I love travelling for business. I really enjoy the solitude of it, I enjoy everything about it. Ok, not everything, catching the red eye flights is not one of my favorite things to do, but I enjoy all the other aspects of it.
I have started travelling monthly for business, alternating between trips to Durban and Cape Town. Now, because I’m from Cape Town and my family is all still there, I enjoy and look forward to these trips the most. Catching up with family and friends and staying with my Mom and Dad between business meetings, it feels, in may ways like a paid vacation. Largely also due to the fact that I really enjoy my job. So it’s really not like work for me.
My company knows that my family are all in Cape Town so they encourage me to travel close to the weekends so that I can stay on for a weekend with my family. It’s fantastic!
I was due for my next Cape Town trip last week and was really looking forward to it. Because it’s school holidays, my parents offered to pay for the girls to fly with me so that they could spend a few days with granny and grandpa while I worked.
But there were more low lights than highlights on this trip!
Here are the highlights:
The business was good, I closed a couple of big deals and had great meetings.
The weather was amazing and I got to take the girls to the beach on Saturday! Which was their highlight!
I I joined the #ZumaMustFall protesters with my cousin along the Main Road in Cape Town and got to feel the amazing spirit of the people, I also got to add my voice to the growing discontent!
I got looked after by my parents! Nothing better than Mom’s cooking and being in your parents home right?
I got to take the girls to Greenpoint Park for a picnic where they subsequently fed our entire picnic to the seagulls, this was apparently hysterical to them!
We got to meet up with a few of my favorite bloggers and our kids got to play together!
The Low Lights:
I got sick before we left and spent the entire trip sneezing, snotting, hacking up a lung and living on Sinumax.
Our flight in was delayed so we arrived late and I run horribly behind schedule for all my meetings on Thursday, thank goodness for understanding clients!
I got lost in Paarden Eiland!
I went to dinner with my cousin and lost an hour of my life. Racing the girls out of there at 10pm worried they were getting overtired and cutting our visit short. Got back to my parents and after settling everyone into bed and climbing in myself, discovering that it was in fact only 10pm then and I’d left my cousin before 9pm because of the hour I had mysteriously lost. This is a tragedy because my cousin is like my sister you guys. I was devastated!
I used my Mom’s car to drive us around on Saturday, but the aircon broke and the temps were in excess of 30 degrees. Between my girls and I, I’m not sure who moaned, sweated and maybe even cried more in the car!
But the cherry on the cake?
Our flight home!
Let me describe it to you. I was at the height of my cold so I got a coughing fit during our 6am dash to the airport, I hacked and hacked so hard I accidentally vomited on myself! YAY! WINNING!
Once I’d cleaned myself up and gotten us checked in, it was time to board the plane. The girls were super excited because we were first on the plane, if only we’d known…..
Once everyone had boarded, the pilot announced there was a technical issue and they needed to reboot the planes computer system which would mean that the central aircon and lights would go off for a few minutes. Now I used to be a very nervous flyer, heck I lie, I was so terrified I wouldn’t even get on a plane, but with lots of work and facing my fear I got over it. So this computer reboot was making me a little anxious.
The engines shut down, the central air turned switched off and the lights went out and then we waited…..
After a few minutes, the engines came back on, the lights turned on and the central air started flowing. Only, the central air seemed to be stuck on heat. And it got hotter and hotter and hotter till it started to feel like I couldn’t breathe. By this time, everyone on the plane was uncomfortable and ringing the bells for the air stewards. We repeatedly requested that the heat be turned off and cool air turned on. The stewards made numerous trips to the cockpit and assured us that the pilots had turned on the cool air and we’d get some relief shortly.
Then we started taxing down the runway and it was cooking hot. Like I was convinced I was going to start hyperventilating from the extreme heat.
Then we were taking off and the heat was getting worse and worse! By this stage, the my children’s faces were bright read from the heat, we’d stripped down to the bare minimum of clothing and I had sweat running on my forehead and my arms were stuck to the seat rests.
But still we continued to climb.
When suddenly the head steward jumped out of his seat, flung open the cockpit door and said something to the pilot. The plane immediately decelerated and you could see everyone looking around nervously, like what the hell was going on?
That was when the pilot informed us that, 15 minutes into our takeoff, they decided that they actually couldn’t get the cool air on and that for health and safety reasons we were turning back around and going back to Cape Town. You guys, I have never been so nervous in a landing before. I was convinced that at any moment the computer system was going to fail again and that we would be cooked simultaneously by the temperature in the plane and the ball of fire created by our crash landing into the earth.
I have NEVER been so relieved as I was when we eventually stopped and the stewards through open every door on the plane to give us some relief when we felt the cool air filtering back down towards us.
After half an hour they informed us we’d need to disembark while the company (Kulula) decided what to do with all of us. So off we piled and onto the buses and back to the airport where I heard someone panicking at airport officials that their dogs were in the cargo hold and if we’d almost all cooked on the flight, would their dogs be ok?
Another half an hour later and we were all loaded back onto the buses and driven down the runway. My heart literally sank when I saw we were being sent straight back to the plane whose computer system had needed rebooting before departure and whose central air system had failed. But I had to put on a brave face for my children because by now we’d been travelling or in transit for 4 hours and they were gatvol!
After profuse apologies from the team on board and with the cool air blowing, we eventually got underway but the flight really freaked me out. Especially after the captain put on the seat belt sign mid-flight and informed us that there was nothing to fear, there were turbulence ahead which would be UNCOMFORTABLE and cause fear but were no risk to our safety or reason for ALARM! Que the freak out! It’s been 4 hours since we got home, I can still feel my body swaying with the motion of the plane and we bumped and bounced our way into Jozi.
The flight was a mare, I must have told my kids to stop shouting like eleventy million times during the two hour flight. I’d had had juice thrown on me, we’d had an accident with chocolate brownie spillage on the escalator which required me to adopt the “flash your butt crack”stance and scoop wayward brownies off the escalator while both my children wailed and I simultaneously sneezed and snotted and tried not to pee my pants!
Oh I should also mention, someone bought FISH on the plane! YES FISH! Which got cooked on our first attempt at flight and then refrozen on our second flight. It stunk so badly when we got up to disembark for the final time I had to sniff my own armpit to try and quell the dry heaving and threat of another vomit!
Let’s just say….. I probably won’t be as excited for my next trip!
But we got home in once piece, me with puke, snot and sweat stains but who cares, we’re back on firm land and I’m back at home!