Day 117 –
L: I was awake at 3 am with two guys sitting under the umbrella in the rain having a full meeting for an hour until I got up and asked them to go up on the deck. So I was tired at breakfast already. We thought that since we were leaving late tonight that we would go back for an afternoon nap, but that was not to be as we discovered that we would have to pay for another day if we used the tent after 11 am.
S: After breakfast, we had a late shower before packing all our things and putting the cases in the store room so that the tent could be emptied in time.
L: We have been chatting to so many people in camp and they have all wished us well for the next leg of the journey.
We have met Jenny and Alex from Australia and a young guy, Sean from down under too. Another Sean and Lucija who live in the U.K. though Lucija is originally from Slovenia. They are also doing a blog on their trip and we have swopped addresses. We have learnt a lot from them regarding shops, products and flights, etc that we will come across in the U.K and Ireland.
So now, Ryan from S.A. Is getting ready to leave and ship his car to Hamburg so we might get to see him again when we collect our car, if it ever leaves Mombasa………
I keep teasing the owners two little boys, Oliver and Joel that I need a cuddle before I leave tomorrow, but they are still a bit shy. Such cuties, we will miss their happy sounds. We have spent a total of 23 nights here at Wildebeest (in 3 separate visits), so feel like family. Rick, one of the waiters has just been to give me a hug, goodbye. They are sure that we will be back!
A young couple came up to eat their lunch and I could hear that they were German – when they said they were flying out tonight, I just knew, it was to Hamburg. We got chatting to Ivo and Caroline and offered them a ride to the airport in our taxi. They were very grateful as they did not have enough KSH left for the trip.
Supper time and Joel has fallen asleep in Alan’s arms, so I stole a cuddle. We did not have supper as I knew Steve would be anxious to get to the airport and not want to eat at camp still. We said goodbye to everyone and little Oliver gave me a nice cuddle to send me off. Lynita walked us to reception.
We set out at 8pm to get there by 8.50pm for our 10.50pm flight. Steve sat in front with Ivo and Caroline and I sharing the back, comfortably, but the boot (trunk) was bulging with all of our luggage, but Charlie the driver made it happen.
S: We were stopped just outside the airport for a boot search and Charlie was asked for a bribe. Smart boy, he turned them down and they waved us on anyway with Lesley chatting to the official and watching out the back window for any “sticky fingers”…….
So we went to check in with Ivo and Caroline at the Emirates desk and they were sorted, but the lady at the desk took a while with our tickets and then said that even though we were going through to Dublin, Ireland – the stop in Glasgow, Scotland was now a problem as they do not allow anyone on a South African passport to transit through the U.K. without a transit visa which you need to apply for at the British Embassy. Oh my word…….They are quick enough to take your money for the ticket, but do not say that you need the visa. Does everyone get caught like this? – it is essentially our first overseas trip though Steve has been through the U.K.
Long story short…….because Lesley was not allowed in to transit through the U.K. we had to change our ticket to go from Dubai directly to Dublin at an extra cost of $90 for each of us. Oh, and just, by the way, the tickets we bought from Glasgow to Dublin are non-refundable!! Go figure. This was not feeling good, but it was already late at night so we pretty much didn’t have a choice. L: I find it interesting that the U.K. did a 4-hour security check on our credit card, but couldn’t mention that they couldn’t book the ticket without a visa.
S: So now we missed having supper with Caroline and Ivo (who wanted to buy us a coffee for helping them) and after being held up for so long, were the last ones on the flight. We were exhausted. (We never saw sight or sound of our German friends again, even though they were on the same plane). L: Do you think they avoided us after me being turned down for a U.K. permit and being thrown off the flight to Scotland, ha ha.
Day 118 –
S: Supper finally came at 12.30am. Little plates with 3 courses, but enough to sustain us. Lesley still managed to get excited when we crossed the Aden Sea as it was her first time “overseas”, but I was still stressing. We each watched our own movie on our little TV scenes and I dozed.
L: I may have closed my eyes for 10 minutes, but I could not sleep with the lights and constant back-and-forwarding as we were next to all the bathrooms on the plane.
