Megan certainly has the better morning as she goes out on her last Canadian shopping spree and I stay in to have tearful skype session with my parents who are doing everything they can to help me get home soon. And also worrying. A lot.
Right now I’m using any means necessary to try find free accommodation for the rest of my stay (however long that may be) and I am touched by everyone’s encouragement and help from far away. It’s my fourth night in this hostel tonight and I feel like I am becoming part of the furniture …
But let’s not put a damper on Megan’s excitement of going home after about ten months of work and travel in Canada, Mexico and the USA. I go along to see her off and it makes sense to go to the airport and plead with BA yet again.
On the train journey there, I strike up a conversation with an elderly gentleman by the name of Arthur. A sweet man who listens as I share my drama (heck, at this point I want to tell everyone my sad story … woe is me!) He in turn tells me of his time spent in Simon’s Town during his British naval years many moons ago, and the kindness of the South Africans he met then. Recognising an opportunity to return the favour, he gives me his number and offers me accommodation and whatever help I may need should things not work out soon. Faith in humanity restored!
Megan is flying with Air Canada to London and we tell Kenny, the flamboyant and very concerned AC staff, about my situation. He even looks at flights via Hong Kong for me. Cue slight distress … But he insists I talk to British Airways again.
So I go. Head held high, I walk up to the woman at the ticketing counter and tell my story. My passport got stolen, I have this emergency passport but BA won’t let me fly without a transit visa without my Canadian visa, can you help me, etc etc. It’s a different woman than three days ago, but I recognise the wall of ‘I can’t help you’ slowly coming up. I stay calm, but become more insistent. (I told you I can’t cry in these situations). Can they please just listen?
A manager seems to overhear my pleas and with a distinct upset tone in my voice, I explain again what’s going on. She nods, listens, and tells me she’ll see what she can do. And she disappears into a back office for a few minutes.
A few minutes in which I am standing alone in that airport saying the only two words I can think of muttering at this point: Please God. Please God. Please God.
She reappears and I try read her facial expression. Is it good news? What? What?!
And all she does is nod and say ‘it’s fine’. After this she explains that she spoke to immigration in London and they opened a file for me or something and as long as I promise not to leave to airport etc it should be okay … but I am hardly listening.
I can’t actually believe it.
You mean I have been up to my eyeballs in stress and worry about getting home for the last three days and a simple phone call did the trick?! For a split second I want to be angry, but nothing, no nothing can overshadow the immense relief and joy I feel right now. I want to hug this woman! Thank God for kind-heartedness.
Before I leave though, I have to deal with the issue of getting my original flight back – ‘yes I will go home tomorrow!’ – and though I have to pay $200-odd dollars, it’s money I’ll gladly put towards that.
Megan is just as relieved and happy that I am sorted and we say our final goodbye after three months of closeness and co-travels, knowing that we’ll reconnect back home soon enough.
As I walk alone through the check-in terminal back to the train, I dial home and wake my parents from their 2am slumber to exclaim that everything is sorted and I am coming home! I don’t’ care that I am crying like a baby. These are tears of joy!
There are still several afternoon hours left in the day and now that I finally know my destiny, I figure I may as well do some clothes and present shopping on the way back to the hostel. I don’t think I stopped smiling.
For the first time in months I am truly alone. And it feels strange. It’s been a welcome change to travel with a friend. With my newfound freedom, I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself. By now I’ve mailed my travel agent the good news and updated my facebook status with something positive for a change.
I know that I struggle to fall asleep (nothing new). And so I spend my last evening in Canada watching series on my little laptop under the sheets so as to not wake the German girls.