April 19, 2011

Off to South Africa…

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

In a few hours I begin about 30 hours of travel, starting with an 8am bus to the Boston Airport. I then take four flights: Boston-DC-Dakar-Johannesburg-Cape Town. I actually like traveling and airports and airplanes and such, but even for me this is a long, tiring trip.This is actually my sixth trip to South Africa. My fiance lives in South Africa (he’s from Joburg originally), so we commute back-and-forth between Cape Cod and Cape Town as part of our very long distance relationship. I’m very excited to be traveling to Cape Town once again– Cape Town is already a second home to me, and I plan to move there later this year. Traveling regularly on 24 to 36 hour trips to Cape Town, I can say this: those trips to Europe and cross-country are a breeze now.

In true busy grad student form, I spent the last few days reducing data and finishing up things in lab rather than preparing for my trip. So, I need to stay up a couple more hours to pack and wash dishes and such. Somehow in the midst of hours upon hours of data reduction, I never noticed the tornado that whipped through my apartment, scattering clothes and books and coffee cups everywhere. I need to try to reassemble my apartment into relative order before I leave. It’s okay– in my experience sleeping little the night before the trip can lead to some tolerable on-flight sleep. And at least on South African Airways the flight attendants are friendly, the food is edible, and you can drink as much beer and wine as you want.

I often work on my trips to South Africa, but I’m just bringing a few papers with me this time. I’m taking some much-needed vacation after 4 months of hard work in lab with very few days off and too much time spent indoors. When I return, I hope to be refreshed and ready to finish up the very last of the labwork for my PhD thesis.

Blogging may be a little light the next two weeks.

Okay, time to pack and wash dishes!