Finally, we arrived in Dubai and so began our 12 hour wait as the new ticket was for a much later flight…….We were offered to go on standby, but we would have to pay another $50 each if we got on to an earlier flight. That is crazy so I persuaded Steve to wait as we were just throwing money away and making the airlines rich. We were told that we could get a free meal ticket though. We first went in search of coffee as it was 4am and one cuppa, 2 bottles of water and one cheese croissant was the princely sum of $11. Ouch.
We both slept fitfully for an hour or so on the padded loungers in a quiet alcove. I then went for a shower and felt so much better after that. Good job I had packed my clean outfit and shower kit and travel towel, yes!
We did not consider going into town as it was over 40 degrees out of the airport.
S: We later walked and took the really fast train to the other end of the station for our free meal. Lesley had Indian food and I had a huge Texas chicken meal which even had an apple pie for dessert. That will do ’til supper.
We finally managed to get an e-mail through to the girls from the airport computers which are really slow. Also, I sent off a mail to advise the guest house that we would arrive much later tonight and so stay another night so we don’t have to be up and out early tomorrow. We hope to take the bus from the airport in Dublin tonight.
L: On our way through the airport in Dubai, we had a good giggle – there is a shop called The Sleep Cube which offers you a little room with a padded bed for $21 (R220) for an hour’s sleep………As tempting as that is, never. And now a young couple have told us that you have to take it for a minimum of 2 hours.
S: I went to try to get us seats together as they have put us behind each other on the plane, but they said to try at check-in time. We tried to get to sit in a nice comfortable chair in a restaurant, for a while in the afternoon, but when you look at the prices for coffee or a drink, the plastic chairs in the passages start feeling a whole lot better. We looked at the duty-free chocolates too, but R100 a slab is just not in our budget.
L: Finally it was time to be checked in and they eventually organised us seats next to each other. We sat next to a young Afrikaans girl from Stellenbosh, Annatjie who was really sweet. We also got chatting to an off-duty air-hostess with Emirates and we were all appalled at some of the children’s behavior on the flight. That makes for a long trip and then there is the numb bum syndrome, it seems no matter how you sit it is still uncomfortable. We do love having movies to play though.
Sitting on the wing, again, but this time I was a bit creeped out as the wing on our side had leaking oil and just looked a bit shabby. It is great to be able to see the map of where you are flying the whole time with the little picture of the plane showing speed, direction etc. I was so excited flying over Europe and the U.K.
We were extremely tired and once again, Steve managed to doze, but I didn’t have much success so it was a huge relief to see Dublin and touch down after going through a massive bank of clouds, now 9pm in Ireland.
The baggage collection took so long and they really don’t treat the luggage well, but all our bags are here with us so that is great.
We followed all the signs showing where to take the bus and asked someone where to find No. 16 bus and paid for the tickets and we were off, on the way to Avalon house. We haven’t been able to use a bus forever in Cape Town and it was amazing how many girls feel safe enough to take the bus so late at night. We passed a lot of brown stone buildings which all looked so drab, but other than that there was not much to see except for the mad crowd running in the streets after their soccer team won, or lost and the mounted policemen for crowd control,
The bus driver deposited us right outside the hostel and we lugged our bags in to reception. We were shown to our room which has 2 single beds put at right angles to each other as there is not enough space to put them together. There is a hand basin in the room, but we have to us the communal bathrooms, they are unisex too. The room is really basic, but clean for â‚¬50, so that is R750 which is a lot for us. As we came in so late, we have booked a 4-bed dorm room (this room is allocated to someone else) with en suite to share tomorrow night, that costs â‚¬40 for the two of us.
We let the girls know where we were though our signal was not good. Steve showered and we were both fast asleep within minutes. So this is what the emerald island feels like……..
Day 119 –
S: Wow, it was great to be refreshed. We slept well even though I found the noise a bit disturbing. We had to be out of the room by 10am so we went down to breakfast before showering and packing. The breakfast (which is included) is served in the coffee shop of the hostel. You can help yourself to cereal, coffee (or tea) and toast with jam or chocolate spread. I bet you cannot guess which one we chose……
This place is busy and so are the showers and toilets, but we got done and then put down a deposit of â‚¬10 for a locker which held all of our belongings. We pay â‚¬2 a day besides the refundable deposit so that is great not to have to worry about things.
