Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Race of doom II: Touchdown

“My friend. David. Here is my phone number. Remember my face. Somewhere in this airport is my driver’s licence. Please! Please try to find it for me. Please!”
I’m still racing to my doom.
I’m on the plane. It’s 7.30. A miraculous save. I should’ve been flying at 6am, though. So I’m an hour and a half behind the curve.
On my crazed, running-late scramble through OR Tambo, I’ve managed to lose my driver’s licence. So now I’m traveling to Cape Town without ID.
I’m not going to be able to fly back, because they don’t let you on a plane without ID. David is my only hope. A minute before I got on my plane, I grabbed the nearest security guard and begged him, please find my ID. Please!
For now, though, that’s a subsidiary nightmare. I first have to get to this bloody conference. I’m so late!
This may yet be salvageable. If we touch down in Capeys at 9.30, I could taxi it to Stellenbosch pretty quick.
But first, two hours in the clouds, in transport limbo. Alone with my terror. So bladdy late…
A fitful sleep. A blank, uncomprehending flick through the in-flight mag. Finally we’re touching down…
I sprint through arrivals. They’ve rebuilt Cape Town international. Like a target on the run from a sniper, I sprint aimlessly through the terminal, scanning for a taxi logo. Quarter to ten… There! Taxi! With this intense, urgent vibe I’ve recently developed I round on this oke with a walk-talkie and a bib. “I need to get to Stellenbosch. Fast!”
Suddenly I’m hot property. Trip to Stellies must be lucrative for the drivers. After a tug of love, I’m bundled into a taxi and we head. I’ve got my phone out, trying to download a map, plan a route and explain it to my driver. It’s a cunning one through Kuilsrivier, then you hop on the M23 and come into Stellenbosch the back way.
The M23! Ah, we missed it! Missed the turn-off! We gotta get off this highway. It’s after ten. I’ve officially missed the start of the conference. Phone’s losing charge…
It rings! “Hallo! It’s me David. I’ve got your ID!”
“Awesome! You’re my hero! Can you get it Cape Town? Find someone who’s getting on a plane to Cape Town. Any flight! Anyone.”
“Get off here!” to the taxi driver, “Take the M23!”
“Hello! Who’s this?”
“My name is Angela.”
“Angela, please. I’ve left my ID in Joburg. Can you do me a huge favour and bring it down to Cape Town with you?”
“Here! Here! Bottelary Road. The M23”
“You will? Angela, thanks so much. Please leave it at baggage enquiries at Cape Town airport. Thank you, you’re a lifesaver!”
I may yet get back to Joburg. In the meantime it’s 10.20 and I’m lost on the Cape Flats, trying to find Stellenbosch, so I can burst into a conference in mid-stream pale as a ghost and looking like I’ve gone through hell backwards.
Will my boss be angry or even worse, “disappointed”? So bladdy late.
Still shvitsing. The taxi meter’s on R500. Racing to my doom. And paying top dollar for the privilege.
The price of an education. If you’re gonna set your alarm, Make sure you do it properly.

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