Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ripped off

Last Wednesday, I dropped the car off at the company, and grabbed a corporate cab to the airport. I checked in, which took ages. And while I was in line, noticed many people had had their suitcases “wrapped”, where they’re covered with cling wrap to seal them up.

I was looking at this, thinking, “How paranoid.” I never even lock my suitcases. In fact apparently you can’t anymore in the US. And it’s not like I have anything valuable or even particularly attractive, for crying out loud, in my bags. “Ah well, takes all kinds....”

Landed to cold damp weather in London, got through a very organized immigration process (nice queues!), picked up my baggage and.... you guessed it.... ROBBED. And what exactly was I robbed of?

Biltong. It’s like jerky, but much better, and it’s often made from not beef, but springbok or kudu... or from half the animals we’d seen last weekend! I’d brought three packages for a South African friend of mine. One package was completely eaten (they left a tiny morsel in the bottom of the empty bag), one package was ripped open and scattered all over the inside of my suitcase (maybe they didn’t like springbok droewors?), and one package was intact (ostrich biltong). The rest of the suitcase was completely ransacked.

And what else was stolen? My tennis shoes. My indoor tennis shoes. Ohhhh, boy.

You know, I was pretty irritated. Vowed to learn something, like you do every day in Africa (or in any new place for that matter). Locks are necessary. And so I bought some, right there in Heathrow.

But I thought about something else. What was stolen? Food. Shoes. Someone was hungry. Someone was barefoot.

My shoes are probably walking along the side of a road in South Africa right now.

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