A Travellerspoint blog

June 2017

Made it to Victoria Falls

The flight from Johannesburg was supposed to be a quick, one-hour little hop. Well, for some reason they combined two flights and we had to make a stop first in some other city in Zimbabwe. They made everyone get off the plane, go through customs, claim our luggage, and go check in and reboard as a domestic flight. We were convinced we would not see our luggage again. Well, it took us all day to navigate through three airports and finally arrive in Victoria Falls. I still haven't seen the falls up close, but I could see the mist from the plane as we were landing.

By the way, our luggage did successfully follow us here but two nice old guys we were talking to weren't so lucky. Last we saw of them they were trying unsuccessfully to buy underwear in the small town here.

I'm sure I will have a ton of pictures tomorrow. Now I'm going to sleep in this little hut under a mosquito net at the Victoria Falls Backpackers. ?

Posted by Pelham Family 11:08 Comments (1)

24 Hour Train Ride?! Whose stupid idea was THAT?!

“It was supposed to be a fun adventure”

Well, when I was planning this trip I tried to put in a little of everything…safari, road trip, big cities, small towns, touristy stuff, off-the-beaten-path places, up-scale and “roughing it”. I thought an epic train journey across the country sounded adventurous and like something us carefree backpackers would do. Well – it SUCKS! I am sitting in our ugly little compartment, next to the aluminum prison sink (which I’m fairly certain people have been using as a urinal) watching my breath in the freezing air and we have just been told that we are running almost three hours behind schedule. I’m not surprised since this rattle trap train keeps coming to a trembling, screeching stop every thirty minutes for no apparent reason. The sound of metal-on-metal and the teeth jarring shaking happened all night long. Not that I could have slept anyway listening to the non-stop chatter/yelling/”singing” of the people in the other compartments. They can’t possibly be having a conversation because they are all talking at once! One person sang the same off key tune over and over for at least an hour. We tried to eat in the dining car a couple of hours into the journey; Baylie had a cheese sandwich which was at least edible, the memory of my “lasagna” gives me that “mouth watering right before you gag” sensation.

Baylie and I go back and forth being the positive, optimistic one trying to cheer the other one up. I think it’s about my turn so I better work on my delivery of the line, “This is a fun adventure!” This is a good place to end anyway because I need to go put some socks on my hands before my fingers succumb to frost bite.

Continued…
I typed that first bit while still on the train. I am now sitting in a very comfortable, peaceful hotel room at the Southern Sun hotel right by the airport. We wanted to stay as close to the airport as possible for our flight tomorrow to Victoria Falls. We were actually stuck on that rusted tin can of a train for just over 30 hours. As soon as it stopped at the station we bolted as fast as possible for the door and leapt into the first taxi we saw. Our driver was nice, even after he got pulled over by a traffic cop and was given a ticket for some unknown violation. He didn’t seem too concerned about it and he didn’t try to jack up our fare to help cover the ticket, so we continued on our way. There was a buffet dinner at our hotel, so we dove into our first real food in 24 hours. Baylie was so hungry she piled what she thought were beans on her plate, to later discover that it was some kind of salad made from marinated peanuts. It wasn’t bad, just odd. In the end we both found plenty to eat at the buffet 

We’re already kind of laughing about this “adventure” so I guess it’s a good piece of this trip after all.

Posted by Pelham Family 12:31 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

Pterodactyl Poop

We turned in our beloved car this morning and had about a mile to walk to get back to our apartment. We were looking forward to the exercise and planning to stop part way back for a late breakfast at Jason's Bakery. Not even one block into our long city stroll we were splattered with a blast of toxic goo. Really, a pterodactyl is the only plausible explanation for that amount of disgusting waste to fall from the sky. In my hair, down my back, in my purse, on both of our faces...it was nauseating. We burned through the packet of hand wipes I had in my purse, but just couldn't think of going to eat. So back to the apartment for showers and another load of laundry. And I do not want one single comment about how getting pooped on by a bird is supposed to be "lucky"!

Posted by Pelham Family 01:43 Archived in South Africa Comments (3)

Penguins on the beach!

Today is the last day we will have our rental car. Driving ourselves has been the absolute best way to do this trip. Just a quick observation as we get ready to say good-bye to our trusty Toyota: 98% of the cars in South Africa are white. Seriously, you see 100 cars in a parking lot and 98 of them are white and the other two are most likely silver. Also, pretty much every other car is approximately the same size and shape as our rental, so a mall parking lot is quite a challenge!

We drove to Boulders Beach today, just outside Cape Town, to check out the local penguin population. It was an outstanding little trip! It was so cool to see a nesting colony of penguins just hanging out on their beach. We watched them swim, waddle around on the beach, sit on eggs in their nests under the bushes, and take care of fuzzy babies. Loved it!

When we drove back to Cape Town we had a very serious mission: find Mexican food. We had looked it up the other day and discovered several Mexican restaurants in the city, but of course we are pretty skeptical when it comes to finding real Mexican food in other parts of the world. Pizza is easy, burgers are everywhere, but guacamole and tacos always elude us. Success! We found El Burro restaurant and had pineapple agua frescas, pork carnitas, enchiladas, guacamole, and churros with chocolate sauce - all of it was (almost) perfect!

Side note...check out the photo gallery if you want to see a spider that sent Baylie into a full attack of her arachnophobia. She has a lingering fear of South African spiders since she still has a scar from a bite from one here in 2014.
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Posted by Pelham Family 08:17 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

City Living

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the little apartment we are renting in Cape Town. Except...it's not a lovely, cozy B&B with a super nice host, a big bath tub to soak in, and someone to make me breakfast in the morning. I think perhaps I was getting a little spoiled by all the nice little touches in each of the places we stayed while on our road-trip portion of this trip. This apartment is definitely in the heart of a big city, and with that comes a lot of city noise at night. Including drunk people yelling at each other at 3:00 AM. Earplugs are definitely a must-have travel accessory.

Yesterday we walked to a nearby bakery and had the recommended "doughssant" - doughnut/croissant hybrid. It was filled with lemon cream, topped with raspberry sauce, and might be the single best pastry I have ever eaten in my life! We also took the Red Bus city tour, rode the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, and walked around the beautiful shopping and restaurant area of the Victoria & Alfred waterfront. Today we are doing laundry. You just never know what exciting things await from day to day when you travel!
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Posted by Pelham Family 01:02 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

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