Category Archives: Travel Info

The Emirates Experience

So oddly enough the cheapest flight from Cape Town to Seattle (To meet my family on vacation) was with Emirates…top ranked airline in the world. A nice night flight from Cape Town to Dubai (10 hrs) followed by a 4 hour layover followed by a 14 hour flight to Seattle via the arctic route. Long story short, Emirates is unreal, defs consider flying with them!

The longer version…

Flight 1
Had an unchangeable middle seat but nobody annoying around, in fact the lady beside me checked to see if I needed to go to the toilet often which was nice. Meals were great, I had hake and veggies for dinner and a continental brekky.

Friends on my tour informed me that all ….all…beverages on long haul flights were included….which I either slept through on my flight to Sydney or Air Canada sucks…but I got well tipsy on some “Flying Solo Viognier” The flight was even a bit early arriving in Dubai, we had to re-do security which was annoying until I felt a bit better about it on the second flight.

Layover
Did you know that if you have a layover over 4 hours Emirates gives you a meal voucher?
I didn’t either…shockingly…anyway I went to pay and the guy saw my boarding passes and told me to go to the transfer desk. Turns out I got a massive grilled baguette sandwich, brownie, and large flat white at le Pain Quotiden. Other options included thai, indian, mediterannean, or buffet food!

Also, the Dubai Airport is MASSIVE. I’m pretty sure it took me a solid hour to go end to end checking out the different food options I had for my voucher. And its packed…it makes LAX look lame.

Flight 2.
So, I.m happy…I have my aisle seat, they have better entertainment…touch screen instead of channels. We are all ready to go, I have my second flight pack with socks, touth brush, eyepatch, and stickers to identify whether I’d like to be awaken for food or duty free or not at all. then…

“Ladies and gentlemen this is the pilot speaking. Unfortunately we’ve had a few individuals decide not to take our flight to seattle today. Due to safety regulations we must now rescan baggage and remove theirs from the aircraft. Thatnk you for your patience.”
[3 different, 2 visibly muslim, 1 middle eastern people scurry off of the plane]

Now, I like to think I wouldn’t care….but when you’re flying between Afghanistan Independence day and a Full moon from Dubai to America and 3 people who historically dislike the states and are currently having some serious turmoil in their home countries (passports were seen)….decide for whatever reason they want off the plane youre about to ride for over half a day ….you panic.

Anyway, I quadruple checked the satelite phone setting, did some calming breathing and managed to somewhat compose myself.

This flight was leaving at 9 am locally…so for most people not on a connecting journey it was ‘morning’…i however got 2 bottle of vodka with my OJ for breakfast followed by a self created wine tasting for the remainder of the flight. The flight attendants were amazing… I hung out with them for a while while the kid behind me played footsies with my chair over and over again and the mother thought I was a bitch for caring.

Anyway it was great overall, the staff were great…My biltong got revoked at customs, but otherwise a trip including 15 countries prior to the united states didn’t hold me up too much.

Now I’m in seaside, running the prom daily, and forgetting I ever left. The family is always the same, but friends at home will be interesting…I’m already getting invites I can actually attend and randoms seeping from the woodwork…more importantly I’m looking for jobs, that’s making it all get real, real fast.

Advertisements

Cape Town!

When you’re on a 25 day overland tour that ends with “to Cape Town” the already exciting city becomes oh that much more amazing. Not that I didn’t love my time on my Tour of Southern Africa, but I love memory foam matresses, duvet covers, and water pressure more than I love Tents and drizzling glacier fresh H2O.

Our last stops out of Namibia were at dune 45….can’t remember if I wrote on that one or not. It was fun BUT I totally wish we had the chance to go to Deadvlei…if you research Nafaulk NP where we were that is all the sweet photos of the petrified trees and dried mud with dunes as a back drop….either way dunes are ssweet, same same to what I saw in Peru, Oregon, and Vietnam though.

Then we went to Fish River Canyon…second largest in the world. Defo sweet, got good selfies and the profile photo was due for an update so no complaints from me! ….Following that we stopped at Orange river right over the border in to South Africa. GREAT setting…they offered us a canoe trip but nobody did it because we were busy relaxing in teh first GREEN we’d seen in weeks/swimming in the river. Might I add the running view was spectacular, and the showers had a view of the mountains and stars AND good pressure/heat! I think it was grocery lodge? spelled differently though, but the general gist.

After, for our FINAL night on tour we went to highlanders in teh cederberg region and did a wine tasting…the rest was history…oh, except the fact that the crossing tour had 19 people (18 girls) and all I could think was what a nightmare that was…specifically when they asked how well blow driers work on the trip :S

Finally we got to Cape Town. Not without some mechanical issues along the way, but we got here just after lunch. Most of us are staying in Green Point which is right by the beaches and waterfront. HIGHLY reccommend the area or Long street. Everyone says its bars and parties but its really not that obnoxious.

