We are back in San Francisco, after our epic trip. San Francisco to Durban is a 22,000 mile round trip. The circumference of the earth is 24,901.55 miles, so we have traveled the equivalent of half way around the world and back. If there is any kind of medal for performing this feat with two children under the age of three we deserve it. And if there isn't, well there should be. Actually the ones who really deserve the medals are the intrepid tiny travellers themselves, who did incredibly well, remaining in good spirits and good temper though three flights, from tropical warmth to freezing London and finally back to temperate and sunny California.
Geekybaby must be the worlds best travelling baby. he decided that "smile at everyone, and see if they smile back" was the greatest game in the world, and thanks to the large bulkhead space on our London to San Francisco leg, he was able to sit on the floor and play with the contents of the seat pocket for hours (not sure why I bothered with packing a bag of toys really). I am glad I packed a change of clothes though, since he had a bit of a blow out, too much variation in baby cuisine (Maybe I'll post later about the fascinating differences in babyfood between continents!). And geekgirl managed to pee through a diaper, requiring an outfit change also (another future post will be about the difference in diaper quality between nations).
The only kink in our carefully planned traveling was that Jo burg airport does not give you your stroller at the gate. Our hand baggage distribution was absed upon having the stroller with us at all times. For security reasons the flight crew and gate staff are not allowed down on the tarmac in Joburg, so strollers are sent to the carousel. We had a lot of carry on bags, geekdaddy labouring under two car seats and a back pack, and me with geekybaby in the ergo carrier, the diaper bag on one shoulder, and a large, awkward to carry duffle (which earned the nickname "the bag of rocks") containing toys, books, coloring equipment, change of clothes, babyfood, snacks, personal DVD player etc, on the other. This left no one with a free hand to carry geekgirl, so she had to walk the miles of moving walkways between the domestic and international terminals of the joburg airport. She did great, and became an expert at negotiang these. Whenever she saw one she would exclaim "I am good at these, let me go first" (in fact I think we maybe gave her a little to much encouragement, because even when we had the stroller, and were trying to move quickly, she wanted to jump out at every moving walkway and walk it herself. Even if it was going in the wrong direction!).
But at 4.30 yesterday we landed in San Francisco. All the bags made it this time (one had missed the Joburg-London flight, but it arrived at Heathrow in time to get checked on to the San Francisco flight), the shuttle arrived speedily to take us to our car, and we were back in the city by 6.05. Five minute too late to pick up our animals, which I was a little sad about.
I'm always very relieved to find the house intact after being gone for so long. I always walk around all the rooms to reconnect with the house. It was very cold, and took a while to warm up, and I still felt a bit disconnected when we went to bed last night. Now we are dealing with jet lag (Geekdaddy and the kids got up at 12.30am to have 'breakfast" and play for 2 hours before going back to bed for intermittent sleep). I picked up the animals this morning, Geekydog was so delighted to see me. I'm sure the cats were too. With all the animals back where they belong the house felt like home again. As I busied myself with unpacking, I found a big grin breaking out on my face for the first time after getting back. We did it!