Sunday, June 24, 2007

The horror, the horror

Well, not a good start to the trip. I start off in Jhb trying to find the VAT office to register my new laptop and camera for re-importation. I made the mistake of asking the first warm body I found, who cheerfully told me that it was after security. So I go through security, don't have to wait for too long at passport control despite the strike, and find... a VAT refund office for tourists, who cheerfully inform me that the place I wanted was before security. At this point I have insufficient time to fight my way back through security twice and stand in a queue to have my goods inspected, so I guess I'll just have to hope that the customs officials on my return are either friendly or on strike.

Next I arrive in Frankfurt, my least favourite airport. The only free places to sit are full of stale cigarette smoke, but that part only comes later. I arrived in a terminal full of signs to places like A19-26 but nothing actually helpful and couldn't find a Condor Airlines checkin in the international area, so I went through passport control to navigate the maze to find a Condor checkin. "This isn't an eticket," they say, "you need to collect a paper ticket". So I get directed off the Condor ticket desk, who say they don't have it, but since it was booked through Lufthansa, they might know. So I tootle over to Lufthansa, in a different part of the airport, who tap some keys and tell me that the ticket was issued to the travel agent, and the only thing they can do is treat it as a lost ticket, for which privilege I may pay E100. Wishing to get on the flight, I have now done so. Two passport controls (thank goodness for an EU passport!), three counters and a security check later (and by the looks of things, possibly a second security check???), I'm slightly cheesed off, and am getting on to the coffee and biscuits.

Oh, and the internet isn't free either. I'm sure I somehow got on free last time I was in Frankfurt, but apparently it is not to be.

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