Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The LONG HAUL...

Ok. So i decided that I was flying home (for the week) approximately 20 minutes before i left my apartment. (Going home to see family and go to the SA blog awards ceremony in Cape Town at the One & Only Hotel

Before i begin, I would like to warn you - this is a very long blogpost. But then again, so was the 36 hour trip home...

Leaving for an international flight (only having made the final decision to fly home 20 minutes earlier, having only a vague ticket reservation and payment as yet unconfirmed, for a flight that leaves in about 4 hours - minus the one hour it takes to the airport) 

.... is STRESSFUL. 

PANIC MODE - ENGAGE:


Thankfully, I have uber-amazing-super-star friends.

Nicole: Where is your pink dress? You need a pink dress.
Me: AAAAHAAAAAHHHHH!!
Nicole: ok


Kristi: Do you have something to do on the plane?
Me: AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
Kristi:


(thank you Kristi)

In a cab with Nicole and Kristi on the way to the airport...
Nicole: It's such a lovely day!
Kristi: I know it's like the perfect temperature
Me: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!




international call from warren in london:






(Thanks for the call, it helped settle me... although it could also have been the Dunkin Donut's triple cheeser ;) ...but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.)
cheese, cheese and more cheese.









So Lovely Asiana Air Lady feels very sorry for me. She takes me to Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific: Ok, we have a flight at 8pm to Hong Kong. Do you want it?
Me: Waaaa... Boohooo.. boohooo...waaaa...sob...sob...
Lovely Asiana Air Lady: I think she wants to go home.
Me: HOME!! HOME!! sob...sob....
Dad on phone from South Africa: Can they book your luggage straight through if you take this flight to Hong Kong and then try and catch a SAA connecting flight?
Lovely Asiana Air Lady: No. it's not possible. And there is only one hour in Hong Kong. It's not possible.
Me: Boohoooo!!! boohoooo... sob... sob... Do you want me to just fly to Hong Kong and see what happens?
Lovely Asiana Air Lady: I suggest come back tomorrow.
Me: cannot...sob sob... only have four days vacation... sob.. sob...sniff..
Cathay Pacific: I'm sorry I need to close my counter soon. 
Me: Dad?! DAD?! are you there? What must i do? Should i just fly to Hong Kong and hope for the best?!?!
Dad on phone from South Africa: Wait! SAA is on the other line... oh wait.. they put me on hold.
Me: waaaa boohooo.... sniff.. sniff.. sob...
Cathay Pacific: I'm sorry this counter is now closed.

* Me. stuck in airport. sobbing. *

Lovely Asiana Lady takes me to Emirates Counter. then she had to go back to her job.
Emirates: Ok. we have a flight. it leaves at 11:55pm. It will arrive in South Africa at 5pm tomorrow. Do you want it?
Me: yes please. sniff.

Emirates: That will be 1.5 million won.
Me: Ok. here's my card.
Emirates: i'm sorry lady, this is a debit card.
me: ok.
Emirates: we don't do that. if you want to use this card - you have to draw cash.
me: you're kidding.
(che doesn't have a credit card because she lost it somewhere in her room. note to self: get that sorted out.)

*no, they were NOT kidding *

and if you do not believe me, here is the picture of me drawing cash to the value of 1.5 million won in 10 000 won notes. (Since smartie-pants over here only figured out how to change the denomination on the last transaction. and 50 000 is the highest denomination anyway)
(haha. me. rockerfella. haha.)

Lovely Asiana Airlines Lady texted me at 9pm to ask if I had got a flight. and if i was hungry. YES!! i said! YESS!! YAY!!
me: I would like to take you out for dinner to say thank you for your help!
Lovely Asiana Lady: Ok. let's meet at McDonalds. 

