Category Archives: Africa

Cindy and Njabulo

For some of us just landed and still in confusion, there can be a secret benefit to expat life depending which country you have arrived in. There might be someone who can help you with running your household, ease your acclimatisation just a tiny bit quicker than if you have to clean your bathroom, vacuum the floors or iron your own sheets.*

While you’re trying to work out how to connect the internet, buy the school uniforms and where to find the right ingredients in a plethora of new supermarkets and speciality shops, someone is at home – making it just a little more homely and welcoming for all.

In Hong Kong that someone was Gina, our dearly loved nanny, housekeeper and all around superstar. The third parent in my children’s lives, who ran our house like a machine, which we are forever grateful to her for. Gina was from the Philippines and so lived with us in our apartment in Hong Kong and became a part of our family and our lives over our six years there.

When we moved to South Africa, Gina came with us for three months, to ease the transition.** This was mainly for me as I transitioned from full time working mother to tennis morning, school run and mountain climber in training mother.

In South Africa we met Cindy.  Where Gina was gregarious and outgoing, Cindy was shy and reserved. Where Gina was forthright, Cindy held back. She was initially overwhelmed by the boisterousness and noise of my children, it took quite a few weeks to have a conversation of more than three or four sentences with her. I am an extrovert, Cindy was an introvert. We had to take time to understand the rhythm of each other as with any new relationship. It was OK, we had some of that.

Cindy travelled to us from her home in a township every day in a series of taxis, two or three depending on which route she took and the time of morning. Taxis in South Africa are small mini buses that hurtle along the roadways at alarming speeds and ferry the workforce around over the course of the day. She was proud that she owned her own four room home and could provide for herself and her son Njabulo.

Njabulo was her pride and joy. Many of our conversations over the three years were about our parenting experiences. Regardless of the differences in our nationality, culture and economic situation, parenting has universal themes. Health and education were recurring topics.

Cindy and Njabulo on the day we moved out of our house

Cindy and Njabulo on the day we moved out of our house

At one stage Njabulo had a cough that wouldn’t go away, even after visiting his local clinic and being administered antibiotics. The fear was tuberculosis, prevalent in South Africa and particularly Kwa-Zulu Natal where we lived. We decided to take him to our children’s doctor and have chest x-rays done if needed. Njabulo came to our house with Cindy for the day and when it was time for the doctor’s appointment, she didn’t want to come. On reflection it was such a privilege for her to trust me with her 15 year old son visiting various doctor’s offices over the course of the afternoon.  X-rays and spit tests thankfully revealed the all clear.

Next up was a girlfriend conversation. She thought he had one, what kind of things should she talk to him about? Safe sex obviously – with any teenager anyone in South Africa HIV is an important topic. There are various statistics but African males in Kwa-Zulu Natal are extremely high risk. We worked on various opening gambits and reinforcement statements. I think it went OK, he insisted he didn’t have a girlfriend at the time but at least he got the talk.

The day we left our house in Durban, Cindy, Njabulo, Zanele (Cindy’s sister), Noluh (Zanele’s daughter) and a friend pulled away in a utility vehicle piled high with household items we weren’t taking with us.  It was a happy parting of ways.

Cindy, Zanele and Noluh with a cameo by WASYO

Cindy, Zanele and Noluh with a cameo by WASYO

In December last year, I got a message from Cindy, she had been diagnosed with cancer and would need to undergo a month of chemotherapy. She was worried about Njabulo, she didn’t feel well.  I kept in sporadic contact, she had the chemo, got very sick from it, there was no feeling any better.

On March 16th I received a message from Zanele, Cindy had passed away.

Njabulo is in his last year of high school. He no longer has his mother to take him to the doctor or to give him talks about safe sex practices, or talk to him at all. He is 17, the same age Cindy was when he was born. His aunt Zanele now has a teenager and a 2 year old to provide for with less than half the household income they had previously when Cindy was working full time.

Cindy wanted Njabulo to graduate from high school and if at all possible attend University. Our family has committed to help him do this. We aim to set up a foundation to provide support for his educational future. I am currently researching organisations or groups that can help provide mentorship and guidance on the ground in Durban.

The starting point is this year’s school fees. These fees need to be paid in order for him to receive his final examination scores and submit them to University for acceptance.

I invite everyone to share this story and help us to Educate Njabulo.

* What, ironed sheets? You’re right, I don’t iron my own sheets, never did, but nearly twelve months on I still miss the luxury of freshly laundered and ironed sheets on a bed I didn’t make myself. The ULTIMATE expat princess perk. Roll your eyes, mock me and then try it for nine years and see how easy it is to give up.

