I got to the airport fully aware of the fact that I was overweight in baggage. Despite specific instructions otherwise, Mills was also three kilos too heavy. I dragged my suitcase onto the scale and feigned indignant ignorance. "Twenty three point seven? Nevah!"
KLM didn't buy it.
Dragged luggage back to my parents, with my mother muttering something about how putting my brother on a plane was always much easier. Unpacked approximately two kilos into hand luggage, handed mother a further two kilos out of hand luggage (to be put back after weighing). Picked up bag... put bag down. Picked up everything thrown out of bag. Closed zip, THEN picked up bag. Trundled back to the scale, flirted unashamedly with male attendant. Weight: 21,2 kg. Put hands together under chin and fluttered my eyes (yes, I really really did that). Got the okay.
Mills took a different approach by donning two extra shirts, another jersey and any headgear he could find. Although I think the male flight attendant would have been equally (or more) receptive to the flirting approach...
[I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if it's a matter of weight on the plane, why can I take the same two (extra kilos) on as hand luggage? Why can Mills take the same two (extra) kilos on if he's wearing them, but not if they're in his suitcase?]
Anywho. Baggage was clingwrapped and checked in. We decided to grab a bite to eat with my folks as our flight was only leaving at 23:40 (yes the same KLM flight which had earlier had to turn back due to engine failure).
There's a new restaurant called Wandies at the International Departures. It's a buffet restaurant serving typically 'African' food (read: fatty meat, oily chicken, stodgy pap and grey mixed veggies) - for R80 a plate. No, thank you. They opened this week and I'll be interested to know whether this turns a profit. Generally, when I'm at the International Departures, I want to grab a quick bite, not a full meal - and would also appreciate some choice of food. Not a fatty plate load of starch and meat, with toddlers running rampant around the table. Okay, maybe it was just the screaming children that put me off... but still R80 is a lot of money for what I remember as a dodgy meal in the Rhodes dining halls. So we had one drink and Mills and I departed through passport control... where I paid R50 for a sandwich and one orange juice. Captive market sucks.
Wondered around departures until all the duty free shops closed, but not before getting stuck behind a family of - very, incredibly, dynamically smelly - Spanish tourists at a check-out till. The first guy paid over R1300 for god knows what. The second lady bought 12 tins of duck liver pate (yes, I counted them) and the third guy bought 8 cartons of cigarettes plus 4 bottles of some sort of alcohol. I realise duty free shops can be bargain-bargain... maar een beetje overdreven, niet waar?
Dashed through to the gate when announcement signs said we were boarding - to find that the gate wasn't even open yet. Got through the gate to find that the plane doors weren't open yet. Got bowled over by granny being pushed in a wheelchair, because they had apparently forgotten to load the disabled and decrepit beforehand.
Got on plane to find decrepit granny sitting in our row. Made granny stand up so that we could sit down. Established that the nearest TV was situated 3km down the aisle from our row. Spotted the three toddlers in the row behind us. Popped a few preemptive rescue pills and painkillers and settled in for the long haul.
No sleep and two watery meals later, we landed in Schiphol. I managed to get stuck in the All Passports queue behind a Middle Eastern who couldn't speak English, an African with visa issues and an Asian whose passport got confiscated; while Mills sailed through the EU Passport queue and taunted me from the other side with some sort of monkey celebration dance.
Recovered my bag from the conveyor belt, distressed to find that it had been squashed to the width of a flat screen TV, much to the amusement of my co-traveller. Made our weary way home on a packed train. We were in bed by 5:45. PM.
Got to work at 8:15 this morning, forgetting that no one would be in before 8:30. I love waiting in the cold wind for colleagues. It's good to be home.