Although I typically travel with just a carry-on backpack and camera bag, my trip to South Africa is a little different. My concern for malaria prevention has me traveling with two bonus size (Get 30% More!) cans of a 25% DEET product which requires me to check my backpack.
It is my first time flying South African Airways and I arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check in for my 10:40am flight. Our flight leaves the gate on time and it is not long before I am airborne with about fifty of my closest friends for Zambia.
I like flying in and out of these types of airports as they give me an Air Force One, Presidential kind of feeling. Of course, minus the Red Carpet treatment and extra security detail.
It is hotter than a “Bubba Firecracker” in Arizona during August and probably just as dry. I imagine the temperature is at least in the mid 90's.
A quick glance at the unloaded baggage and I get a suspicious sinking feeling. With only about fifty passengers there is only a small amounts of bags.
However, my bright red backpack does not stand out among the ones that have been unloaded.
A quick processing by a friendly Immigration official and my anxiety is beginning to grow. Are you sure all the bags have been unload I ask an airport employee. With only about fifty passengers on my flight, before he speaks I already know the answer.
I think this is only the second time in all of my airplane traveling that I face questioning by the Baggage Recovery Police (BRP).
What color is the suspected bag? Can you pick it out of a line up?
Don't call us we'll call you.
Changing some rands for local currency, I leave the airport a bit frustrated while shelling out $40,000 (Ok, It’s only about US$8) for a cab ride to my accommodations (Jollyboys) for the next few nights.
So far, my time in Zambia is not off to a good start. Before long an old African phrase from childhood days come to mind and I now know exactly what I need to do. Hakuna matata.
It’s time to go shopping, Zambian style!