**Super expat princess alert

Back to School

We have had quite an adventure preparing for next Monday’s start of the 2012-2013 school year. Not much of it to do with difficulty in locating stationary supplies and deciphering code for each country’s special word for texta (South Africa – Koki / USA – Sharpies) although that has played a part.

When that school bus rolls away on Monday morning with the World’s Angriest Five Year Old (WAFYO ) and her brother on board I will breathe a long sigh of relief – its been an eye opening journey.

It was the WAFYO’s Five year old check up at the doctor. A return to school requirement and a new admission must do for those entering the USA / Georgia public school system.

Overseas vaccination records are not accepted by the school directly, they have to be reviewed and certified by a local doctor. I have two different immunisation books, three different schedules because of  the countries we have lived in so all in all I think its not a bad thing to re-evaluate their vaccination records and update accordingly.

Hep A is a must have for admission in Georgia, so they are both due a shot, that sounds fair. Almost immediately, disaster strikes, turns out WAFYO requires five needles to get back on track. The horror is beyond description – until I find a way to talk them down to four, silently thanking the best forgotten school holidays last winter when they were man and beast down for three weeks with the Chicken Pox.

Both also have to undergo a sight and hearing test and a dental exam, apparently standard fair for newcomers. *cough, mutter under breath*

The husband was responsible for taking the 9yo for his tests and check up the day our furniture was delivered to the house – shoulder deep in boxes I sent him off to the doctors with instructions on Hep A and to have ‘whatever needs doing to get the certificate to give to the school’.  Needless to say he came home proud of manning the Hep A shot situation but with no other requisite paperwork. Charming conversation between the happy couple and another visit booked.

But I digress, luckily the number of shots coming was a whispered negotiation between nurse and parent and WAFYO entered the ‘interrogation round’ blissfully unaware of her impending fate.

Individual questioning of the WAFYO by the doctor included –

Do you wear a seatbelt in the car?

Do you wear a helmet when you ride a bike?

Does your mum mom and dad put sunscreen on you when you go swimming? Have you seen the freckles on this kid’s face?

Are your parents ridiculously irresponsible and will you tell me about it?’ – that one might have been in my head, right after the loud cackling laughter imaging my GP in Durban asking me these same questions with any kind of straight face. After all it is Africa, frontier land where they frown on and make fun of the ‘nanny states’ and their overbearing rules and regulations.

How many pieces of fruit do you eat every day? How many vegetables do you have at dinner? Thank goodness this is the one that eats fruit and vegetables.

Now I’m going to talk to your mom about your BMI. That is correct – BMI 

The child is 5 years old, apparently her BMI is on the borderline between green and orange, being in the 97th percentile for height and the 95th for weight for age will apparently get you that. I take it that she’s 2% ahead of the game and move onto the next question.

Do you worry about her cholesterol? At this point I guess I am meant to say yes – but am scared of being caught out, so kind of mutter a bit and leave it to some kind of accent lost in translation moment and hopefully move on.

This is a five year old check up. In two months she turns six, I am going to have to wait a little longer than that and read up on cholesterol in mini people before I return for that Q & A.

The conversation then turned to needles and la la la that’s all I remember without activating some kind of kiddy / parent PTSD.

Unfortunately the doctor cannot do the dentist check required so I call three dental surgeries who of course have no appointments in the next two weeks before school starts.

Did I mention we can’t submit our enrollment paperwork before we have all the necessary checks?

In the end we are directed to the public health drop in clinic, an excellent service, which for $5 a kid will have a nurse shine a torch in each mouth and give them a certificate that allows them to enrol in school. Yay!

Today was the class list postings, there was popcorn and popsicles and PTA ladies in matching tight t-shirts with sparkly lettering.

Tomorrow is the meet and greet in the classrooms with their classmates and teachers.

Friday is the practice run on the school bus and Monday……. is THE BIG DAY.

It’s been a logistical roller coaster ride already and we haven’t made it through the front door yet.

Hotlanta eventually…

We made it!

All the way from the African continent to the one in the north of the Americas. (grimly holding onto the A theme)

It wasn’t without its challenges, traveling solo with my two TCK’s,  expert flyers though they are and truly thrilled with Emirates business class (as was their mother) they are still after all – kids. One of whom has anger management issues, our own little World’s Angriest Five Year Old (WAFYO), still learning to read and so has some justifiable issues operating the media equipment in that case, after all each airline has its own system idiosyncrasies and the last time she flew business class was three years ago, she was two and slept the whole time – for which her mother was very grateful.

