Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day One (and two I suppose)

I'm off to Johannesburg for the next ten days and ten gigs. Apparently I'm going to have lots of time on my hands. Brilliant; I can get all that work I've been putting off done ... or I could write a pointless blog about the trip. Welcome.

I was very excited at the prospect of almost two weeks in the sun right up until the point yesterday when I checked the weather forecast - 5 days of torrential rain. Ah well, just so long as it's shit in the UK too.

Wednesday couldn't have started any worse (it could have, but I'll leave that in for dramatic effect). I was half-packed and looking forward to a leisurely pre-flight cycle. For those of you who I haven't bored rigid yet, I bought a bike in October which I was riding on a trainer indoors up until 2 weeks ago when I ventured out onto the roads. On Monday I cycled into Central London. On Tuesday I very nearly had a fight with a motorist. I'm getting well into it.

So I was gutted when I opened the curtains to see our railings had been sawn through right about the point where my bike should have been. Shit. My own fault, I know. Never leave your bike outside overnight ... as my friends have too enthusiastically told me. But my flatmate leaves his there EVERY night. "Yeah, but mine's shit. Yours is a good one. Well, was a good one"

The leisurely cycle was replaced with trying to sort the insurance and get a crime reference number off the police. If I'd have been superstitious I might have though it was a bad omen for the trip. I did anyway.

Once I left the flat though, the rest of the day played out perfectly. The cab driver took a lovely scenic route through the leafy parts of North London to Paddington, arriving a full 4 minutes before the Heathrow Express left. Perfect. I arrived at Terminal 5 3 whole hours before my flight, you know, like your parents do. I was already checked in, so just needed to drop my bags off.

"Business or pleasure"
"Er ... business I think"
"You didn't just say that to me."
"Oh right ... I'm going there on holiday"
"You don't want to sit in that seat. I'll move you here so you get 3 seats. Check at the gate. If any of them go, ask and they'll move you to another empty row"
And with that, the most amazing check-in guy ever put a "Priority" tag on my luggage.

After a nice Giraffe meal, some optimistic suntan lotion shopping, and an excited Ciroc vodka purchase, I settled down to illegally watch Chelsea Vs Barcelona on my laptop.

(Here's a couple of things I saw that made me chuckle. For some reason it won't let me upload them to the note).

Once onboard, I noticed that a woman had the utter cheek to have been seated next to me. I explained to the steward that I was special and he said, "Seeing as you've been so nice and asked me before anyone else I'll move you once we take off". My temporary row-partner was very pleased with me.

After kicking a cheeky kid out of my four seats I settled in for 10 hours of not-as-cramped-as-normal fun. Nothing could ruin this. Even when the entertainment on the seat I'd sat in didn't work. I just found it funny and moved to the seat next to it. I was checking the Chelsea score on my phone. 1-0 as they headed into injury time and I lost the signal. Well done Chelsea, eh.

Then some woman started kicking off. "Why does he get a whole row to himself? I've come from another flight. I should get it." "What do you want me to do? Move him?"

After dinner they did move me. Bollocks. Had they really listened to her? Indeed they had. They'd listened to her selfish moaning and moved me to Business Class, where I would belong if I ever attempted to fulfil my potential.

I was a fish out of water there in that I flapped around for a bit then died. I loved it up there. Stewardess Sue told me how everything worked then brought me some Vodka. Smirnoff Blue Label. Not shitty Red Label like that lot downstairs are drinking.

I watched Inkheart (very shit) and The Wrestler (very good) and drank more Vodka. At one point I buzzed Sue over.
"Another Vodka?"
"No. I was a bit lonely and just fancied a chat .... oh go on then, another Vodka it is"
Boy was I having fun! Surely that's the problem with Business Class - I would want to waste my money by sleeping through this fantastic service and comfort.

The flight flew by (ha ha. I accidentally wrote that). I slept for two hours then headed into the airport ready to enjoy South Africa.

Sorry this one's so long ... it was a very long day!

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