Monday, August 31, 2015

August 30 & 31, 2015 - Day 2 & 3 - NYC to Johannesburg to Richards Bay to Zulu Nyala

August 30 & 31, 2015 - NYC to Johannesburg to Richards Bay to Zulu Nyala

So after a good night celebrating with friends at the Rockaway Beaches, we headed for bed.  You see, it was a very familiar bed, since we were just in Queens NY in January celebrating and photographing the bar mitzvah for Jake, who is Stu and Jodi’s son.  Its funny that once you get to know your friends, visit their house several times over the years, a feeling of warmth and home comes over you.

Too excited to sleep was the mantra for the night. My internal clock went off at 0600 and I was ready to get this day going.  Since we had to rebook our DC to Jberg flight too, we ended up going out of JFK, which happens to be a 15 hour and 10 minute direct flight.  Thats right, no stops like we would have had to do on the DC flight (landing in Accra Ghanna for fuel), which shaved 2 hours off the total flight time.

Jodi had Saturday Criminal Court to oversee, so since she was headed in the direction of JFK, she provided our drop off with plenty of time to spare for the 11:15 AM EST flight.  Yes, she is a Justice, and her name is Jodi and yes, we call her Judge Jodi (or Justice Jodi).  Its a riot!  And yes, I downloaded the Trip Case application and loaded my newest/current/most-recent/exact itinerary into it.  Yeah, thanks for the tip, Kelly and everyone else that poured salt in my humiliated wounds.

There we were, checking in with a lot of time to spare, bags under regulation weight and plenty of time to get through the security line.  We stopped for a breakfast sandwich and a coffee and ate while I finished up the blog post from day 1.  Yeah, glad that day is over!

The airplane we ended up getting was an Airbus 340-600, so it has two aisles with 2 seats on each side and 4 seats in the middle, which is something like this (xx_xxxx_xx).  Guess where our seats were on this lovely flight… yup, right where the big X’s are (xx_xXXx_xx).  The cool factor of this plane is 1), we got free beer and fed once we hit about 20,000 ft, 2) each seat had its own radio and TV, which played current movies, and 3) it was headed to South Freakin Africa.

We played around with the TV and found that Kathy’s didn't work quite right.  So, we broke out the laptop and played American Sniper, which we had not yet seen.  Quite a movie, I must say.  I recall that the movie was supposed to portray actual facts that Chris Ryan dealt with on his four tours overseas.  All in all, the movie made me very proud to be an American, though there were some pretty horrific scenes in it.  Props to Clint Eastwood for directing it they way he did.

Sleeping wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be.  We both received sedatives for the flight, which we both took.  However, the seating arrangements weren't quite as comfy as they could be, since we would each have to disturb one or more people just to get out of our seats to get up.  We did get a breakfast with about 2 hours to go on the flight. Pretty modest breakfast I might add as well.  Actually, the food was great and plentiful throughout the whole flight.  I event went back and got a bag of Fritos and a wrap to split with Kathy midway through our flight.

We landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg at 8:00 (UTC+2), which is 1:00 AM CST, we left gate A to go to B to be told to go to E. And yes, we had to go back through security…  The good news is that we found a watering hole called Airport Craft Breweries Pub and Restaurant.  Kathy started with a Mojito and I with an Airport Craft Brewers Tasting Tray (7 sample beers). 
Kathy ended up getting the ACB Blond Ale and I got the ACB Red Ale.  Theres no Bud Light in this country from what I can tell.  Its all good though, since I think we have found a couple of favorites already.

Good plane! Plesae dont wreck!
The flight from Jberg to Richards Bay was slated to off at 1:15 PM (UTC +2 aka ZA), but was delayed about 45 minutes.  We got to Richards Bay without incident and picked up the rental car and headed to Zulu Nyala.  On our 1.5 hour trip to Zulu, we happened upon several interesting things.  First, everyone drives on the wrong side of the road and going 120 isn't a big deal (since its KPH). Second, if a wreck happens on the highway here, you get detoured on the dirt roads, including the semi’s.  And third, most of the locals that live along the highway peddle things from food, to pottery, and a little of everything in between.  Some of the (makeshift) housing we witnessed was pretty shocking.  I kind of knew what to expect, but when you see it…  wow.

The Detour  - oh my!
We arrived at Zulu Nyala, got checked in and found the bar with more good beer.  We sat outside on the covered patio and met some new friends.  One set from Pittsburgh KS, one set from Boston MS, and another from Atlanta GA.  Dinner was at 7, which was served buffet style and very very good.  Everyone here is so freakin nice, especially the staff.

We are still trying to get our internal body clocks working right, since we were basically up since 6:00 AM EST on Sunday and its now 9:00 PM ZA Monday night (which is 3:00 AM EST - 45 hours) with very little sleep on the plane rides.  Heading to bed early tonight so we can get ready for the 8:00 AM ZA Photo Safari.  Should be a hoot!


Not a bad price for beers

Someone is tired!
Someone is tired

Bus Ride From Jberg Terminal To Plane - Sardine Style

Boarding the flight in Jberg

On the flight headed to Richards Bay

Our kick ass room at Zulu Nyala

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