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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Banned from South Africa! Hello South America - Day 401

Oh dear, today we were banned from South Africa! Hello South America, looking forward to getting to know you for the next six months.

5am, we were driving to Cape Town airport to a gorgeous sunrise. I had a lump in my throat with a rather churning stomach (You'll find out why later). The great thing these days is that I don’t need to take much notice of these sensations. So I am having nervous thoughts – fine, I now don’t dwell on them and I know those thoughts and feelings will eventually change. It is so freeing understanding this.

We got to the airport, and all was fine. Within a few hours, we reached Jo’burg Airport for a change of flight, and that’s when the fun started. At booths next to one another at Passport control, all seemed fine. And then, the lady checking my passport announced that I had overrun my visa. “Overrun my visa?” I said innocently. “How come? We left South Africa for Botswana and Namibia and didn’t come back into the country until October” That was no good. As we arrived in South Africa on 18th September and hadn’t gone back to our place of origin, we had overstayed our visa by 4 days. “That will be one year ban” we heard.

We were then escorted into the Immigration Office. A very stern man and a lady put on rubber gloves and….ok, I made that bit up. We had an amiable officer who updated their system for our one year ban, laughed and said that we could come back for Christmas in 2019. We signed a form, and that was it. Phew! We had heard that we could be fined £300 and banned for 5 years. I think we got off lightly. Perhaps it was my Oscar performance that did it!

Our flight was delayed, and we arrived into Sao Paulo 2½ hours later than expected. We had intended to fly onto Rio that evening, but because, for some reason, our credit card wasn’t accepted, we couldn’t book the flight. I then had an alternative idea to get a night bus. Good job we had a change of plan. We would have missed the internal flight, I’m sure. As we reached the Bus terminal, a very helpful Brazilian lady asked if we needed some assistance. She then kindly took us to collect our coach ticket, and then made sure that we knew where to go. How kind is that? We couldn’t believe it. And our coach was then delayed, again, the other passengers waiting were really friendly to us. I think we’re going to enjoy our time here in Brazil.

The coach finally appeared 40 minutes late. We found our luxury seats, were given a blanket and pillow, reclined the chair and put the footrest up, so it was near enough like a bed. After travelling for 24 hours, it didn’t take long for us both to be in the land of Nod. Nite Nite zzzz

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