Thursday, November 27, 2008

South Africa

So, I'm back onboard my ship, currently alongside in Durban, South Africa.  The following are thoughts and observations written along the way in various airports, planes and the hotel...

While being a slightly shorter trip, it does not seem any easier.  I had only enough time to walk briskly across the airport in Minnie and make my connection.  JFK is a somewhat lousy airport.  I had to walk across the tarmac and along a winding path covered by a series of tarps to get inside.  It was windy and rainy and I was pretty wet by the time I got inside.  Once there, I was informed I had to go back outside, across two streets and a parking lot, in order to get to the train to the international terminal.  I do, however, have time to dry off in the food court while waiting the 5 hours for my next flight.  JFK has a decent food court and a wide range of shops, in both terminals 2 and 4.

McDonald's sucks all over the world and yes, here at JFK.  Should've went with the old deli sandwiches wrapped in plastic:(

Excessively overweight people should have to buy two seats if they're otherwise going to squish some poor motherfucker who already has to be trapped in planes for 36 hours, goddammit!  I'm not exactly skinny but at least I don't crush other people.  Fuck.

Wooo Hoooo!!   Flying from JFK to Dakar, Senegal.  I am NOT getting crushed!!  In fact, I have four, count-em F-O-U-R seats to myself.  The plane is nearly empty and (how much does it cost to fly an Airbus A343 from New York to Dakar?) we all get to stretch out:)  Everyone is sleeping but me.  Even after 3 muscle relaxers, 1 codeine and 2 bottles of an excellent South African Shiraz, all I can do is lay here, read, and slur my words, or get up and stumble around like wino.  Great buzz, lousy atmosphere.

South African Airlines food basically sucks, even shit-faced.  Another 7.5 hours till South Africa and I am REALLY tired of airplanes, airline food and the seats-even if I do have FOUR of them.

Finally, South Africa!   Johannesburg.  Fortunately, I was met by an agent.  With him, I was able to skip the passport line with 400 people in it and use the empty, diplomat line.  That's me, pirate and diplomat.  We ran into a bit of trouble with a self-important immigration fellow who wished to deny me entry into the country, but a stamp from another desk allowed me to finally pass.  My agent escorted me through the airport, check-in and all the way to gate security, bypassing a few more, minor, hassles.  Nice to have an agent not only at the final destination, but also the point of entry.  Often, flying into a country in one city and then disembarking permanently in another leads to major hassles, tons of paperwork and occasionally fines, deportation, or jail.  No fun.  Anyway, there aint shit to do here at the gates, but the terminal is huge, brand-new and has tons of restaurants and shops, all outside security:(  Bored, hung-over and very fucking sleepy!!

Yeah.  Durban, South Africa.  My flight here was a mid-sized jet with tons of South African flavor, from the conversations, accents and looks to the music piped in and the food.  Wonderfully different and actually woke me up a bit.   I'm staying in a giant, five-star hotel.  This place might be the nicest hotel I've ever been booked into for work.  Right on the beach.  My bathroom door is a pane of frosted glass and the bath counter is a slab of marble supported on carved wooden posts.  They wrote me a letter and left me a bag of killer chocolates.  Sushi bar downstairs.  Guinness in the pub.  Lots of ladies in dresses, like something formal is going on, but I don't see many guys...weird.

Holy Fuck.  Well, I found out why I saw a bunch of well-dressed, un-escorted women last night.  The Miss World Pageant is here.  Met miss Russia and Italy in the lift.  They seem nervous.  They were heading to breakfast, but look like they'll puke up anything they eat.  Come to think of it, that's prolly the plan, eh?  Anyway, I had breakfast out on the terrace, next to one of the pools.  First, I looked out and there is my ship, anchored about 3 miles out.  I couldn't resist.  I called the Captain and told him I was watching the ship and drinking a gin and tonic.  He told me to fuck off and hung up. (and I've posted a picture of him telling me to fuck off, taken from the poolside terrace)  Then, a few minutes later about half the miss world contestants came out to sun by the pool, or have pictures taken.  This pretty much killed all conversation at the breakfast tables and every guy with a camera started taking their own pictures.  Being married, I took exactly 2 pictures (both posted), just to prove I had breakfast with the miss world contestants this morning and there you go.

OK, off to sleep.  I've got a 6am wake up call and all day meetings and I am jet-lagged like a motherfucker.  Hope ya'll are having a safe and happy thanksgiving.


Fyremandoug said...

ate good, shot the new rifle and drank a little is good

Wenchy said...

Being South African and proudly so........... I think you ate food at the wrong places.

The Pirate said...

I mentioned the food on SA airlines sucked. All the food I've eaten in SA has been EXCELLENT!!