A Travellerspoint blog

We're in South Africa- the cradle of humankind

It is the real thing. Not some plastic Disneyworld version.
After a truly gruelling flight from London....very long very cramped...but alas, a saviour, good food (see prior day's note)
we arrived on time in Johannesburg.
The turbulence over the equator was very bumpy. I've never experienced such a bumpy and frightening ride.
Pratically like a roller coaster but far longer than a minute or two. But the British Airways crew carried on as if this was nothing new.
We arrived to a cloudy day at around 7 am their time. Weather was temperate, not hot at that hour.
I put on my hiking sandals that I have been wearing around the house for 2 months and promptly got a blister walking from the luggage carousel to the parkade. Raw flesh on the heel and ripped off the dead skin. Hope it heals before our hike. I guess I had some major leg swelling from 11 hours in the air.
Our driving mates were 8 from Australia many who have made the trip quite regularly via Hong Kong.
The drive to Sun City carried us through the various townships with all kinds of levels of living standards. From houses such as our own to tin shacks with outhouses no taller than my own forehead.
The countryside is amazing. The vegetation is similar to the azores and I actually recognized many of the flowers. We passed several platinum mines. The 2 hour drive took us through mining areas into the Pilanesburg volcano site where our hotel is nestled in the edge of a former volcano on the edge of the border of Botswana.
Toll roads are being completed because they were built to accomodate crowds from the world cup soccer from the summer past. Our driver joked about how they will be completed in time for the next World Cup that is held here...(when? not determined)
The Palace Hotel is beyond anything that we have ever stayed at in our lives or ever expect to. We are clearly WAY out of our league.
See the touristy pics from the first entry.
Fernando was turned away from the restaurant for supper because he was not wearing long pants. My dress got me in to start in on the bottle of fine South African Merlot well ahead of him. Dinner was an assortment of chef chosen appetizer, main dish and then desert. Only 20 or so of us in the restaurant.
When confronted with the choice of how to start the meal, I was given an assortment of choices in an accent that I simply could not understand.
So, rather than ask the nice young man to repeat, I said "what do YOU recommend"? this is a good phrase. We used it throughout the dinner and ended up having a fine meal of wonderful varied foods from seafood to curries to a trip threat desert that I needed to pop many lactose enzyme pills for... Plus staff that seemed to dote on us. We ended up with no less than 6 people waiting on us. I wonder what that cost us. The cheque came in at just over 1150, but this in in South African Rand and we are still trying to figure it all out. thank God for plastic cards.
At the next table, we met (surprise, guess who started the cross table conversation) Hans and Anna from Germany who were vacationing for 10 days in the area. He is a purveyor of real estate and she an architect. By dessert, they had moved their table to ours and we made plans to go on Safari together on Sunday. We've invited them to come stay with us in Canada. They've invited us to come stay with them in Germany. what fun! I'm glad I made up the "business cards" with our picture and email address before we left. We're going to have a great network of people to visit in our old age.
Fernando has developed a bit of a head cold and is heading back to the room to rest....likely looking for some form of sports on the tv.
We need to wake at 4:45 am to go on an elephant back safari.
Not sure if I am tired, jetlagged or simply over stimulated. But it is time to head back to our room.

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Posted by travelDIAS 13:11 Comments (2)

London England for the Day

Flight across the ocean was quite peaceful and meals were good. (This is important for anyone who knows Fernando)
London is certainly not what I remember. Mind you that was 30+ years back. We took the Heathrow Express train from the airport directly to Paddington Station. I got a discount code to upgrade us to first class.
This saved us two hours on our layover and it was a good thing when I left my eyeglasses on the train and they were able to recover them promptly and hand to me at the airport...whew.
Okay, we were having fun and I had left my anal self at home. I just need to remember to get organized. or put idiot strings on my glasses like moms do with their childrens mittens.
Back to London.
We saw the Rosetta stone at the British Museum - a highlight for me.
Walked through Picadilly Circus, SOHO, Parliament Square and the Mall gardens to Buckingham Palace.
Many of the old buildings are being replaced by new sky scrapers.
In SOHO it was a pity to see gorgeous old buildings refurbished with green paint on the stoneware for SUBWAY stores.
Planet Hollywood and McDonalds just don't seem to belong there.
The theatre district seemed to be very London and the SANYO sign is still up.
Considering just having access for a day, I think we made some good trekking.
Sore hips were a result of walking on concrete all day and we were happy to sit in our first class easy boy chairs on the express train back to the airport.

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Posted by travelDIAS 09:21 Comments (0)

This is my post from mobile phone

Just testing out my ability to post from my mobile
so techie!

Posted by travelDIAS 17:01 Comments (0)

Out of Canada

How to leave home at home

sunny -4 °F

I've never done a blog before, but it was suggested to me by a friend who said she wanted to live vicariously through our travels.
So here we go.

We are preparing to go to South Africa.
It is only for three weeks. But it might as well be for three months.
I've arranged backups for various duties at work.
I've stocked up on pet food & given my daughter grocery $.
I've registered with the Cdn Consulate and gotten our travel vaccines and prescriptions.
Plane tickets for both to the continent and within it.
Car rental, hotels, backpackers, couchsurfing hosts.
Attractions, maps, routes.
Thank goodness Fernando arranged the finances.

We leave Tuesday afternoon.
I'm working til noon.
Most people think I'm crazy.
I think it will help keep my mind off going over everything again and again.
I know I will miss something, so enough already. If I need it I have plastic.

It's summer in Africa. Weather is expected to be in low 20's in Johannesburg and mid 20's on the wild coast.
We head to Sun City as we arrive. It is a Resort area northwest of Johannesburg.
Click for Touristy Pictures- Right click and open in new tab to not lose this page
After that it is all about backbacking and couchsurfing....the REAL africa.
Click for Wild Coast Hike - right click and open in new tab so you don't lose this page

I often find myself looking in the mirror and wondering if I know what I am doing.
Probably not.
What I do know is that I am entering a new stage of my life and I'll be darned if it is just like the last one.

First stop, London England.

Posted by travelDIAS 15:35 Archived in Canada Tagged book reserve prepare Comments (6)

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