Okay, we will update our last few days in Switzerland eventually, but first to this morning’s calamity. We knew our transfer in Jo’burg would be tightish. We had 1 hour and 45 minutes but we didn’t need to clear customs and it was well within acceptable limits. But then …..
Our plane into Jo’burg was 10 minutes late.
Our gang bridge wasn’t working so we were redirected to another part of the airport miles way from anywhere.
We were one of the last off the plane because we were up the back and we got stuck behind all the wheelchair brigade.
We ran into a long line at passport control.
We then ran into another line heading to very stressed staff to get our boarding passes.
They kept calling forward people heading to Gabarone, but not Vic Falls so we thought we were okay.
So we finally get to the counter for our boarding passes with 45 minutes before our flight leaves to be told the flight closes 50 minutes before departure and we’re not on the plane. We pleaded and cajoled, they rang twice to get the flight reopened for us to no avail (the person on the other end of the line doesn’t have to eyeball three young boys and a stressed wife).
So that was it, “sorry Mr Grant, there is nothing we can do”.
So we had to work our way out of the predicament from there. First our baggage. That took two hours while they worked out where it was. The boarding pass people said there was no way it would be on the plane to Vic Falls. Well, actually four bags did catch the plane to Vic Falls, so we waited for our lone bag, taking bets on whose it would be. It ends up it’s mine (Andrew’s) which is probably okay because most of anything of value is in mine. The other four will enjoy 24 hours in Vic Falls airport. I wonder how they’ll go?
I then had to endure another hour long queue of irate people to try and re-book flights. I ended up with a very helpful lady who has re-booked us for tomorrow. Anne and the boys gorged on a mountain of KFC for the equivalent of $12! And by the time I got back to them they’d bought vuvuzelas as well!
Finally, a night’s accommodation. I heartily recommend http://www.booking.com. We’re holed up in a two bedroom unit five minutes from the airport with a transfer back to the airport booked for 6am tomorrow. That will give us nearly five hours to make sure we can check in and clear customs and security.
Okay, Andrew speaking. This has been a really tough day for Anne and the boys. But before I came I took advice from my sister which was, whatever happens, smile and accept you’re in Africa. And as I sit here with the doves cooing amidst a chorus of all the birds of my childhood,I feel nearly home.
Most of the people we dealt with today were all good people. And this South Africa that I last visited twenty five years ago is very different. Gone is the menace of apartheid, replaced with the natural cheerfulness and flamboyance of the people of this land. The most irate people in the queues today were white South Africans. The dark shadow of the rainbow nation.