December 13 I arrive at Joburg from Cape Town to find the plane tp Perth has already gone. The time on my ticket was wrong. My agent's fault so no compensation or accommodation. Tomorrow's flight is full but I can go on standby. Now I have to go and find my bag. I sit in the luggage area for over an hour reading "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian". Actually it's written in English and a book I recommend. I have to head back to Domestic to find internet to alert my friends in Perth. Then I wander on up to the viewing platform - find a fourseater bench - get the sleeping bag out and try to sleep (see article "Gate Crasher").

I buy a breakfast in the morning and save half of it in a doggy bag for lunch. I find a room to sit and read. Eventually the airconditioning gets the better of me so I head out and discover the ramps. Six ramps between three levels - moving ramps going up - but solid tiles going down. If nothing else, Joburg airport has good sturdy trolleys. So I stand on the back and get good speed up going down. Nearly collected one lady! I'd get to the bottom and head back up the moving ramps to do it all again.
After I tire of this - I find a coffee and a place to sit with my next book - "House of the Dead" by Dostoevsky. Not exactly cheery reading describing prison life in Siberia. Eventually I head back to International and register on standby. I find a place to sit and play solitaire with my pack of cards. I have a 50% win/lose ratio and resist the temptation to cheat (come on who cheats at solitaire?). Now I'm hot, sticky and smelly so I find some ablutions and have a bath and shave in the basin - and soon enough its time to get in line for the check-in counters. Joburg airport is atrocious. They have to get this sorted out before 2010 and the World Cup. I wait and wait and wait - eventually I get told to follow Monique who is looking after a number of stranded passengers. Not only is there no room - it is overbooked. People are yelling - one man is screaming: "Get me the manager - we are going to miss our flight!"

It's interesting watching people respond to unfavourable situations - some stress, some get angry, some remain calm. Eventually we all get sent off to the Birchwood Hotel - we wait another hour for the shuttle bus. When it turns up one of my fellow passengers hurls abuse upon the driver. I sat up front and chatted with him.

Now I am blessed with a good shower, nice bed (I slept more than 9hrs), good food (and 3 sports channels on T.V.). A few more of my 48 hours still to go.

Comments

You've really captured all the esesitnals in this subject area, haven't you?

1 year ago

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