Thursday, March 31, 2016

Friday 1st April 2016...what did you do do today???

Nothing much??  Me neither!!!

Although i did do this a few minutes ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday 31st March 2016..another new Country!!

Avi was at my door to say farewell this morning
The last taxi I took the other day I arranged with the driver, Tombo, to come and pick me up at 7am this morning and take me to the airport.  I could have done the reverse journey from when I came in but at this time in the morning trying to find a taxi and then a short walk to the train station and changing trains just did not appeal and for another 12 dollars I could get a taxi door to terminal.
Of course having just met Tombo there was always a chance that he would not show for any number of reasons so I was a bit smart and had a Plan B..
I got all packed up and went out to the front gate at 6.50am and who was out there but Tombo with a huge smile on his face.
With the traffic it took over 45 minutes to get to the airport but in that time I learned a lot about my driver and his family and he was proud to show me photos of his kids on his phone....he also told me there was a garbage strike on right now which is one of the reasons there is garbage everywhere.  He also told me about his job... he pays 2000 Rand a week to the owner of the car and he has it  all the time and he gets to keep his fares he is liable for gas but not for repairs...he is a really nice man and it was great to get a ride like this.
Check in was very easy and the weight of the case and carry on was not an issue...my luck with extra leg room and window seats finally came to an end  and I was in the middle row for the 90 minute flight.
It was an easy trip and soon we landed
and I was in Zambia......
It pays to do research because on this short trip I want to go into Zimbabwe for a day so instead of buying the Zambian visa for 50 US dollars I have no idea why they are using US dollars when they have their own currency, so because I would be leaving the country for the day and coming back instead of paying another 50 dollars you can purchase what they call a double entry visa for 80 dollars and that is what I did.
I am staying at a B & B booked with airbnb and the owner told me he would have someone at the airport to meet me and he was correct...
Carol and her big smile were waiting for me....she had a private car and driver and it was about 10 minutes to the B & B
My room is basic but clean has a fridge and a kettle and they had fruit and juice waiting for me..everyone was very friendly..

The common areas where they serve breakfast

and then the
I got unpacked and settled in and then walked about 5 minutes into the small town centre
A local market

and finally outside the ATM
So my first thoughts about this town is take away all the local people bring in Mexicans and you have a typical Mexican town..so many similarities.....everyone seems very friendly some of the younger men are a bit pushy and want to shake your hand then sell you something......
Came back and had a nice swim and then relaxed this evening ....I did buy a few staples for making lunches and some fruit and yogurt and then when I was back in the room Carol knocked on my door with a plate of bananas 2 apples and yogurt a gift from the management.
I do not want to spoil my surprise for tomorrow but just let me say when you see what I am going to do you will all say I am nuts and Linda and Heather will say a bit more than that..stay tuned!!
Yashi Kochi!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wednesday 30th March 2016.....an easy day!!!

Was up again at 6.30am and it was so nice out I took my tea outside on the patio...I spent the morning puttering around making sure my plans for the next two weeks were in order, reading and sorting out my suitcase.
Two of my lovely lady friends of many years are Stella and her daughter Caron from Santa Barbara....I have know these gorgeous girls over 20 years and of course you all know that Ashley is Stella's Grand daughter and also they are originally from Zimbabwe.......Caron contacted me with the e mail
address of her cousin who lives here and I was in touch and this afternoon Russell came and picked me up and took me to his beautiful home where we sat and talked and he showed one of his passions he breeds budgies and he has an elaborate system and set up and had over 150 birds.....later Carol his wife came home and then their kids and their friends and I was invited to stay for dinner and had a wonderful time then Russell brought me home at 9pm...what a great time it was and my fortune of meeting great people continues.
Going to pack as I have a taxi coming for me tomorrow at 7am to take me to the airport for my flight at 10.30am to Livingstone in Zambia.

The bottom red circle is where I am headed it is a 90 minute flight..I have airbnb b &b booked for 4 nights and I get to knock off the Victoria falls off my bucket list!!!!
Indigo my hostess for the last night in Sydney sent me this photo that she took from her balcony...Australia in the clouds!!!




and I leave you with this!!!!

Even though the US Election isn't until next November, as we speak Canada is training 10,000 new Border Guards mounted on 10,000 Moose to guard our Border if Donald Trump is elected President to stop the rush of Illegal USA Immigrants trying to sneak across the Canadian Border after said Election. 
I do not know why this photo never turned out but it was an RCMP on a moose quite funny!!



    



I am not sure about Internet connection for the next week whilst i am on the road I think I will have it but if there is no blog do not complain and ask for a refund of your subscription!!!
So another new country tomorrow!!!
Yashi Kochi!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday 29th March 2016...a wonderful lesson!!!

