somewhere between here and there, part 2

A Moment with my (ex) Housemate, theGreek

On G talk:
G: blah blah i can't believe how unfair it is...
T-Lo: Wanna come chat about it? If you want to chat, I am always here...
G: Where you?
T-Lo: [gives address]
G: K, see you in 30 mins
[screetching tires, stomp stomp stomp to the door, bang bang,"T- you there?!"]
T-Lo: How are you?
G: blah blah bitch gulp blah!
T-Lo: Gulp gulp .. I understand! And I don't miss it!!
G: [impersonates a worker ant]
T-Lo: It was good. But I'm happy where I am. [looks at bag on floor, bed on couch]
G: [understands]
T-Lo: Gulp gulp.
G: Gulp gulp.

Yeah babes, that's what I'm talking about!!


Somewhere between here and there, part 1

Conversation One:

Me and my buddy up at the Canadian High Commission in Pretoria:

T-Lo: Ok, you have all of my application details there, right? And they are all complete, right? And ready to go?
Lady: Yes.
T-Lo: And you can give me a passport in SS, right?
Lady: Yes.
T-Lo: Ok, let's do that and I'll take it from there. How long will it take to turn around?
Lady: Ummm... when are you rescheduled to fly?
T-Lo: They are holding 21 June for me. Will it be ready by then?
Lady: Ummm... when is that?
T-Lo: It's two weeks and three days from now.
Lady: Yes. [pause] It should be ready by then. [hesitates] Yes, you should be able to make that flight.
T-Lo: Just to clarify - I should make the flight or I will make the flight?
Lady: You should make it, yes.
T-Lo: I should? Or I will?
Lady: You should, yes.
T-Lo: Can you guarantee that I will make it?
Lady: You should be able to make it, I don't really see a problem with it.
T-Lo: But can you guarantee it?
Lady: You should be able to, yes.
T-Lo: Thank you. Good bye.

Conversation Two:

Me and my buddy at Expedia:

T-Lo: My passport will take at least three weeks to turn around. I would like to confirm that I will not be on my flight this weekend but I will call you next week to reschedule.
CS Agent: Ok no problem!
T-Lo: Will you make a note of this on my file?
CS Agent: Ok no problem!
T-Lo: Shall I follow up with a confirmatory email?
CS Agent: Ok no problem!
T-Lo: Ok, I shall. Thank you.
CS Agent: I would like to thank you for calling and I would like to wish you a good day.
T-Lo: [gets a pain behind the eyes]

Conversation Three:

Me and my new buddy at Expedia:

T-Lo: I called last week, and followed up with an email, to say I would not make my flight and would call back to reschedule. Is there a record of that in my file?
CS Agent 2.0: Ummm.... [silence] ... when did you say you sent the email?
T-Lo: Four days ago.
CSA 2.0: Let me check our email records.
T-Lo: [pain in temples joins pain in eyes]
CSA 2.0: Ah! Here it is! Ok. How can I help you?
T-Lo: I am calling to reschedule my flight.
CSA 2.0: Ah! Ok, I will just have to check with Emirates as you are listed as a 'no-show' on the flight file.
T-Lo: But I called. To say. That I would not. Make. The flight.
CSA 2.0: [silence] I will just have to contact Emirates on your behalf. Please hold!
T-Lo: Ok.

(Aside: in the time that I was "on hold", I downloaded and watched a youtube video on the mating habits of sea-horses, discovered the many and varied meanings of a house-on-fire in dream interpretation, re-read Obama's inauguration speech, made myself and ate a sandwich, made a cup of tea, downloaded Gorillaz: Dare and listened to that to stop my head exploding, worked on my CV and flipped through the UNOPS vacancies site. No joke.)

CSA 2.0: Ok, yes. The flight can be rescheduled but you will have to call back mid-week to wait for this flight information to clear the system.
T-Lo: Really?
CSA 2.0: Yes. I do apologize for the inconvenience.
T-Lo: Please may I have a reference number for this call?
CSA 2.0: Sure! It's BV33DS. I want to thank you for calling and I would like to wish you a good day.

