And That's a Wrap...
August 9, 2006

A girl deserves to treat herself to something nice every once in a while. The first time I opted for this was immediately
following sleeping in a tent (put up by none other than myself and Lori) for a week. As I stated in a previous journal, somebody
would swear I had never entered a hotel before. I am not lying when I say that I looked at the pads of paper and pens on the
desk in amazement.

Now it was time for me to treat myself once again a la Hyatt points. These would put me up at the Park Hyatt in Johannesburg
for the day or so before I left for India. And why stop there? I went all the way and signed my grungy self up for the Regency
Club level. It’s just businessmen, businesswomen and one uber-casual (albeit very clean and refreshed!) girl that looks along
the lines of a <gasp> backpacker. I really would like to wear a sign explaining my situation. No, I would normally not look like
this in a hotel like this. But, sadly, I have no choice. And then add into the mix that 75% of my clothes need to be washed.
People…I am just scraping by in a wardrobe that is already barely scraping by. Oy.

Well, now I want to talk about my great, great, great last day in South Africa. And it really has nothing at all to do with South
Africa as I have only left the hotel to go to the nice little mall next door to buy a bag so that I can carry my wine. I’ve got
ambitions that I will share with you shortly…

I checked in yesterday around 2pm. Ahhh…home sweet home for the next 26 hours. Upon checking-in, the informed me that I
had a package waiting…and I knew
exactly what it was! I was just minutes away from being reunited with my Trish McEvoy
travel make-up kit, my MAC make-up brushes (only girls can really understand the value of a good make-up brush) and my
bottles of wine that I bought in Robertson Valley. Oh, I love De Waterkant Village in Cape Town! After my smooth move of
forgetting these things at my hotel, they came through and sent these things off for me.

Now on my way to my room. Oh-so-beautiful…as I expected. The down comforter on the bed was extremely inviting as it was
just so darn nice and puffy. I unpacked a few things and then…doorbell rings. I answer. It’s somebody from the hotel delivering
my some bottles of water and a nicely wrapped box of about nine gourmet chocolates. They know me too well.

Then I headed into the lounge where it was time, after two or so weeks, to fully catch up on emails and updating my website. I
got a lot done on the plane which was a nice use of time. But now it was a matter of actually uploading everything. While I was
doing that, I decided to go ahead and upload about ten new Daily Show episodes in my personal love tribute for Jon Stewart.
Why stop there? I then downloaded the first four episodes of the new season of Project Runway. The most time consuming
thing would be uploading about six different Snapfish albums. While doing all of this, I made use of the
latte/cappuccino machine in the lounge. The last time I had a latte was in Tel Aviv. This was overdue. They also had munchies
of little cookies and dried mango (my absolute favorite). Perfect fuel to keep me going on being updated on my trip happenings.

Life got
really good when they came out with a three-tier platter of mini desserts for the lounge. Mini crème brulees, mini
pieces of chocolate cake and mini strawberry tartlets. These went perfectly with another latte.

The phone then rings. Kathrin (my friend from Germany whom I met on the safari) is here. She is working in Jo’Burg for two
months and before I left Zambia, I told her she should come by the hotel after she got off work. So she did. She caught me up
on the rest of her safari (she did the two-week one) and then she gave me some fun dirt. She and our tour guide…um…’spent a
lot of time together’ in the last week. Let’s just say neither of them were getting cold in the tents anymore…if you catch my
drift. I love these kinds of stories! I have yet to rack up a story of that caliber (though I can bet that it would not be posted on
my website if I did). And before anybody thinks I am betraying a friend’s trust, Kathrin told me to go ahead and write it since
she doesn’t know anybody who is reading this. I took her up on the permission that she granted me. She also showed me her
pictures from the rest of her safari and I showed her my pictures from Seychelles. At this time, hors d’oeuvres were being
served in addition to some vino. This would serve as our dinner as we just hung out and chatted for about four hours.

After a couple of smackeroos on the cheeks and a big bear hug (and then another one since it was going to be a few months
before I felt one of those again), Kathrin headed home.

I have made it my mission to take in every benefit nice hotels have to offer when I opt to stay at them…so I headed down to
the gym. I am proud to report that in true hamster-style, I ran on the treadmill for thirty minutes. Impressed? I was. When I
got back to my room, I showered and then soaked in a bubble bath and then wrapped up in a robe and slippers while sipping
tea. Ahhh…

Time for bed. Lattes preventing me from sleeping. I’m just laying there. But can’t sleep. Ugh. I eventually got to sleep.

Phone is ringing. It is 1:15am. I know exactly who it is and I wake right up.
Hello!? It’s my sister! It felt like any normal
conversation that we would have when I was in San Francisco and she was in Atlanta. Only this time I was in Africa! The new
development that would arise from the conversation is that Michelle is going to try to meet me in Chile in February. It felt like
we chatted for five or ten minutes…but it was really almost an hour. Time to go back to bed. But I can’t. I am on a natural high
from just having talked to my sister. I fall asleep.

I wake up at 5am. Can’t get back to sleep. Darn lattes. I know they are the culprits. I couldn’t stop at two…I just
had to have
three…At 5:30am I throw in the towel and wake up. I need to look up some India stuff anyhow. I return a few emails…one of
them to my travel agent. A little bit later, the phone rings. It is about 5:30am.
Huh? I’m not expecting this call. Why is the
hotel calling me so early?


I am greeted on the other end of the line by a voice I know all-too-well…It’s Andrea – my travel agent and friend! My second
call in Africa in the course of four hours. This is the kind of stuff that truly makes a person feel loved. We both agreed that it
was as if we were talking to each other and we were just twenty minutes away. She even said ‘Where should we go to dinner?’
– a question that was all-too-reoccurring as we got together at least once a week for the two months that preceded this trip.
We ended up chit-chatting about this, that and everything else for a while. She leaves for Russia in a couple days (darn brat got
her visa with no problem). This means that things
must go well with my Russian visa when I get to Delhi because I can’t call
her to figure out a new solution. It was time to say good-bye. I hung up the phone with a big smile on my face.

I hit the gym soon after and then went to the business center to print out the documents that I need to obtain my Russian visa
(or at least that I hope are the documents that they need). Then I had breakfast in the lounge – lox, fresh fruit (I realized that
I love gooseberries), fresh mango juice and some dried fruit. This was my ode to the last time for a while that I don’t have to be
concerned about the food that I am putting into my system.

I headed out to the mall and grabbed a little bag so that I can carry my wines that I have been reunited with. My hope is that I
can go two weeks dragging those things around so that I have them to drink when I am in the Maldives for my birthday. I am
doing it for a good, worthwhile cause.

Now I am wrapping up my last couple hours here before heading over to the airport and jumping on that plane. I have a not-
so-brief nine hour layover in Frankfurt before I jump on my India flight.

As for Africa…that’s a wrap!
Back to South Africa.
My gift from the Park Hyatt.
My bathtub.