So the night that June flew in her plane was delayed 2 hours. No biggie, I went to the food court in the airport and got a chai, a paper, and then spent the next hour talking to Katey, a RPCV I met there who was on her way home after finishing 3 years of service in Zambia. Yay Katey! Katey was flying standby back to the states, she was trying to get on the plane June was arriving on. At about 7 I headed to the terminal doors to wait for June's pretty face coming through the doors. When Bron, Mary, and Ed arrived, I was in the wrong place and only met up with them after they were all situated and ready to go... I was determined not to let that happen again. June's flight landed at 7:15 and I kept repositioning myself on different sides of the terminal... which way would she head after she came out? Around 8, Rishi called to see if she made it OK and I had to tell him I hadn't seen her yet. I still wasn't worried. Then at 8:30 or so her plane disappeared from the arrival screen and I felt it was time to do some investigating. Maybe I was in the wrong place. Where do you go when you need information? The information desk.
Mmapula: Hello. How are you?
Info Guy: I'm fine.
M: Um, my cousin was on the flight from Atlanta that landed at 7:15 and I haven't seen her. The plane number was just erased off the screen, do you know how I can find out any information?
M: Well, can I page her? I'm afraid she's in the wrong place.
I: We don't page.
M: You don't page?
I: For security reasons we don't page.
M: Ok... well do you have any suggestions of where I could look for her? How I can locate her? A desk or person I can talk to?
M: I see.
I hadn't given up hope at this point... even if this guy, the INFORMATION BOOTH GUY, couldn't help me.. someone had to be able to. I bumped into some people waiting for a passenger on another flight and they were very sympathetic... patted me on the back.. told me it would be OK. I went up to passport control, the guard there was very nice, but really couldn't do much and suggested information guy. I went back to the big desk with the i.
M:Hi, it's me again! I still can't seem to find her and I was wondering if you could maybe call someone who could help me. She has no way to get ahold of me and I'm the only person she's planning on meeting tonight.
I:There is nothing I can do.
M: Is this the first person who has ever been missing in this airport? What do you do in such situations?
I: There is nothing I can do.
And then... I sort of lost my cool. I held up my hand and I said..
Well that is JUST GREAT (and slammed my hand down on the desk for added effect). I am SO glad that the INFORMATION GUY IN THE BOX AT THE AIRPORT cannot do ANYTHING to help me locate my cousin. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP.
And then I saw a little police booth and thought they could help me.
Five men in uniform leaning on a table with a SAPS flag...
M: Hi! I'm missing a passenger from a plane that landed about an hour and a half ago. She has no way of contacting me, can we page her or can you contact your buddies all around the airport to see if someone is looking for me? I'm not even sure if she made it in on this plane.
Them: No, we cannot page, for security reasons. She should have your phone number, she should just call you. She should have a cell phone.
M: (frustration rising) Yes, she has the number... but what if her phone doesn't work in South Africa?! or she doesn't have money to spend in SA yet?
Them: Well, then I think you should just stand right there and she will stand somewhere else and you will find each other.
M: WHAT?! How will that work?... I think we're already doing that.... and we haven't found each other yet.
Them: We are sorry... we will pray for you.
And then I had to walk away. I walked away backwards...pointing at them... saying things in a loud voice like, GREAT! I Feel SO REASSURED NOW! AWESOME! I THINK THAT'S SO MUCH BETTER THAN GETTING ON YOUR WALKIE TALKIE!
And then I called Jess and I vented and I cried out of frustration and then June's beautiful face came through the doors... and I ran up to her and hugged her and welcomed her to South Africa with a tear stained face... and she told me all about being searched by police in customs and how long the flight took.... and then we both sighed and hoped that it would all be downhill from there.