Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Y'all have missed a whole LAWT!!!

Really People, I have no clue why I haven't updated this blog since... (wait lemme check)... November 17???!!! What is wrong with me?! Actually, there's a story but I'm not gonna bore you with the details...

First, I am pleased to say I am writing from Lagos!!!! Yayeeeeee!!!! Coming home was a HECTIC journey which I will tell you about shortly and shame to say I’ve been ill since I got home. But I tell you, it’s GREAT to be home!!!

Wait... sorry.... have I wished y'all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS???!!!!!! Hope y'all had a better day than I did. Not that mine was awful, in fact it was great! All that FOOD!!! But guess I would've enjoyed it more if I didn't have a drip stuck in my left hand!

No don't panic! It's nothing to lose sleep over.

BUT I managed to pick up some illness that required the treatment to be administered intravenously and since the doctor felt it wouldn't be too nice drilling holes in my hand all in the sake of finding a vein for all 4 doses, he decided to leave the (well dunno what that plastic thingy the drip is attached to is called but I'll call it...) "thingy" in my hand till I finished the dose.

So yah, now I look like a junkie with the thingy sticking outta my hand! BUT at least I was able to spend Xmas with my family as I was totally REFUSED to be admitted. Right now the thingy hurts really bad bc I think it's kinda sticking out and it's a bit swollen.

BUT I thought I'd stop procrastinating and work on this blog tonight. SO I'm struggling to type with my right hand only and it's flipping uncomfortable. So please just ignore my typos!


A LAWT has happened in like…. what…. a month since I was last online. What have y’all missed since you last heard from me? A WHOLE LAWT! Let’s see if I can recall all I have to fill you in on before the year runs out. Yah… yah…. yah… yah… oh and yah.. lol… how can I forget… yah…, yah…., yah… lol….. yah and ok YAH! OK let’s start with my horrid trip back home!

I missed my flight!

I was supposed to travel on the 13th but eventually left on the 14th. Will give you a run-through of what happened. Quite a long story....

To be honest, it was kinda like my fault I missed the flight. And guess why? VAT Refund! But wait before y'all judge me, you know the famous sayings "everything happens for a reason" and "every disappointment is a blessing"? Well, I must tell you my whole life is a testimony, especially this past year. The way things worked out for me is just amazing! I must tell you GOD IS GOOD!!!

OK will start the gist from Day 1 when deDuke (let's call him dD) came to CPT. Yah... he was around!!!! Was really happy he came and thank God he did. Not sure he really had a good time though (well not sure he should be having fun really since he was here to write some professional exams) but I was really in a sour mood as I heard I had just lost a very dear friend (RIP AA) the day he arrived. I was quite depressed throughout his trip. But hey dD, you really must visit again. I promise I'll be better behaved!

Anyway, we planned his trip so we could fly back together and though I won't dwell much on the "I told you so"s, we decided to fly a popular Nigerian airline so we could save costs. OK, let's not even talk about how this airline almost made dD miss his exams because they were overbooked and he had to keep going to the airport for 3 days before he finally got a seat! But if it's any consolation, enough people had enough horror stories to tell this December about their trips to Nigeria. Even a Doctor friend of mine had to return to Glasgow because his domestic flight to London was cancelled 3 times and he missed his connecting flight to Lagos. And even then, he was told he had to wait for like 3 days before he could fly. This was after he had already wasted 3 days already loafing around the streets of London!

Anywayz, where was I before I deviated?... Oh yah... my trip back home!

SO I got up really early Thursday 13th morning (well not sure that's really true because I spent all night packing so I didn't actualy sleep but let's not talk about why I chose to pack the night before my trip lest my peeps start to go on and on about how I like to leave things till the last minute) and left my place at 4am (with some fruits, biscuits, yoghurt and juice) so I could check in 2 hrs before my 6.15am flight to Joburg.

Did I get to the airport early? YES I did!