Conversation Four:

My and my new new buddy at Expedia:

T-Lo: Hello. My reference number is BV33DS.
CSA 3.0: Ah! Yes! There we are!
T-Lo: I am calling to reschedule my flight.
CSA 3.0: Thank you! I'll just have to call Emirates quickly on your behalf!
T-Lo: Ok. [starts downloading youtube videos in anticipation...]
CSA 3: You'll have to call Emirates directly yourself! Thank you for calling and I would like to wish you a good day.
T-Lo: [head/desk/bang]

Conversation Five:

Me and my buddy at Emirates in Cape Town:

T-Lo: I would like to reschedule my flight.
Emirates Chick: Ok. Can I have your reference number please?
T-Lo:[quotes it]
EC: Ok, that's the old number. Do you have the new number?
T-Lo: No. This is the number my booking agent gave me. I have no other number.
EC: That is the old number in our system. Do you have another number?
T-Lo: No. That is the only number I have. Can you cross reference me by name?
EC: No. We require the new number to change the flight details.
T-Lo: I have no other number. This is the number my booking agent gave me.
EC: We do not have that number in our system.
T-Lo: Are you telling me that Emirates has lost my flight information?! That you have no record of my current flight in the system even though you can see the old one and my name?!
EC: It isn't "lost". It's just "missing". You have no other number?
T-Lo: NO.
EC: Please hold!
EC: Ok. I have found your flight information. I see you are booked CT-Dubai-TO for 07 June. What would you like to do?
T-Lo: I would like to change my flight date.
EC: Why would you like to do that?
T-Lo: Because 07 June has passed and I am still in Cape Town.
EC: Ah! I see! Ok! Let me just check your Terms and Conditions....
EC: Ok I can do that. When do you want to fly?
T-Lo: 28 June or 05 July.
EC: I can get you on 05 July with a change of flight fee of R19 700.
T-Lo: [after recovering from shock] That seems like quite a substantial difference in price.
EC: Yes. That's because it is a first class ticket.
T-Lo: But I am booked on economy.
EC: But there is only first class available. Would you like me to check availability in economy around that time?
T-Lo: Yes. Please.
EC: I can get you to JFK on 04 June for the same price.
T-Lo: Ok. Let's do it.
EC: [clakkity clak on her keyboard]
T-Lo: No! Wait! I can't fly into the States! Stop! Stop! I will get detained in the US cuz of the name differences between the passport and the ticket and I'm flying from Africa via the Middle East and they will think I'm a terrorist!!!
[a moment's uncomfortable silence follows]
EC: Why.... uh ... how come... are you....???
T-Lo: No! God no! I'm not a terrorist! I'm being figurative here!
[I give her a brief rundown of the situation]
EC:[breathing a sigh of relief] Ok, I can get you in on 12 July with a change fee of R4000.
T-Lo: I'll take it! That's mine! Book me now! Now! Book me!
EC:[clakkity clak on her keyboard] Ok. Done.

%#%%$(@++$. Is it just me? Is it just me?!


the new 3 sleeps

It's raining out and I don't even own a coat (well, it's on a boat somewhere) or an umbrella anymore. Or a blow dryer. Or an iron. Or a pot. Or a pan. Or a pillow. The list goes on. Bloody hell.

I remember when Kiki and I moved to Japan we gave ourselves seven days to sort ourselves out. We called it The Seven Day Plan and it looked something like this:

Day 1: find somewhere to live
Day 2: figure out subway system
Day 3: find grocery store and open bank account
Day 4: find job
Day 5: find job
Day 6: get job
Day 7: start work

We had booked ourselves into Sukerokunoyado Sadachiyo, a traditional ryokan for the first night. It was divine. We had a lovely hot bath on arrival and slept on firm futons in our six tatami mat room. We met a guy (Australian? NZ? German?) on the first night who gave us great advice on how to get around (find landmarks high up on buildings; don't bother remembering street names or numbers because its more confusing to remember them; always look back when you are walking so that you know what it looks like when you return...) then he tried to get us to a ' love hotel'; we declined. Love hotels are socially and culturally acceptable hotels that couples rent by the hour for the purposes of [whispers] you know. Each room has its own design, too. Dear, do you feel like a log cabin motif tonight? Or would you like to pretend to be on a boat? Or would you prefer to be bent over a Ferrari bed? Ha!

I'm getting off point here... I digress...

Anyway, on the first day there, we had to find somewhere to live because we had only booked ourselves one night at the ryokan. Unfortunately, it was the middle of monsoon season. And by monsoon, I don't mean a pissy little thunderstorm and a bit of wind. I mean non-stop torrential bucketing down exploding fire hydrant pointed at your face pouring rain coupled with gale force tornado-like winds. Naively, we stopped at a 7-11 and bought umbrellas. They lasted about four and a half seconds before the wind turned them inside out then ripped the plastic from the metal. We opted to get soaked. We were literally blown into doors, windows, street lamps, parked cars. Every time we went indoors we had to wring out our coats, hats and shoes. We were frozen solid. Our fingers and toes were pruned. We finally - finally - found somewhere to stay.. a lovely little house in the middle of a park in Edogawabashi. Then we had to go back to the ryokan to get our bags, strap them to our backs and head out into the monsoon again. It was hec-tique. We finally settled into our new home in the park, absolutely soaked to the bone, windblown to all hell.