I met her at McD's and bought her a meal to say thank-you. I also gave her the chocolate that Kristi had managed to sneak into my bag to say thank you for being so helpful.
She wouldn't let me take a picture of her in her "ugly airline uniform" (it's a Korean thing) But here is her business card:
She was so lovely. We chatted, She took me to the gate, we are going to Vietnam together.
* * *
So... fly to Dubai. Land at 4:30am. Connecting flight at 10:30am.
Eventually time to board. Che is by now starving, since she hasn't had anything to eat because she gave Kristi's chocolate away and lost her credit card. 
(Did however decide to try Kristi's vanilla flavoured antacid tablets for something to quell the hunger pangs - they are delicious.)

Get onto the airplane:


AIRLINE ANNOUNCEMENT: Ladies and Gentlemen. Ground staff have detected a technical problem which will take a minimum of 1 and a half hours to fix.

* * *
20 minutes later: Ladies and Gentlemen, Dubai International has declared this aircraft unfit for travel. We will all disembark and find a new aircraft. 



Everyone disembarks and gets shimmied to a new gate 
(after re-scanning all our hand-luggage, taking off our belts, shoes, bangles, bracelets, underwear, etc etc)
They gave us a small snack - some bready/cake-thing and a can of warm pepsi:
Che still starving (hasn't eaten in approximately 11 hours) wonders if she could take another bready/cake-thing from the rations.. but then realises that some people haven't even had their first bready/cake-thing and then decides against it. 
(Not keen to be that guy.)

Ok. FINALLY get on the plane to Dubai (we did have the same places in case anyone was wondering. score free empty seat! YES!!) and land (2 and a half hours late) in Durban.

Waiting for my bags on the conveyor belt:





it is lovely to *finally* be home!

I'm very sorry for this extremely long blogpost. 

BUT! think about this...
If this post took you approximately 6 minutes to read... you can multiply that by THREE-HUNDRED and SIXTY-SEVEN and that's how long it took for me to get home! :)

16 comments :

Lindsey said...

Shame Che - least you got home!! Last time I was in SA I got stuck in j'burg for 5 days & couldn't get a flight back the UK (I was on standby).

Che said...

URGH! i'm sorry! I TRULY know the feeling! ;)

Manfredi said...

Too hectic! Good to hear you finally home safe! Enjoy your time with the family! Go have some oros, tennis biscuits, biltong and a Hansa for me! Ciao

Megan said...

I am glad that you made it home in the end! Have a lovely time with your family and goodluck at the awards.

Kimberly said...

Hi Che, Saw you on Mckmama's blog frog and I'm following you now. You are hilarious...but I am sorry it took you so long to get home! What a crazy story! Loved it though ;-) I hope you had a great time at home!!! ~Kimberly

www.stinkerpinker.com

Che said...

Thank you all for your comments - it WAS a long trip home, but it's worth it to see my family! :)

DoodleMouse said...

In my mind, that was your best post yet. Sorry for the ordeal, but it is an absolutely great story. :) Know that you'll love telling it again alter, once the wounds have healed a bit. ;) BIG loves and glad that you were so brave. :)

Family said...

Yes Melose... Good to have you home..Thanks for coming.

Genevieve said...

Shame that sounds hectic, but make for a serious good laugh :-) Your story telling/cartoon capabilities are legend!

Ndileka said...

the judges better take your whole journey into account when making the final decision. shame man what a freaking mission! :( but at least you can just enjoy yourself now!

Che said...

yes Ndileka... THEY BETTER!! *wink wink* ;)

Nicole said...

Ah Che...we love you!!! Missing you already :) Good luck for Saturday, we are all rooting for you on the other side of the world. Say hello to Cape Town and tell her I MISS HER!!!!

julie patrick said...

wow hey.. stressful times.. glad you're home with your family now + reee-heally hope you win at the awards:) you deserve it.

Bobby said...

Sorry to hear about all your travel trouble...at least it made for a great post :)

Chris said...

WOW what an epic journey! maximum dedication. Hope you have a stunning time and see you at the Awards on Saturday. Great post :)

KaB said...

I'm surprised you didn't bash the old lady with her walking stick...she should know better than to berate a traveler who has literally gone through the worst ordeal ever!

*Lame!