The final preparations are being finalized. The bags are being packed and weighed. In less than 16 hours our delegation will meet in front of an administrative building at Western New England College in beautiful suburban Springfield to begin our journey.
The current travel itinerary is as follows:
We are to meet in front of Deliso Hall at 5 am. (If your a member of the press be sure to get there before 5 because Professor Hamakawa has made it clear that we need to be there by 5 and there is a good chance that bus could leave at 5:01.)
We will travel by bus from Springfield to JFK International Airport in New York City and board a lengthy 12 hour and 45 minute flight set to leave JFK at 11:20 AM and arrive in Dubai at 8:05 AM.
Anyone terribly concerned with our plan taking off and landing can receive email or mobile alerts by going to www.emirates.com , clicking flight status in the column on the left hand side of the page, entering our flight number (204 on 08 June 2010) and clicking the denoted tab "get email or mobile flight status alerts.
We will be flying economy class and the conditions sound good according to emirates web page. Meals are provided and include complimentary beverages. Reviews on the airline food and service will be forthcoming.
There will be a layover of approximately 2 hours in Dubai while we wait to board our second flight from Dubai departing at 10:15 AM and arriving in Johannesburg at 4:25 PM (flight 763 on June 9th). The same tracking and confirmation is available for this flight.
I've spoken with many members of the group. Most are a little worried about the length of the flight and other travel logistics but everyone is extremely excited. This trip began with an idea over a year ago. Most of us heard about it shortly thereafter. The applications were due before the holidays and the first payments due when we returned. Since then we have learned about South African culture and soccer history through a series of Friday afternoon meetings, academic research, and article postings by professors and delegates in our online classroom. And now the day is upon us, we are taking a journey halfway across the globe to a foreign land for the largest single sporting event in the world.
Barring an incident of Snakes on the plane, this should be an awesome trip and I look forward to letting you all know about it twice a day.
LETSSS GOOOOOOOO USAAAAA