A Final Wrap Up

 Posted by Elizabeth at 9:23 am
Feb 192012

I thought it was about time I posted a final wrap up, after all we have been home now for nearly 5 months!

Our last couple of days were spent driving back to Johannesburg, so not particularly exciting. When we got to the airport things started to go wrong. Firstly we tried to check in our baggage to be told it was over weight and we would be charged an exorbitant fee to get it home. It was the same baggage, without all the spare toiletries we brought over with us, so would have been quite a bit less than what we brought over! They would not budge. They told us though that we could rearrange our baggage and move stuff to our hand luggage. Huh? How does that work? It still weighs the same amount (and our hand baggage was overweight, but they hadn’t figured that out). OK so we moved stuff around and managed to make them happy – still don’t get it but we were able to get through without us costing anything.

Next was immigration. We handed them our passports and the guy started to get revved up and excited, telling us we had overstayed our visa. What? How does that work? We haven’t been in South Africa for months. He was quite rude and aggressive but finally told us that the initial 90 day visa we got on arrival also meant that we could not come back in from a neighbouring country after the 90 days without going back to our home country first. Oh and the fine was something like $1000 a day that you overstayed. Where does it say that? (I have since checked and I cannot find this anywhere on the SA Immigration website). This is obviously to stop border runners, but it was pretty obvious from the stamps in our passport that we were not border runners – we’d been to Egypt for goodness sake! He took off with our passports and finally came back with his supervisor, who thankfully was sensible. She could see it was an honest mistake and let us go, but advised us that if we ever come back and travel around that we get a proper visa rather than one on entry so we can come and go as we please.

Finally we made it through and were on our way home. Whilst we wanted to see our family, neither of us really wanted to go home or go to work. Before we left people kept telling us how dangerous Africa is, that we were crazy, we should take a gun with us and so on. We landed in Sydney only to find out that someone was shot outside the local police station (maybe 5 km from where we live) and we supposedly live in a nice quiet, safe suburb. Just goes to show it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, things happen. You just need to be sensible and don’t put yourself in situations.

Would we do it again? ABSOLUTELY!

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