Then, we had to conquer the shower. The shower was coin operated, located outside and had a four-way mirror located at crotch-level. Ahhhh.... we managed in the end. I miss those days. Those were the wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears, green-thumbed, soaked by the rain travel days when everything you owned could be strapped to your back was a new and exciting adventure. Now, I'm sitting here, 13 years later, still soaked but without the wide eyed, wet eared innocence of Japan. Now I'm just a grumpy ol' gal, waiting for a passport and a plane.


the new 5 sleeps

On the plus side, I've landed a nice consultancy job for the next couple of weeks. Boredom avoided and money earned. Yay!


the new 6 sleeps

Passportless [check]

This is an interesting hurdle. Very interesting indeed. And 'nary impossible to overcome. But I shall! I shall overcome!


the new 7 sleeps

This is where I spent my weekend. Jealous? I would be if I were you! Mad Max invited the girls up to her man's place on a spur of the moment LetsGetOutOfTown thing, and what a pleasure! The property is located within the Cape Point Nature Reserve and is an absolutely magic piece of paradise. We ate well, chilled by the fire, read, chatted, slept. I went for an hour and a half walk along the beach, all by myself, ipod in ears, mace in hands (baboons, you know), through the mist, nothing but me, my music and my footsteps. I always find that incredibly rejuvenating (provided, of course, the mace stays in hand and is not deployed into face of baboon). Little Mouse was chatting about how you don't really appreciate these things as a child. She is so right. Here's my top 5 things that you don't appreciate, but should, as a child:

5. Taking photos of rocks through the mist.
4. Cooking with friends for three hours then eating an awesome meal.
3. Driving for two hours to go to the middle of nowhere.
2. Reading by the fire for hours on end.
1. The afternoon nap.


the new 11 sleeps

homeless [check]

HA! That's it. It's all done. I am now officially reduced, after having everything stolen/losing stuff/donating the rest to charity, to one 30kg bag. Is it as nice and as liberating as everyone says? Sure, I suppose. Would be a lot more if I was 22 and leaving the country for the first time... but I digress.

TheGreek and I have been doing a mover comparison. We each have hired our own guys to do the moving thing over the past couple of days. I got a dude, his mate, and a mini-bakkie (pick up truck) thing for R450 to move my charity stuff from the flat to the school. They came, they packed, they tied the stuff down, they got stuck in a driveway for a while then they moved it. Fabulous. Relatively painless. Of course, as soon as the stuff was gone I had a bit of a cadenza and Cold Feet were in effect big time. TheGreek was like: You have nothing left. You have no job. Everything you wanted was stolen and everything you didn't want you gave away. What are you going to do, rugby tackle the 8 year old underprivileged child for the blow dryer you gave away then rebuild it from there? I debated this for a moment. Then I listened to some Vanilla Ice and it was ok. Ice! Ice! Baby!

TheGreek got a guy for R540. He showed up today after I had left. It was the dude and his bakkie and that was it. theGreek, ever the efficient handyman (I say with a twinkle in my eye and chuckle in my throat), was like: can you move this all on your own? And dude was like: um, yes, except for the couch, the bed, the fridge and the hall stand. HA! So guess what theGreek spent the afternoon doing? HAHAHAHHAHA. I laugh. I'm sorry, but I do.

But, my moving-in-with-theGreek-movers take the cake. That was the piece de resistance of moving. The Michaelangelo, if you will. Or the Gaudi. Take your pick. I called this dude, Mr September, and asked him to move me. He quoted me R650, and I thought: I don't care as long as I don't have to move it myself. On the day, Mr September rocked up in a pimped out late 80s Eclass Mercedes, with rolling mags, playboy stickers all over and the following wording on the back of his vehicle: "I'm pimpin' and I'm stylin' and I know you want me". Ok, this was my mover. I asked him how we were going to move. He said: here comes my truck. As sure as the sky is blue, this FkN BEAST of a truck, like a full on long haul transport truck that was old old old and grunting the entire way, reversed up my road. It stopped. And, as sure as the sun is hot, a veritable army of men hopped out the back of that truck and looked at Mr September. Mr September tossed a hand in the general direction of my stuff. They loaded me in 12 minutes flat, with me screeching after them: No! No! Please don't bubble wrap my orchid!. Then, they followed me in the Bullet (not TheNotTheBullet, the actual Bullet herself) through town and into Sea Point, where they unloaded me in 17 minutes flat (including the stairs).