Well I must have been really tired as I went to bed at 9 pm last night got out my book and after reading the same page three times and dropping the book twice I figured it was time to go to sleep....and I slept right through till just gone 6 am so got up made tea and back into bed with the computer as the Internet is very fast here.
Last night I did book a tour on the Hop on Hop off bus tour for today



 and after my poached eggs and packing up I was out of the door before 9 am.
The challenge was to find a taxi to take me to the train station which is about 7 km away and really not walk-able.....I went into the small built up area where there were some shops but not a sniff of a taxi.  I realized I had to do something and I was outside a small car dealership and the owner was in the lot and I asked him if he knew how I could get a taxi...he asked me where I needed to go and I told him and he said he would arrange it and went inside his showroom...a few minutes later he drove to where I was in a car he got out left the door open and told me his man would be right down to drive me to the station.....I was gob smacked said thank you and asked him how much I owed him and he smiled and said just have a great day!!!!  A gentleman did come got in the car and told me to get in and in 5 minutes I was at the train station........just another of the long list of human kindness shown to me.
I got a pass and took the train one stop and then went to the office of the bus company and got my ticket....it is an 11 stop tour but at one stop you can get off and board another smaller vehicle and do a two hour tour of the Soweto townships and I chose that option.....so for the hop on hop off bus and the Soweto tour the cost was 410 Rand.....
I found the bus stop and my transport
The first two or three stops there was not really much this is a huge city that really has very little history because it only started after the huge gold finds in the mid 1800's
The buildings are quite nondescript but lots of small stalls on the sidewalks

A couple of attractive buildings

Gandhi lived here for nearly 20 years and this statue was erected to commemorate his contribution to the city
We then arrived at this incredible beautiful building
It is a huge casino I went inside to go the washrooms and it was filled with people and it is about 2 miles from the townships of Soweto!!!
This is where I got off the bus and into this vehicle with 4 other tourists...
Our guide, King, was remarkable and the best guide I have ever had!!!
He was well educated and funny and also you could tell so proud of his country...the first thing he did was give us all Zulu names, mine was Demisan and he told us he would tell us the meaning of our names at the end of the tour.....
It only took us a few minutes to get to
I think I was expecting total slums but it is a township of many contrasts...first we saw these wonderful homes
then some like this
next were these kinds of homes
and finally the original slums
but then on the next block there would be something like this
it is Nelson Mandela's home and this street is the only street in the world not 50 feet apart where two Nobel Peace Prize winner's have resided because down the road is this home...
Sadly every where was these kinds of scenes

King was so informative and I learned so much..here is the main square

The iconic power chimneys that are now used for bungee jumping!!!
It was a wonderful and sad and moving tour....when King told us the meaning of the names he had given us he told me mine meant 'Praise".......what a day shall not forget this experience!!!
I got back on the bus and really not too much to see except
The Mandela bridge!!
Around 3 pm I was back at the train station and did the reverse trip and then took another of those rouge taxis back home and it was the same price as yesterday 100 Rand......I was home around 4 pm and relaxed outside in the lounger and read...it gets dark around 6.30pm...so had a light dinner a long shower and now it is almost 9 pm and I am tired so will after my tea get my book out and head to bed..
I must say the people I met today and the ones I asked for directions were all very kind......
Yashi Kochi!!!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday 28th March 2016...a new continent and a new country!!!

OK I will start with when I returned Silver Streak to the car rental agency there was no issues at all and I asked for a ride to the terminal and the guy behind the counter said he would take me in Silver Streak so it was good did not have to take my case out of the trunk.....the most dangerous time of all this journey was riding with him to the terminal..it was so bad I asked him if his other job was race car driver..he thought I was being funny!!!
Arrived with plenty of time and at check in I asked the lady who checked me in if there was a seat in the exit row(where there is extra leg room)she checked and said no but told me to ask again when I get to the boarding gate.
I watched my plane come in


This plane sure got a work out will tell you more in a minute.....
So when I got to the boarding gate I did ask about the exit row and the lady checked her computer and told me she could give me a window seat in the exit row...how great was that!!!
This is my first time flying with this airline but it is without any shadow of a doubt the best I have ever used!!!
Very attentive staff dressed in beautiful cotton tops and long skirts.....I don't sleep on the flights and spend a lot of time stretching in the bulkhead and they continually asked if I needed anything and one time I asked for some OJ and a cookie and she came back with a glass of juice with ice and a small plate with a cloth napkin on and there was about 6 assorted biscuits...the 7.5 hour flight went by quite quickly I watched a movie and did some reading......
I had almost 90 minutes wait in the airport and took these photos


I was alreday had my boarding pass so I did not need to check in(I have no idea why the type decided to change to this format!!!)
So at the gate I decided to try my luck again and asked the supervisor if there was a seat in the exit row and to my amazement i got another window seat in the exit row and the funny thing is I got back on the same airplane.....so what I was going to say about the plane is that when I took the photo above in Sydney it was coming in from Singapore....2 hour turn around and back to Singapore another two hours and onto South Africa.....a lot of mileage on that plane in 36 hours!!!
So this flight was just over ten hours and really it was no problem....wonderful food a steady supply of beverages another movie some reading could not sleep so plenty of stretching in the aisles...my window photo shots did not turn out to be very good.

