All tagged Johannesburg

Into Jordan 17/10/16

Windhoek like Swakopmund was modern, bustling and clean. We had skirted it when we arrived and drove from the airport to Africats, our first stop in Namibia, the road to which passed through the outskirts of Windhoek. At that time we had the strong impression of its German cultural heritage, many of the older brick building being designed in a recognizably germanic colonial style. On our arrival today, the centre of the city strengthened this impression with graceful old neighbourhoods filled with colonial homes and a thoroughly modern CBD with stainless steel and glass skyscrapers.

Our hotel for the night, the Olive Exclusive Guesthouse, so named not to confuse it with a rival property next door, the Olive Grove Guesthouse, was charming and need I say, not exactly exclusive as it accepted us, scruffy, dusty and the worse for wear after 2 weeks on the road. Very, very large and modern suite and a wonderful restaurant on the property, our only regret was that we were there for only one night. Dinner in the restaurant, a long hot shower, a good nights sleep and off to the airport next morning for our flight to Amman, via Jo'burg and Dubai...

First day in Namibia

Friday was a very, very, very long day. Landed in São Paulo at 10 am and our next connection was at 11:30 pm for our overnight to Jo'burg. I had booked us a day room at the Wyndham Tryp hotel which is in the secured in-transit area of the terminal so that we could get some sleep and have a base for the 14 hour layover without going into the public area of the terminal and so avoid having to deal with passport control and security. Good idea on paper but 14 hours marking time is very slow in reality. Slept for a couple of hours and found that the best way of getting through the day was to concentrate on not looking at my watch until at least a half hour had passed since my last look, a game with a remarkably low engagement factor. I was reminded of a movie made 5 or 6 years ago concerning someone who, for unremembered reasons, lost papers?, could not leave the transit area. Couldn't go back and couldn't go forward, had no accommodation so slept on benches, and simply waited. Don't know who wrote the script but it should have been Beckett. I empathized.

Arrived in Jo'burg in the early afternoon on Saturday, slept for a few hours, took the train into the city and had a really good dinner at The Butcher Shop grill, we both had very rare steaks, lots of fresh vegetables and a gallon or so of a wonderful South African cabernet, the single best prescription for re-kindling the ashes.

On our way to Namibia

We left last night for the first leg of our trip to Namibia and then on to Jordan. This is our third trip to Africa since 2012, clearly it has attractions for us. We're flying to Jo'burg via São Paulo with a 14 hour layover in São Paulo. I'm not a great fan of Aeroplan, the only routing that allowed us to get to Jo'burg on points and in Business is the one we're flying. Aeroplan offered us other options, a leg to Montreal then an overnight to Frankfurt or London, a long layover and then another overnight to Jo'burg. However the Toronto-Montreal leg was in Business the two overnight legs were in Economy but Aeroplan wanted to charge us the full Business points total even though the only leg that was in Business was the one to Montreal. I don't mind paying the full whack to fly in the front cabin but I find it really galling to be charged maximum points to fly in steerage. I know, no handkerchiefs, a first world problem.

All flights to South Africa from North America, with the exception of a direct Washington to Jo'burg flight that's almost impossible to book on points, are right angled routes, no diagonals, so an overnight north-south or east-west, a long layover and another overnight flight perpendicular to the first. We're in São Paulo, halfway though our 14 hour layover and another overnight flight to go...