The other junior traveller was somewhat anxious – not about flying but about the whole moving countries thing.  He was having his whole world tossed in the air to settle again somewhere he had never been, to make new friends he is not yet sure exist and after a detailed study of American television on offer in South Africa is concerned about whether or not he may get a date for the Prom. Did I mention he is nine years old?

The night before we left he had been bought home from a sleepover by his South African bff’s mother after he decided he was too anxious to stay, only to have the babysitter who was minding the other kids while their parents were at a lunchtime braai that was heading to a very late finish, not to hear the door, so a 10pm round trip return to the sleepover. Not my finest parenting moment – although I picked up the call at 10.15pm after all was resolved and well.

So it was with a slight sense of guilt and not at all thinking about the twenty three flying hours ahead that I allowed the kids to purchase some kind of giant chocolate bars at the airport in Durban after it took forty-five minutes to check in while they were playing trolley wars with several other juniors who had come to bid them farewell.

Note to self – don’t do that again.

Another item to note about Mr Nine is his absolute conviction that he doesn’t eat or drink at all while inside a flying device that takes you from one destination to another. This includes water, although after this trip we’re in negotiation for new guidelines on aircraft travel and won’t be boarding again until we have at least a water truce.

Anyway no points for guessing what happened next, apart from WAFYO watching Up six times in the next nine hours. There was also a crying baby in business class and the guy sitting between that and the vomiting nine year old must be wishing he’d missed that particular flight.

There was a vomiting lull in Dubai – as well as three hours to kill in transit so stupidly again I allowed eating and some drinking.  I should have focussed on less eating and more sensible hydration. Call me distracted, exhausted or just trying to get there.

The next leg to New York was fourteen hours. The vomiting started after ten or so and by hour thirteen the poor kid was practically passed out refusing water from his desperate mother.

We limped through the JFK wheelchair line with an almost passed out, definitely dehydrated, paler than paper kid whose father asked as he greeted us ‘Was he just a bit tired?’

Yes sure, they give out wheelchairs to all parents who suggest their kids are a bit tired and wouldn’t like to walk from the plane.

Happily as we were out of the aircraft and away from customs liquids were now an option and fifteen hours later after a few litres of the stuff and a good night’s sleep No 1 son was ready for a day of adventure in Central Park and at the Museum of Natural History – where the first exhibit in the Large African Mammals room was a Tiger, but I am sure there is a perfectly good explanation for that.

Three child tourism oriented days in New York and memories of the horror flight had faded somewhat, the Atlanta hop was only three hours and blissfully vomit free, even if we were in economy.

We landed in ‘Hotlanta’ as they call it on the steamiest weekend of the year so far, the day before the hottest day ever recorded in the history of the city 42 degrees celsius or around 106 degrees in the new terminology we will be learning – it was here that WAFYO picked up the mantle and produced one of the world’s biggest vomits  on the trip from the airport to the apartment in her father’s two week old car.

To use an American expression – Awesome!

A stands for …..

It had to happen didn’t it? Come up with the longest blog title in the world – then include something about continents with starting with ‘A’, some day, at some point its going to bite you.

Australasia (remember we went old school there and didn’t reference the now taught Oceania), Asia, Africa & now introducing America (North). I think that can sneak in as a legitimate A continent.

Atlanta definitely starts with an A – and in two short weeks (yesterday) that is where the small people and I will be heading to via Dubai and New York to start our new life as Australians in Atlanta – or more specifically Cobb County expats. The husband already has himself a social security card and is working on his accent, sourcing moonshine and loving living in a country where they actually like Australians (not that he doesn’t miss his near and dear South African friends too).

The Third Culture Kids will have another reference point, likely move from one slightly horrifying accent to another – and their mother will have access to a shop that sells Vegemite, Freddo frogs and meat pies! It was not a prerequisite that we move to a suburb with an Australian bakery but handy that its worked out that way.

Leaving Durban and 320 days of sunshine a year is a tough call – so I had to first investigate what it meant to swap the balmy days and bright blue skies with ocean views, endless options of South African Sauvignon Blanc and ‘African’ time for.

Initially it seems a bit of a mixed bag.  Atlanta has 185 days of sunshine on average per year – so I’m down an ocean (have never lived away from the ocean except for a stint at University and a year on a farm in Germany) and 135 days of sunshine.

