I had a brainwave!
My friend, B, was going up to Johannesburg on the 14th because her flight departed from O.R. Tambo Airport on the 15th. Why not fly up to Jo’burg with her and then go to the Naledi Awards that evening? The Naledi Awards are the Johannesburg theatre awards held in Gold Reef City. Every year I was invited and every year I politely refused. This year I would joyfully accept. We booked an extra flight ticket and contacted Dawn Lindberg who was in charge of the Awards. No problem. Tickets for the Naledi were put aside for us. We were set! I was so looking forward to seeing my old theatre friends once more.
But what to wear? The Naledi Awards are smart and I wanted to look ‘drop-dead-gorgeous’! It seemed a new dress was called for. B and I made our way to the Mall and our search began. We were in Edgar’s and they didn’t have any dresses that called out to me. As we were leaving my attention was caught by a pair of denim dungarees. Forget the dress! I left there the proud owner of a beautiful pair of denim dungarees!
Just as we were heading for home, I was stopped by this sensational necklace. Maroon crystal beads interspersed with diamonds. Not real diamonds obviously but so delicate and fragile. This necklace would look stunning with the dress I had worn to the Durban awards twelve years ago. It would also look magnificent with my dungarees! I went home that day tremendously happy. A beautiful necklace and dungarees! What more can a girl want!!!
We left for the airport at eight. Our plane took off at nine thirty so once we had checked in, B and I sat and chatted over cups of steaming coffee. Finally we meandered our way to the airport lounge. We had three quarters of an hour before we boarded so I opened a book and B her I-Pad.
“Excuse me, are these seats taken?” a vibrant faced woman asked.
“They’re all yours,” I replied as she and a young man sat down. Surreptitiously I watched them over the top of my book. Obviously very much in love, hands held and eyes touching constantly.
I looked at my watch. We should have been boarding ten minutes ago. I strolled to the window and standing on the roof of an SAA plane was a man attacking the engine with a what looked like a spanner in his hand. I called B. “That looks like our plane,” I said dryly.
There was an announcement that our plane would be a little delayed. Well, as long as it wasn’t too long, I thought. But an hour later, there was another announcement saying that the pilot refused to fly that plane. They were getting a different plane down from Johannesburg. Boarding was delayed until two. Shytenhauzen!
We phoned a friend, Jan, and she came and took us out for a lovely brunch at Travelbugs Restaurant. Then it was back to the airport and the book and I-Pad once more played their part. At about one thirty they announced that there would be a further delay.
By now, B’s I-Pad was forgotten. She was like a caged lion, pacing up and down, continually glancing at her watch. The young ‘in love’ couple were in a state. I discovered that they were on their honeymoon. Apparently they were flying to Johannesburg and then boarding their flight to Singapore. There they would be spending two nights in a five star hotel.
“What time does your flight to Singapore leave,” I asked.
“If we leave here at two, you’ll be in Johannesburg by four. You’ll make it, don’t worry.”
At 2 o’clock, there was no plane in sight. At three the distraught couple were assured that although there was a delay they would be leaving soon. B asked if SAA would pay for a taxi from the airport to Gold Reef City. They literally laughed in her face. To cut a long, drawn out, frustrating story short, our plane finally took off at a quarter to five. The couple missed their flight to Singapore and as a result their booking for the five star hotel fell through. Were they reimbursed for the missed air flight and the already paid for hotel? Don’t make me laugh!
The good news was that my brother met us off the Gautrain at seven. I usually only get to see Patch and family once a year at Christmas, so this was a real bonus. The bad news was that there was an outage in Sandton. The traffic lights were dead and as a result the traffic was manic. We arrived home at 7.30. It had taken us almost twelve hours to get to my brother’s house in Johannesburg! I was exhausted: Forget the Naledi Awards! We curled up on chairs in the kitchen with glasses of wine and hot chocolate and chilled with family.
What a total waste of an air ticket and your time, you are thinking. Smile – no, not a waste at all! It gave me a whole extra day with my special friend, B. A time where I could simply sit with her and chat. There was nothing rushing us and no extra commitments. When B stopped her manic pacing and relaxed, it was a blissful, happy time of unwinding and farewells.
I look at my dungarees and beautiful maroon crystal necklace and smile…..but you might not see me booking an air ticket with SAA in the near future!