Did I check in early enough? YES I did! In fact all my luggage (and I say "all" because I had excess even after student allowance of 40kg) was checked through straight to Lagos so I didn't have to pick up my luggage at the domestic airport and recheck it in again in Joburg. Nice eh? HA! What a joke! You'll see why later.

Did I catch the flight? YES I did!

Did I arrive in Joburg early enough? YES I did!

So how on earth did I miss my 10.30am flight to Lagos when all I had to do was pick up my boarding pass in Joburg you ask me? I'll tell you!

dD was on another domestic flight and seeing that flight had too many passengers, he was still on the queue trying to check in when his plane left. So he had to take the next flight (6.20am). Well, he also made the flight and made the 2hr flight to Joburg with just enough time to spare since check in closed at 9.15am... or so we thought. So what happened? Part of his luggage, which was technically my luggage (my adjustable mannequin) was missing. So he spent enough time searching for it. When he eventually found it, he came to the international section of the airport. This was say 8.50am or so.

NOW seeing we were both bent on getting our VAT Refund, we went to Customs instead of going straight to check in! Afterall we thought we had what like 20 minutes to spare. HA! What a laugh! When we noticed the Customs official was determined to check every item on the receipt of the people before us, we decided to bust the Refund and check in. And that was when the Airline Manager closed the check-in and claimed check-in closed at 9am and not 9.15.

Hmmmmmnnnnnnn....... boy did we BEG! We begged and begged and begged but the guy said no way that we should rebook our flight for the next day at no cost. Hmmn... like joke o. The guy was just too rude. AND NASTY!!! Bordering on personal! And I was even more upset because he allowed other people check in AFTER our incident. That was when I realised we were going nowhere! Even the people at the check in counter could not understand why he refused to allow us check in dD's luggage and pick up our boarding passes.

Thoughts raced through my head! My goodness! What were we going to do? We had no money, we were literally STRANDED in Joburg and I didn't know anyone in Joburg. And even if I did, how on earth were we going to get into and out of town?

Wait, why was I even thinking that far ahead?! How on earth was I going to get my luggage that had been checked straight through to Lagos.

SO... we went to the customer services counter and spoke to the lady who obviously had no clue that her job mandated her to be nice and courteous to customers. I don't think she had any training whatsoever! My goodness! She was so rude and had such an attitude that if I had anything to do with it, I'd have made sure she was fired! BUT y'all know I'm a nice person who 'd never hurt a fly. So we rebooked for the next morning.

At this point, dD made a comment about every cloud having a silver lining but heck! I definitely could not see anything with the way things were. All I saw were dark grey skies looming!

1st things 1st. How do I get my luggage? The international airline told me to return to the domestic airline since they didn't have my luggage. The domestic airline said the luggage had been sent to the international airline and it was most likely still with them. However, the lady with excellent customer service skills was willing to help trace it. I would, however, only get feedback at 1pm since the responsible staff were in the basement. This was at 10.30am. OK. No issues. I could use the time to inform my folks I would be arriving the next day and see how I could get money. I definitely had no plans of spending the night at the airport!

Guess who came through for me?! Yup you guessed right! BeeKay!!! So I got a loan from him sent to me via 10-minute Moneygram. Phew. Though I had already booked a hotel with my card, I could at least pay for it with cash and get to and from the airport. At this point, I was hungry. Now at least I know why God made me pack the biscuits and yoghurt.

1pm. I went back to the domestic airline and guess what I discovered. My luggage could not be found! OK now I started to panic! Was told I had to wait for another 2 hours so the man who gave me the news could go and check it himself. He'll call us, he said.

But I wasn't going to wait. I went to the international airline planning to give them a piece of my mind! Where the HECK was my luggage?! The counter was closed for the day! Shucks! Not good. I went up to their offices on the 3rd floor, it was closed! Saw the nasty Manager earlier on the corridor who told me to speak with their luggage handlers. The handlers asked for the tag and told me to wait. After 1 hour or so, my luggage could not be found. In fact, they suggested since I had landed really early, it was possible my luggage was on its way to Lagos! Oh no! I had to wait for another say 30 minutes just to reconfirm that was not the case. By now I was hysterical!

