Wednesday 18 November 2015

South Africa: Unplanned and unsettled

Upsetting all plans
I guess I can say that I was literally rushed off my feet with regards to my second visit to South Africa. It meant the many other activities I had planned to be part of in the UK fell by the wayside and was quite unfortunate.
I had not expected that anyone will make up their minds about this visit, this side of Christmas, I was just so messed around last year that it took over 6 months from conception to decision, I really should have presented a clear ultimatum as to when a decision had to be made before all bets were off.
The only red line I was not going to cross was to be in South Africa beyond the second weekend of December, I want to have my 50th birthday amongst friends at home.
Little time to plan
I only really got to pack my bags a few hours before my flight, for an absence that would be over 3 weeks, there was so much going on at work, a delivery I was expecting did not arrive at two arranged times that I had to go the depot through football traffic to collect my order before racing down to London and back again.
There was also the small matter of a booster vaccine, everything taken together, there wasn’t much time to relax and plan, I had become an automaton of circumstances around me.
Get with the plan
My flight was via Paris and as I made to board my flight in Paris, I presented my boarding pass to the ground crew having joined the priority queue because by loyalty status and choice of ticket, I was eligible. Rather than view the boarding pass, she suggested I might be in the wrong queue, I did not bother to react, I let her review the boarding pass before giving her a withering look that ended in a smile.
The last time I was on the Paris – Johannesburg leg of my journey on the Airbus A380, I was sat beside a Motswana, what was the coincidence that I will be sat beside – well, I was this time beside a South African who was on holiday in Paris when the terrorist attacks took place last Friday. He wasn’t as engaging as the Motswana.
Humouring the plan
The flight was smooth and at one time as I returned from a toilet break, there was some turbulence and the air steward was already insisting I fasten my seat belt, long before I had settled down. It made me wonder as I was in the toilet when we hit turbulence whether it would not be sensible to have seatbelts in the toilet too.
Coming out at the airport, at my first pass, I did not see the airport shuttle to the hotel, I then attempted a second pass and there was sign where two letters had been dropped from my name. Mr AKINYO, it read. I could only shake my head at the humour of my second welcome to South Africa.

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