Only in Japan
Yup, this is what I do when I need to unpack. Listen to music, sip hot tea and chill.
So I watched two movies on my flight home. And strangely enough both of them featured songs from Simon & Garfunkel, how weird is that? I am home. And here to stay.
Home for tonight. Wonder what’s for dinner?
But I’m flying Qantas not Saa. No sleep tonight.
Waiting, waiting, hesitating
Waiting, waiting, contemplating
Waiting, waiting, wasting time
Welcome to Africa, and African time. Where it takes an hour standing in the customs queue, because time be 5:10am, and skeleton staff to process all the people. But that’s okay, because we are not going anywhere (we got ya!), we just all be like, stand in the queue until it be our turn. Not going forward, not going back. Yeah, but I need the bathroom, people!
Yay, baggage collection time. But where is my luggage? Empty carousels everywhere, three with luggage, but none from Perth. Ask an ‘official’ and he be like – look at that one, if not there then look over there, otherwise go that side. No. None. Eventually I saw – a couple stray bags on an empty carousel. Hey that’s mine! A man called to me – those are the last from Perth. Huh? What did I miss? I came off the same flight and stood in the same queue, how come I’m the last to get my luggage? Everyone else been and left? Ah, I get it. I stood in the ‘foreign passport’ queue. Loser.
It’s been a while since I’ve flown South African Airways (SAA). The onboard staff were very warm and welcoming, and lucky me, I had three seats to myself to lie back and relax. The experience felt though as if I was stepping back in time. From the aircraft itself, as well as to the onboard experience. Many of the announcements were introduced with the term ‘Ladies and Gentleman’, I can’t recall how other airlines address the passengers. It just kept on sounding very odd. What was more odd though, was the announcement that the plane was refueling – after we were already in the air. The arm rest next to me had a missing silver button, with only a button hole appearing where the button should be. And the pillows, whilst bearing clean paper covers, were re-used. I know this because I thought to look under the cover (should these covers be taken off?). And the one I looked under bore old stains (coffee? blood?). I took a pic to share as this is a story like – if there isn’t a picture it wasn’t so:
The inflight entertainment system was also rather dated. The interface looking like it was state of the art somewhere in the 1980s (I did manage half of the Intern until the entertainment system was switched off for descent). And all electronic systems (including mobile phones) to be switched off ‘completely regardless of their mode’. Because why?
Apart from all of that, the flight felt strangely familiar. This is the airline of my youth. The inflight magazine is the same brand as the one I used to read when I flew jhb to Cape Town many times. The cabin crew all South African, and hey, I am going ‘home’.