A first (and a funny) in the Cape Town airport

So, we’ve all seen baggage handlers or porters in the airports, and in Africa, they are ubiquitous. Having quite a few bags between us due to our 3 week Africa trip, plus Kilimanjaro climb, we and the Taylors decided to use the services of a porter in the Cape Town airport. As he’s wheeling our bags through the terminal, he’s talking to us, out of the side of his mouth, in a hushed manner. “You know… the limit for bags, is one per person (we had six for four of us). I miiiiiight (sideways glance and an even more hushed tone) be able to work something out so you don’t have to pay…” Sure, dude, that would be great. Now this guy… he looks like a gangsta… but saving $125 per couple for the flight sounds like a plan, so if he can work some magic just for a tip, we’re in.

And he does. All checked in, no extra baggage fees, boarding passes in hand, and we’re off towards security. Sweet!

Like a shadow, Mr. Slick is beside us in a heartbeat. Eyes shifting from side to side, he says “You want to go to the airline lounge? I can get you in…” Ah, man, nah, we’re good, but thanks anyway! Then, eyes really darting now, hand over mouth, words muffled with a cough…”How about business class for 300 Rand each?” Excuse us? 300 Rand? That’s $30 at the current exchange rate! “And that will get you in the business class lounge too.” Wow, sure buddy.. for real? “Wait here… 5-10 minutes” And then, checking in after about 5 minutes… “A few more minutes.. there’s somebody who needs to disappear.” Obviously a supervisor, or another clerk not in on the take, needed to take a hike before business could be done. Sure enough, 5 minutes later, our man is back with 4 business class tickets in hand. Us girls were skeptical, and put 50/50 odds on us ending up with no seats at all on our flight to Johannesburg, but our gansta friend was true to his word…

Welcome to Africa, Baby!



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