Friday, 18 December 2020

Thoughts on my arrival in South Africa

A labouring arrival

Arriving in South Africa felt like another world, with announcements going out every few minutes to warn us to be safe and to protect all by protecting ourselves. At Johannesburg, all the travelators were not working as I walked that long distance from one end of the airport to immigration control.

Before getting in line, I was asked for my negative COVID-19 PCR test which was compared with the name on my passport. I have found I need to use my full legal name rather than the shortened versions that I have been identified with for longer than I can remember than I might even miss the calling of my full first name just out of being unfamiliar with it.

Using a cane meant I could join the shorter queue of those being provided some assistance, my temperature was taken and then the customs official pleasantly took my passport, asked for my mask to be removed, checked all my particulars, stamped my passport and sent me on my way.

No thrill at no frills

Getting a trolley was an involved exercise, I was already sweating profusely but the closest trolleys were all locked up in chains. I eventually got one, collected my baggage that had not been checked through to Cape Town only to encounter issues with the number of suitcases I could check-in with the partner airline that was to cover the Johannesburg to Cape Town final leg of my almost 27-hour journey.

This was resolved at the ticket sales desk and I was checked in to this no-frills single class airline where we were seated 6-abreast before I gave up my window seat for a family to sit together. The lounge setup was perfunctory but acceptable, the shoe-shiners were nowhere to be seen.

On arrival in Cape Town, the e-hailing ride section had been moved to another location, properly signposted as I have demanded many times before. I have religiously worn my mask through the whole travelling experience, it cannot be said of many other people. We just need to keep alert, aware, appreciative of the situation we are in, and we’ll be fine.

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