On the plus side its got the world’s busiest passenger airport and is the 7th most visited city in the US so I am thinking we have got to get more visitors there than we ever got here.

There are 65 streets with the name Peachtree in them – that’s got to be a bonus when I am negotiating the other side of the road driving with two screaming kids in the back. Wherever I am trying to go will always surely be ‘near Peachtree’. Perhaps that can be a good car game – Kids, listen for the proximity alarms on Mummy’s car and any streets that are called Peachtree.

Atlanta is the home base for the fourth largest number of Fortune 500 companies including my absolute favourite – Coca Cola!

It also has Home Depot, UPS, CNN and AT&T. I am looking forward then to excellent internet access for my online shopping which will no doubt be couriered to me in a timely fashion while I am catching up on the latest news. Things are looking up!

The moving process has not been without its hiccups, you can see I am already using American spelling – although I have asked the school if my kids can retain their ‘ou’ words I am not too optimistic of that outcome although I absolutely draw the line at ‘mom’ – and I have a handy stack of posts to come when regular wifi access once again makes itself available.

For now – this brief introduction to our new American home and to let you know we’re off to be brave in the land of the free, or free in the land of the brave – I’ll get back to you on that. Watch this space.

How many degrees of Kevin Bacon?

Do you remember six degrees of Kevin Bacon? If you can that means you can remember back to 1994 which according to that impressive reference site Wikipedia, is when the ‘small world experiment’ game first came into being.

The small world theory meaning you should be able to prove that there are six degrees or less of separation between you and everyone in the world, as well as six degrees or less between Kevin Bacon and everyone in Hollywood.  There were some studies – based on people’s ‘social networks’ – in a time before what we commonly currently use the term social networks for. It was before Myspace,  Facebook, Twitter and even before the first blog which was apparently circa 1997 (using the same solid reference point I found the term ‘web log’ was apparently coined then so lets say the practice wasn’t widely spread prior to that point.)

Recent events have made me think about the Kevin Bacon game – who by the way, the whole world can now follow on Twitter (@kevinbacon has the magic tick) so if he replies or RT’s you does that count as being one degree from Kevin Bacon?

Last week I reposted a photo on facebook – it was this one.

I know, I know you’ve seen it before, but it is still gold (and so true, my 9 year old asked me what was that thing above the pencil).

A friend of mine from Hong Kong commented that they still had all their car mixed tapes from 1995 but nothing to play them on, then another friend admittedly another Australian in Durban (I know I said I’m the only one, its a long story and you really need to hear her accent – if they did a spoken test I worry about her ability to renew her passport, she has been here a VERY long time)  asked how many blasts from the past was I supplying in one day? Turns out the previous commenter was her neighbour from the 80’s and a suburb in Melbourne I have never visited.

One in Hong Kong and one in Durban – both many miles and many years from home, reconnected, through my facebook page. It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

Remember my first blog stalker who prompted me to put an email contact on the blog? I am happy to say I have corresponded since via email with several people who were seeking information about moving to the Durban area, some making comparisons, some thinking about it and some actually doing it.  One of those doing it – was living in Kenya at the time and wanted the feedback of someone who had gone before in dealing with a whole range of things, schools, neighbourhoods, internet connections etc. I was happy to provide any info I could, after all I had found it very tricky in the beginning for a number of reasons.  I followed her progress with interest, maintaining a semi-regular email contact about plans, schools, suburbs etc. Then I found out she had moved, turns out into the same suburb as we live and the same street.  Our street has FOUR houses! What a coincidence – no really it was, well, I have no proof she previously knew where we lived… Maybe one day, now we know each other in real life, because I always take my new neighbours wine and chocolates, she might become my facebook friend and when I am living in another country she may find I have met a friend of hers and so the connections will continue. Or not – who knows?

The world is a small place and ‘social networks’ are making it smaller. Over Easter I met someone who wasn’t on Facebook (or Twitter before you ask), a girlfriend of a very good friend of mine, someone I would normally probably  pop a facebook friend request to after spending the amount of time together that we did over the term of her visit coupled with the fact she might end up with my friend forever more. If she accepted – then I would get to keep up with her news – even if she chose to mute my news stream (I’m sure it happens to the over-sharers amongst us), if not – well, I may never see or hear from her again. It occurs to me I didn’t even get her email address to send the photos that I took of our kids on their Easter egg hunts. Note to self – sort that.