Of course, like it happens in the movies, peeps kept coming in asking about missing luggages. In fact, the guy sitting next to us said his luggage was sent to Dubai by mistake. Oh no! And the stories got worse! No matter now much I tried not to listen to these stories, they just filtered their way into my ears.

Anyway, after like 45 mins, some other guy checked the system and confirmed my luggage was not on its way to Lagos. Apparently, they didn't handle it at all. Phew! At least my luggage was in Joburg. But WHERE WAS IT?! They had no clue!

Anyway to cut the long story short, what happened was that the very "smart" girl who checked me in at CPT entered only the domestic airline baggage tag on the system and not the international tag. Imagine! So the handlers' system automatically rejected the tag so my luggage was dumped somewhere.

The implication? If I had actually made the flight to Lagos, my luggage would NOT have arrived in Lagos but would have been in Joburg! Imagine? At this point, I was ecstatic!!! I knew God loved me. It all made sense!!! NOW I knew why I missed my flight! I almost hugged the guy when I realised this! NOW I saw the silver lining. God does work in mysterious ways!!!!!! By now, I was beaming!

OK wait a minute...I really shouldn't be so happy though I couldn't help it. So where was my luggage? They had no clue! Well I wasn't so sad. At least it was in Joburg! I could live with that! I was asked to come back the next day. But I had also heard rumours about peeps in Joburg stealing/looting people's luggages but I had no choice.

dD suggested I stop by the domestic airline again. We were knackered, after all it wasn't easy trekking from the domestic to the international sections of the airport pushing a trolley full of dD's luggage. But at least we were hopeful! Well we went to the desk and we had to wait. Eventually about 4.30 or 5pm or so, the guy came out wheeling my 2 pieces of bruised luggage!!!!!!!!!!! People!!!! It was the best feeling I had ever experienced!!!!!!!!! I thanked and thanked and thanked and even went back to the international section to tell the handlers I had found my luggage!!!!!

We finally went to the hotel and I S-L-E-P-T!!!!!

Wakey! Wakey! Rise and shine! We were at the airport by 7.45am. We didn't want any more stories! Got there, saw the nasty Manager and the nasty lady, confirmed our flights. Still queued at Customs so our luggage could be inspected for the VAT Refund! Rearranged our luggage so we wouldn't pay for excess luggage since I had lost my receipt, checked in and got our boarding passes. At least now, NOTHING could go wrong! HA! Was that a joke!

It so happened, almost all of dD's hand luggage and half of mine was to be confiscated bc of the liquids and aerosols! My GOODNESS!!!!!! My perfumes????!!! NO WAY!!!! I was definitely NOT going to throw away my bottles of designer perfumes (sorry peeps but these were the latest fragrances and they were EXPENSIVE! Plus I am a perfume FREAK!!!) So we decided to GO BACK to check in the liquids and aerosols. And guess who the last people to check in YET again were?! Yup?! PLUS we had to pay for excess luggage with the last R700 we had on us. Good thing we didn't go clubbing the previous night like we had planned.

AND we were warned to go straight to the plane bc we were already late. We were specifically told NOT to queue for the VAT Refund. But guess the 1st thing we did when we went past immigration?! QUEUED FOR OUR VAT REFUND till we were chased from the queue!!!!

Know what the saddest thing about this story is?

After all we went through, we never got our VAT Refund! What a waste!


Chakams said...

Ouch..nail-biting stuff..extremely painful as well...B grateful for 2 things,tho..1.your luggage was vandalised in joburg & 2.U got to naija WIT ur luggage...

Teal said...

Now that is one LONG post.

vaz said...

Wow, i must say: u are quite a story-teller! I was engaged all the way and to think you typed all this with one hand...thru pain. Amazing!