Travelling Back Home During Lockdown

Well going through Auckland airport was an eerie feeling as I have never exprienced an international airport so quiet. 90% of the shops were closed and there were temporary barricades placed around the shops which created a directed pathway through the airport.

We had to wait in our allocated zones which were found on our boarding pass, and Qatar airways gave us facial screens that we had to wear the entire time while we were travelling.

Then we were off and waved goodbye to NZ. We landed in Brisbane, Australia and everybody had to disembark with all carry-on baggage and we had to wait another +/- one hour for everyone to go through security and the thermal scanner to see if anyone had a temprature. This apparently is a new Australian requirement even if the plane is only transiting. Again, this airport was also very eerily quiet and empty with most things closed.

Then everyone got back onto the same plane and off we went en route to Doha. What a long flight! When we initially booked our tickets, we could only select certain seats because of covid social distancing, but when we got onboard, every seat was occupied.

Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

We arrived in Doha and disembarked and what a different experience as all the shops were open and there were lots of people walking about. We were fortunate to have an opportunity to meet up with our brother-in-law, who works at the airport, and have breakfast with him as we had a 5 hour layover.

The repatriation flight to JHB, South Africa was also very full with people travelling home from all over the world. So again we made sure our facial coverings and masks were worn and only took them off to eat. Hand luggage which contained wheels weren’t even allowed onto the plane with us because there wasn’t sufficient place in the overhead compartments. They were taken away and we got them back via the luggage belt with all the checked in luggage.

After landing in JHB we had a one hour waiting queue to get all passengers through the passport control and because we had chosen not to request permision to self isolate, we found our way to Vito busses that were waiting for us. Only 10 people were permitted in each bus and so we had to wait a further one and a half hours so that all the busses were ready to leave. Sue was fast asleep next to me by the time we finally left the airport.

We traveled in what could have been a 20 vehicle convoy with a police escort which blocked off traffic lights to make sure we went straight to our quarintine facility.

We were plesantly surprised when we arrived at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways and the manager greeted each Vito and gave a run down and what was expected. When we got to disembark the Vito, there were tables with temporary lighting and an array of staff ready to welcome us and help us carry all our luggage to our room. They didn’t hold us up with paperwork and simply needed to know if we needed a single or double room. Oh, this process was done one vehicle at a time and by the time everyone was checked in they delivered supper to our door at arround 11:30 pm.

Quarantine breakfast

The next morning we received a call to ask if we had any dietary preferances. So the room has cleaning materials for us to use since nobody is allowed into our room. We get three meals a day, put out our rubbish twice daily into the hall and get a knock on our door daily by two nurses to have our temperature reading taken and recorded.

So far our stay has been great and we have been able to communicate via whatsapp with all our family and friends.

We are embracing our ten-day quarantine and have no interruptions during this time to continue with the online courses and learn how to get our business up and running. Oh well we will update our next post on our journey and the process of building our online business.

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