Thursday, January 10, 2008

Koekie's Travels

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.


Jouma said...

Who said global travel was fun! Thanks for visiting. Miss you lots.

Peaches said...

Unlucky Koeks!

Was so awesome to catch-up and have a skandaal session on Tues lady. Will keep uou updated on all the developments!

Bof said...

What a coincidence, I'm sure I was once taunted by a monkey doing what he called some sort of Mills celebration dance.

Little Big Sis said...

He he he... you make me laugh, but you would have been proud of me too!

Thursday: Arrive back a work from holiday to hear I have to be in UK on Tuesday. Send travel agent URGENT request for tickets.

Friday: No response from travel agent. Call them, complain, get ticket options for Monday night flight. Get managers approval, ask agent to book.

Sunday: Leave cell phone at Mom's house

Monday: Get stuck late at work. Last minute call to Mom to drop off phone. Rush home. While driving realise I didn't print my eticket, then realise travel agent never sent me an eticket, no cell phone yet, can't call agent. Get home, get cell phone, pack bags, shower, change, grab passports, call agent, leave URGENT message, rush to airport.En route call agency emergency number, get eticket number.
Arrive at airport, go to check in counter, "Sorry Mam we can't see your booking on the system". Call agent back, try new eticket number. "We still can't find your ticket, try the ticketing office". Try ticketing office. "sorry Mam the name on your ticket is different to your name on your passport!" I'd taken the wrong passports, the ones with my maiden name :-( Hang on, "I have a copy of my marriage certificate on my PC. Can I print that?" Yes they say but the closest printers are in the Domestice terminal. Run to Domestic terminal, find Postnet, buy memeory sick, transfer doc to memory stick, print, run back to International terminal. Check in, very happy!
Get to check in gate. "Excuse me, would you mind swapping seats so a family can be together?" No prob, get moved to new seat in Economy Plus, even happier!

Get onto airplane. Flight delayed 3hours... someone was "too sick" to travel, gets off plane, takes 3 hours to unload find his baggage and reload baggage.

Tuesday: Arrive in London, 2 hours late, at the same time as another flight from SA. Bags from both flights get mixed & then split over 2 carosels. Watch Carosel #1, no bag, run to Carosel #5, watch, no bag, back to #1, watch, no bag, #5, find bag!
Get bus to hotel, crash on bed, exhausted!

A fabulous trip, I thought of you often!

Koekie said...

Lil big sis... no competition. You win.