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Published: February 15th 2015
The dawn sky over GATWICK copying the African skies
moon overhead and cloudy skies below but the horizon was beautiful
Finally, I can just sit on something that's not moving! So much to say… Fun things and serious stuff.
Left Bago and had a short and sweet flight over in excellent time. Dropped bag with two jackets at the left luggage room, with a Red Shirt porter, any of them will do…. Got a receipt and left. Charges are $5.00 TT per bag/hour or $25 for the day.
Then over to the Bus Stop outside the international arrivals main exit gate . Today the bus arrived late so the passengers gave the driver a rough but good natured time, heckling Trini style. Everyone seemed to know everyone. One old girl sitting in the front row even knew the names of passengers waiting kerbside at the bus stops and hailed out a greeting to them.
During the journey I tried to see the bus route using the eyes of a new visitor.
I saw a neat and clean green surrounds at a Highway with some normal traffic as we drove to Port of Spain on the Priority Bus Route passing thru the suburbs.
The scenes shifted. Tacarigua village looked well heeled, with a
Meeting the friends and families of Alison, Jean and Dave
introduction to SAfrican wine and food right away.... And they were great!
little village church and well kept homes and gardens. Other towns like Curepe San Juan appeared grimy, down at heel, showing a face of unpainted concrete commerce, block walls layered with dirt, topped with barbed wire. In between I saw prolific bearing mango and coconut palms. St. Augustine looked genteel with an air of seen better days. There was a wall of multi colored plastic crates at the Carib Brewery. There were minarets rising above the roof tops as ordinary people hustled through the streets going about their business. Approaching the city some old landmarks like the horse water trough and buildings from a century ago sat quiet and unnoticed. While the colorful, bright Wall of Magic at Laventille painted by the children there echoed creative hopefulness.
We pulled in after 45 mins at the City Gate bus terminal - clean, it's floors shone and passengers sat waiting in the hall. I hustled away to meet Ally and Heidi, crossing the bustling Brian Lara promenade to Chacon St. They eventually returned from the shops of Charlotte street and we left for a Coffee break at Petit Gourmet and to meet Kay who drove Judy and myself on
First home 1
Our home for the first few days .... Cosy but roomy and the perfect hosts. Couldn't have asked for more
the final leg for our departure. We had a Church's bite to eat as in-flight meals wouldn't be served for some time.
The check of our Yellow Fever vaccine happened once only - at Piarco at check in. We weren't even asked for it on arrival at Cape Town! If we didn't have it we would have been denied boarding period! Clearing security was fraught for Judy who didn't realize that pepper sauce is a “liquid “ and her bottle of home made Moruga scorpion pepper sauce only made it as far as the dust bin. My ice in a bag survived security checks and cooled the Tobago chocolates all the way to Cape Town.
Seating to Gatwick was as good as it gets. The middle seat between myself and the other passenger remained empty so we had lots of room. Turns out she, the passenger, had lived around the corner from me in Lambeau 26 years ago so we knew several people in common.
Meanwhile in Business class, some of the bed-seats face forward others face backward to the plane’s direction and Judy had one of the backward facing ones. The flight
itself was normal…. except for a hard “ Badang bang” landing at Hewanora. It came in the dark of night out of the blue as we were all dozing. Things that are NOT nice! Must have been an aircraft problem as the Gatwick landing with a different pilot, was also rough. So ended the first day of the outward journey.
DAY TWO …. The journey continues.
Arrived on time at GATWICK, with the help of Special Assistance which was great…. Wheeled through to immigration desk where we had a fun and lively chat with the officer… I heard her twang knew she was Jamaican and we were all family recognizing each other. Wheeled directly outside after bag collection as no Custom official was anywhere in sight….. to the Costa coffee shop our meeting point. We were early and had a coffee while waiting for Liz and Saghi and Joanna (who didn't make it in the end).
Had one big drama ….when we decided to move across to the Sofitel bar next door I somehow managed to leave the iPad behind on the table! I never saw it! Fortunately I wanted to charge it but at
First home 3
this is a green city and here is a rustic vase of roses in many colors. Wait til you see the hibiscus TREES!!
Sofitel I couldn't find it! BIG GULP! Liz and I hustled back to Costa and asked the new occupants of our table if they had seen it…. Yes, the waiter had taken it up! But the wait staff said they didn't know…. Eventually I saw it in the hands of one waiter and claimed it so it was returned. What a close shave. Now it's the first thing I look for when I move.
SPEAKING of move …. Gotta go on tour of Cape Town
More later! Photos later too!
Yesterday was truly jet lagged, much as I wanted to start seeing it all, I nodded off during Alison's orientation tour as did Judy long before me, so we cut short and returned home to the distinguished hospitality of our hosts Jean and Dave.
The flight from Heathrow to Cape Town was the opposite of the first leg. By the time I got to the counter, after Liz generously stuck it out in M3 traffic, there were exactly TWO seats left in all of economy. Both in the middle of the centre of the 10 seats row ...... Sigh. I was still lucky with
the people who sandwiched me an English couple on tour and a returning Afrikaans woman with a good sense of humor. And most of the 11 hour journey was in the dark of night. But this much I can swear..... I'm now immune to bumpy flying. I swear that 10 of those 11 hours we rattled and rolled around just as we do when flying over the north coast of Trinidad. it seems that flying over the considerable expanse of deserts have the same effect on the warm and cold air streams. And really, staying awake in fear of bumps loses out to sheer tiredness in a long flight. So the bumping became like nothing!
On arrival we again were royally treated to special assistance , with a really helpful young South African guy taking us all the way out, volunteering his cell phone when we didn't see Alison .... She thought we'd take much longer to come out.... He got our bags, waited with us until she arrived and escorted us to her car. All the while being cheerful and regaling us with tales of his Township existence. Some tales included violence and crime. The Airport is impressively modern built for the World Cup....and its a constant tribute to Mandela in particular. In fact Mandela is the name you see most as you drive about the peninsula.
Finally we were on our way, Waka Waka!
Tomorrow will carry the tales of where what who why..... All good.so see you next time.
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