I had read prior to my trip that the kind South Africans anticipated me being homesick so duly obliged with reminders of home; an apartment block called Ponte City and the Kaiser Chiefs in Johannesburg whilst Durban hosts the Currie Cup and is even twinned with Leeds.
Day 1, 3pm, London
Following a smooth, traffic free drive down to Heathrow, some awful yet expensive service station food, a quick farewell to Helen and a successful negotiation of the Krusty Kreme stand, I started in my quest to track down my coach and travel companion, the elusive Mr Chris Haueter. He had just returned from taking gold at the Pan Ams so I figured that I would hang out with him and get some reflected glory, success by association. Unfortunately no one recognised him, damn minority sports.
I checked in without getting stopped and searched for the first time ever then spent the next hour trying to find Chris. He wasn't answering his phone and wasn't returning email so I would have to do this the old fashioned way; walking and looking.
I spotted what looked like an old tramp lying across 3 seats sleeping soundly and upon further investigating turned out to be Haueter; I left him to his much needed beauty sleep and went to grab a coffee.
After killing another hour or so, we boarded the plane and settled down for an 11 hour flight. I got a great window seat next to a guy that didn't fit my racial profile of being a terrorist so my journey was going to be effortless.
Once in the air I went to check Haueter's whereabouts and found him sandwiched in his seat by his 150kg flight mate, the guy was so big that he spilled into Chris's seat so much that they couldn't put the arm rest down properly. His flight was going to be hell, quality.