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Published: June 18th 2019
This blog covers a two day period 17th and 18th June 2019
Well this time had to come eventually, we have been everywhere we planned, we have seen everything we wanted to (even if the lioness was shadowy), we have used up all the leave our bosses gave us, the only thing we didn’t use up was all the spending money we bought with us and it wasn’t for the lack of trying. Africa has been an inexpensive place for Kiwis to travel to and the sights to be seen and experiences to be had just can’t be found anywhere else we have been.
But a little drama first and it was like history of 3 years ago repeating itself.
As usual we did the check of all valuables that should be on our bodies somewhere, credit cards, cash and passport.
Hang about, it was Copenhagen all over again, except this time we had not been riding a packed underground train back to our accommodation after a day of sightseeing in the Danish capital.
I last saw my passport yesterday when passing through immigration control at Jo’burg airport when we had the burliest and happiest immigration official welcome us back to South Africa, give us another stamp in our passport (we have had more stamps in this one relatively short trip than we had in 3 trips to Europe previously combined) and we set off to pick up our luggage from the carousel.
Any way to cut a story short, everything that was packed was getting emptied and still nothing was found.
Then,Gretchen.who was starting to get a little nervous thinking that getting a new passport in South Africa wasn’t going to be an easy matter when she considered how much it took to get the visitor’s visa on its own, picked up my money belt which was not yet attached around my middle and hey presto, there was the passport !
We left the Safari Club which has been a great place to stay so close to the airport and a little haven with green grass, a pool and trees right next to a busy highway that you can hardly hear from within the walls of the hotel grounds.
Our driver, Moya, a Zimbabwean working at the Safari Club was very helpful again, driving carefully and getting a trolley for us to take the luggage easily to the check in.
We had a short time to wait for the Singapore flight to Singapore where we have a 16 3/4 hour stopover before we fly onto Auckland and home.
The Airbus was full, at least down in economy, but surprisingly the overhead locker above our seats was completely empty.
We settled into the 10 hour flight which for the first couple of hours flying east over Africa towards the Indian Ocean was smooth flying. Then it all changed and for the next 8 hours we rocked and rolled our way north east and then close to Singapore the aircraft, and all the passengers and crew, experienced two of those stomach churning sudden drops when you feel like the aircraft floor has disappeared. There were huge gasps from all the passengers around us and we held our breath wishing the distance to land would speed up and we would be on the ground again.
Breakfast service had to be stopped and anyone wanting a coffee even when the rocking and rolling lessened was off the menu.
Both of us had kept an eye on the ‘airshow’ which shows data about the aircraft and our route,speed,height etc etc and we both noticed that all through the 8 hours of rocking and rolling the pilot never moved the aircraft up or down or changed to course to find better flying weather. A comment will be made when Singapore Airlines ask us what we thought of our flight.
After that flight we were pleased we had changed our plans to use our lay over time to take a look around Singapore and instead had booked a room in the Ambassador Transit Hotel in Terminal 3 at Singapore Airport. Here we were able to take a shower, have a sleep, have a complimentary buffet and just generally relax in a quiet location and ready ourselves for the 10 hour flight to Auckland. The cost of the 13 hour stay was probably the same as what we would have spent in tripping around in 30C humid, heat and was money very well spent.
So here we are now just about ready to head to the departure lounge both of us fully refreshed feeling that we were just starting out.
And we can say to anyone that believes Africa is just too dangerous to visit then forget it.Certainly get private drivers to take you across borders as part of your planning,take care at night and don’t go out alone(same as anywhere in the world these days) and if you want any advice on travel in Africa we would be only too please to give you references of places to see,things to do and places to stay.You won’t regret it !
So what is next for the BBA? Where will the V5 go and when? We will be back in touch again closer to the time but we promise it won’t be too far away because it is hard to keep these Kiwis down for long.
We hope you have enjoyed,some,part or all of these blogs, which in essence to us is one of our diaries(Gretchen keeps a hand written one too) and perhaps someday way off in the future our grandchildren and their children will know a little bit more about why their Nana and Poppa loved to travel so much.
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