Me..? Deep end..? Never!!!

No pictures with this post – but quite a funny story!

This is going to be one heck of a rollercoaster ride of a learning curve! Yet again!

I reckon one of the best ways to learn your lessons is by your mistakes…but how I managed quite so many within the space of 2 hours of being on the African continent is still bemusing me.

I wouldn’t mind but I hadn’t even managed to leave Johannesburg airport!!

Lessons so far…number 1 – pick very carefully who to ask for help….number 2 – learn to love paperwork….number 3 – everything is going to take a long old time out here!

Arrived in departure lounge of J’burg airport, already checked in via Heathrow so look for fast (ha!) bag drop, don’t see it so think ah-ha I will ask someone….

No No No, 1st mistake!

Before you check in your bag you have to weigh it on random weighing scale miles away from check in. Bags weigh 25 kg, lots of tutting and sighing…”problem madam” they tell me, I’m only allowed 20 kg apparently, I thought 30, no apparently its 20.

So off to another desk to pay excess baggage. Lots of paper shuffling and calculator tapping later I am slightly less well off but have my required slip of paper.

Back to the weigh-in lady who has been replaced by a different lady who informs me in a bemused manner that I AM in fact allowed 30 kg. So, yes you guessed it, more paperwork as I slowly work through another paperwork exercise to organise a refund – I’ll tell you 6 weeks time when (or if!) I get my money back!

Having quickly learnt the lesson that if you just do what you think MIGHT be the right thing to do …or actually if you just attempt something confidently enough…someone will eventually stop you if you’re doing it wrong.

Thoroughly bored by bureaucracy by this point I make the ‘executive decision’ to bypass economy check in, bypass business class check in and instead approach first class! Lo and behold it works!

Sadly didn’t get a 1st class seat but did get checked in immediately, got given a brand new boarding pass even though I already had one (because apparently, in check-in man’s own words – my first one looked a little ‘tired’!) and was sent on my way.

Right now onto passport control – oh Lord help me!

Last lesson of the day – never, I repeat NEVER board an african flight last! You thought Ryanair was bad…you aint seen nothin’

I though one passenger one bag…oh how naive I am! Apparently elaborately wrapped cardboard boxes, musical instruments and chicken coops fall outwith that rule!

Lesson learnt – board last, sit with your bag on your knees for the flight!



  1. Jo's Mum said,

    September 11, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Good to read about all your antics Helen. Jo gave me your blog details!
    Hope your new role is going well. What an adventurous lass you are!!

  2. Ankles said,

    September 12, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    ohhhh my dear dear friend…one phrase (which i think you may hear a bit)
    TIA – this is Africa!!
    we thought the GEorgia border was fun – i fear you’re gonna have many a story about such things xx

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