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.