Wednesday 19 January 2022

Cape Town reflections: To the point of embrace

With every hope to do

A time to reflect on my recent journey to Cape Town, for this visit for a rendezvous with Brian had been in consideration from the time I returned in mid-January 2021, but the pandemic with its many waves and Coronavirus variants kept everything at bay.

As the year drew to a close, I had at least two essential things to do before I could plan to travel, my biannual consultation was already scheduled for the last week in October and coming due in the second week of November was my vaccine booster shot after which it looked like there was a clear way ahead to plan for the break.

I planned on a 6-week break and had diligently informed them at work about my plans for which a stand-in was recruited for my time away and this gave me the opportunity on approval to book my holiday from the first week of November and the countdown had begun.

We ploughed ahead regardless

Meanwhile, our daily conversations continued, in the morning and the evening as we planned what we were going to do along with the prospect of getting married. It looked like the whole pall of the pandemic was being put behind us until just in the last week of November, the Omicron variant first sequenced in South Africa though from what transpired was already prevalent around in Europe and the US, led to the putting of southern African countries on the UK red list without even knowing much about the variant.

This could have kiboshed our plans, but I reckoned that since I was going to be away for 6 weeks, enough knowledge and understanding of the variant would have helped put some in reconsideration into the knee-jerk reaction in the Global North. Besides, the whole idea of spending 10 nights in sub-standard quarantine hotels did not appeal to me.

Anyway, I kept my hopes up and continued with my arrangements, renewing my travel insurance, helping my stand-in bed-in, taking my Fitness to Travel PCR Test and I was ready to go. My journey to Cape Town was smooth and in just two legs, the first from Manchester to Paris and the newly reinstated Paris to Cape Town leg, arriving just after 22:28 on the 3rd of December, but without my baggage in tow.

Bags on a merry-go-round

My baggage did not make the transfer between arriving from Manchester to taking off from Paris, and though we arrived late in Paris, I literally had to rush to the departure gate, the transit time was another 24 minutes longer than the scheduled connection and still, I was not reunited with my baggage until Sunday afternoon. The baggage itself took the Manchester – Paris – Amsterdam – Cape Town route. I should have been given Airmiles for that too.

At first, I thought I would need to stay at an airport hotel overnight because of the pandemic restriction curfew, but that was not an issue, travellers were allowed to make that journey to their accommodations. I had arrived in Cape Town safely and was in Brian’s arms that night, that was all that mattered besides the troublesome issue of my baggage somewhere on the planet.

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