I know some people are nodding their head and saying, yes – thats right, that’s how the world should work. Who would jump into someone else’s life so quickly and start sharing pictures of their kids, dentist visits and what they had for dinner? These people may not have heard of variable privacy settings, or they might not have friends and family on just about every continent there is.

I can’t remember why I joined facebook, perhaps it was because I wanted to see what it was all about, but once in I was hooked. For someone like me who has lived in several different places at different times of my life and has grandchildren separated by an ocean or two from their grandparents and extended family – its a good place for me to be. I have at times prefaced photos or posts as ‘Grandparents only need read / see’, these kind of things include ballet recital videos and judo belt presentations ceremony photos. I didn’t opt out like some of the cool kids who decided to ditch it in preference for Twitter only. Its a place I keep for my friends and family, pretty much people I know in real life .  Now I know two people, in real life, who live on two different continents, who knew each other long ago – I think that’s a nice thing, not a freaky one. I’m not sure where that leaves Kevin Bacon but it may leave me just where Mark Zuckerberg wants me.

Surfer Girl

I grew up on the coast but never learnt to surf.

The first part of that is unsurprising given that more than 80% of Australians live in coastal areas – in fact I have spent my whole life bar a few years during University living within a ‘few kays’* (as we say in Aus)  of the water.

That I never learnt to surf – hmmm not sure about that. Do you always take advantage of the things that are right there on your doorstep? Probably not, mostly because you can do them any time you like, sometimes you just never do.  Then, you don’t live there anymore, have other ‘important’ things occupying your life, are too old or feel that your opportunity has come and gone.

As an expat I have met many people of other nationalities enamored of the gloriously beautiful country that is my homeland.  They are always keen to hear my opinion of the amazing places they visited during their trip and quite often I have to ‘fess up and say ‘I haven’t been there’. My own country and I haven’t taken advantage of all there is to see and do – which seems especially bizarre as I have now buggered off and am seeing great slabs of the rest of the world. To be fair – its quite a large country and its quicker to get to New Zealand from Sydney than it is to Perth.  However, no excuses and the Aussie bucket list has built up quite a bit during our time away, the more people I meet the more places I add. One day, the grey nomads brigade** for us…..

Back to the surf.

As the mid-life crisis our time in Durban rolls on surf lessons were a Christmas gift from my hopeful husband, something to get me out of the house and away from our monthly broadband allocation. Sorry – can still do both!

To say I have taken to it like a duck to water would be a gross overstatement – in fact here is a recent facebook status update

The 'clumsy jeans' are an invention of the WAFYO - but its true three of us have inherited them - but ours are with a 'g' not a 'j'

The 'clumsy jeans' are an invention of the WAFYO - but its true 3 family members have inherited them - but with a 'g' not a 'j'

That being said – I LOVE IT.

If you know anything about surfing – you will know that a 10 foot board is for super super beginners, because if you are just a beginner – you get a 9 foot board, which is what I started with. My friend D, lets call her ‘the surfing demon’ also started with a 9 foot board and after four lessons she is on a 7 foot and I am on a 10 foot one. Does that help you paint the picture?

I think actually standing up on the board for longer than say 0.2 seconds is totally over rated if you can actually lie on the board, paddle it around and not knock yourself (or others) out or split anyones head open with your enormous board while navigating the sand underneath a giant dumping wave.

Of course I am just saying that until I can stand up all the way to the beach and step off like some kind of – I don’t know – surfer.

Not exactly what we look like - close?

Not exactly what we look like - not even vaguely

Our ‘surfer chick’ group made up of a mix of local types and expats seeking new and exciting things seem to have become totally obsessed. We grip our phones tightly each morning and any phone call or text message is pounced upon to see if the surf is ‘right’. None of us of course really know what that means, but we drive around with our gear in the car just in case we get the call during the school run, or heaven forbid shortly after entering the supermarket or gym car park – we are ready to abandon trolleys and kettle bells on the ping of a text message and head to the beach.

We have become (in our minds) spontaneous and random –  you can’t plan your day until you ‘hear’.

I might be able to get to that tomorrow, or not, it depends on the surf, can I let you know in the morning?

And then of course – dolphins.

We were surfing the other day and the dolphins were like this close (imagine arms showing distance here)

Need I go on?

I live in Durban, there are miles and miles of beaches, it is called the Dolphin Coast,  so I am taking every opportunity and becoming a Surfer Girl.***

Is there an opportunity you didn’t take the first time around and have now, or wished you had? Are you a surfer girl too?

