My last day of work at the Bank in Zürich was on Friday 28.11.2003. We had just completed a major project to load a lot of the back office processing onto the global computer platform that was built in New York. For the Bank this has many advantages as it can offer new products to clients, makes better use of the expensive infrastructure in New York and allows it to decommission some of the older architecture that existed only in Zürich. Alas, these benefits come at the cost of many jobs that are now redundant. As my job centred heavily around the decommissioned architecture it went. With the economy being what it is there seemed to be no place where they could utilise my skills so after a nice farewell speech on Friday that part of my life came to an end.
Not wasting much time I hopped on SA 275 to Johannesburg on Saturday evening. I was quite exhausted having spent all day tidying up my flat in the hope that someone will want to sub-lease it for me for the three months that I intend to stay away. Also my brand new toy, the Fujitsu P5020D Laptop needed to be set up and configured with everything that I might need while away from home. The strange lady next to me on the new South African Airways Airbus 340-200 didn't really bother me as it was just about as much as I could manage to stay awake during the meals on the night flight to South Africa. Clean as the carpets may be on the new plane, the seats are rather narrow. This was made up for by the very attentive joking steward serving drinks and food.
I arrived at Johannesburg International (if that's the current name of the airport) behind 3 other big and obviousely very full planes. I assume there was a good reason to send all these passengers to Terminal 2 on this Sunday morning. So, Welcome to Africa, I spent the better part of an hour queueing up to have my passport stamped. Good luck would have it that my luggage was still waiting for me at the end of the belt and Customs weren't interested in me either. Sandra was still waiting for me outside and her family were quite ready to leave when we finally reached her flat.
Skyscrapers in downtown Johannesburg