This, for many of us, is where Jo’burg ends- OR Tambo airport: a blunt nexus of steel and escalators. Yesterday I met some departing friends in the food hall for a few between flight hours. The food hall is a gleaming, shrieking neon kaleidoscope of tat that leaves your eyes feeling like a chameleon crawling over a TV test pattern.
Travellers, by and large, are not beautiful people. They’re an exasperated, over aged, sexless, lumpen jetsetariat that make you wonder if they’ve ever had sex, and with WHO? Or what?. If so, who was the blind drunk chump who did the deed, and do they still wake up screaming decades later?
After much searching, I found a chunk of my growing diaspora of friends, who’ve chosen lives of winter snow, safer places for kids, nanny states with far less crime.
Just finding a quiet place to chat and catch up in an airport is nigh impossible. We tried the kid-friendly Spur restaurant, but the hordes of shrieking, balloon-popping, sugar-crazed toddlers in it seemed bent on enacting a riot in a maximum security prison.
Shell-shocked with the above lesson in contraception still ringing in our ears, we moved over to Fournos Bakery. Like all airport coffee bars, it’s soulless, sterile, and lit brighter than a dentist’s chair. I do recommend the coffee milkshake though. It’s loaded with enough caffeine and sugar to turn you into a crazed Cape Flats gang member kite-high on tik.
See someone off, rather being the one flying, is like dancing to no music. Sad and sugar-buzzed, I drove back into Jo’burg. With all its flaws, it’s my home. Joburg’s more than skin deep- it’s in my veins. Here’s to 2010, and another year in our mad, bad, ‘n good city.