Best R650 I ever spent.


the new 12 sleeps

All this '+' and '-' sleeps is confusing the hell out of me now, so I'm just gonna start the count over again.

I'm looking at this right now. You know, just cuz....


-1 sleeps + 14

I'm glad my thesis and I are on good terms again. We had a fight a couple of months ago and stopped talking to each other. We went through a phase of each trying to destroy the other, like two old, angry, slightly demented dogs of war lost in a tropical bush somewhere with nothing but a pocket knife and a bone to pick.

But we got over it. We talked it through and hugged it out. Now, we are on good terms. In fact, I'm galloping on a big black horse towards a tower.... nah, change that...The thesis is galloping on a big black horse towards a tower, where I am waiting to jump out a window and on the back of that horse so the thesis and I can go careening into the sunset together. We're getting there, dear thesis, we are getting there.


0 sleeps + 14

I should be home in 12 hours. Aaaaaah-las, I am not.

In fun-and-exciting news, my thesis supervisor suggested that I add another chapter in my thesis dealing with jurisdiction issues. Who-hoo! [high fives] *misses* (cries)

I'm already bored of being unemployed. Seriously, what do people do with their time? Over the past five years I've become so accustomed to working full-time, studying my LLB / LLM part-time and training like a demon that I don't know what it's like not to have a 12 hr day at minimum. I stopped training about 6 weeks ago just to give my body a rest before flying back and now on top of that I don't work either. Boooooooooooooooooored. Like, Donkey in Shrek 2 in the carriage on the way to Far Far Away - that kind of bored.

At least of I've got the thesis! Ha!


2 sleeps + 14

Aside from all the delays and changes, one thing that makes me pat-self-on-back proud of myself is the fact that, from the moment I started this blog, I actually got the number of sleeps right. Well done, T-Lo, well done!


3 sleeps + 14

I am sitting at Primi in Camps Bay, enjoying the after-effects of a facial and massage from the Little Mouse, drinking coffee and watching the ocean. I could get used to this being-unemployed-thing.

Otherwise... hmmm... pretty chilled. ....



My tastebuds have just been ASSAULTED!

Gross! Ewww!!!!!!! Yuck! Blech!

[spits, scrapes tongue with knife]

[drools a bit]


I ordered a bite to eat with my coffee. One egg, one piece of toast, 2 pieces of bacon and some roasted tomato.

There I am, merrily eating away when suddenly, out of nowhere, my tastebuds are attacked! Then, in self defense, they crawl into the recesses of my tongue, screaming for mercy. Seriously, there are claw marks on the inside of my mouth right now. I'm so grossed out.

Dear Primi;

Do not try to inspire 'global fusion' to your dishes by artfully decorating the plate with swirls of Marmite. If I want that horrible brown sludge on my food, I'll ask for it.



5 sleeps + 14

Car-less [check]
Clothes-less [check]
Job-less [check]
Money-less [almost check]
Home-less [ ]

One to go!! This is fun again :) :) :)

Bring it on! Bring! It! On!



6 sleeps + 14

Denied! Delayed! De-can't-believe-it!

Passport issues... thesis issues... ah well, what's another two weeks at this point? At least now I'll have a chance to check out this joint with a couple of mates before I go. I met the owner / chef the other night... he told me that they are doing a 6 course winter special for R150. Not bad. Not bad at all. I know it will be fantastic as the chef has won a series of national and international awards and the restaurant itself received glowing reviews in a Conde Nast publication recently.

One thing that the Mother City does well (which the Hammer / Toronto do not) is restaurants. Mother City restaurants are generally locally owned and tastefully done and waiters are likely to suggest a decent wine pairing with your meal. The Hammer / Toronto, on the other hand, are dominated by The Chain Restaurant and the decor mimics every other chain restaurant in existence. Like, you could be at a Swiss Chalet in the Hammer, which is the exact same as the Swiss Chalet in Toronto. Likewise for the Keg or Kelsey's or any other chain... and the waiters, instead of offering a decent wine pairing, are likely to offer to supersize your curly fries with your meal. Curly fries. *shudders*