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South Africa - Day 1

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

sunny 70 °F
View Africa Trip 2010 on pmonahan's travel map.

We finally arrived in Hazyview, South Africa after traveling for the better part of 24 hours. None of us got much sleep on our red eye flight from London to Johannesburg, but we did catch up on our movies. We had a relatively short connection between flights in Johannesburg, but we ended up making it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare. All in all, everything worked as planned.

After landing, we made a quick trip over to the FIFA Ticketing Office in Nelspruit to pickup our tickets for the game this evening. Then, we drove the 45 minutes up to Hazyview. Kellie and Wil both slept almost the whole drive. One fun thing for me is driving on the left side. It takes a fair amount of concentration. The road was very hilly, and the little Toyota rental could not keep speed up the hills. Even though there is only one lane, slow cars just pull to the left into the breakdown lane while going up the hills to let faster cars pass. Can't image that happening in the U.S.

We are now at the Protea Hotel in Hazyview, which is one of the gateway towns to Kruger National Park. Last night, we spent the evening in the beautiful bar at the hotel that overlooks a valley. Wil and Kellie saw a small pack of monkeys roaming around the grounds of the hotel. I managed to miss it because I was trying to get the wireless to work in the lobby. Everyone in the bar was watching the football matches and were very chatty. In the early evening, there were lots of Mexico fans in the bar, and then, after dinner, a whole group of Australians came in. Unfortunately, we were all so tired that we went to bed really early, but tonight, we will strive to stay up later for the second match.

Today, we have the morning and early afternoon free, and then, we will attend the Ivory Coast vs North Korea football match which is at 4:30pm local time. We are not sure what were are going to do, but a few of the options that we are considering are a drive through Blyde River Canyon, a visit to the Elephant Sanctuary, the Sudwala Caves (oldest caves in world). Needless to say, there is not shortage of things to do.

Here are a few quick observations:

1. In general, South Africans are very friendly and willing to help us find our way about.
2. The weather is beautiful. 70s during the day and 50s in the evening. It is very dry. Bottled water is a must.
3. Security around the stadiums is very tight. When we picked up our tickets, we must have seen 15 police cars.
4. It's a very tip centric society. Everywhere you go, there is someone willing to help you out for a tip. At the shopping center, there were uniformed "security" people who made sure that the car stayed safe even though Kellie and Wil were in it.

All in all, yesterday was a good day. Will post some pictures once Kellie gets up.

Posted by pmonahan 20:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged family_travel

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Did Kellie have a wonderful birthday? How nice to be there! Enjoy the game and the game fever!!!!

by pbedard

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