After 30+ hours, we finally made it to Johannesburg. The trip was pretty painless and Qatar Airways proved to be quite pleasant once you left their hopeless ground staff behind. Our close college friend and former NYC roommate Carolyn met us at the airport and whisked us away to her apartment with strict instructions not to fall asleep (or she would "hate us forever"). Easier said than done. That said, jet lag is a lot less intimidating when you are not stressed about it ruining the entirety of your week-long vacation. We have four weeks in this time zone, so I think we'll manage.
After one of my most refreshing showers in years, the three of us assembled and headed for a Christmas lunch at one the home of one of Carolyn's friends. What better way to avoid falling asleep than an afternoon of delicious South African wine and huge quantities of food? Fortunately, the company was great and we managed to stay mostly conscious until we arrived home. Then it was off to bed early in the hopes of getting on schedule.
Today, Monday, I awoke with that momentary panic, "Where am I?!?" Sun was streaming through the window and a bizarre chorus of birds was ringing in the dawn. We were either in South Africa or the second Hunger Games arena. It was the first moment that felt radically different from being in the US. After all, the bird sounds in NYC were limited to the soft coo'ing of pigeons as they nested on our shower sill.
Whitney and I did a quick morning workout, consistent with our goals of returning in six months as lithe travel gods (hot camp goes international!). After a 90 second plank I collapsed in a heap and told myself that it was definitely the altitude that was constraining my success.