6 months in South Africa
It was of to a very bad start. Imagine, I’ve got a ticket which lets me stay for six months in South Africa, and all I’m allowed to take with me is 23kgs. Almost nothing. Nevertheless, the backpack I normally take doesn’t carry much more. That is, today it carried 29kgs. Six kilograms too much. And I wasn’t allowed to take it. The prick at the BA desk allowed me to take the extra weight if I would pay the per kg fee. 50 euros per kilograms.
I felt like spitting in his face but kept my cool. I asked for options and was told that freight services were available at, for Johannesburg probably some 10 euros per kilogram. This turned out to be over 20 euros per kilogram. Having the extra weight shipped to an address in Holland would come in at over 10 euros per kilogram. And since there’s no real post office at Schiphol (anymore), I was, well, fucked.
Because my mom’s husband had his birthday on the same day, I had taken the train to the airport. Luckily, they were so kind as to visit the airport later in the week and pick up the extra luggage from the left luggage area at Schiphol.
Then, the plane was significantly delayed. By the time I walked on to my connecting flight in London, there were less then 10 minutes left until take off. Of course, this resulted in my luggage being left behind. At least Betsy was there to pick me up in Johannesburg.
Interestingly, for compensation, I received the equivalent of 35 pounds in local currency. Well, not exactly, I received a debit card inside a sealed envelope with, inside, the card’s PIN code. The card was charged with 352 Rand and a bit, supposedly the equivalent of the 35 pounds I should have received..
After some relaxing in the garden, next to the pool, and after a decent bunny chow, we went over to Montecasino, a Las Vegas like entertainment village which looks like a small Italian village, both on the outside and inside. Inside, the roof is either black, suggesting a warm summer evening, or painted blue with clouds. And there’s a huge casino, 12 movie theatres, one ‘normal’ theatre, and some 40 restaurants. Oh, and DDR.
When we arrived it wasn’t all that busy, but by the time we left, around 10pm, it was reasonably packed. It’s obvious these people like places like this as surrogate for the town centers they had to forsake years ago due to crime. This is a place you can drop of your kids, give them a few Rand and then come back a few hours later to pick them up, while they’re still exploring the first half of the complex.