* Kilometres – isn’t it obvious?

** People who don’t dye their hair anymore and have purchased a caravan or some kind of motor home and spend their ‘golden years’ traversing the country – keeping to the northern parts of the continent particularly in the winter months to stay a little bit toasty.

*** Well, kind of, promise to update when I can legitimately claim this title and can consistently  – paddle onto my own wave, stay upright for most of the time and have graduated ‘back’ to a 9 foot board. Watch this space!

Travellers – what type are you?

Airports are brilliant spots for people watching – which lets face it, everyone loves. Well, I love it, and from time to time I have the luxury of undertaking it solo – without having to worry where three other family members are at any given moment, giving me the time to properly evaluate my fellow travellers and their ‘type’.

People watching is also a great sport if you are ever slightly, just a tiny bit judgmental and love to type people who you have never met and are most likely never going to based on what they look like, what they are wearing, carrying, doing or smell like. Obviously the total opposite of what I am like in real life…..

If you are lucky enough to have lived in other countries, or travel quite frequently, it can add an extra layer to the already pre-defined view you may have of a general population of citizens – something I mentioned when I wrote about the Inevitabilities of International Travel – a while ago.

Last week I returned from a relatively self indulgent ten day, three continent tour of birthday parties.  The first was my brother’s 40th held in Sydney – but he (and a surprisingly increasing number of my family on both sides live in the Bris-Vegas, Gold Coast area) so after a weekend in Sydney, I flew up that way to inspect their new abodes. Three days later to return via a 6am flight to the International terminal in Sydney to jet off to HK for a long weekend to celebrate what was labeled the ‘Festival of Lynette’ for another fabulous friend’s 40th. This leg of the trip was justified to the husband by way of – traveling on Frequent Flyer points which were about to expire anyway and going Cathay so a weekend in Hong Kong  just made perfect sense.

Anyway – the point is, with those flights plus my Durban – Joburg legs both ways I took eight flights in ten days and spent a lot of time in airports and on planes conducting the sport of ‘people watching’.

Despite my husband and I having enough combined points for me to have flown business class, I was in economy – which I suppose I should thank him for because it is by far the superior people watching arena.  Those in business class glide from the airline lounges onto the plane (via the short queue) and then disappear into their pods never to be seen again. In the cattle class waiting area and down the back on the plane is where all the action is.

What we all dream about when we get into the plane an empty economy section -but there's always 'the other travellers'

Here are some of my most spotted types on the trip

– the happy traveller, who knew but they really do exist, smiley and courteous at all points

– the grump – usually contented with looking unhappy but can also turn to their neighbour and unload their reason for unhappiness (which may or may not include a life story – but will definitely include commentary about why they didn’t get their preferred seating on the flight)

– the tracksuit wearing traveller

– the couple who are dressed to match (these can overlap with the tracksuit wearers, see above)

– the Family, which of course has extensive sub groups. Can be with one or two parents, the special sub type will depend on number of and age of children and if they have the dad that pops them all in their seats and then glides off to his business class pod never to be seen again until disembarking when he will have been first in the immigration line and gone ahead to ‘collect the baggage’. Special shout out here to the first time travelling family, an easy spot.

– the fashion conscious traveller, the one who boards looking perfect, has a perfect change of clothes for flight and then can somehow layer themselves again at the end of the flight to depart looking a million dollars

– the long distance, many flights, lack of access to shower facilities travellers

– the stressed traveller, always worrying about where their passports are, how do they complete question 4 iv) e on the immigration card, whether they will catch or miss  their connecting flight etc etc etc

– the relaxed traveller (quite an overlap with the happy traveller)

– the full make up traveller – no idea how its done, usually crosses over with the fashion conscious traveller, both types being a total mystery to me

– the person or people you saw at check-in and hoped you weren’t going to be seated near – who are in fact in your row if not immediately beside you

– the tour group traveller (a personal fave) wearing stickers and following flags

– experienced traveller, has made all the necessary pre-flight arrangements, looks quiet and comfortable, always drinking water

– the know-it-all (or the experienced traveller with irritating personality) gleefully sharing extensive knowledge across the tarmac and the plane

– the late arriver – you know the ones that turn up after the announcement ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we are sorry for the delay – we are just waiting for a couple of passengers to arrive’ and then they do.

and last (but by no means least)

– the sleeper! Anywhere, anytime, any seat – eyes shut, dozes off immediately.

Of course there are many many more – what’s your favourite one here or which are the best ones I have missed?