Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Way Ticket To Georgia

Wednesday, 14th Dec
In Tbilisi, Superman helped me with my luggage off the train. He got me a trolley. I haggled the trolley-man down to R12 (3Lari) from R20 (5Lari). Trolley dude took me to a cab where I haggled the dude from R40 (10GEL) down to R32 (8GEL - Georgian Lari).
It was before 8am and I had to call my friend for directions. Poor thing!

She's new there, so she had to wake up and find a Georgian to direct the  driver. It wasn't that hard to find. I'd been there once, at night and fortunately, I was able to direct the guy from the main road.

It was freezing out! I hung around my friend's place for a bit, defrosted myself.  On asking my friend, D if her man has a scanner I could use to scan my docs to the travelling agency, she told me he normally uses his phone. I couldn't help wondering why she didn't use his phone to scan the docs to me instead of telling me to travel 8 hours to do it myself. She didn't know where the internet cafe was in the area, if at all there was one. I was like, okay, how about I just take a photo of the documents with my phone and send it to the agency? So I did that and called them to confirm receipt. Success!

Next was to sit and wait for the agent to get back to me. They were going to email the paperwork to the airlines, wait for the airlines to make a decision on whether to refund me or not and then get back to me. 2hours later, NOTHING! I called the agent, she suggested I meet her at the agency. I did as asked.

I arrived at the agency, she said she'd been trying to call the airlines and they didn't pick up. Apparently they only deal with emails. No phone calls. She tried calling them again.
There I was freaking out, imagining the worst. What if I didn't get my a refund? I'd have to use my own money to book a flight home, +- R10 000. What if they didn't have space for me before Christmas? What if? What if!

The airlines picked up! They agreed to refund me 100 %. Score! The supervisor/manager or whatever person of the agency was sitting right next to the consultant that was assisting me, checking out her every move. That made me nervous.  I wanted a one way ticket to Cape Town. The org had bought me a return flight to France. That refund wasn't enough for a one way to SA, I had to pitch in some of my own money. The consultant told me that he had the perfect seat to South Africa for me.  What! Are you telling me there's a light at the end of this tunnel after all? Or NOT! I overheard the supervisor or whatever person talking to my bosses. She handed  the phone over to the consultant. When she was done, the consultant then told me to call K, the flights lady at the office. Oh nooooo!

My contract ends in June of 2012. My fear was that I'd be forced to buy a return flight or else not go on vacation. One of the reasons I took the contract to work in Georgia was because they pay for your flights. I found myself having to pitch in my own money. This was only for a single ticket. I still have to buy a ticket back to the country to finish my contract. I'm going to have to think about that. That's not what I signed up for. . . . Note to self: don't act nervous... I called K and remembered to breather normally.
Me: Hi K...
K:   Hi Brook. How are you?
Me: Whew! I'm okay thanks. How about you?
K: I'm very good. Are you coming alright with your flight arrangements?
Me: Yes. Thanks. (Trying to keep the call as short as possible).
K: I hear you have to use your own money..?
Me: Yes, but it's ok, I'm just glad to be going home.
K: Are you coming back?
Me: I have to, my contracts ends in June.
K: Are you buying a return ticket?
Me: I'm afraid not, I can only afford a one way ticket for now, I'll raise the rest of the money in SA
K: I feel bad that you have to buy your own tickets, let me call my boss and see if we can't buy you your return ticket.
Me: (thinking: oh Lord! Don't!) Thanks, K, I'd really appreciate that.
K: ok Brook, I'll call you back

Darn it! Someone's going to realise that once I'm out of this hell hole there will be nothing forcing me to come back if I don't have a return ticket. Especially if they don't buy it for me! I can do whatever I want. Dang it! They will probably make me buy a non-refundable return ticket or make me sign some legal document forcing me to come back and in the process, I might end up loosing my nice ticket to SA. HEEEELLLPPP MEEEE! I'd to sit, and wait. And try not to die of anxiety. So I got on the phone and emailed my sister.

K: Hello Brook, how are you?
Me: ok thanks
K: I talked to the head and he said it's ok if you can only buy your return ticket in SA. Please keep me informed of when you'll be back blah blah blah.
Agent printed my ticket out. I double checked it. Double DOUBLE checked it. I had to make sire everything was fine! The ticket was for the next day, December 15th. I hit a jackpot! I got to leave a day before I'd have if I'd gone to France. I told my sister and we agreed not to tell the rest of the family. We wanted to surprise them. Man! That was going to be hard. I was so excited. I wanted to scream it on roof tops! To come that close to being trapped in that hell hole for the holidays would've been the worst thing ever!