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Life has definitely taken me to places I never thought I would go to....but nothing more exciting than where I am right now! Welcome to my world...


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Something good....from a crazy situation!

Ok, been gone for ever so long....maybe no one will even read this. I returned to South Africa yesterday...my thoughtful husband arranged for us to remain at the coast for a nice quiet rest in our favorite hotel...and for me to get a much needed haircut. Haven't had one since the "rib" incident! But let me first bring you up to date about my journey. Had a fabulous time in the States...even minus any clothes....except the ones I bought. Yep, I made it through the entire trip...all 40 days without my missing bag of clothes!But I made the best of it...bought mix and match...basics that could layer!Saw all the family, well....all 8 sisters and 5 of the brothers, as I missed my brother who came to see me, while I was gone, by the time I got back he had already driven back to his home about an hour away. I was able to spend some good time with my Mother...who recently underwent colon surgery. Spent time with my daughter in law, which gave me a chance to get to know her better, and was able to spend some time with my daughter...not as much as I would have liked. And Thanksgiving was great at my mom's....most everyone of the brothers and sisters were there and most had their families as well(grown kids) It did take about 5 rooms to house all of us, but the conversations were so varied you could pass through any one of those rooms and pick up about 10 different ones in each room. It was crazy. I so enjoyed that. Now, back to the whole missing suitcase issue. I know YOU KNOW I flew 3 airlines from 4 airports and landed on 3 continents, South African Airways to Johannesburg, Virgin from Jo'burg to London, then United from London to Chicago, then United to Nashville, TN. Well, when I arrived into Chicago....only one suitcase...at least the one WITH my quilts and blankets made it through, but there was no second case with ALL of my clothes in it! I discovered it in Chicago...then when I got to Nashville filled in all the lost baggage reports I had to and began that day...calling every day to check up on the "finding the bag process".Calling the special help number where I had difficulty understanding the person on the other end and she had a hard time understanding me???? Maybe its my accent? At any rate...all I basically got from the telephone line...was we are checking....and thank you for your patience, but that started wearing thin...after the third wearing of the same t shirt in one week. Then I was informed they were willing to reimburse me for some of my expenses....so I WENT SHOPPING. I didn't go crazy, but bought basic necessary items...like bras and panties!(Actually bought those the third day, sick of rinsing out!) But did get the things I needed to work with my sister, who was facilitating an EPA convention in St. Louis, ( I wanted to make some extra Christmas money) So got two work suits( in missing bag...so replacements) and several sweaters as the cold snap hit the area, a pair of work shoes...and few bits. Not too bad.....and after several more flights in and out of Chicago and Nashville....where I continued to check on the process of my Bag search...finally got from a woman (on the telephone...) that the bag had been identified by a United agent in London.So now I am sure its Uniteds FAULT, so I fill out the paper work for reimbursement...and lost luggage. I send it off....then prepare to fly back to the US.I check once more in Nashville at the baggage dept. and she suggests I check in the Chicago baggage area ....just to be sure its not there. So there I am in Chicago.....running around looking for the United baggage dept. Found it finally, waited in the queue( I thought things took a long time in SA!) only one guy working.....only one guy in front of me...but it took over a half hour for him to get helped! Then when I asked the guy to help me, I was passed off to the manager...who took more time, then said the bag wasnt' there. So it was off to London, where I went again to the baggage services...to check the possibility of the bag being there. Virgin was helpful...but said I needed to go talk to United baggage. So off to United...where For the first time, felt like somone really listened. Of course I had decided that it was their problem as THEY LOST THE BAG!. But they not only checked on all the bags they had...but described the contents of every bag that matched the color make of mine! Then before the guy finished, he said you know I don't actually have the bar code for that bag showing up as having arrived into London! That got the juices flowing...what do you mean it didnt' arrive? Then where else could it be???????? ONLY in SOUTH AFRICA?????!!!!!!! I became a woman on a mission! As soon as I could get to the domestic terminal in Jo'burg, I asked the SA agent about my missing bag...he directed me to the baggage service area in the basement. There they said they only keep bags there for 7 days...so sent me to the 4th floor office. I walked in, explained the situation...they not only let me personally go into the baggage area....(lost and found...of course) but showed me the 6 long shelves of October bags. YIkes!!!! Lots of missing bags....I walked carefully through....but didn't find my bag...so the guy said again...what day was that missing? I replied it would have been Oct 28th ...so he showed me the November shelves....and then he added that there was also a Domestic missing area??????HMMMMMMMMMM I had flown domestic to Joburg...so I started down the shelves.....nothing on the top shelf...nothing on second ....and nothing that looked like mine on the bottom. SHAME.....no luck...but as I walked back through the shelves....I decided to look very closely.Good thing...as .....there on the bottom shelf....MY BAG!!!!! I think I shouted for joy....... the guy, was most kind....and asked if I needed anything else. I asked him how that bag was going to be sent to the US??? It was full of my winter clothes which I will need in Feb. when I return to the US....and since my bags will be full of summer clothes/etc. NO ROOM and I certainly don't want to pay for another bag to be shipped home. EXCESS baggage is so expensive going through all those airports! He said they would of course let me take it in Feb.....but I know how this works...I get to the airport...and nobody will actually let the extra bag go through...so I asked if they couldn't send it on to United( who had already admitted their guilt..... :o) POOR GUYS! and that they would then deliver it to my daughter's home. So I quickly went down'stairs to have the bag wrapped in cellophane....didn't want to tempt fate....( or any baggage handlers who might be "Christmas shopping" in the checked bag dept. ) and then whatever was still in the bag...would be delivered to DD's home. I hate to admit it...because of the time crunch to catch my flight...I never even opened the bag.....just went on sheer joy....to have a reasonably heavy bag....similar to the one I had checked. It feels so good to know that the bag is finally on a plane for Home.! Now Just hope it doesn't get LOST!!! Later, Colleen

3 comments:

The Jen said...

UNBELIEVABLE! Well, given all the other crazy SAfrica stories, I'd say its very believable. Goodness, I'm glad you got all your things, or at the very least a nice suitcase filled with reasonably heavy items to match the original weight of YOUR original items. :) heh.

~jen~

Ruth's Place said...

Yep, only in South Africa *sigh* :)

Libby said...

Amazing . . . your perserverence surely paid off. Can hardly wait to hear if all is in tact come February *s*