We planned this trip over 15 months ago, so it was a little odd for the trip to now be in the present. It was difficult for us to leave the dogs, since they are much older now, especially Toby, and you never know what will happen when you're gone. We packed everything into our rental car a Ford Focus which left almost no room in the car and a concern we wouldn't be able to make it up the slope on the 73 highway in Orange County. Fortunately, we did make it. With difficulty.

We had lunch at Hans's, an ice cream parlor in Costa Mesa just north of South Coast Plaza. We used to live literally within walking distance of Hans's, but never knew about it until the week we left. Now, nearly every time we drive by going or coming to Los Angeles, we stop there. Go figure. Except for a little bit of traffic between Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach, traffic was not actually that bad on the 405, which was very odd for a Friday afternoon.

We got to LAX a little after 4pm, and met Justin's parents. Coincidentally, they and we were both planning separate trips to Southern Africa for the fall of 2007. Both we and them wanted to go to Cape Town, Botswana, and Victoria Falls. We decided to just go together, figuring we would save some in costs and would also have at least one couple we could speak with at group dinners that would not drive us insane. We worked with them to figure out an itinerary, which put a little bit of pressure on Justin when they told him "We'll probably never go back to Africa." No pressure there for the trip to be a success.

Justin's parents had already checked in for our flight on British Airways, and we attempted to do the same, only no one was paying any attention. We already had our boarding passes we just needed to check our bags through to Cape Town. We stood in the baggage drop line for probably 15 minutes before someone directed us to a different line where somebody was actually doing something. After checking in, we went upstairs to get our last decent food for the next 24 hours, then went to the gate and waited patiently for our flight. Luckily, we did not have anything along the lines of Philippines Airlines, and our flight actually took off when it was supposed to.