…and the winner of the worst bed in business class goes to
I feel like a cripple today after 15 hours in a “bed”. An hour of walking around Sandton shopping mall and a few minutes in the hotel pool and at least I can turn my head enough to audition for the Exorcist.
Johannesburg is a depressingly long way from Montreal. I got up at 2am Saturday to deal with the diabolical US entry requirements because I was transiting through New York. 4am at Pierre Trudeau International airport to catch a 6:55 flight to New York lasting 53 minutes. Reminds me of scuba diving. Hours of pointless faffing around for a brief moment above the clouds (or under the water).
I booked a taxi online through a taxi company the office recommended. Then I rang them on Friday afternoon to re-confirm. Of course this meant they didn’t show up at all. However, I spent a very interesting half hour with the South American night concierge for my building, watching him be amusingly cruel to drunk people trying to get into through the door without a key. He plans to quit his job – too many rude drunks. He found me a taxi from the rank around the corner and I made it to the airport in plenty of time.
You could tell it was Grand Prix weekend in Montreal apart from all the drunks (they started late because it was raining earlier in the evening; my taxi driver thought he was a spiritual medium for Ayrton Senna and played chicken with trucks at 120kph all the way to the airport.
Pierre Trudeau was uneventful (though I believe he was much more interesting in real life). They photographed my bags and asked me to confirm them at passport control – I do wonder what would happen if you said “no, I had Louis Vuitton, who took these imposter photographs!”.
New York was dull and didn’t even have free wifi. There were two swallows who had somehow found their way inside the concourse and flew back and forth twittering (bird noises, not social media). I hope somebody rescued them with a net and returned them to their friends outside, or at least fed them.
the 15 hour SA204 to Johannesburg was on time and regrettably full. Food was fine, the Stellenbosch chardonnay excellent, the service pleasant and the seat possessed.
Its full wickedness did not reveal itself until 4 hours into the flight. I watched The Royal Tennenbaums (wonderful film, amazed I never saw it before), and struggled through half of John Carter before sleep-deprivation started catching up with me. Then I put the quilty thing on the seat and attempted to sleep. The horror, the horror.
It was hard, it was crooked, it was lumpy. SA have managed to transform “flat” into something resembling a wooden pretzel. Euclid would have had hysterics. I used all the best tricks: melatonin, wine with dinner, movies, audiobook, noise-cancelling headphones. The result was that I tossed and turned for 8 hours and had nightmares about vampires, southern belles and talking cats (no more Sookie Stackhouse audiobooks for me…). Everytime I found a comfortable position I would be facedown in a pillow, start to choke and wake myself up again.
I feel deeply for my tall and wide neighbour in 3F. If I was crammed, he must have felt like the inside of a sausage. However I also resent him deeply for falling asleep on takeoff and hardly moving until breakfast. Unfair.
Still, I got here, my luggage got here (eventually), I found my hotel driver (also eventually) and I have had a lazy day. Time to order room service and rest the horses before tomorrow’s battle.