Everyone gets it wrong – especially when it comes to intercontinental travel. Three hours at the airport before we fly to Perth. Five hours before we arrive in Perth.
Five minutes before arrival, they tell us to get our bags, and walk across to the International terminal because our plane to Johannesburg isn’t here.
Whoops. No plane?
So, we endure the scrum at the SAA counter, until we get our turn and are told that a bus will come to take us to a motor lodge for the night, and then we will be fed breakfast lunch and dinner, after which a bus will come and bring us back to the airport, and then we’ll resume as before.
Just 24 hours late.
Be careful what you wish for, because I was thinking just the other day that it would be nice to have a night’s rest before the intercontinental flight… And I got it. Note to self – buy a lottery ticket.
At the airport we were treated to the sight of South African female of the species entitlementii, making very loud and raucous noises accompanied by characteristic head shaking and eye rolling. This is typical stress response for this species, and if not careful when they are in this mode, they can bite your head off, or rather orff, as they say.
Said female harangued the beleaguered counter staff, with lots of “this isn’t good enough”, and almost reached screech level when she heard we were being put up in a MOTOR LODGE. “If this was South Africa, they’d put us up in 5star accommodation, not some dodgy motor lodge”. She was spotted several more times, stalking to and fro, demonstrating more eye rolling, loud angry noises and head shaking.
Aforementioned bus arrived to transport us; Aussie bus driver having been rousted from his bed in the middle of the night to conduct us to said motor lodge. He had already taken one load of 20, managed to fit in another 20, and then would be back to pick up the next lot.
South African Female sp entitlementii didn’t make it in the latest intake, and neither did we. More fight response was observed, and she was last seen that night stalking orff in the direction of the terminal – “I’m going to shout at the counter staff some more”. Me – I hoped they’d all gone home, and she’d miss the next bus and have to sleep at the airport.
Us, we got a taxi to take us, and avoided 20 sets of baggage, and more scrums.
The next day we seemed to do nothing but eat and sleep. Breakfast, sleep; lunch, sleep and dinner, then taxi to the airport again, thus avoiding more scrum, and arriving before South African female entitlementii, and securing an exit seat. And cheeky ole me, I even managed to get a refund for last night’s taxi…
I think my award goes to SAA for the narrowest seats yet to have been graced with my derriere. I had to stand up to get the entertainment doohicky out of the slot it occupies in the side of the seat. Never had to do that before, and I don’t think my butt has inflated that much between flights, despite breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So- orrff we fly. I stayed awake pretty much the whole 11 hours of flight, watching movies until my retinas were square. Another breakfast ended up on my derriere before I landed, and Johannesburg airport made us welcome. The customs and immigration process was drawn out and confusing. Our check in man didn’t utter a word, didn’t look at us, and seemed to take forever to do very little. Ah, we had to put our clocks back to African time, so everything runs a lot slower here.
Four hours on a lounge couch before the last leg – Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. Flying south east over parched, dry country for most of the flight – they are in severe drought in the centre of the country. And as we get closer to the coast, suddenly it all turns green.
And then a bus to our final stop – Shamwari Game Reserve.
By this time so much time has elapsed since we departed, that my eyes cannot focus and I feel a bit like a drunken sailor. It’s a bed for me asap.
So, I swear, the destination is it, not the journey there.