Home / Seychelles / Leaving home for my first taste of paradise

 

O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) is a strange place to be on a Sunday night. Usually buzzing with travelers and co; chaotically checking in, declaring something, saying goodbyes and welcoming loved ones bought in from the skies. Breathing people in from distant lands, and exhaling others in a steady cycle. Not on a Sunday. This huge space is empty. Its Eerie. The scattered employees man their posts, de-animated and robotic Vacant, distant, bored and sometimes lonely eyes stare back at me for a moment, and then flinch away. The odd traveler moves in seemingly slow motion as their paths intersect mine. I turn back and there is no trace of the full British Airways flight I came in on from Port Elizabeth, the passengers, the friendly couple sitting next to me, everyone seems to have been absorbed into the ether of this hollow space. I’m Lost. I zigzag through rows of cordoned off queuing corridors. Theres no-one else besides me and the teller within sight, he can here me coming, he can see me getting closer, then further, then closer again. After a half marathon of pushing my trolley through that maze I reach the front. . .

At this point I need to admit that I have had my oversized headphones on my ears since I checked-in in Port Elizabeth, my carefully selected playlist blasting out of my X10, keeping me securely inside my head, my eyes like a camera lens peering out of my hoodie. He lifts his head to greet me and I pull back my hoodie and slide my headphones around my neck…wow, its a whole other world out here.
Politely I am told I have walked in a full circle and pretty much right where I’d started. I look around but don’t believe him. I am directed to the exact opposite side of the airport . . .
Woah! As I turn a corner I’m greeted by an airplanes count of people standing in the Air Seychelles check-in queue. There are only two flights to the Seychelles from South Africa, one on a Friday night, and the one that I am on: 23:55 on a Sunday night. I check-in and move through metal detectors, luggage scans and passport police and step into the International departures section of the airport.
Woah! Its like stepping through a portal into another world; All of a sudden there are open shops and and people everywhere. Its a shopping mall, Its almost midnight and I NEED a smoke . . .
I’m Sitting in the smoker’s lounge of Ekaya: Destination Flavour. The Heineken I quaffed on on my connecting flight has led me here. Marzen Gold Draft in Hand. The air is heavy, saturated with the constant smoke of the travelers stranded here. In Limbo we wait, for journeys to begin, or mid-way between the places we just were, and the destinations where we will soon be. Spirits are high, Spirits are low. People are chatting, some sleeping, others just staring.
The Seychelles, I dont think its quite set in yet . . . *
* Words in Italics denote extracts from my hand written journal.
 
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