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February 6, 2008

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Cape Town to L.A.

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Greetings from Los Angeles, California! I've finally arrived home after an unbelievable amount of travel, which began when I left Cape Town and wrapped up just this past weekend when I came home from Phoenix. That's right! I was at the Super Bowl to witness the best game ever and my voice is only now recovering ... GO GIANTS! If you want to see pictures from our star-studded luxury box and even more shots from Jo'burg, Dakar, NYC, LA, Chicago and Palm Springs, then put on your Big Blue gear and join me as we root for America's new team! Sorry Cowboys fans. There's a new sheriff in town. Looking for more excitement? This week, join Chuck Taylor as he enjoys a winter adventure in Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado. Or, for something a little more low-key, join our new writer Bob Ravitz, as he and his wife take the train from the northeast to Florida ... and love it. All aboard? Let's go!

My long day of travel began in Cape Town, South Africa. I took a one-hour, 40-minute flight to Johannesburg, hung out in the lounge and spent my last few Rand before hopping on another South African Airways (SAA) plane for the eight-hour, 15-minute flight to Dakar. This time, the one-hour layover to refuel and pick up passengers was painful; there's only so much you can see from a plane window and that was covered on the way over. This time, the plane touched down at 2:40am local time so it was pitch black outside and it disrupted everyone's sleep pattern. We were woken up 30 minutes prior to touchdown to put our seats into the upright position. With the cabin lights on high, everyone, myself included, looked like a zombie as the cleaners and the security officials came through. All the New York-bound passengers had to stay on the plane and take their bags down from the overhead bin so they could make sure that none of the passengers deplaning in Dakar had left anything behind ... like a bomb.

The journey to JFK was an hour longer (eight hours) than it was coming over and I imagine the flight would've been torture in economy so I was completely stoked to be up in SAA's business class. The flat beds and cozy comforters made the flight a piece of cake and helped me sleep most of the way, which is quite unusual for me. To read a full review of South African Airways' business class service between New York and South Africa, click here.

When I landed at Kennedy airport, I headed straight to Connecticut (42 miles away) to hang out with my family. It was a good decision to break up my trip. Getting on another five-hour flight would've made me stir crazy. Instead, I flew back to California on Delta a few days later, even though I had to fly all the way back to Chicago two days later for a meeting. I just wanted to go home, even if it was for just a few hours. Besides I needed to replenish my underwear supply.

I really didn't feel like going to Chicago (or anywhere, for that matter), especially when I looked at The Windy City's forecast. Ouch! I winced as I packed a few winter clothes for the trip. But my 16-hour stay there turned out to be fun and I dined at a fairly new restaurant downtown across from Millennium Park. The Gage (24 South Michigan Ave; Tel: 312-372-4243) serves upscale comfort food, fine wines and sports a vintage decor. Afterwards, I checked into The Sofitel Chicago O'Hare (5550 North River Road; Tel: 847-678-4488). It was comfortable and my room had a cozy provincial interior design. But the best part was that O'Hare Airport was just two miles away and the hotel offered a free shuttle service.

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Cape Town Airport


Cape Town to Jo'Burg


SAA Lounge


JNB Airport


SAA's business class


JNB to Dakar


Dakar to JFK


Slept most of the way


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