We ate dinner at a restaurant called Arnold’s which was at the top of long street on kloof, it was GREAT. I had the game platter so I had Gemsbok, Croc ribs, Warthog ribs and ostrich…to add tothe croc, ostrich, oryx, kudu, and zebra I had at Joe’s beerhouse in Windhoek I think I made a respectable dent in the game tasting.

Ranked best to worst: Zebra, Gemsbok, Warthog, Croc, Ostrich, Oryx, Kudu….Although others placed Kudu higher, I had a pretty gamey piece. GOt all cooked mid rare. Joe’s was on a skewer so the cooking was a bit off because they were all at different temperatures becasue they’re different meats, but you got to compare meat not dishes. Arnolds presented 4 different dishes with sauces which is great because they are all cooked and paired to perfection BUT its hard to know if you like the meat or the sauce.

Also went to the craft markets on long street…all of them. Definitely shop around first as sometimes things seem cool and original, then you buy them, then you see them 10 more times and regret the decision. There are TONS of craft markets in Cape Town though and they are the cheapest yet (bargain Hard)…defnitely a great place to END a tour because you are back to civilization and can appreciate the African as well as the Western side of all of it.

I don’t have tim for table mountain or Robben Island but my run alon the esplanade and self-navigated city walking tours are having me leaving happy. I will not though that it is better than Joburg but I’ve still felt particularly unsafe and fights break out often inthe streets!!

Finishing off my tour today I went to TabelThirteen in Green point for lunch. They have chicken/tuna salads for under 50 Rand, amazing baked goods, well priced and better made coffee as well as a delectable by weight lunch buffet to stay or take away. Just off of Main Rd when it turns to Somerset in the direction of waterfront. MUST TRY.

Also A SUnflower Stop–my hostel has been ever so helpful, donates stuff to charities, has great security and a clean pool. Right on main road but super quiet. And super cheap when booked with hostelbookers-defo recommend after a tour or just landing in cape town…or any time in between!

As for feelings and such…I fly to Seattle to join my family on vacation on the Oregon coast in 3 hours. Expect a lovely dozen or so posts of recap, memories, reflection, and planning the next adventure very soon!

PS WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME YOU GET OPEN BAR ON LONG HAUL FLIGHTS?!

Africa so far

I got to Africa with an unexpected entry port on Tuesday as my flight that obviously got delayed (see previous post) missed the connection in Adis Ababa (Ethiopia). I think I must have written about this already…ultimately I was set up there for a night before heading to Johannesburg the next day. Flight to Joburg was amazing, way more leg space, amazing curried chicken lunch, arrived, talked to forex pre Customs who said it would all be fine to get money, got my bag, got through all the check points seemlessly then got to the ATM…

I went to ABSA and was able to take out 6000Rand (650 ish USD) then went to another 3 banks that there were in the airport as it won’t let you do a second transaction. 2 wouldn’t work and one would only allow a 2000 Rand (ZAR) withdrawal…which didn’t seem worth it with a 5 dollar fee from RBC every time I take out cash. Because VISA never told me I had a cash advance limit I tried to take more than the (standard) 500USD amount first time and the card locked. SO I had a meeting for my tour with Acacia at 6pm that night, (thank god I booked a day early), and spent 3 hours looking for atms and currency exchange in joburg….because, surprise…you can only exchange money you brought in to the country, and you can only get a currency other than Zar if you leave that day… GRRR. I might add that my free airport pick up from MoAfrika was amazing, I was truly impressed at how he tried to help me. Anyway, I arrived and my guides agreed to help me out and accept the kitty in Rand in the end.

Also, I needed a sleeping bag, but didn’t have time to get one. Thankfully I met a guywho had just finished his tour and got a hole in his that donated it to me willingly and then I had me pre trip meeting.

MoAfrika Lodge was amazing. The food was great, beds comfy and warm in FREEZING winter in Joburg, HOT shower with amazing pressure plus unreal staff.

So far Acacia Africa has been great. Our guides are amazing, so fun, laidback and knowledgable. We went on a safari of kruger today and saw 4 of the big 5, food is INCREDIBLE….lamb stew for dinner yesterday blew my mind….and the small group of 8 of us is a perfect size for sociability and personal space.

Not so much time as we are camping….soon to be in a camp where digging our own toilets is required, so I shall be off to soak in the shower…but I will do my best to keep posted, if not expect the same joyous backlog as I provided in INdia.