Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Transported back into a different world

Tuesday 21st June

I awoke this morning to a wonderful bright morning. So familiar and yet so different to the "summer mornings" i experienced only a couple of days ago in England.

A lot has happened in the past couple of days, but for reasons that will become clear I will make this blog very short.

A couple of days before my trip both the TV and car fell to pieces! The TV was declared terminal and needed a rapid replacement. The car was fortunately put back together in time for my trip to Heathrow.

This year I am flying South African Airways. They don't know my arrangement with BA to take as many bags as I wish - at no extra charge!! Perhaps more to the point I didn't seem to be able to take a laptop except as part of my main or hand luggage. I decided to pack it in my case and carefully adjusted the luggage to scrape into the respective allowances - more or less!

I arrived at Heathrow at least three hours before take-off and, having checked in and printed boarding passes, soon found myself settling down to read my novel in the departure lounge.

The plane took off on time and, apart from having no sleep, the journey was good. I watched a South African film about a boy who aspired to be a great footballer. It was a good preparation for Africa. So much reminded me of the world i was about to enter and of which I am now a part.

I was surprised by the long queues in Johannesburg airport to transfer flights. I have another stamp on my already well-stamped passport (still less than a year old.

We flew back over South Africa and Zimbabwe crossing Lake Kariba as we entered Zambia (again!)and landed at about 13 hrs at Lusaka. It is winter here and the temperature was a pleasant 23C.

I managed to get to the back of all the queues at immigration and then caused confusion because I wanted to come in on an employment permit, which I haven't got!! Eventually I was told to collect my bag and return when the Immigration Officer would have consulted her supervisor. I noticed my bag had been tampered with - the locks were no longer properly secured. Eventually - after a further half hour or so - I was allowed into the Country with a form that had to be printed specially before being completed.

Godfrey had been waiting for me at arrivals - buy this time all other passengers were long gone. I rushed out of the airport and went with Godfrey for a coffee and an update!

He then took me to the bus station. The bus was going at 19hrs (it was about 17hrs, but the earlier bus had just left and we were told we could catch it up! Our guide jumped into the bus and we took all the side roads to try to outpace the bus. As we approached the filling station were we were meant to meet we saw it drive away! I boarded eventually and got to Monze at about 19.30, having spent the journey in theological discussion with a fellow passenger.

MUST Go the Cafe is closing - I will continue tomorrow!!!

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