Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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24/8/14: well, that was a REALLY bad end to the holiday

Just had a really good time on holiday here in South Africa.  Fantastic.  Was going to tell you about it now but there's another thing on my mind.

I missed the plane.  How is this possible?  I was here on time, actually succeeded in bypassing the baggage drop queue with the help of a very eager porter (who rather spoiled things by trying to get a rather larger tip out of me than I'd already given, which was already well on the side of generous I thought).  So, setlled down to a very nice breakfast of Eggs Benedict - golly there were good!  And started the process of going through security with over 45 minutes to spare, getting to the place to board the plane with over 20 minutes to spare.  There were a fair few people milling about with a sign which said, 'Dar es Salaam, priority boarding to the left'.  So all normal, I thought.  No announcement that I heard over the sound system, and certainly no call for my name.

So, I waited, assuming the other people milling around were also going to Dar es Salaam.  Until DSM disappeared from the sign.  I now started to feel somewhat anxious and went to the staff.  The plane's gone, they said.  But it's got my bag on it (as I'm sure you know, post-Lockerbie planes do not take off with checked in luggage without the passenger who checked it in).  It's been off-loaded, comes the reply.  But there was no announcement.  No, we're a silent airport.  Well, you and no other airport I've ever been to, certainly in Africa!  And there have been plenty of final calls / calls for particular people, all of which lulled me into a false sense of security.

So, go to transit.  There's a flight this afternoon which is full, and a flight tomorrow (Momday) morning which is full, we can put you standby for these two and be sure that you'll be onthe flight tomorrow afternoon - all for a mere US$**** (not prepared to disclose this appalling price).

All of which necessitated going back through security (hurrah!) and passport contriol (TWO more stamps in my passport, this is a sore issue I may return to sometime), go to find my bag which was surprisingly easy, with a big red sticker 'Unloaded' on it - yes, please, rub it in!  Found the South African ticket shop, and wsa then pleased to be sold a ticket for the afternoon flight.  Back through security (hurrah!) and passport control (hurrah!) and back to where I started.  Which is where I am now.

So it could have been a good bit worse.  Moral of the story - take timings in South Africa a bit more seriously than in the rest of the continent.  Which I should have inferred by my observations last week - but then, had God intended me to think He would have given me a brain with which to do so, I suppose.  Forty minutes to the stated time to be ready to board and my goodness I'm not going to be late this time!

So, my Eggs Benedict have cost me half a day's delay and a single fare to Dar es Salaam.  Worth it?  No.  But they were good Eggs Benedict.

4 Comments to 24/8/14: well, that was a REALLY bad end to the holiday:

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Simon Gledhill on 24 August 2014 06:35
Oops! But I do like Eggs Benedict too! ;-)
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Geoff on 25 August 2014 02:21
Thanks, Simon - do read the end of the story in the entry for 25/8/14!

David Mansergh on 24 August 2014 15:25
Hi Geoff, I hope that you are now home safe with your baggage. It sounds like South African airports are rather more advanced than is helpful! I'm glad to hear the holiday was good and hope those memories outweigh the return journey. We're looking forward to a wet bank holiday here in the UK - so business as usual! Best wishes, David.
Reply to comment
Geoff on 25 August 2014 02:25
Yes, back in DSM and back at work - just a quick break writing this message! Feeling fighting fit and going again, which is just as well given the pile to do! Will write about the holiday at the weekend, meanwhile, best wishes for a good public holiday (as we international types all bank holidays), Geoff

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