L: We walked outside and got a sensory overload in the hustling, bustling city of Dublin. Steve had picked up a free SIM card at the hostel (yes, they are free) and now decided to go back to the hostel to use the laptop and purchase airtime and a data bundle. We did that in the recreation room and then continued on our way. We have been communicating with Nicky, Steve’s sister in the U.K. and she hopes to be able to help us successfully fill in the forms to permit us to the U.K. Steve also sent a free assessment application to an online agency to get the advice we need.
So we trundled along the streets, keeping an eye out for the shops and facilities that we needed. A bank does not always look like a bank, but after asking several people, we were able to exchange our remaining dollars for Euros. We passed so many of the leading name brands in fashion e.g. Abercrombie and Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Louis Vuitton (I thought of you, Sherilyn) to name a few. Sorry Girls, you will have to wait for those things until we find work, ha ha.
We had asked a lady in the bank where to have lunch, but O’Neals Pub luckily displayed the prices outside and those did not look inviting. We eventually settled for another little pub in one of the side streets. It was really a bar with a couple of tables and chairs and seems to serve mainly breakfast, I had a very nice Irish Guinness stew which was lovely. Steve had his Guinness in a glass (which was not to his taste) and a club sandwich. The bill with tip was â‚¬25 (R375 which would be a sushi evening for us at home), yikes. We met and chatted to a USA couple, Verna and Doug who were very interested in our travels.
There are so many buskers and entertainers on the city streets with a crowd of 5 dressed from head to toe in black with charcoal black painted faces. It was amusing to see them just sitting around like statues and changing position once in a while.
Nicole had told us to “go and find a Leprechaun” and we laughed when we did!!! A man had a little booth rigged up with all the right togs and the space for your head cut-out so you could have a photo taken in true Irish style. Steve did not want to play the game so I sneaked a shot of some other unsuspecting tourist.
S: Something was up with the cellphone package so we popped in to a mobile phone shop and got that sorted. Ok, so now that we won’t manage to eat in these expensive restaurants, it is off to find a Dunns supermarket………
Dunns has a lot of great products and since Lesley knows her beans we were able to choose some reasonable products to cook in our communal kitchen at the hostel. We found rice, mince, tuna, instant noodles and sauces to be fairly cheap. The bread and fruit are pricier, but we only spent â‚¬16 for about 3 days provisions.
L: How Steve realised that it is a self-service check-out, I am yet to grasp, as I just stood and wondered why all the cashiers were “out to lunch”. Ok the internationally travel-wise people, we don’t have this at home. So, you scan your own carrier bag and put it on a counter (which is a scale too) and then, using the bar-code on every item, pass those over the scanner and Bob’s your uncle, oh wow, our mouths hung open. Then, the best is that you feed in your cash or card and everything is sorted. It is amazing.
S: By now we had done quite a bit of walking and had to carry our shopping so we went back and checked in to Avalon again to stay in the dorm. We dropped our groceries off, marked with our name and room number and saw our little dorm for the first time. Lesley and I have the double bunk and there is a spiral staircase to an upstairs alcove for the other two people. A little wooden shelf area and two chairs complete the picture. The en suite is minute, but all we need. L: We were not given towels so we will have to ask for those, I did not bring as I had no space, I only have a travel/camping towel. The bedding is new and spotless, but I made the mistake of looking at the duvet inner and felt a bit disgusted.
I have been blogging while Steve has caught up on the e-mails and followed up on a few queries regarding jobs and the permit application, but now I hear the gentle sounds of snoring coming from the top bunk and it is only 4pm local time. It will take a few days for us to feel rested again.
We will go down to fetch our bags later and cook something for ourselves in the kitchen which is something we were not able to do at Wildebeest so it is a few weeks since I made as much as a sandwich.
Thank you all for your messages and e-mails with all the lovely things that you always say, we are so enjoying all of them. We will answer soon now that we have signal and data etc, love and miss you all. Mwa.