So I landed in J'burg at 7am Monday morning I am completely lost as to what time it is in any country or what day it is either!!!
In hindsight I should have laid over in Singapore for a couple of nights and visited..next time!!!
My hosts for the three nights gave me instructions on how to get from the airport to their home and I followed them and they were right on.
So I collected my bag went through Immigration I would describe the agent as not friendly but polite....
So here I am in this new country where most of my friends have told me to be really careful try mot to stand out as a tourist and be vigilant......got my case and went up the elevator to the walkway to the fast train into the city...hard not to look like a tourist when you are next to the airport and have a huge suitcase......anyway I bought my ticket for the train and stood on the platform minding my own business when I saw a man dressed in dark blue  uniform with a hat with black and white squares a bit like the hat I used to wear as a Bobby in England....anyway he walks along the platform and I could sense he is coming right to me...and he did.......he asked me to turn around and I thought what the heck have I done now but I said sure and turned around and there right in front of my face at eye level was a sign saying there was no food, water, alcohol or gum chewing allowed on the platform or train  700 Rand fine.....and he said you are chewing gum and I was ..I said I was really sorry I did not know and I swallowed it......he smiled and said have a good day!!!
Got off the train and as per instructions went to the next platform and caught another train for one stop and got off.......
Outside there were taxis waiting but they were just private cars with a small yellow flash light on top and my book said to be careful with these as they do not have meters.....so I went to the driver and asked him how much to take me to the address I gave him and he told me 100 Rand and I said that was fine and off we went..the car was an old Mercedes and it sure needed a tune up but he got me to the house and I gave him a 100 Rand bill...

OK this is the only time I will convert the Rand for you after this you are on your own...

100 Rand is worth approximately
8.5 Canadian dollars
6.5 USA dollars
4.5 UK pounds
So I was happy with the cost of the fare!!
My hosts Ayesha and Eric were waiting for me and I got here about 9.30am....
The little separate cottage is lovey and has everything I need



All this for 49 Canadian dollars a night to me it just not make any sense to stay in hotels....there was food in the fridge and outside
I got unpacked and then went in the lounger and just lazed for a while and then went to find an ATM which I did and a grocery store where I bought a few things including the local favorite


What is beskuit (rusks)?

Beskuit, known as "rusks" in English, is made from dough, broken or cut into chunks or slices after baking, and then slowly dried in an oven. It is usually briefly dipped into a warm drink such as coffee, tea, or rooibos tea before being eaten.
Beskuit (South African rusks) is the ideal snack food for rumbling tummies; morning, noon and night.
Making beskuit is simple: balls of dough are packed into loaf tins and baked in the oven. Once cooked, the risen balls are then separated and dried out completely in a warm oven for a couple of hours.
Beskuit is best enjoyed when dunked into a hot drink of coffee or tea. Be careful not to dunk it for too long though: it will become too soggy and end up inside your cup.
A traditional way to treat stay-over guests, is to wake then with a tray of freshly brewed coffee and rusks.
Beskuit variations include buttermilk, aniseed, bran, muesli, etcetera. The raising agent can be selfraising flour, baking powder combined with buttermilk or yeast. Instant yeast is common, with alternatives such as potato yeast and "mos". Mos is the juice of grapes in the first stages of fermentation. Beskuit made with mos, "mosbolltjie", are particularly good.

I must say I am impressed with the food prices quite a lot cheaper than the other countries I have been to including Canada and USA.
Even though I had not been to sleep in over 30 hours I wanted to stay awake till the night time so I packed a lunch and drinks and set off walking to here
The area around the cottage is nice but there are also pockets of run down homes and every home has
 Wires, cameras and electric fence
and then
What I have decided to do is to change my demeanor I usually dress in shorts and soccer shirt and have my fanny pack and my camera in my hand and I rely and play on the fact that I am old, have silver hair and talk funny..I also smile a lot and say hello..here I am changing my ways I am always vigilant where I am and my surroundings..do not make eye contact and do not speak to anyone and keep a little cash on me..I am sure out of the city it will be easier.....I do not think I would be happy with all this protection around the houses.....having said all this I felt quite safe did talk to a few men and asked for directions and everyone was helpful..
This is where I walked to

The gardens were mainly green but I did find some color



I enjoyed the walk around the lake

There were many people around just having fun it was nice to see kids of every color and creed being together enjoying this Holiday Monday!!!
I had lunch looking out over the lake and reflecting on how I am in this fabulous vibrant country with I am sure many adventures ahead....
 like the shots of these ladies in the park




Came home and had a light dinner a lovely hot shower and now going to have tea check out the cup!!!!!
To put it in perspective my computer is ten inches!!!
Where I came from..

So a busy two days but glad to have made it here without incident.....
Yashi Kochi!!!

Friday 17th November 2017..........getting ready!!!

I knew when I went to bed last night that I had the start of a cold coming on and sure enough this morning woke to the sniffles...I usually...