Africa/Middle East 2014:
Day 1 - Virginia


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Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

Saturday, November 15, 2014: Our first layover of four flights was at Dulles Airport in Virginia. We were on our way to the continent of Africa. Yes, Africa. It was in this very corridor that a familiar song came on the overhead speakers.
It was Africa by Toto, our theme song for the trip. We took this as a very good sign.
We headed to the bus stop outside of the terminal (curbside location 2E) and boarded the Fairfax Connector.
We had a long enough layover that we were able to make a quick side trip to ...
... the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, part of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Here's the first thing you see when you make it past the lockers and the security check and enter the main hangar: the SR-71 Blackbird.
But it's the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar that held the main attraction for us: ...
... Space Shuttle Discovery.
She's a beauty, just like her sister shuttle, Atlantis, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Here's a good look at the black thermal tiles on the nose of Discovery, ...
... and the thermal blankets on her side.
Even Debbie can identify this display as Bruce McCandless II on STS-41-B in 1984 on the first untethered spacewalk.
Another view of lovely Discovery.
Various satellites float overhead.
In another hangar, viewable through a series of large windows, this Martin B-26/B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" was being restored.
In one corner of the space hangar are the Apollo 11 Command Module and the Apollo 11 Mobile Quarantine Facility.
This end of the main hangar housed a Concorde.
Here is the Goodyear Airship Pilgrim. Built in the 1920s, it was the first ever airship built for inflation with helium.
This is the Red Bull Stratos Capsule. On October 14, 2012, it was used to set the world record for highest balloon flight, highest free fall, and fastest free-fall (844 mph).
In front of the museum is a long walk flanked by the Wall of Honor containing donor names. Numerous planes passed the sculpture at the end of the walk as we stood there, and when Debbie took this artsy shot, the plane landing at the time just happened to be a Qatar Airlines jet. Just eight days later, we'd be flying on Qatar Airlines ourselves.
The beautiful sculpture at the end is called "Ascent" by John Safer.
After our last American lunch at the McDonald's at the museum, we headed back to Dulles to check in for our South African Airways flight.
Onboard, we received an amenity kit containing socks, eyeshade, toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Dinner was served with a glass of South African Chardonnay and our first movie selection of the evening was "How to Train Your Dragon 2" on our entertainment sets.

Day 2 >


Africa/Middle East 2014: [Day 1 - Virginia] [Day 2 - Senegal] [Day 3 - South Africa] [Day 4 - South Africa] [Day 5 - Zimbabwe] [Day 6 - Botswana] [Day 7 - Zambia] [Day 8 - Tanzania] [Day 9 - Qatar] [Day 10 - Abu Dhabi] [Day 11 - Dubai] [Day 12 - Oman] [Day 13 - Bahrain] [Day 14 - Jordan] [Day 15 - Jordan] [Day 16 - England]

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