Sitting on the plane at the Johannesburg airport waiting for take-off
Upon landing in Lilongwe, I got to go through the short Customs line (Diplomats and International Organizations). There was one luggage carosel with room for less than half the passengers to fit around it. I finally got my luggage. Even though I was 4 people away (almost not even in the room,) with no hope of anyone letting me move even one inch closer, they very happily grabbed my luggage and passed it back to me.
Taxi-ing up to Lilongwe airport
To leave the baggage area, 2 seperate guards made me open suitcases. They didn't seem to actually look at anything that was inside... I think they just wanted to prove that they CAN...
I walked through the guantlet of people waiting to meet passengers. There was no one there with my name or ABC on a sign so I continued out the doors onto the sidewalk where the cabbies attack everyone who exits, hoping for a fare. I told them someone was meeting me and stood next to the only door into the airport. And I stood... And I stood... And I stood.
Somehow I had never bothered to get a phone number of anyone in the country nor had I even gotten an address for the place. Finally after about 1 & 1/2 hours one of the cabbies came over and said "Where is your ride?" I said "I don't know". He said "I'll take you there". I said "Do you know where African Bible Colleges is?" He asked the others. 3 of them simultaneously gave him directions which he appeared to find very clear. He said "$30." I said I have $5 and 5 pounds. He said, "I'll drive you and when we get there your friends can pay me." At this point I was kind of out of options so I said "All right. Let's go" It was about 1/2 hour - 45 minute drive. I was so exhausted I kept nodding off (you know the whole jerking head thing...?) As I jerked to conciousness at one point we were driving right past ABC Clinic. (I know that they have the Clinic and the Elementary Academy all an the same campus so I said "I think we're passing it right there." He said, "No, they said I have to turn right at (this next road) and go this way." About 10 minutes later he made a U-turn and went past the road I had seen the clinic on and stopped at a gas station at the following corner to ask directions. They directed him right back to the clinic, (exactly where I had seen it). They called someone important who sent someone to meet me and pay the cabbie.
It turns out, the guy who was picking me up got stopped for about 1/2 hour by a police officer who finally gave him a ticket for having underinflated tires. When he finally got there, he went inside and held up his little sign with my name on it but I didn't come. He met an aqauintance who's friend was one of the security agents. They checked the manifest that said I should have been on the plane. But we did not end up finding each-other As it happens, he and his wife had scheduled to have me over for dinner, so once I got to my new house, he picked me up and they fed me a wonderful and very welcome chicken and fried potatoes dinner. After which I came home and collapsed!
Later I'll write another novel about my first shopping trip the next day...