Monday, November 22, 2010

A precious day from my life wasted

I've just arrived in Kampala, Uganda. I left my house at 8am this morning, flew to Johannesburg and then to Entebbe. Entebbe sits next to Lake Victoria (the largest lake in Africa), and from there is it about a 40 km drive to Kampala. When I left this morning I decided to travel without opening my laptop, or reading anything like a book or newspaper. I did bring my iPod along, but for the rest of the time I just wanted to think. I just wanted to take in what was happening next to me, not worry about work or other issues. When I arrived at the airport in Cape Town I was thinking of doing another Budget Breakfast Review, but with only the Wimpy and Mugg & Bean in the departure area, I wasn't really keen on doing that either. I did however take a picture of my breakfast, but I still haven't decided if I want to write about it or not. The flight to Johannesburg was rather uneventful. I took some pictures of a Kulula plane that was standing next to our plane, hoping to write about the "flying 101" lesson that was nicely painted on the side of the plane. But even now I don't really feel like writing anything about that either. I will post the pictures so the you can have a look at it yourself. I just found it very interesting to see to which lenghts Kulula would go to promote their "casual" image. I think it is good, life is so serious, we need to make more fun about life, even if it's just painting something less serious than the airline logo on a million dollar aeroplane.

The gentleman that was sitting next to me was reading a newspaper. You know, why people who sits in the middle seat wants to read a newspaper is beyond me. What I usually do when my neighbour opens his newspaper is to start reading along. This usually makes the guy uncomfortable to a point that he starts folding it into something smaller than a Reader's Digest. Anyway, reading all the news about the Indian bride that was murdered in Cape Town, the Springsboks' poor performance, the outrageous spending sprees of some of our minsisters, etc., gave me enough to think about. Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood to think about all the negativity around me and decided to try and take a nap instead.

In Johannesburg, it was the same routine as usual. Walking to International Departures and waiting for the first boarding call. I packed only hand luggage for my trip, so I spared myself the luggage check-in and all the schlep that goes along with that. I was given a window seat which I had to accept because the lady at check-in at Cape Town told me she could not change it from there. In Johannesburg it would've been too late to still beg for an aisle seat, so I left it like that. At least it is better than a middle seat. And besides, I didn't have a newspaper to annoy the passengers next to me. I was the third person to board the plane, and I was rather surprized to find out that the first two were actually the people that was going to sit next to me. It was a husband and wife in their late fifties. The husband was rather pissed off when I placed my bags in the overhead lockers while he was still fiddling around with his luggage on his seat. When he looked up and saw that I have taken the space, I could see on is face he was not very happy. I'm sorry, if you snooze you lose. It seems like the older you get the longer it takes to settle down and store your luggage, so I guess I had a couple of years on my side.

The plane was delayed by 45 minutes due to thunderstorm activities around Johannesburg. Sitting in a stationary aircraft for 45 minutes feels much longer than in a moving one. The eldery couple next to me did not talk much. Neither did I. When we took of I could understand why we were grounded for 45 minutes, the clouds really looked scary. Captain De Beer was flying this way and that way dodging thunderstorm cells, and eventually apologized for the seatbelt signs that was still on 40 minutes after take-off. I was wondering how much more time we were losing with this zig-zag flying, but at least appreciate the fact that he was trying to miss these thunderstorm clouds...or Cumulonimbus clouds as the are called. I was getting bored with nothing to do. My thoughts went back to the interesting gentleman that was sitting next to me on my previous flight to Uganda. He taught me a couple of valuable life lessons, all resulting from his own life experiences. The woman next to me today was still trying to learn a few life lessons herself. She was reading a book called "Understanding the pupose and power of a woman". Judging by the amount of notes she scribbled down in the book, I could see that her husband was in for a big surprise later on. I was wondering if there might be a book available with a shortened title like "Understanding woman". I think this would've been a better seller than the one she was reading. I didn't want to get into a conversation with this woman, especially not on that topic, so I just kept to my side of the cramped up seat and later decided to watch the main movie. It was one of those typical American movies where everyone lives happily ever after. This was about a 10-year old girl facing the challenges of life after her dad lost his job, as well as her older sister that was giving her a bit of a hard time. The problem with these "feel-good" movies is that you actually feel even more miserable after the end. As soon as the credits start rolling across the screen along with the tears across your cheeks, you realize that in reality things don't really work out like they do in these shallow unreal depictures of real life. Then you are back to your own life which isn't always as rosy as the ones in movies. Anyway, I wasn't expecting life to be like in the movies so I am kind of prepared for "real life" and don't get pulled into these "Pleasantville" plots easily. This one couldn't pull me in either....

Howard Stafford's article
Sawubona Cover

I  didn't finish watching the movie, and to help me against more boredom I decided to page through the Sawubona, SAA's inflight magazine. Here I read a letter about a gentleman who was complaining about the "oversize and overweight crew members" that kept on bumping against him. He was threatening to stop using SAA's services. I was just wondering which airline he was considering after SAA, seeing that most of them are like that nowadays. Gone are the days when air hostesses were recruited for their looks and not for their ability to pick up a fire extinguisher or push top-heavy food trolleys. Personally I don't have a problem when they rub their "bee-hinds" against me, but I guess if they continuously bump my coffee from the cup in my hand then it might be another story. I just don't think I would change airlines because of the size of the crew. I have seen air hostesses from some other European countries that could've been my granny, so I would not complain too much about SAA's crew. I also read the "Light Relief" section by Howard Stafford. He was telling about his recent trip to West Africa and how his tolerance levels were tested by the poor service he received from the hotels he was staying in. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt my friend.

So, what a boring and uneventful day it was for me. I reached my hotel at around 8pm and deciced to read my mails quickly and then to post this uninteresting story of my day. To me this was nothing but wasted time. I wonder what I can do to prevent this from happening again. Maybe read a good book, or travel with a companion instead of doing it alone. Even traveling with someone you don't like is better than traveling alone. Llet's see what Kapala can offer me over the next couple of days. maybe in my next post I will have something more interesting to write about.

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