GOOD BYE BULAWAYO AIRPORT          - 7/ 11/ 2004      <--Prev : Next-->


I have never been good at change.... I know it is necessary ..... but give me the old and the familiar any day.

Take the dear old Bulawayo Airport .. or rather the Joshua Nkomo Airport .... its just always been there...and now it is being demolished for something bigger, grander, more international, just what the country needs right now with our over abundance of tourists and our two flights a day !! The only foreign visitors we get at the moment are people who are coming to shoot our animals. (That's apart from our offspring who are all foreign exiles too now ) .

Why am I sad I ask myself ? For years now the Bulawayo Airport has been tatty, dilapidated, and run down. The phones haven't worked for ages, the tea room has not seen a decent glass, or a diet coke in years, but it was always the most friendly little airport in the whole world.

And that dear familiar old veranda has always made up for all the other faults.

One would watch ones loved ones depart through that inefficient makeshift wooden customs and immigration area into the departure lounge and then rush upstairs to wave goodbye.

In which other large airport in the world is that possible ? How many yellow ribbons have been waved enthusiastically over the balustrade of that veranda, how many welcoming cheers and shrieks have been shouted to the passengers as they climbed down the stairs of the planes just meters away from their families.

The aeroplanes at the Bulawayo airport sometimes parked so close to the folks on the elevated veranda that often the glasses and bottles were even blown off the table by the wind from the aeroplane's engines !!

How many tears have been shed as loved ones were waved across the tarmac leaving the country, going to university, going on army call up ?

We will always remember with fondness and horror combined, those ancient old Viscounts which have now been replaced with the 747s and the South African "puddle hoppers" which now grace our tarmac once or twice a day.

That veranda must have seen some sights in its day. And it is not loved because of it's ambience trust me. Cold grey cement, chipped tables and chairs, no roof, torrents of rain in summer, often stinking hot, and in winter it is colder and windier than the arctic circle !!

But now that they are building a new airport will it ever be the same again ? We will sorely miss it !! But then maybe the plans for the new airport will include a similar little veranda and history can continue, who knows ?