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Posted 2:36AM on Sunday, August 05, 2007 Pacific Time
Thanks everyone for the comments and welcome. After a an unplanned 34-hour layover in Johannesburg, I have finally joined the rest of the team in Maputo. In all, getting from Los Angeles to here took three days. The keys to safe and sane traveling in Africa appears to be: travel with plenty of patience and don't expect your baggage to travel with you. It turns out my luggage made it to Maputo before me on an airplane that I was not able to board. To me that sounds like a security concern, but fortunately the only things out of the ordinary in my bags are a mobile podcast studio and half a bag of Trader Joe's honey sesame sticks.
Ben's luggage is still missing. We spent most of yesterday in Johannesburg exhausting all opportunities in trying to locate the missing luggage. From the observation deck, we watched the rest of the team leave on the morning flight. Then we spent a few hours pounding the pavement all over the international terminal, exhausting all our leads with various airport operations people who were unable to help us very much. Then we slept on some wooden benches. Then we caught the last flight of the day to Maputo. We met Neal on that flight, on his way in from Madagascar. He had some amazing stories of his conservation tour there, and of the groups working to preserve the island's fragile environment and rare animal species.
It's late morning now, and I am a room at the Maputo Holiday Inn overlooking the beach. The skies are overcast, the air temperature is comfortable, and there is a healthy offshore wind bringing flutter into the tops of the palm trees that line the beach. The project team has a planning meeting this afternoon and tomorrow the project begins.
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