Monday, January 30, 2012

Our trip home to Cape Town: Part 1

One thing about me that not many people know is that I love taking pictures on airplanes of the panoramic views. I decided that I would share some of my most recent one with you, of the flights home to Cape Town, leaving  from Denver, with layovers in New York City and Dubai. 

Farmland somewhere over Colorado.

We arrived at Denver’s Airport (DEN) and it took a while to be fully checked in because our domestic flights were not attached to our international flights. The desk person had to verify that our visas were valid because she said the airline could be fined up to 10,000 dollars for not verifying. She also had to make sure that we could have two checked luggage pieces each, without paying, which of course we did because we were flying internationally.

Wispy Clouds.

In NYC, at JFK, we had to check in with Emirates, which took a long time because they only had two people working it.  Our seats weren’t together, so they reassigned them for us.  In the end, we still had enough time to eat one last American meal.


We unfortunately had to go through security at a place that only had six gates, and not many shops/restaurants; so we were very limited in what food choices we could eat. The restaurant was fairly expensive, so we shared a beer, the hubby had some chicken wings, and I had some Blue Cheese and bacon (streaky bacon to people in SA) covered potato chips. Not the best meal to end our time, but good enough.

Lovely Light as we fly into NYC. Can you count how many ships are in the picture?

I popped some DayQuil pills because I had gotten sick two days before, and was till sneezing and coughing often. We tried to use our phones and 3G internet as much as we could before we flew out.
Once we boarded the plane, we realized that we had been seated in an emergency row, with only our two seats, then the aisle (instead of the normal three). We felt pretty lucky because we could stretch our legs out and stand easily. We sat across from two flight attendants during takeoff and landing and got to talk to them for a little bit.

Our leg space on the flight from NYC to Dubai.

Next, I’ll post about the Dubai airport and our last flight to Cape Town.

Song of the Post:  American Pie by Don MacLean. Just feeling a little sentimental...

Friday, January 20, 2012

I’ve been lost.

I've been lost. Ever since coming home last week on Thursday, I’ve been at a loss. We have not had a vehicle to use because the owner of the car we were borrowing has avoided our attempts to meet with him. This means that we now must be more creative and effortful in our transportation. We have our feet, bicycles, trains, busses, taxis, and minibus taxis. The first three have been our only resources in the last week.

The trains- nothing is posted regarding rates or times, and sometimes the ticket counters are closed. It took over an hour, using two trains, to get to the closest mall, which by car would take 15 minutes! We bicycled to the gym, which is across from the mall, and at my pace, it took 45 minutes.  And I was exhausted and sweaty by the time I got to the gym…

I'm told this is an African Leopard Frog.

We took the train to Kalk Bay, which was better than we thought it would be. It was interesting, there are 1st class seats for R5 (less than a dollar) more, which were worth it on one train, but didn’t matter on another (in that drunken trouble makers were in all train cars). It makes me uncomfortable in theory to have different “classes” of seating, but in reality, when it works, I am more comfortable riding in them. On the trains, I definitely feel like a minority and we are often the only light skinned people on them.  I think I would feel fine if I understood the language, but because everyone around me is not speaking English, I feel at a disadvantage. I know that many of them understand English, but I don’t understand any of the languages around me, and it makes me quiet. Also, the trains are hot and sweaty; often crowded.

View from The Brass Bell in Kalk Bay.

So basically, my entire routine has now changed because I don’t have a car. Before, I’d go to the gym in the morning, participate in an exercise class of two, go to the video store, go to the grocery store, and be home before lunch. Now, since getting to the gym is such an effort, I have only gone once (the day I rode my bicycle) and my mornings are just fading away into a blend of nothingness. I have always appreciated how the gym kept me to a schedule and routine…now…not so much. And I’ve never been the type of person to go jogging in my neighborhood, so I’m worried that all the physical fitness I’ve gained over the last year will slowly disappear.

Etta looking amazingly cute with her bone.

I’ve never really lived without access to a vehicle before. Even in college, living in a dorm (residence hall), I would bicycle between 10 and 20 minutes to get to one of my parent’s homes and was able to borrow a vehicle to do my shopping when needed. For the first time, I really don’t have a car and I have felt very strange.

Very unsettled. 

I forget sometimes, and make plans for going to a certain place, and then remember I can’t. I try to remind myself that we will be saving money with our new lifestyle. 

­­I know that this situation is a minor worry for some people, but it is new to me, and I am having trouble adjusting. This trouble also includes writing on my blog. I’ll try to get back to my normal frequency starting….now!

If any of you have suggestions for how to manage this new phase in our lives, I am open to suggestions.

Song of the Post: Use Somebody by Kings of Leon.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spending time in my Hometown.

I’ve given myself an almost two week break, due in part to the holidays and also due to my computer screen conking out. I’m currently using the husband’s computer until we can fix it in SA. Most of the computer stores here in the USA would not finish the repair in time for us to get it back before our trip. Not because it is a big problem to fix, just that they have backlog that will take 15-25 days before they could work on my computer. 

Le sigh.

Crossing the state border, there was a van stuck in snow.

This tractor trailer was jackknifed in the median between the two lanes of traffic!

During the last two weeks, we drove from Colorado to Arizona to visit family. We luckily traveled between two major snow storms and made it safely to our destination. The two pictures above demonstrate what  could have happened to us!

Crossing into Arizona.

I miss seeing clouds like this....

I’ve had a wonderful time visiting with family and going out to lunch with my friends. Our time has not totally been ours, but we have made the best of it. We’ve bought many things that were on our list of “needs” to bring back, and have just a few more things get. We’ve eaten at only half the places we’ve wanted to, so we might eat out  few more times before we leave. There are a few more people we want to see, and I hope we get to squeeze some time in with them.

A train we passed on the highway.

There have been changes to some of the neighborhoods and buildings here.  For the most part, the changes seem so extreme- mostly because they seem to appear overnight (from our perspective), while people who live here have had months to see the new structures slowly being built.  For example, the empty lot that used to be the YMCA where I took swimming lessons, now has two big apartment buildings being built. I think they’re ugly, but maybe if I had driven by them every day as they developed, I’d have a more positive impression about them. 
Maybe not.

I never realized how much a city can change in less than a year.

Makes me a little sad.

But I guess life goes on!

Like my little Christmas tree? It sat on a table to look tall!

Song of the Post: Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol, as seen on the Late Show with David Letterman.