Home Voice Travel THE JOZI EXPERIENCE

THE JOZI EXPERIENCE

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ICON: Dipholo posing with Mandela statue at Gauteng Tourism offi ces

And the day I was saved by a hair dryer
Being the one who loves travelling, I had prepared myself well for the five day trip for the Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg.
An all expenses paid for trip by South African Tourism I was ready to hit the streets of Jozi and  had every intention of doing more than just jazz!
It was exciting for me to imagine watching Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway, Fourplay, Chris Botti, Wanda Baloyi and Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse performing live on stage, but my appetite needed more than jazz.
I arrived at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport at 9:20 am last Wednesday for my 10:15 flight. The trip started on a low note because I had expected to see two of my colleagues in the media. I boarded the plane without them for my first sighting of the magnificent OR Tambo International airport, little knowing of a terrible day that awaited me.
It took a bit over an hour to reach OR Tambo and as we alighted from the SA Xpress, I followed a long queue of other passengers, blindly letting them take me where ever they were going. On we went through a narrow tunnel that eventually separated into two routes. My problems had started! Now which group of passengers do I follow?

THE LEGEND: Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse with his horn

“Excuse me sir” said a middle aged woman as she went past me. In my brief moment of confusion I had stopped right in the middle of the way, trying to decide which way I should go even with the arrows clearly telling me that I should walk, I could not trust my own judgement so I turned left, and followed another group to passport control.
“Sir it says here that you have just arrived on flight 0038, are you leaving Jo’burg already?” an official at the passport control counter asked me.
As it turned out I had followed departing passengers and was on my way out of Johannesburg barely five minutes after arriving!
The polite official gave me directions and I made it to the arrivals passport control where I proceeded to the baggage reclaim. I was not prepared for what awaited me. My luggage was missing!
After spending close to 30 minutes at the information centre enquiring about my bag I finally gave up and dragged my feet to the lounging room where I found my guide waiting. My only hope was the promise I was given by staff at the information centre that my bag would be searched and delivered to my area of residence.
Now picture this. I had no toiletry, clothes and some of the things I desperately needed in Jozi were in the bag. I had only one under wear; the one I was wearing.
On arrival at the 5 star Radison Blu hotel I went straight to my room and right through to the bathroom. When nature calls, one can only oblige!
I quickly inspected the interior of my large bathroom and my focus surprisingly was on a hair dryer on the wall. I had never held the object before not because did not want to, but for the simply reason that I had no use for it and it did not interest me.  I keep my hair short.
There was no action that Wednesday evening, our programme started early Thursday morning so I retired to bed early. I made sure I washed my only underwear and slept butt naked!
As I found out in the morning, my red tanga was still damp and there was no how I was going to wear my jeans plain. That is when I thought of the hair dryer and I blew my underwear dry. I began appreciating the instrument then, and I’m thinking of buying myself one. My bag was however delivered the next day at around 20:00hrs at the Holiday Inn hotel where I had checked in during the day.
The following three days passed without incidence as we went about our duty of attending the jazz show every evening.

SCRIBES ONLY: Invited journalists posing for a group photo

With an audience of 22 000 Joy of Jazz has become one South Africa’s biggest events. It is one of the few events where people of different colour and ethnicity come together to celebrate music.
I was totally blown away by Malian Oumou Sangare. Though there was a language barrier as she sang in French, there was no mistake that the singer is talented.
After four full days of jazz we finally had to go back to our countries.
I was back at OR Tambo, checked in, tagged my luggage and waited for departure time (14:25) on flight SA 1765.
Time to board the plane arrived, and I searched everywhere for my passport and it was nowhere to be found. I immediately let security know and ran one floor up to information centre to report my missing passport.
After close to an hour I finally got my passport , which I had dropped somewhere in the airport.
My name was transferred to another flight and at around 16: 40 on Sunday I landed at SSKB. Guess what, my luggage did not arrive with the flight! I was told to check my bags the following day at 09:30, and fortunately I found everything still intact. Anyway all these experiences were a learning curve. Next time I’m going for jazz in Jozi I’m getting myself a hair dryer and my luggage stays with me.