times in person over the course of their lives. Check this book out. I'm a sucker for such a Jane Austen-esque story, and I couldn't put it down and almost missed my boarding call.
And now back to our regular programming.