Warm South Africa

I made it! After the hassles of getting to Southern California from Seattle, the flight from Los Angeles to Durban was a breeze. Nothing unusual, no delays, cancellations or anything else. It was long though, and boring. But I was fortunate to get four seats across on the 14.5 hour flight from New York to Johannesburg. I managed that when I checked in online, and found there was the option to change my seat - so checked and found the flight very lightly booked, changed the seat to an empty row and lucked out.


So here I sit on the verandah at Mick and Debbie's house; warm, a bit overcast, the weavers are making a hell of a noise building all their nests and am enjoying a good cup of coffee.

It has taken a couple of days to recover from the jet lag - helped along with several 5-hour energy drinks that I brought with me. When I arrived in Durban, Debbie picked me up and although I can always picture the countryside in my mind, seeing it again reinforces how beautiful this country is. Even the drive from the airport, with the rolling hills, trees and open spaces is awe-inspiring.

Their house is just as I remember it from three years ago, except my room which they redid and it is wonderful! I unpacked and kept moving during the afternoon so I would sleep that night. Saturday we went into town to get a converter for my water machine. Found exactly what I needed so now back on the Kangen, thank goodness!

I brought my little GSM phone so went to get a sim car - South Africa has the most bizarre system of getting a phone! I am fortunate in that Mick signed an affadavit for me, saying I was staying with him. But anyone coming into the country has to go to the police to "qualify" to get a phone. Can you just picture people arriving at the airport after a long flight, wanting to get a pay-as-you-go phone while they are here and having to immediately go to the police station? I tried just using my U.S. passport, but it didn't work!

Debbie wanted to change carriers and she had to supply three months bank statements, utility bills, and an affadavit saying she lives at the house because they have a P.O. Box for their mail! How the hell do the squatters manage to geta phone? They certainly don't have bank accounts and addresses!

Debbie changed her mind and decided not to change carriers - too many hoops to jump through!

Then went to the grocery store and was in sticker shock! Still am. I cannot believe how much the prices have gone up in the three years since I was here last. They are almost as high as in the States! Definitely not an inexpensive place to live any more, which is a real shame.

Today is a lazy day. Mick and Deb went to Durban to meet her parents who are on the Queen Mary but I decided I needed another down day to regroup, so catching up on emails etc and just kicking back. Next week, I hope to sort out some kind of transportation but not rushing into anything. I will check with Country Life and find out if I can submit articles to them and perhaps get that going again. I loved that job!